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Where Can I Apply My Digital Animation Skills?

If you’ve ever marveled at the universe of comic book superheroes at the movies, gaped at eye-popping visual effects or ventured on computer-generated video quests, you have experienced the wonder of digital animation.

However, digital animation is also a powerful business tool, supporting marketing, product presentation, employee training, branding and virtual webinars, conferences and trade shows. The healthcare industry, for instance, uses animations in education, research and clinical settings to study biology and anatomy without using human subjects.

As digital animation continues to impact popular culture and business, employers expect to add about 6,7000 jobs a year through 2031 in this space, with median annual earnings of $78,790 for special effect artists and animators.

How Do Professionals Acquire Digital Animation Proficiency?

The career development website Indeed recommends an undergraduate degree with a specialization in animation. The ideal program, it notes, includes courses that develop computer skills and expertise in illustration, 2D and 3D digital animation and graphics.

For example, Arkansas State University (A-State) designed its online Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Digital Technology & Design with a concentration in Digital Animation program for creative people to develop their talent and computer skills. The program curriculum includes the following courses:

  • Digital Illustration
  • 2D Animation and Graphics
  • 3D Digital and Game Design
  • Motion Graphics

In addition to a degree that employers value, graduates enter the workforce with a professional portfolio that showcases their program writing skills, design-software mastery and leadership in creative ideation.

What Roles Enable Digital Animators to Channel Their Creativity Into Rewarding Careers?

Artistically talented people with a proven educational track record have an advantage in the competition for creatively satisfying careers in steadily growing positions in the entertainment industry and business world. Careers open to digital animation specialists include the following:

  • Digital illustrators combine artistic talent and software skills to design and create original art for online assets, print and television advertising, corporate media and publishing — to name a few career possibilities.
  • Graphic designers, like digital illustrators, create engaging visuals but are generally more focused on combining text, images, type treatments and colors to create compelling visual messages, often working within brand guidelines and parameters.
  • 3D creators use software such as Autodesk Maya, Blender and ZBrush to create dimensional art, models, characters and environments for applications in industries ranging from gaming to architecture.
  • Game design and asset creators combine artistic and software skills to create characters, objects, special effects and other elements of digital games. They are often teamed with graphic designers and developers to ensure consistency throughout the game’s development.
  • Digital design project managers oversee the computer-based graphic development process, including planning and organizing; meeting project time, strategy and budget constraints; and communicating with design-team members to meet project goals.

The design and software skills that open doors to any of those careers are in demand across industry lines, making a degree specialization in digital animation a passport to a rewarding professional future with many possibilities.

What Are the Different Types of Animation?

SuperPixel — a global resource for directors, animators, illustrators, designers and planners — identifies five categories of settling digitally created images in motion to illustrate concepts:

  1. Traditional animation: Believed to be the earliest animated film widely distributed in the United States, Walt Disney’s Steamboat Willie is an example of traditional animation. Disney illustrators drew on cells, which are analogous to the frames on a motion picture film, then filmed them in sequence to produce the illusion of movement, which was then synchronized with an audio track.
  2. 2D animation: While 2D animation is the digital evolution of traditional animation, some 2D is hand drawn and shot sequentially, just like Steamboat Willie. Business applications of 2D work include product promotion, features and benefits, trade show presentations and market differentiation.
  3. Computer-generated 3D visual assets: 3D visual assets are created by stop-action processes for movies, video games, television and online advertising, architecture, virtual and augmented reality and healthcare.
  4. Motion graphics: Related to but distinct from 2D animations, motion graphics is a technique that produces a film by transitioning through a sequence of illustrations. 2D, on the other hand, sequences digital illustrations to give the appearance of a motion picture.
  5. Stop-motion animation: For this technique, objects or characters are physically manipulated and photographed one frame at a time to create the illusion of movement when the frames play in sequence. Gumby, a TV cartoon baby boomers grew up watching, is an early use of stop-motion animation.

Digital animation is critical to a number of fields and projects — not just the entertainment industry. Plus, there are dozens of tools professionals can use for digital animation. MarketSplash lists 25 to choose from.

Graduates of A-State’s online B.S. in Digital Technology & Design – Digital Animation Concentration program can apply their understanding of these concepts and animation styles in whatever career path they choose.

Learn more about A-State’s online B.S. in Digital Technology & Design – Digital Animation Concentration program.

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