The captioned degrees have intertwined courses. An animation degree may have visual effects and graphic design incorporated into the program. Graphic design is used in certain types of animation techniques. For example, texture animation is an aspect of animation. A texture artist concerns him or herself with the finish of any models (and sometimes terrain) to be featured in the animation. Texture artists typically come from a graphic design school background, becoming proficient in texture creation first before transferring those skills to the animation sphere.
Animation is a diverse field of employment. It encompasses many specialties for those with a degree of any level in animation. Simply stated, it is the illusion of movement created by showing a series of still pictures in rapid succession. In the world of computers, graphic software creates this effect. Animation on computers is one of the chief ingredients of multimedia presentations. A cartoon on television is one example of animation.
Here are some of the jobs for those with a degree in animation or related field.
A 3D modeler is a type of multimedia artist or animator who creates three-dimensional models or visuals of items using a variety of different computer software programs and tools. A deep understanding of the applications and software must be combined with a natural artistic talent; a 3D modeler who has developed both his or her technical skills and artistic abilities will be valued in this industry.
The more obvious sources of work for 3D modelers are in film and video production studios, game design companies, advertising, graphic design firms, and web design firms. However, the demand extends into architecture firms, laboratories (both science and medical), colleges and universities, product design firms, and manufacturing firms (retail, home, tools, etc.). Modelers also work for aerospace companies, automotive companies, retail firms, government agencies, interior design firms, building technology firms, real estate companies, and many others.
Average Salary: $64,644 (Glassdoor)
Forensic animators use full-motion computer graphics to recreate events such as accidents, assaults, robberies, and other crimes. They create 3D terrains, model CG (computer generated) environments using advanced techniques for lighting, photo matching, and rendering; animate characters, composite animations, capture video, use video tracking and matching techniques, develop DVDs of final animations, design graphics and court exhibits, and use photogrammetry (the science of making measurements from photographs).
Forensic animators work for law enforcement agencies, investigative firms, attorneys, government agencies, and science and medical labs. Many are self-employed and work for multiple agencies.
Average Salary: No data; Range is $20 – $100/per hour
Compositors are responsible for constructing the final image by combining layers of previously created material. They receive the material from various sources including rendered computer animation, special effects, graphics, 2D animation, live action, and static background plates.
They work at the end of the production process.
Although it is primarily a 2D role within the 3D world of CGI (computer generated imagery) and VFX (Visual Effects), Compositors need a thorough understanding of the computer-generated animation process combined with relevant artistic skills. To fulfill these requirements, you should have a degree in an art-related subject, such as animation, design, illustration, painting, drawing, photography, or computer animation.
Average Salary: Range is $52,000-$74-957 (Glassdoor)
Motion Graphics Designer
Motion graphics design is a subset of graphic design, taken to the next level, in that designers adopt graphic design principles in video and film production and apply animation techniques. These designers typically train in traditional graphic design, but have learned to incorporate elements of sound, space, and time into their design repertoire. Examples may include the opening storyline of the movie Star Wars, or the spinning logos of some television channels.
Knowledge of a variety of software and computer-based design tools is imperative to work in this field, as is the need to keep up-to-date with advancements in the industry. They need to be versed in design graphics as well as animation using computer software and design tools/technology.
Average Salary: $63,044 (Glassdoor)
Flash animators work predominantly working with the Adobe suite of animation tools. They combine skills in illustration, graphic design and composition in order to create compelling 2D and 3D animation in Adobe Flash. Given the prevalence of the format, Flash specialists work in just about every area that requires animation. Web applications, advertising, and of course the film industry use flash animation.
For example, Disneyland’s 50 Magical Years film featured live action with Steve Martin interacting with Donald Duck. The artists cleaned up and colored in Flash the hand-drawn animation of Donald Duck. Many of today’s animated television series are produced using Adobe Flash.
Character riggers are experts at manipulating the geometry of characters in their interaction with environments. They may also help develop tools for animation production processes, collaborate with modelers and animators, and develop new techniques to solve character production challenges.
Character riggers accomplish this through a thorough understanding of physics and anatomy, operating systems such as UNIX, and software such as Autodesk Maya, Motion Builder, 3D Studio Max, and XSI (a high-end three-dimensional (3D) graphics application).
The most common degree path for aspiring character riggers is a bachelor’s degree in computer animation with a character rigger concentration. Other degree paths include computer science with a character rigger concentration and commercial graphics with a character rigger or animation concentration.
Average Salary: According to employment site Indeed, the average salary for “character rigger” ranges from approximately $14.57 per hour for Artist to $34.20 per hour for Senior Artist. Glassdoor has more enticing numbers for wages. They report the national average salary for a 3D Animator and Rigger is $75,983 in United States. This figure based upon 799 reported salaries.