Where Do Animators Work? 5 Options You Never Knew Existed
By Will Erstad on 06/01/2015
This may or may not surprise you, but not every professional animator works in Los Angeles!
Animating a major motion picture or television show is likely a dream scenario for many aspiring animators, but the realist in you knows that there are only so many of these jobs to go around. Plus you may not be willing to pack up your life and head for the Hollywood hills.
You’re probably asking yourself, "Where do animators work then?” The truth is, animators work in a wide variety of industries, and in roles that vary quite a bit from what you might expect to find in the studios of Disney or Pixar.
We used real-time job analysis software from Burning-Glass.com to identify the top industries hiring animators, which illustrates the variety of specialized opportunities available for animators.*
Top 5 industries for animators
- Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
- Educational Services
- Insurance Carriers and Related Activities
- Publishing Industries
- Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries
As you can see by the fields listed above, animators aren’t strictly working in animation studios. In fact, most work in industries that might not seem like a logical fit. We broke down some of the lesser-known positions for animators to give you a better idea of the types of animation careers out there.
Forensic artists & animators
Forensic artists work in a highly specialized role where they are responsible for recreating crime scenes or events. They work closely with witnesses, police officers and other forensic experts to produce visuals or animations to help illustrate how the event or crime played out in addition to sketches of potential suspects. Forensic artists and animators typically have a background in criminal justice as well as animation, as the work requires a strong grasp of the legal system as well as human form.
Motion graphic designer
Motion graphic designers create visual effects in video or other “moving” formats. These eye catching displays are common used in advertising as a way to stand out while still communicating a brand’s message. Opportunities for motion graphic designers aren’t just limited to those working in film and television. Businesses looking to create a visual splash have started increasing demand for these professionals as websites become more and more engaging.
Interaction design is another very specialized field whose growth is closely associated with the increase in digital applications and more sophisticated websites. The goal of an interaction designer is to create a user experience that is both intuitive and visually appealing—often some of the best work goes underappreciated because the experience is seamless.
Civil engineering 3D designer
Many jobs for animators encourage them to utilize their creativity to come up with wild, out-of-the-box concepts. This job is not one of them—everything you create is firmly grounded in reality—and with good reason! This specialization is responsible for creating realistic 3D models of projects like bridges, tunnels or other complex engineering work that thousands of people will use every day. To work in this field you will need an education in engineering, but the visualization and design skills that come with being an animator are helpful.
Instructional designers are responsible for determining the best way to present information to students or trainees. They often have a background in education and utilize their knowledge of how people learn to create effective teaching materials or visual aids. This job requires a breadth of knowledge and a skill for visual layouts and design is beneficial for presenting the most important information in an eye-catching way.
A career in motion
As you can see, the question of where animators work isn’t as cut and dry as you might have thought. There are several niche specializations that allow animators and designers to leverage their skills in unexpected ways.
It’s important to note that many of these specialized roles do require education or training beyond a background in animation or design, but they do show the wide range of career opportunities for animators. If you think you’re considering a career in animation, find out if you have what it takes to become an animator.
*Burning-Glass.com (Analysis of 4,285 ‘Multimedia Artists and Animators’ job postings, March 5, 2014 – March 4, 2015)