Computer Animator Career Info

Computer animation careers can be dazzling. A professional animator's job is one of the most lucrative, rewarding, and best jobs in digital media. Computer animators are both creative and commercial people, and their skills translate into a vast range of career possibilities. The demand for animators is huge across all major media.

The work

Computer animation is as much science as art in some ways. Most, if not all, computer animators are trained artists with degrees in arts. The true aficionados of computer animation are highly motivated people. Computer animation software can be extremely complex, and to use it professionally requires experience and training. .

The fundamentals of computer animation include:

  • Modeling (creating character and other image models)

  • Texture artistry (production techniques affecting image quality)

  • Animation (general animation)

  • Character animation (the physical animation production work)

  • Programming animation software (an important field in animation which new effects are created)

Animators often specialize in a particular field, and their work creates a portfolio which can be the key to quick advancement for the talented. Computer animation work isn't a static employment field. This is one of the most dynamic employment markets in media.  A quick check of job boards around the world will show a lot of different forms of animation and animation production jobs.

The career environment

When animators start, they usually start with basic production work. Professional skills are naturally developed progressively through experience and training, but that's not the whole story. Many animators also develop their own skills privately, working on their personal creative materials. That level of motivation is often a catalyst for major success in the field, as the truly artistic skills come out into the open.

Originality and real creative talent can achieve a lot in this field. Many producers of visual art will headhunt talent from other companies. Working with your own original images and complex software and special effects is the top of the scale. Some talented people achieve that early in their careers through sheer quality of work. That's a good indication of the potential scope of careers in computer animation.

The demand for animators is huge. Although it's a highly competitive profession, there's plenty of work. Computer animation is used extensively in advertising, marketing, TV, movies, and above all on the Internet, where animation is a universal feature of web content. From a purely business perspective, animation is big business. Many animators, in fact, are businesses in their own right. They can work as independent production companies, and bid for contracts.

At this stage, they're not employees, but employers. As businesses, computer animators have many potential sources of income and work. Computer animation involves more business possibilities than the famous but transient film industry work. Many animation companies work in more consistent cash flow areas like advertising and Internet content. These areas involve multi-million dollar annual turnovers, and regular contract work.

Another source of potential income is intellectual property and distribution payments:

  • Merchandising (everything from T shirts through to computer games)
  • Movie distribution (box office, sales of DVDs and downloads)
  • Copyright royalties (Use of copyright materials)
  • Residual royalties (Royalties paid on repackaging of materials)