How to Become a
Multimedia Artist or Animator
Best Education Tracks, Key Skills, and Top Certifications
The entertainment industry generates billions of dollars every year. It includes movies, video games, and even advertising. Multimedia artists and animators help create beautiful visuals for different entertainment fields.
Multimedia artists and animators perform a wide range of tasks. If you’re interested in becoming an animator, you could work on the next big blockbuster. Our comprehensive guide can teach you how to become a multimedia artist or animator.
What Is a Multimedia Artist or Animator?
Multimedia artists and animators create two- or three-dimensional models using special graphics and animations. These visual effects are used in computer games, movies, music videos, and other forms of media.
Some multimedia artists make animated movies, music videos, and commercials. Others help create films using computer-generated images (CGI) and electronic equipment. As a multimedia artist or animator, you can choose the field that excites you most.
What Type of School Should You Attend
to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator?
You can attend a few different types of schools to become a multimedia artist or animator. In most cases, you should have a Bachelor’s Degree in Animation, Fine Art, Computer Graphics, or a related field. Therefore, the best school to attend is a university.
However, you can also try learning at a trade school or community college if a university isn’t right for you. You can also try a bootcamp or online courses for an alternative education. Either way, you will learn all the skills you need to become a multimedia artist or animator.
Best Multimedia Artist or Animator Education Tracks
If you are stuck wondering which education path is best for you, consider the tracks below to help you make an informed decision.
Vocational schools are also known as trade schools. These schools can train you for specific types of jobs. Most trade school programs run for less than two years, after which you can apply for specific positions in your preferred field. If you prefer a short, hands-on education, a trade school might be right for you.
There are several trade schools in the United States that offer training to become a multimedia artist or animator. You should look for programs in media arts. You can learn about animation, digital illustration, and visual effects creation.
Community colleges are known for providing a variety of associate degree programs. These programs usually run for two years. Associate degrees are ideal because they are shorter and less expensive than bachelor’s degree programs.
Most community colleges offer programs in digital art, design, information technology, or art history. These can all help you become a multimedia artist or animator.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Degrees
Many entry-level positions ask that you have a bachelor’s degree. You can find many online colleges that can help you learn from the comfort of your own home. If you prefer in-person learning, there are lots of programs on campuses as well.
Most multimedia artists and animators have a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Art, Computer Animation, or a related field. These programs last for about four to five years. During this time, you will receive hands-on training to become an animator or multimedia artist.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Bootcamps
Bootcamps are short and immersive programs designed to equip you with up-to-date technical skills. One of the main reasons you should consider a bootcamp is that they offer an excellent education at a lower cost than universities. They also only last a couple of months, and they are usually online.
Animation bootcamps focus on strong technical skills related to movement and fluidity. Most of these bootcamps focus on game development and animation. Some of the best game design bootcamps are The Tech Academy and Vertex School.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Courses
If you want to learn specific art or animation skills, you can try enrolling in individual courses. This can also work for you if a degree is not an option. You can learn about digital animation, 3D animation, or visual effects.
Most of these courses are short and last between a few hours and a few months. They also offer a great place to start as you build your career in multimedia as an artist or animator. You can look for short courses from providers like Udemy or LinkedIn Learning.
How to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator: A Step-by-Step Guide
Every multimedia artist or animator follows a different path. You can get a bachelor’s degree or teach yourself different skills online. Below is a general step-by-step guide on how you can become a multimedia artist or animator.
Get familiar with animation
Try playing video games or watching different animated movies. This can help you look at animation from a viewer’s perspective and learn what kinds of art are the most effective. You can also watch videos or documentaries about the animation process.
Know what animation style suits you
There are many different types of animation styles and fields out there. You could work with games, movies, music videos, or other forms of media. Most people start with 2D animation and move on to 3D later. You can choose which style of animation you want to focus on.
Get an education
No matter which path you choose, you need to get some sort of education. Most employers prefer a bachelor’s degree, but you can try a bootcamp, vocational school, or community college. You can also try teaching yourself by taking online courses.
Once you have the skills you need, you should practice as much as possible. You can work on personal projects or gain practical experience. Consider volunteering or applying for internships.
Apply for jobs
After getting the technical training and experience you need, you can apply for jobs. Consider applying for entry-level jobs with few requirements so you can move up later.
Key Multimedia Artist or Animator Skills
To become a multimedia artist or animator, you need to have a specific skill set. These include both hard and soft skills. Read more about the most essential artist or animator skills below.
Although drawing skills might not be a requirement to becoming a great animator, they can be useful. You should have an understanding of color, texture, shadows, and light. You need to have a good eye that brings a subject to life in a believable and interesting way.
