Computer Animation Schools and Classes
Computer animation specialists create rich, eye-popping graphics and weave captivating storylines filled with fascinating characters. And at the end of the day, they get paid for it all. That could be you when you fuse your love of gaming technology with formal academic training. Here's more on this enviable career field and how you can be a part of it.
Computer Animation Degree: The Program from the Inside
Perhaps the most unique aspect of a degree in computer animation is the sheer diversity of options it allows you to explore. Computer animation programs offer training for multiple levels of expertise, varying niche focus, and a wide selection of tech- and art-based courses that allow you to truly customize your education.
Degree Levels Offered
Certificates in various specialties or an associate's or bachelor's degree in fine arts or graphic design.
Length of Study
Between two and four years, depending upon degree sought; specialty certificates can be earned in under a year.
Sketching, drawing, vector graphics, storyboarding, and visual elements.
Computer Animation Career: The State of the Profession
According to Silicon Valley Resources author David Chan, technological advances have literally changed the game. Chan describes how animation software has transitioned from a liberal, painstaking programming process to lightning-fast creations at the speed of a mouse click.
And that's not the only thing that has changed in the computer animation profession — opportunity and compensation have, too. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals a few critical aspects of a computer animation career you want to know:
Possible Career Paths
Art director, multimedia artist or animator.
Potential Salary Estimates
Mean hourly at $30.20, mean annual at $62,810.
Job Outlook Projections
Employment is projected to increase 12 percent between 2008 and 2018, about as fast as the national average.
Have Animation Software, Will Travel: How to Get the Edge
New York Times author Brooks Barnes describes an interesting phenomenon in the computer animation industry. He reports that upstart animation companies are beginning to make a run at the big boys — namely Disney Pixar and DreamWorks. Plus, popular video game titles can come from the most unlikely of sources — mostly game creation firms with under 50 employees. Here are some other industry tips that can help you gain a competitive hiring edge and hold on to it throughout your career.
Where the Jobs Are
Game design companies, advertising firms, and Internet studios in major metropolises or online in a freelance capacity.
Why Formal Training Rules
Competition is expected to be keen for premier positions — academic credentials and a quality portfolio earn you an edge.
Must-have Tech Skills
Proficiency with such software animation titles as iKITMovie, DAZ Studio, Autodesk Maya P.L.E.
Keep in mind that a computer animation career is not all fun and games. You'll be expected to stay on top of emerging technologies and continually sharpen your skills. But, because gaming is probably in your blood, it will never feel like work. In fact, you'll be doing what you love in a field with virtually limitless potential.
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