3D-graphic animation is created on powerful computers that can handle large files.
3D graphics animators produce computer generated imagery. They use specialized 3D-animation software like AutoDesk Maya to create the illusion of three-dimensional characters and objects moving through space. 3D animators work in a variety of industries, such as the motion picture and gaming industries, as well as in the interactive web design and advertising fields. The salaries they earn vary with the industry in which they work.
The Motion Picture Industry
Disney animator salaries are negotiated by the Animation Guild.
The motion picture industry produces 3D animation with the popularity of features such as Shrek and Toy Story. The Animation Guild negotiates collective bargaining agreements that set wages for 3D CGI animators working in the motion picture industry. 3D animators working for Disney earn a salary of $1,535 per week for their first six months on the job, and $1,570.04 a week for their second six months of work. Experienced journeyman 3D animators earn $1,628.56 in weekly salary. This agreement covers the period from July 31, 2011 to July 31, 2012.
The video game industry is a fast-growing industry using 3D graphics animation. A junior video game animator in the first three years of their career earns an average salary of $46,700. Experienced 3D animators in the field earn an average of $67,000 per year. Those with six years of experience can expect to earn $75,000 per year. Salary figures are from the Animation Arena Game Makers Salary Survey.
Design and Advertising
3D graphics animators working for graphic design and advertising firms earn an average salary of $60,000, according to the AIGA Aquent survey of design salaries for 2011. Salaries varied by region, with animators in New York City earning a salary of $85,000. Los Angeles animators earned $68,500 in salary.
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites an average annual salary for multimedia artists and animators of $63,440 as of May 2010. The motion picture and video industry had the highest employment with 7,200 jobs and the best average salary at $72,380. Independent artists working in the field earned an average salary of $66,770. The advertising and public relations industry employed 3130 individuals at an average salary of $58,910. The Bureau’s salary figures group 3D animators with interactive web animators.