Be a Multimedia Artist or Animator: Career Roadmap

Mar 05, 2020

Learn how to become a multimedia artist or animator. Research the education, training information, and experience required for starting a career in multimedia artistry.

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Multimedia Artist or Animator

Multimedia artists and animators use computers to create two- and three-dimensional images, visual effects, and animation for use in computer games, television shows, videos, commercials, and movies. Typical job duties of these professionals include editing animation and developing storyboards for use in multimedia productions. In addition to working on all types of projects, animators and artists can specialize in a specific medium, such as video games, or in a specific type of work, such as creating characters or background designs. Overtime work hours might be required when deadlines are near.

Career Requirements

Degree Level Bachelor's degree
Degree Fields Fine arts, computer graphics, or animation
Certification Voluntary certifications available
Key Skills Ability to assess a customer's needs, meet tight deadlines, work as part of a team, and write programming code; knowledge of computer processors, circuit boards and applications; artistic talent and creativity; ability to create technical plans, drawings, and models; knowledge of music, drama, visual art, and sculpture theory and composition
Median Salary (May 2018) $72,520

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), O*Net

Career Steps

Step 1: Earn a Bachelor's Degree in Computer Graphics or Animation

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employers usually prefer candidates with a bachelor's degree. Employers may prefer a bachelor's degree in a field such as computer graphics, art, or design. A degree program that provides instruction on two- and three-dimensional designs, new media, and drawing skills can prepare students to work in the field.

It is important to develop a portfolio of work. Having a portfolio of animation work allows students to demonstrate their design skills to potential employers. Some schools require that students complete a portfolio of work, going so far as to include a special course dedicated to the topic.

Step 2: Demonstrate Skills on the Job

According to the BLS, many employers hire multimedia artists and animators to test their abilities. Often times, this occurs in companies that possess proprietary software, who train temporary employees to complete these testing tasks. Getting this type of temporary work could not only lead to full-time employment, but it might also help individuals hone their skills through hands-on practice. Because work experience is a common way to enter the field, this could make an aspiring artist more attractive to employers.

Step 3: Stay Abreast of Latest Advances in the Field

Staying abreast of changes in the field through training or certification programs means having the most up-to-date knowledge available to perform required job duties. Certification programs are available in many different computer software programs, including Adobe InDesign, Dreamweaver, and PhotoShop. Multimedia artists and animators looking for increased job opportunities may want to consider gaining experience creating images and animation for applications used on smart devices, such as phones and tablets, according to the BLS.

To recap, with a bachelor's degree and experience in animation, an animator or multimedia artist can earn about $73,000 a year to use computers to create two- and three-dimensional images, visual effects, and animation for use in computer games, television shows, videos, commercials, and movies.

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