Animation involves much more than a series of drawings. Video game animators work closely with designers and programmers to add movement and motion to the game. Their main goal when working on video games is to allow for a stimulating interaction, so that users can create their own story. Their responsibilities include designing characters according to the storyboard descriptions, creating frames, and designing the overall look and feel of the game. A fairly recent sub-niche of animation is 3D, which has expanded the field significantly.
Although video game animators work behind the scenes throughout the production process, their work is by far the most visible. They begin the process by consulting with the design team, to gain a complete understanding of the overall vision of the game. From there they proceed to create rough drafts of characters and frames, whether computer rendered or sketched by hand, which are then converted to final digital versions. The technology of animation has advanced rapidly over the years, especially with the advent of 3D games. It’s important for animators to be comfortable with the software as well as general programming languages. Common software programs currently used by video game animators include Flash, Maya and Blender.
The work environment for video game animators is considered extremely comfortable. Whether working for a large company or private at-home studio, it’s common to find animators working in t-shirts and jeans. Comfort is important, due to the long hours worked, especially in the beginning and ending stages of the game design. One perk of being a self-employed contract video game animator is that you create your own hours. On the flip side though, they spend much of their time marketing themselves and trying to sell their artwork. At the minimum, being employed as an artist/animator requires an associate’s degree. Advanced degrees are common though and often necessary for advancement.
Video Game Animator Salary*
One of the more popular specialties of Game Design, the animation field has expanded recently due to the advent of 3D and interactive games. Top graduates from highly ranked schools can expect to earn an above average salary out of college, but due to large competition most graduates will find offers for assistant positions at $35,000 – $45,000 per year. The average animator/artist salary is $63,000 annually.
*According to Indeed.com
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