Film, television, and video games all rely on talented computer animators to develop the characters and effects that add depth to the action on screen. As a result, the demand for new artists to produce this media has made the computer animation industry a diverse and growing career field.
Film and television production has been a major area of innovation in computer animation, with the latest animated features and series employing the talents of dozens of artists on both live-action and animated features. Some of these artists fill vital roles as Character Animators and Environment Modelers, the 3D computer artists who construct the characters, objects, landscapes, and structures that help bring animated films to life.
Live-action films also rely heavily on digital artists, whether they need to create massive special effects scenes, or something as subtle as color-correcting a character’s wardrobe. Pursuing this field may lead to a job as a Visual Effects Artist creating the effects that accentuate scenes or a Compositor combining digital effects and live-action footage. There are also more specialized careers like Match Mover or Rotoscope Artist, the people responsible for matching CG character movement to that of live actors, and integrating them into film or television footage.
Beyond film and television work, the video game industry also offers a whole realm of animation positions; talented visual artists are always needed to create the characters, vehicles, and landscapes that players interact with. One way to apply computer animation skills in the world of video games is as a Concept Artist, who works with an art director at the beginning of production to create character and environment sketches on which the entire look of the game is based. On the back end of production is the Texture Painter, who defines the surface qualities of completed 3D characters and environments, creating the clothing and hair for models, as well as the features of different terrain.
The evolution of digital art technology has created a wealth of creative opportunities for today’s animators, and whatever your passion is, there are a number of careers out there that will challenge your skills as you help produce the content you see in your favorite media.
Computer Animation graduate Heath Hollingshead works as a Technical Animator at Blue Sky Studios. His work can be seen on films like the animated hit Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, a project on which he handled problem solving and support for the entire animation department during the film’s production.
Graduate Shaun Comly has pursued his career in live action effects, working as a Sequence Lighting and Look Development Lead on such action-heavy films as Star Trek, Transfomers: Revenge of the Fallen, and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, which tasked him with lighting and rendering two of the film’s biggest set pieces.
Kyle Gaulin has taken his passion for video game graphics into a Character Animator position at Treyarch, where the Full Sail grad has worked to create the war-ravaged content for the Call of Duty series – including detailed character and vehicle animations for the single and multi-player modes, as well as numerous cut scenes and cinematics.