Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.
What they do
Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, images that appear to move, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.
Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:
- Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation (images that appear to move)
- 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 animation
- Edit animation 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 timelines
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.
Many artists and animators work in offices; others work from home.
How to become a Multimedia Artist and Animator
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.
Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine arts, 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 artists and animators who show strong teamwork and time-management skills can advance to supervisory positions, where they are responsible for one aspect of a visual effects team. Some artists might advance to leadership or directorial positions, such as an art director or producer or director.
Skills in graphics and animation can be honed through self-study. Multimedia artists and animators can develop these skills to enhance their portfolios, which may make it easier to find job opportunities.
The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $75,270 in May 2019. 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 $40,250, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $139,940.
Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, 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. This will create demand for newer computer hardware, which will enhance the complexity of animation and visual effects. Additional multimedia artists and animators will be required to meet this increased demand.
Similar Job Titles
3D Animator (Three-Dimensional Animator), 3D Artist (Three-Dimensional Artist), Animator, Artist, Designer, Digital Artist, Graphic Artist, Illustrator, Motion Graphics Artist, Multimedia Producer, Animator
Art Director; Graphic Designer; Director-Stage, Motion Pictures, Television and Radio; Technical Director/Manager; Film and Video Editor
The trade associations listed below represent organizations made up of people (members) who work and promote advancement in the field. Members are very interested in telling others about their work and about careers in those areas. As well, trade associations provide opportunities for organizational networking and learning more about the field’s trends and directions.
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - This organization We recognize and uphold excellence in the motion picture arts and sciences, inspire imagination, and connect the world through the medium of motion pictures.
- American Film Institute - This organization believes in the revolutionary power of visual storytelling to share perspectives, inspire empathy and drive culture forward.
- Association for Computing Machinery - ACM believes in the revolutionary power of visual storytelling to share perspectives, inspire empathy and drive culture forward.
- International Cinematographers Guild - This association’s mission is to fight effectively for fair wages, sustainable benefits, a safe workplace, respect for craft and retirement with dignity for our members and their families using every tool at our disposal.
- National Cartoonists Society - The NCS membership roster includes over 500 of the world’s major cartoonists, working in many branches of the profession, including comic books, editorial cartoons, animation, webcomics and other online platforms, newspaper comic strips and panels, gag cartoons, greeting cards, advertising, magazine and book illustration and more.
Magazines and Publications
- ACM Magazines (browse list)
- ICG Magazine
- Animation Magazine
- Animation World Magazine
Multimedia artists and animators turn ideas and sketches into heroes, villains, and monsters. They create visual wonders for your favorite television shows, movies, and video games. Multimedia artists and animators conduct research to design characters and settings for a story, and then develop storyboards that map out major scenes. They bring creativity and artistic skill to the drawing board -painting or sketching designs- or they may use computer generated images to develop digital models of their ideas. Teamwork is essential, as each animator works on part of a project that must fit seamlessly with others' work. Feedback is shared frequently between animators, game designers, directors, and clients. Working together under deadlines can create stress, but often brings the team's vision together. These artists usually specialize... they may animate video games... develop visual effects for movies... or create computer generated images for television. About half of multimedia artists and animators are self-employed, while others work for the motion picture and video industries, or in scientific and technical settings. Most work regular hours, but may work nights and weekends when deadlines demand it. A bachelor's degree in art or computer graphics is crucial for building both the skills and the portfolio necessary to enter the field. Multimedia artists and animators bring the fantastic and dreamlike alive and make them... unforgettable.
Content retrieved from: US Bureau of Labor Statistics-OOH www.bls.gov/ooh,
CareerOneStop www.careeronestop.org, O*Net Online www.onetonline.org