2D and 3D Animation Skills
Multimedia artists and animators need to know both 2D and 3D animation techniques. You should have the knowledge and skills necessary to develop different characters and worlds. No matter what artistic area you pursue, you should have these skills.
Just like drawing skills, computer programming skills are not mandatory for aspiring animators. However, you do need to know your way around a computer. You will use various pieces of computer software such as Autodesk, Maya, Photoshop, and Lightwave.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Salary and Job Outlook
The amount of money you will earn as a multimedia artist or animator varies depending on your position and location. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average annual salary of a special effects artist or animator is $77,700.
Multimedia art and animation have good job outlooks. The BLS also reports that new jobs for special effects artists and animators are expected to grow at a rate of four percent between now and 2029. This is similar to the national average.
Entry-Level Multimedia Artist or Animator Job Requirements
According to BLS, most employers prefer hiring special effects artists with a bachelor’s degree. This means that you should try to work your way up to a bachelor’s. You are more likely to make a higher salary and find more job opportunities.
PayScale research shows that the average entry-level multimedia artist or animator makes over $50,000.
What Does a Multimedia Artist or Animator Do?
Multimedia artists and animators create 2D and 3D images, special effects, or models for different media. These include television, movies, and video games. However, the job description is not limited to one role. Multimedia artists and animators perform several duties and functions, as listed below.
Uses Computer Programs
As a special effects animator, you are expected to work with several computer programs to create models and illustrations. This function will depend on your specialization as an artist. To become familiar with certain software, you can try taking a course or attending a bootcamp.
Works With a Team
Especially as an entry-level animator, you will usually work with a team. You might also work as an assistant as you build your experience and technical skills. You should coordinate with others to make sure the animation or art is cohesive.
Edits Animations and Effects
Because animators often work on a team, you should be prepared to make adjustments to your work. You might interact with directors and designers during production to make sure everything looks right. You will be expected to make revisions based on their recommendations to arrive at a polished final product.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Certifications
Although certifications are not mandatory, they offer a great way to open up more employment opportunities. You can advance your skill level and add something to your resume. Consider the following art and animation certification programs.
Adobe Certified Associate - Photoshop
If you want to get certified in Adobe Photoshop, you must register for the online photoshop certification exam. Photoshop is a common piece of software if you’re working in graphic design or a similar 2D field. You can take the exam online or at a testing center in your area.
Avid Certified User for Pro Tools
This certification verifies that you understand how to use Avid Pro tools. The online course is designed for beginners to take their expertise to the next level. The exam is online and features 50 questions that you should complete in an hour.
Apple Certified Pro - Logic Pro X
This certification can distinguish you as a skilled professional in Logic Pro X. It also gives you leverage in today’s competitive job market as more employers are looking for skilled Apple Logic Pro users. If you are interested in using audio as part of your art or animation, this certification is a great choice.
How to Prepare for Your Multimedia Artist or Animator Job Interview
Employers will look for candidates with hands-on experience and necessary qualifications. Before you go for the interview, make sure you practice and become more comfortable with your answers. Below are some of the most popular multimedia artist or animator practice questions you should use to ace your next job interview.
Multimedia Artist or Animator Job Interview Practice Questions
- How do you work with other professionals, including developers, copywriters, and project managers? Walk us through the final handoff process.
- How do you come up with original concepts?
- What is the difference between a graphics card and a display card?
- Who are your favorite designers and top brands you admire the most?
- Where do you find your inspiration?
How Long Does It Take to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator?
The amount of time it takes to become a professional multimedia artist or animator will depend on your education pathway. For instance, it will take you about four years to complete a bachelor’s degree program.
On the other hand, it will take you less than a year if you enroll in a short course. However, it may be difficult to find a job with so little experience. You should find a balance of education and experience in the field.
Should You Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator in 2021?
Now is a great time to become a multimedia artist or animator. You can find many job opportunities and earn a decent salary as an entry-level artist or animator. If you like playing video games or using computer editing software, you should consider a career as a multimedia artist or animator.
Multimedia Artist or Animator FAQ
What do multimedia artists and animators do?
Multimedia artists and animators perform a number of functions. They create animation and visual effects for video games, television shows, movies, print, and other media.
How do I become an animator or a multimedia artist?
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the best way to become an animator or multimedia artist is by earning a bachelor’s degree in animation, graphic design, fine arts, or a related field.
Is a multimedia artist a good career?
A career as a multimedia artist is good, considering the job market for such professionals follows the average rate of growth. You can find artist or animator jobs in your area.
Do animators get paid well?
Animators get paid very well. According to BLS, animators earn an average salary of $77,700 per year. This number can become higher if you have certifications or complete more education.