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Compositing artists are amongst the most important members of the creation process for any multimedia project. They generally remain involved throughout the entirety of the venture but make their most important edits at the ending stages of the development. Before analyzing the ins and outs of their job, however, how does someone become a compositing artist in the first place? After all, degrees that are customized to only fit their specialty do not exist. Instead, they must sign up for other areas of digital art and then pursue the necessary specialization in composition. What degree is the best for someone whose ultimate goal is to work as a compositing artist?

Responsibilities of a Compositing Artist

The essential responsibilities of compositing artists include reviewing final drafts of films, animations, and videos. They also make the necessary changes to ensure that the overall flow seems natural, and they must constantly search for errors that other participants of the creation process might have made. That means that they need to be familiar with everything from animation and lighting to character rigging and computer-generated imagery. Hence why a lot of people consider them to be instrumental to the process.

Educational Requirements

As the members of the multimedia artist group, compositing specialists need to have a bachelor’s degree to enter the job market. Although there are some exceptions to this, especially with those who are extremely talented, most should prepare to go through four years of undergraduate learning. During that time, they will learn everything from the fundamentals of animation to specific skills that every compositing artist needs to succeed. Upon graduation, as per the Animation Career Review, they will qualify to work for a slew of lucrative industries including gaming software development, film and video, advertising, graphic design, and, animation.

Best Bachelor’s Degree15

Due to the nature of the job that compositing artists have, everything that they do will relate to digital artistry. Regardless of whether they are making minor cuts in the animation or changing the lighting effect, they will constantly have to handle multimedia software. Thus, a Bachelor’s in Animation is undoubtedly the best degree that they can go for.

Pursuing animation will allow them to acquire the vast majority of the skills that are necessary for their field. Examples include two- and three-dimensional projects, backgrounding painting, color key insertions, frame motion, and much more. Although there are some alternative degrees that they could obtain, these would not account for everything that they must learn.

Typical Coursework

After deciding to study animation, most candidates will venture into researching the schools that offer those programs and the average cost of studies. Since such factors differ depending on someone’s location it is impossible to accurately determine where they should apply and how much they will pay. Instead, each student should spend a sufficient amount of time reviewing each of the alternatives and ranking them by their graduation, retention, and acceptance rates, average fees, educator-to-student ratios, and accreditations.

One thing that will be quite similar for most animation programs is the coursework. Ignoring the fact that classes may carry different names, the most common topics that these students will learn about include modeling, layout development, graphics, multi-sphere animating, and lighting fundamentals. Once they go through the first portion of the curriculum, they will usually have the option to choose a certain specialization. This is where some decide to go into character rigging, color key artistry, matte painting, or even forensic animation.

Someone who wants to work as a compositing artist will expectedly go into the composition. Their further coursework will likely have some variation of classes that feature programs like Adobe After Effects, Flame 3D Visual Effects, or VFX, and maybe even Nuke. Based on CG Spectrum’s description of the compositing experts’ daily duties, the material will cover things like assessing and editing z-depth, rotoscoping, green-screen-based effects, and digital painting.

Considering Graduate Studies

After finishing the undergraduate program, students will be eligible to start working as full-time compositing artists. Some of them decide to pursue additional studies to complete a master’s degree. There likely isn’t a better time to apply for a graduate program than right after finishing the undergraduate one.

Although there is no doubt about the fact that a graduate degree will be well worth it, it is not something that everyone needs to consider. Individuals who might have already completed internships and have existing job offers should probably avoid prolonging their education. Doing so could cause them to face scrutiny when their employers are forced to delay training and find temporary replacements. There is no evidence to support the idea that animators with graduate degrees earn substantially more than those who only have undergraduate diplomas.

There is a good chance that the starting salary will reflect a very small or no increase at all. Those who do not fit this description, on the other hand, should consider completing further studies. In translation, someone who does not have a job or any professional engagements should consider getting a master’s and doing some additional internships.

Animation degrees usually bring a lot of challenging courses that many students may struggle to pass. The fact that someone who wants to become a compositing artist may not get to composition-based coursework during the first year or two of college further complicates things. One of the easiest ways to overcome such problems is for the student to focus on their end-goal. Doing so will allow them to complete the best degree plan for compositing artistry, and they will acquire the much-needed skills to thrive.

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