According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators and other multi-media artists earned an average wage of $62,000 per year as of 2009. Like many artistic fields, animation jobs may lack stability, but they offer an individual an opportunity to have a career in artistic expression and storytelling. According to the website Animator Salary Data, many animators spend the bulk of their career working as freelancers.
Though some animators work as full-time employees for a specific studio or production company, it is quite common for animators to work as freelance artists, hired on a job-to-job basis. Freelance work offers the benefit of flexibility and variety. You can take time off between jobs, select only jobs that tickle your fancy and expand your list of professional contacts by working with a variety of other artists. However, freelance work lacks the stability and benefits of full-time work. Many animators work in the entertainment industry while others work for corporate clients who require short videos or 3-D models.
New animation technologies, such as new 3D software, make animation faster and cheaper, giving it a broader appeal to more companies. The BLS projects a growth of 14% in the animation market from 2008 through 2018. If you wish to remain current as an animator, you must constantly learn new technologies and refine your skills.
As a new animator, you may be assigned monotonous tasks such as cleaning up the head animator's drawings. Animators must work on each drawing or model until it is perfect and often spend weeks or years on a single aspect of a project. Even if you only work on short-term projects, you must learn to focus on tiny aspects of an image.
Animators spend their time creating moving drawings or models. Adding motion to characters taps into both visual and emotional skills. Animators must work as actors and writers, determining how a character would express himself in a certain situation.
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