Multimedia Artists and Animators

What Multimedia Artists and Animators Do

Multimedia artists and animators create images that appear to move and visual effects for various forms of media and entertainment.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-rvPATE0vs

Work Environment

Many artists and animators work in offices; others work from home.

How to Become a Multimedia Artist or Animator

Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop both an impressive portfolio of work and the strong technical skills that many employers prefer.

Pay

The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators was $75,270 in May 2019.

Job Outlook

Employment of multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 4 percent from 2019 to 2029, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Projected growth will be due to increased demand for animation and visual effects in video games, movies, and television.

Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, images that appear to move, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Duties

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation (images that appear to move)
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animation
  • Edit animation and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development timelines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then the pieces are put together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or “animatics,” which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which may lead to future employment or freelance work.

Multimedia artists and animators held about 67,500 jobs in 2019. The largest employers of multimedia artists and animators were as follows:

Self-employed workers 56%
Motion picture and video industries 14
Software publishers 7
Computer systems design and related services 5
Advertising, public relations, and related services 3

Many artists and animators work in offices; others work from home.

Work Schedules

Most multimedia artists and animators work a regular schedule; however, when deadlines are approaching, they may need to work nights and weekends.

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of multimedia artists and animators.

Occupation Job Duties Entry-Level Education Median Annual Pay, May 2019

Art Directors

Art directors are responsible for the visual style and images in magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and movie and television productions.

Bachelor’s degree $94,220

Computer Programmers

Computer programmers write and test code that allows computer applications and software programs to function properly.

Bachelor’s degree $86,550

Craft and Fine Artists

Craft and fine artists use a variety of materials and techniques to create art for sale and exhibition.

See How to Become One $48,760

Film and Video Editors and Camera Operators

Film and video editors and camera operators manipulate moving images that entertain or inform an audience.

Bachelor’s degree $59,810

Graphic Designers

Graphic designers create visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers.

Bachelor’s degree $52,110

Producers and Directors

Producers and directors create motion pictures, television shows, live theater, commercials, and other performing arts productions.

Bachelor’s degree $74,420

Web Developers

Web developers design and create websites.

Associate’s degree $73,760

For information about accredited schools of art and design, visit

National Association of Schools of Art and Design

For more information about careers in video game design, visit

Game Career Guide

Related BLS articles

Career Outlook: “Small-business options: Occupational outlook for self-employed workers” 

O*NET

Multimedia Artists and Animators


Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Multimedia Artists and Animators,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/arts-and-design/multimedia-artists-and-animators.htm (visited ).