There are many different careers in 3D animation.
There is 3D animation all around us, from TV commercials to Internet ads to blockbuster kids’ movies to video games. Three-D imagery is now computer-driven, and there are many careers in 3D animation to explore. Most entry-level 3D computer-animation careers require a bachelor’s degree in media or animation, computer skills, a portfolio and a demo reel of your animation work (References 1,2). Animation jobs are expected to grow 14 percent between 2008 and 2018 (Reference 4).
Animated Advertisement Designer
Online animated advertisements are placed on websites as banner ads or block ads designed to catch your attention by flashing, moving, wiggling or providing some other type of movement. Web graphic advertising designers use computer programs such as Flash to animate these online advertisements (Reference 3). An Internet advertising animator can work as part of an advertising agency, a web design firm or freelance to create online advertising. Annual earnings for an Internet 3D graphics designer are between $40,160 and $53,397 as of 2010 (Reference 5).
Films use special effects to produce scenes that otherwise could not be filmed in real life. Film 3D animators design such special effects as dinosaurs, people on fire, tornadoes and tsunamis. These 3D animators collaborate with a team, using their specializations such as 3D digital rendering, digital editing, motion capture, backgrounds and lighting to bring special effects to life (Reference 2, Resource 1). The median hourly pay for multimedia artists and film animators was $31.54 in 2008 (Reference 4).
Video games have come a long way in the past decade. They have more texture, better colors, improved sequencing of action and better 3D graphics thanks to 3D animators. Video-game design is much like designing special effects for the motion-picture industry. Game designers work on a team contributing texture-mapping and matting skills, 3D animation rendering, lighting and wire-modeling skills to produce the action in the game. A bachelor’s in video game design can help you break into this field (Reference 3). Video-game designers can make more than other animators, with average annual salaries from $45,000 to $70,000 as of 2010 (Resource 2).
Animation Project Manager
Animators draw on their work experience and professional success to become animation project managers. An animation project manager oversees the animation teams on 3D animation projects such as kids’ films and video games. She ensures that team members collaborate well, solving any problems that occur and meeting production deadlines. The project manager also ensures that the final 3D animation works correctly. A successful animation product design manager can earn about $130,000 a year as of 2010 (Resource 2).