The field of animation is vast and incredibly exhilarating for both the creator and the audience. 3D animation, or 3D CGI animation as it is known, is a type of computer-generation animation that creates realistic, animated objects or scenes. 3D animation requires much more realistic skill to accomplish; a 3D animated scene requires thousands of frames to achieve a moving picture for an audience.
3D animators create moving pictures or images utilizing digital models on the computer, adding details such as clothing, skin color, landscapes, and other necessary details. 3D animators work in a variety of fields such as film, television, and video game production. If you have a passion for drawing, animation, film, special effects, sculpture, you may want to consider 3D animation as a career choice.
3D animation software allows a 3D animator to create traditional objects, figures, and landscapes, while allowing the animator to save each frame without re-drawing the animation over and over again. The sketched animations are given life and movement, in addition to color, texture, and depth.
Prior to 3D, computer animation begins, a 3D animator must create a three dimensional model. Three-dimensional models are first sketched, painted, or modeled with clay. 3D modelers will take the conceptualized or clay model of the potential 3D animation, to create the computerized, 3D animation. Much of the animation software translates the flat sketch and manipulates and builds dimensional movement to create the 3D animation.
Rendering techniques allow the 3D animator to create their animations and see the rendering immediately. The term rendering refers to the computer processors or hardware that can quickly and powerfully process the three-dimensional data or sketch. Once the rendering is completed, the objects, figures, or backgrounds can be added to an animation.
Why Become A 3D Animator
3D animators create a plethora of animations, which may turn into major motion pictures, popular video games, or shorter animations for television or film. Many 3D animators create special effects for the film industry. A 3D animator can specialize in creating various types of animated images such as humans, objects, or focus on the background and landscapes of an animation. Throughout your practical training of 3D animation and the various techniques, it is important to think of your field of specialization.
In order to understand what field or specialty of 3D animation you may be interested in, it is crucial to receive practical training within the area of interest. Depending on the field you work in (film, television, video games, etc), you will work with many other individuals within the field, such as writers, directors, or producers.
If you pursue a career in 3D animation in the areas of film or television, you may work with music directors, voice actors, or celebrities. 3D animators are the backbone of our entertainment world. Animators create worlds, objects, and stories that allow us to escape from reality for a short length of time.
Qualities & Skills Of A 3D Animator
If you are looking for employment within the field of animation, be aware that you will need to possess the following qualities and skills for a 3D animator position.
Communication Skills – As a 3D animator, you will need to have excellent communication skills because you will be working with many other multimedia artists and animators. Furthermore, you must be able to respond and communicate positively to feedback and criticism from other individuals.
Artistic Skills – 3D animators must have exemplary artistic abilities in addition to a refined understanding of color, light, and texture when creating animations. It is important for a 3D animator to combine their artistic talents with their technical skills to craft a beautiful, meticulous 3D animation.
Creativity – 3D animators must be able to visualize and think creatively to develop and construct original animations. A 3D animator’s creativity will allow them to craft original concepts and bring them to life for an audience.
Time-Management Skills – As a 3D animator, it is imperative to have exemplary time-management skills. 3D animators may work long hours within the studio to meet a strict deadline. As deadlines approach, 3D animators must stay organized and manage their time efficiently to complete their animations or tasks.
Computer Skills – In order to create special effects and images, a 3D animator must have excellent computer skills and knowledge of animation software to create animations.
The work environment of a 3D animator is dependent upon where they work. Many animators work in film, television, or video game studios in addition to working from home. Depending on the deadlines of the studio they work for, 3D animators can work up to fifty hours per week, sometimes more. A studio employs many 3D animators, however, many are freelance or self-employed.
3D Animator Salary
The Occupational Employment and Wages Report of the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the US Department of Labor showed the mean annual wage in May 2012, of 3D animators is $61,370. The hourly wage or annual salary of a 3D animator may vary due to changes within their industry, demand for animation, or length of projects.
3D Animator Career Outlook
The career outlook for a 3D animator looks to expand slower than other career areas, with a projected growth of 6% from 2012 to 2022. It is predicted that growth within 3D animation will be slow, as the work may become outsourced to other countries for a cheaper wage. Consumers and entertainment aficionados will continue to demand more, realistic, unique films, video games, or special effects.
With the projected increase of demand for entertainment, the field of 3D animation will continue to grow, even if it is a slow process. With the expansion of smart phone and mobile technology, 3D animation and graphics will continue to be in demand by consumers.
3D Animator Degree
The academic field of 3D animation is incredibly technical and requires individuals to break their academic journey into sections. 3D animation requires a specialized field of knowledge and expertise.
After obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in animation, you may need at least two years of extra training to understand the animation realm. Within your undergraduate degree, you will need to take coursework in fine art, drawing, sculpture, computer graphics, science, and anatomy. You will need to complete coursework in painting, animation, and programming.
Many undergraduate institutions will allow you to specialize within a field of 3D animation, such as video game design or interactive media design.
If you wish to pursue a degree in 3D animation, it is imperative that you have strong artistic abilities, time management skills, computer skills, and a refined understanding of texture, light, and color. You will need to have excellent communication skills as you will be working with many other multimedia artists and animators.