If you want to merge your skill in drawing with that of producing special effects using computer software then you can consider a career as a 2D animator. In this profession, you’ll have the opportunity to make characters and backgrounds as well as develop storyboards for animation in two-dimensional space for use in television, movies, video games and others.
Once you have created the characters and set the backgrounds, your task will revolve around producing visual effects so that the characters come to life. You will be collaborating with other members of the design team for a project. You will also need to make sure that the colors you choose for the scenes are appropriate.
Conducting research before starting with a particular project is an integral part of your job especially if the scenes need to be as realistic as possible. You will also be editing your work after listening to and evaluating the feedback given by directors and other animators. Aside from doing animation, you may also be tasked with making websites or crafting advertisements.
Due to the nature of the job, you need to possess excellent artistic skills. You need to understand how to mix and match colors and play with lighting and texture. Creativity is also a very important trait to develop so that you can come up with fun and unique ideas for animated stories. It’s also important so that you can make your characters come to life.
Since you will be using computer programs like Adobe Photoshop to finalize your graphics, you also need to know how to operate them. It’s also important to be organized as projects may be given under tight deadlines. During crunch times, you should possess the ability to remain cool and composed even under pressure.
If you can’t imagine doing anything else but drawing, coloring and making characters with the help of computer programs, then a career as a 2D animator would be a dream job. It’s a career that actually lets you do what you love to do with your creative, artistic and computer skills.
It’s a profession that pays you handsomely for doing something that you are passionate about and that’s perhaps one of the greatest motivations for pursuing a job as a 2D animator.
2D Animator Work Environment
2D animators are either full-time workers for small design studios and design companies or they work freelance on a contractual basis. Although many of them want to be employed with larger studios, the road will be tough unless they upgrade their knowledge to 3D animation. A lot of 3D animators workers are self-employed.
Those that were employed were hired by motion picture and video companies and computer systems design and related services. The others were hired by software publishers and by advertising, public relations and related services companies.
Salaried 2D animators can work in studio offices or their home offices equipped with computers and their drawing implements while freelance animators base their operations from their home offices. Those who are connected with companies work full-time but they may have to extend their work hours if they need to beat deadlines.
Freelance 2D animators, meanwhile, usually have the flexibility to choose their work hours. They would still need to work the number of hours necessary to meet deadlines.
2D Animator Salary
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific data for 2D animators as far as salary is concerned. However, it does have wage information for animators and multimedia artists. The agency’s May 2013 Occupational Employment and Wages report revealed that their mean annual wage was $72,400. They were paid higher than craft artists who received $36,600 and fine artists whose mean annual wage is $50,900.
In 2012, animators and multimedia artists were given median annual wages of $61,370, according to the agency. The top 10 percent got over $113,470 while the lowest 10 percent were paid less than $34,860. In that year, the animators and artists working in the motion picture and video industries received the highest pay at $72,680.
2D Animator Career Outlook
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics does not have specific employment projections for 2D animators. However, it does have data for the job outlook for multimedia artists and animators which highlights modest growth for these careers. From 2012 to 2022, the employment rate of these professionals is projected to increase 6 percent, a rate that slower than the average for all job types. From the 68,900 multimedia artists and animators hired in 2012, there number will increase to 73,200 in 2022.
The reason behind the slow growth even with the increased demand for animation is the fact that companies outsource their needs to animators and artists who are based outside the United States so that they can save on the wages they pay. Job opportunities for animators will also be fueled by the growing use of smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices.
Competition for jobs will be tough. Those who specialize in one type of animation as well as those with a lot of skills to offer will have an edge in getting jobs.
2D Animator Degree
For 2D animators, the entry point for the job is a bachelor’s degree. This could be in computer graphics, animation, fine art or related field. These programs prepare the 2D animator for this career since it teaches students topics on programming, graphics, painting, drawing and animation.
While in school, the aspiring 2D animator must start getting together a portfolio of his work as this is what employers will look for when screening potential job applicants. The portfolio should showcase his artistic and technical skills in order to increase chances of getting hired.
2D animators who have just been hired by a company will be subjected to computer software training during their first few weeks on the job. This training is very important especially when the animation studio uses its own applications and software that is unique from that utilized by other firms.