3D animation technicians, also known as 3D animators or multimedia animators, use computer software to create and edit 3D animation and effects. Average salaries vary depending on the industry in which technicians work. Education and career requirements also influence the amount of money made by 3D animators. A bachelor's degree in computer graphics or another relevant field is generally required.
Salary and Job Outlook
According to the the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) multimedia artists and animators made an average yearly salary of $70,300 as of May 2015. At that time, most multimedia artists and animators worked in the motion picture and video industries, however, those employed in travel arrangement and reservation services made the highest mean annual salary of $85,750. The BLSs forecast a 6 percent increase in the number of jobs for multimedia artists and animators between 2014 and 2024.
|Degree Level||None, but bachelor's degree often required|
|Degree Field(s)||Graphic design, art, computer graphics, or related field|
|Licensure/Certification||Voluntary software certifications may be available|
|Experience||Demo reel or portfolio required; video/television production or video game experience could be plus|
|Key Skills||Sketching and graphic design skills; knowledge of 3D animation software|
|Job Outlook (2014-2024)||6% growth (for multimedia artists and animators)|
|Average Annual Salary (2015)||$70,300 (for multimedia artists and animators)|
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Education requirements for 3D animation technicians vary by employer. Some employers do not require any specific education requirements, even for senior or lead positions. Others require applicants to have a minimum of a bachelor's degree in a design-related field.
All employers require demonstration of a 3D animation technician's design ability, often through a demo reel or portfolio. Prospective animators can build a demo reel on their own time or through class projects that require submission of quality animation. Normally, animators continue to build their portfolio throughout their professional lives.
Prospective 3D animation technicians might need to fulfill other requirements, depending on industry or field. For example, many employers prefer that technicians have experience in sketching that's sufficient enough to draw concepts before creating them in a 3D animation program. Other employers prefer 3D animation technicians who have experience with video and television production. And, some seek those with experience playing and designing video games. Another common requirement for 3D animation technicians is experience with various elements of graphic design. Depending on the employer, experience specific to one type of graphic design program, such as 3D Studio Max or Maya, may also be required.
In summary, salaries for 3D animation technicians average around $70,000 a year. Education requirements vary, but all employers seek job candidates with design ability, often demonstrated through a demo reel or portfolio.