Multimedia Artists and Animators

Career, Salary and Education Information

Top 3 Multimedia Artist Jobs

  • Technical Support Analyst - Perforce Software - Minneapolis, MN

    Perforce is seeking a Technical Support Analyst to join our Global Support Team, liaising with

  • Graphic Artist/Multimedia Specialist - Coley & Associates - Arlington, VA

    Our values reflect who we are as people, guide our approach to working with others, and has resulted in us being named Best Places to Work FIVE years

  • Server Software Developer - Perforce Software - Alameda, CA

    As an engineer in the server development group you will be responsible for developing new and

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Top 3 Multimedia Animator Jobs

  • Multimedia Services-Animator, Senior - Leidos - Springfield, VA

    Products range from single frame renderings to animated movies developed from a variety of geospatial and modeling software. Animators must possess

  • Multimedia Specialist - Animator - Booz Allen Hamilton - Springfield, VA

    Booz Allen partners with public and private sector clients to solve their most difficult challenges through a combination of consulting, analytics

  • Multimedia Services, Animator - Leidos - Springfield, VA

    Familiarity with Maya, 3D Studio Max, and other animation software. Ability to utilize mapping software such as Curious World Maps to develop

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What Multimedia Artists and Animators Do[About this section] [To Top]

Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, animation, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Duties of Multimedia Artists and Animators

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animations
  • Develop storyboards that map out key scenes in animations
  • Edit animations and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development time lines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then the pieces are put together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a wide variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or “animatics,” which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance work.

Work Environment for Multimedia Artists and Animators[About this section] [To Top]

Multimedia artists and animators hold about 64,400 jobs. The industries that employ the most multimedia artists and animators are as follows:

Motion picture and video industries 12%
Computer systems design and related services 6
Software publishers 5
Advertising, public relations, and related services 5

A little more than half of workers are self-employed. Many artists and animators work in offices; others work from home.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Work Schedules

Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular work schedule; however, when deadlines are approaching, they may need to work nights and weekends.

How to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator[About this section] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Multimedia Artists and Animators near you!

Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop both an impressive portfolio of work and the strong technical skills that many employers prefer.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Education

Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science in addition to art courses.

Bachelor’s degree programs in art include courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Degrees in animation often require classes in drawing, animation, and film. Many schools have specialized degrees in topics such as interactive media or game design.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Training

Some animation studios have their own software and computer applications that they use to create films, and they often provide on-the-job training so that workers can use the specific software and computer applications.

Important Qualities for Multimedia Artists and Animators

Artistic talent. Animators and artists should have artistic ability and a good understanding of color, texture, and light. However, they may be able to compensate for artistic shortcomings with better technical skills.

Communication skills. Multimedia artists and animators need to work as part of a complex team and respond well to criticism and feedback.

Computer skills. Many multimedia artists and animators use computer programs or write programming code to do most of their work.

Creativity. Artists and animators must be able to think creatively to develop original ideas and make them come to life.

Time-management skills. The hours required by most studio and game design companies can be long, particularly when there are tight deadlines. Artists and animators need to be able to manage their time effectively when a deadline approaches.

Multimedia Artist and Animator Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators is $63,630. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $35,510, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $112,030.

The median annual wages for multimedia artists and animators in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Software publishers $72,960
Computer systems design and related services 68,080
Motion picture and video industries 65,330
Advertising, public relations, and related services 59,600

Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular work schedule; however, when deadlines are approaching, they may need to work nights and weekends.

Job Outlook for Multimedia Artists and Animators[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 6 percent over the next ten years, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television. Job growth may be slowed, however, by companies hiring animators and artists who work overseas. Studios may save money on animation by using lower paid workers outside of the United States.

Consumers will continue to demand more realistic video games, movie and television special effects, and three-dimensional movies. They will also demand newer computer hardware, which adds to the complexity of the games themselves. Video game studios will require additional multimedia artists and animators to meet this increased demand.

Further, an increased demand for computer graphics for mobile devices, such as smart phones, will lead to more job opportunities. Multimedia artists will be needed to create animation for games and applications for mobile devices.

Multimedia Artists and Animators Job Prospects

Despite positive job growth, there will be competition for job openings because many recent graduates are interested in entering the occupation. Opportunities should be best for those who specialize in a specific type of animation or in a specific skill, such as drawing or computer programming.

Employment projections data for Multimedia Artists and Animators, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Multimedia artists and animators 64,400 68,300 6 3,900


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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