How Much Money Does an Animator Earn?

  • Date: November 18, 2021
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Animators are professionals in design and create visual displays in videos for movies, mobile apps, and games.

An animator’s work can vary from creating 3D models, constructing a website, all the way to generating a movie.

The possibilities of work that an animator can partake in are genuinely remarkable and exciting.

For instance, if you take a particular liking to sport-related games, you can angle your career in that direction and so forth.

It has a massive number of different genres you can opt-in for, so choosing a career path that you’re wanting is relatively easy.

With all these added bonuses, it got me thinking, how much money does an animator earn?

Animators can earn anywhere between $38,520 to $115,960 a year, depending on their skills, genre of work, and much more. This makes the median animator’s salary to be around $65,300, but again this depends on the industry you work in. It’s been said that animators that work in the motion picture industry average a much higher median at $75,630 per year.

From the above statistics, it’s clear to see that some animators can achieve an above-average wage compared to the rest of the USA.

Animation is becoming a more and more demanding job in recent years.

With technology booming and the entertainment industry skyrocketing, it’s easy to understand why.

This article goes into more detail about what an animator is, the entry requirement, and yearly salaries depending on your experience.

What Is an Animator 

Animation is seen everywhere in today’s world, and it simply displays images that form an animation of a movie, television program, and video games.

These bundles of images can either be 2D or 3D and are collected in order to create a motion picture.

An animator will typically concentrate on one specific area of this broad role.

For instance, one animator might dedicate their career to creating MMO games and another Disney Films.

It truly depends on what the animator is more interested in, and by doing this, they’re able to become professionals within that niche.

They’ll also work with a large team of individuals who share the same passion and collaborate on projects to make the perfect scene.

For example, one team member may work on the background of the animation and another the characters.

The primary job responsibilities of an animator include:

  • Creating concepts of characters and their different emotions depending on the scene.
  • Work with a team to suggest the best approach to integrate certain elements into an animation.
  • Develop superb quality animations that utilize both motion capture data and hand key animation.
  • Give and receive feedback through all team members, either other animators, clients, or producers.
  • To generate prototypes with concept ideas to back up the reasoning of creation.
  • Create quick sketches while brainstorming ideas from other team members.
  • When needed, to develop a character from a given concept to the supervisor’s expectations.

Animator Earn Salary

An animator’s salary widely depends on their experience, industry, and much more.

Animator earn

The figures below should only be used as a guideline as all employers will be slightly different.

Years of ExperienceAverage Salary
Entry Level$38,520 – $72,394
Mid-Career$47,363 – $88,039
Experienced$50,696 – $107,025

The above information was conducted from 2018 salary figures.

However, as mentioned, it widely depends on the industry an animator invests themselves into.

For instance, an animator may get paid less for creating mobile applications rather than an animator making award-winning games like Call of Duty. 

Qualifications and Education requirements

Due to its above-average wage packet, you can expect to have relatively good qualifications.

This type of job requires a lot of skill, practice, and learning, and therefore industry specialists only want to employ the best of the best.

Animators should strive to get the following experience and education.

Degrees – It’s clear that animation is a difficult job.

Although in most cases you aren’t required to have a college degree, most animation employers will prefer you to have some type of bachelor’s degree in the following topics:

  • Animation
  • Computer graphics
  • Fine arts
  • Video game design (for video game animation)
  • Interactive media

There are other related topics that you can equip in order to achieve a job within the animation industry, but these are the main five.

Portfolio – Sometimes, a bachelor’s degree isn’t enough, and you’ll need to have a selection of drawings, sculptures, and animations in your portfolio to prove you’re able to carry out the work.

This is similar for many careers, and the best way to build this is through work experience.

Additional Skills – Like all industries, they love it when you have self-taught skills that can increase your working capabilities.

By applying for other courses, internships, work experience, etc.

Will show the employer that you’re serious about your career and want to continue developing your skills. 

Internships/work experience – Before diving headfirst into the industry, you may want to consider gathering some free internships or work experience.

You might not get paid for undergoing this work, but it’ll pay its way in the future. Websites like Internship.com are a great way of introducing yourself to companies that are looking for interns in your industry. 

Animator Soft Skill Requirements

For those who don’t know, soft skills are personal talents that enable you to fit into a workplace.

These can include your attitude with employees, personality, motivation, and much more.

Soft skills are typically self-taught attributes, and by having these, you can benefit the workplace even more.

  • You should have outstanding communication and social skills so you’re able to operate in a team effectively.
  • It’s also required that you have remarkable speaking and listening skills. You must be able to understand and deliver accurate creations that are requested in the animation.
  • Have a solid understanding of time and meet specific deadlines.
  • You must be creative and come up with innovative and inventive designs that’ll benefit the animation.
  • General feedback must be taken with thought and acted on appropriately.
  • To be an animator, you should be able to construct an illustration and storyboard.

Not all the above is a necessity to become an animator, but this is a rough overview of what the animation employer would expect from a candidate.

Animation Jobs Forecast

From the information provided by the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that animator’s employment is forecasted to grow around 4 percent from 2019 to 2029.

This statistic is for all animation industries, including visual effects for video games, television, and even movies.

Animation Work Environment & Schedule

A work environment that an animator can encounter can change massively, as over half of the animators located in the U.S. are self-employed and work from home.

The other half work office-based roles and these usually are animators that work with software companies, advertising agencies, etc. 

Again, the work schedule that an animator can occur could range hugely. Creating animation involves many deadlines, and if working late hours or overtime helps you to achieve it, you’ll more than likely have to do this. 

Check our post on Best Video Maker for Beginners!

And what Programs Animators Use!

Conclusion:

Animation is one of the best careers to be in right now! not to mention the skills you develop can be used in multiple industries.

So you have a lot of options to fall on if you decide that you don’t want to continue on animation.