Helping students gather information to pursue a creative career


Whether you’re watching a cartoon on TV, playing a game on the Internet or watching an animated movie, animation has held its place as an entertaining form of art. Animation is created by the appearance of motion caused by still images appearing one after another, which makes it a type of optical illusion. Since its original debut in cartoons, animation has progressed greatly from traditional hand-drawn frames to computer-produced or photographed images that are either drawn or painted. Computer animation has made the process much faster, but each frame is carefully considered and done on an individual basis. Animation is a career field that allows you to build on your artistic talents while integrating technical skills.

Animators are the artists who create animation with the use of multiple images they draw, called frames. Like multimedia artists, animators work mostly in television and video industries, advertising and computer systems design services. Animators begin a project by drawing an image by hand, then they use computers to create the series of pictures that form animated images or special effects seen in movies, television programs and computer games. Some animators draw storyboards, which are graphic organizers that hold a series of illustrations displayed in sequential order for the purpose of previewing for television commercials, movies and animated features. Storyboards also serve as guides for setting up a scene to be viewed and placing actors and cameras at their designated areas, as well as other production details. TV, movies and the Internet have become more and more detail oriented and animated throughout the years, making animation an ever-growing art form.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, demand for animators is expected to increase as consumers continue to demand for more realistic and animated video games, movies and television special effects. Additional jobs openings will become available as the demand for Web site development and computer graphics variation increases. This growth is attributed to the growing number of mobile technologies. Because of their technical training, animators are also lending their talents in alternative fields like scientific research or design services. Researchers predict that animators should have better job opportunities than other artists, but will still encounter competition in the field. Job opportunities for animators, who create lower-technology cartoons, may be hindered because these jobs continue to be outsourced overseas.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators generally need a bachelor’s degree because of the technical expertise needed within the field. A bachelor’s degree in animation focuses greatly on honing your drawing skills and incorporating technical skills. Animation programs involve audio and video technology, laws of motion and drawing. Students may have to take business classes to gain important skills in critical thinking, logic, communications and problem solving that will come in handy in the workplace. When you graduate, you’ll be prepared for entry-level positions, such as web animator, 3D animator, graphic designer, desktop publisher or flash designer/animator.