Flash animators create digital designs for websites, movies, shows, video games, and other media platforms. A relevant undergraduate degree or certificate is necessary, though some may aim for a master's to improve their skills.
Those seeking a career in Flash animation or other forms of multimedia art can pursue a bachelor's degree in fine arts, graphic design, computer animation or a similar subject. Coursework generally includes subjects like figure drawing, digital animation and cartooning. Some professionals earn a certificate or complete a master's degree program in animation.
|Required Education||Bachelor's usually required; certificate and master's degree programs also available|
|Projected Job Growth (2014-2024)*||6% for multimedia artists and animators|
|Median Salary (2015)*||$63,970 annually for multimedia artists and animators|
Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education Requirements for Flash Animation
Aspiring animators may need at least a bachelor's degree to succeed in the profession. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the technological expertise necessary for an animator working in multimedia almost always requires training from a postsecondary institution (www.bls.gov).
Bachelor of Fine Arts programs typically allow students to choose from one of multiple concentrations, including 3-D graphics, animation, computer animation or digital design. Master of Fine Arts programs in animation are also available. Graduate-level programs might include internships, seminars, graduate projects, short film production and completion of a thesis.
Certificate programs are also available in animation and 3-D graphics. These could be useful to individuals just starting out in their postsecondary education or to those who already hold a bachelor's degree but are interested in specialization. They range in length from one semester to two years and can include coursework in basic artistic concepts, as well as specific programs, like Flash, Illustrator and Photoshop.
Animation students typically focus on development of fundamental art skills and practical use of computer design technology. Courses in figure drawing, character design and cartooning can help students learn techniques for character animation, while other aspects of the process, such as story and setting design, come from classes like storyboarding, background painting and composition. Finally, prospective animators usually take technology-oriented courses in subjects like 2-D and 3-D computer animation, polygon modeling, digital effects and advanced coding. Some programs may include specific courses in Flash animation, while others may involve different options, such as traditional animation, stop-motion animation and digital photography.
Flash Animation Career Opportunities
Flash animators primarily find careers in multimedia, in fields such as Flash design and animation, Web animation or 3-D animation. Individuals with skills in Flash animation can also become art directors, desktop publishers or graphic designers.
Salary Information and Occupational Outlook
According to the BLS, the median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators in 2015 was $63,970. In general, employment for these professionals was expected to rise only 6% from 2014-2024. However, prospects for those working in software publishing or computer systems design and related services were expected to be much better. Growth could be attributed to a demand for more advanced video games, animations for mobile devices, special effects and 3-D films.
Overall, certification may suffice particularly for entry-level jobs, but a bachelor's degree or higher is usually required to be a Flash animator. Fine Arts is the commonly chosen major among these professionals.