Game Design and Animation

Those who design games and build animation for them are artists who work in an exciting and creative field. This type of art is technical and requires not only artistic talent but also a working knowledge of computer systems that give life to these animations. Today’s gamers are demanding more and more in the way of realistic computer graphics, and game designers and animators are delivering this by developing more complex gaming software that includes virtual reality and other technologies designed to give the most realistic effects possible to computer games.

What Do Game Designers and Animators Do?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics states that an animator’s job duties include:

  • Creating illustrations and motion graphics using computer software
  • Working with programmers and other artists to create and implement game ideas
  • Conduct research to ensure that graphics and animations are realistic
  • Develop storyboards to give the basic ideas of a new game and show investors or managers what the game will look like when finished
  • Edit the graphics and animation associated with games
  • Meet with other members of a team to develop timelines and problem solve during a game’s construction

Although animators are primarily artists, they also have to be aware of the other processes involved in creating, developing, and marketing a new game. This means that animators should ideally have some business knowledge as well as creativity and the ability to work under tight deadlines and with a wide variety of people.

What Do Game Designers and Animators Earn?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators and game designers earned a median annual salary of $58,510 in 2010. Those working in the motion picture and video industry earned the highest annual salary with a median of $66,190, while those working in the advertising industry earned the lowest median salary of $55,890.

While most game designers work for private companies, there are animators who work in government jobs to design interactive programs for training, especially in the military. These designers may be assigned to projects to develop software that contains classified information and are often former military members themselves. Other places to look for jobs in animation would include educational software design companies and advertising firms that develop animated commercials, for example.

What Is the Job Outlook for Game Designers and Animators?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that job opportunities for game designers and animators will be less than for other jobs in the coming decade, with a job growth rate of eight percent. The out-sourcing of animation work overseas is one of the factors responsible for the slow rate or growth. Regardless of growth rate, most companies now try to employ artists who can contribute original creative ideas to the process of developing computer games rather than simply those who work by rote, so a good portfolio of original designs will help you in your job search.

How Do I Become a Computer Animator or Game Designer?

Most employers want to see strong technical skills and a good portfolio rather than focusing on a college degree. However, for those who want to pursue a degree, many schools offer bachelor’s degrees in computer design and graphic art. A degree may give you an edge when searching for a job over equally-qualified candidates without a college education.

Game designing and computer animation is a field that lets you express your creativity while showcasing your technical skills. For those who love working with computers and with art, this can be a career where those two passions merge.

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