As one of the most important multimedia creators in the production process, a compositing artist can singlehandedly revamp an entire animation or film. Since your job will be to organize the overall composition of the project, you will be in charge of solving various graphic, flow, lighting, and many other types of errors. In other words, the vast majority of multimedia projects will need a stamp of approval from a professional such as yourself. If they do not possess it, there is a good chance that the final presentation will be incomplete. So, if you are contemplating a career as a compositing artist, it is safe to say that you have chosen an exciting and challenging field. To get to the workforce, however, you will need to complete most, if not all, of the following steps.
Learn the Basics of Film and Video
While you could focus on the composition of many different deliverables, the animation industry is where the vast majority of people with the said responsibilities work. Due to the heavy presence of computer software and graphics, animators frequently rely on composition specialists to finalize the venture. Expectedly, the first step that you must take is learning the basics of film and video tools, especially the animation-related ones. If you can build a strong foundation of knowledge for creating and editing various forms of videos, your subsequent composition specialization will be much easier. Because the material perpetually builds on, everything that you learn will go into the next level of your education.
Specialize in Compositing
As a compositing artist, you will go through a few semesters of regular animation coursework. Except for a few programs around the nation, the vast majority of schools do not offer entire degree plans focused solely on composition. This is because you are pursuing a sub-specialty of animation, which is the primary market here. So, just like writers have to get general degrees in English, not just professional writing, per se, you must pursue the overall film and video industry first.
Fortunately, most multimedia programs are diverse enough to allow you to specialize in practically anything. Once you complete the fundamental coursework, which will help you understand the basics of animating and editing, you will usually enter the pipeline that leads to the composition. That translates to courses that are completely focused on software, ideas, guidelines, and material surrounding compositing jobs. Depending on the school, you can expect to spend anywhere from two to four semesters on becoming a specialist.
Network With Employers and Look for Internships
Besides the mandatory classes, you must utilize your college years for networking. According to Forbes, there are countless short- and long-term benefits of building a versatile network. Some of them include:
- It helps you establish an avenue for exchanging ideas and pursuing new opportunities;
- It allows you to reassess your qualifications;
- It offers an unparalleled resource for development;
- It creates a web of support consisting of like-minded individuals.
While the list goes on, these few examples are some of the most pertinent advantages that college networking facilitates.
You also need to take advantage of temporary work, and at least one of your semesters should include a professional internship. Although you might have to work for free, which is slowly changing to guarantee students some minimum level of pay, the experience that you obtain will be invaluable. By securing an internship in compositing art, you will get a real-life glance at your forthcoming career. It is also safe to assume that you will meet a plethora of other artists who come from various backgrounds and career levels. Building relationships with them could help you find full-time employment once you finish your studies.
Finalize Training and Look Into Graduate Programs
Since temporary work tends to accompany your coursework, you will most likely finalize the internship prior to your graduation. So, the next step will be to complete any remaining courses and start looking into full-time opportunities. In case you were able to secure a job offer from the company where you interned, which is one of the most common outcomes of temporary work, you should focus on finishing every class with a high grade point average. Doing so will help you qualify for graduate studies if you decide to go for a master’s degree in composition. This leads to the question of whether the pursuit of additional education is needed.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, or BLS, multimedia artists only need a bachelor’s degree to enter the workforce. Although each company has the right to set their hiring criteria, the most consistent approach is to look for people who completed undergraduate studies. As per the aforementioned analysis by the BLS, bachelor degrees in composition lead to outstanding salaries, the likes of which carry a median of $72,520 per year.
Thus, pursuing a master’s degree will not necessarily result in an extreme spike in your earnings. It will, however, help you acquire some additional skills, get access to more job opportunities, and expand your professional network. To make the right decision, you should carefully analyze your expectations and long-term goals, and you should also weigh the short-term advantages and disadvantages of spending another year or two in school.
Seek Full-Time Employment or Freelancing Work
Even though the completion of your college degree will be the turning point of your professional life, your composition career will just be getting started. It is now time to find a full-time job or freelancing projects that provide supplemental income. As an inexperienced composition artist, which includes those who did internships, it is unrealistic to expect your freelancing endeavors to fully support you at first. Once you spend a few years navigating the industry and building your reputation, however, a growing number of independent projects will begin coming your way. Do not forget that, as a compositing artist, you must constantly improve your skills and learn new technology that becomes available.