Careers in Animation: Articles on Employment Trends, Salary Trends, Types of Jobs & Education/Training Requirements

Our 2016 rankings of the Top 25 Game Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, University of Southern California (USC) is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 500 undergraduate and graduate programs, and over 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. Program offerings for aspiring game designers are offered through several colleges and schools including the Dornsife College of Letters, Arts & Sciences - Interactive Media & Games Division (in conjunction with the School of Cinematic Arts) and the Viterbi School of Engineering, Department of Computer Science.

The Interactive Media & Games Division offers a BA in Interactive Entertainment, an intensive three-year MFA in Interactive Media, and Minors in Game Design and Game Entrepreneurism. According to USC, the MFA program “draws on the strengths of the School of Cinematic Arts, including Game Design, Animation, Sound Production, Screenwriting, Producing and Critical Studies, bringing these resources together in a vibrant community of innovative digital media practice.” 

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Game Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, the University of Southern California is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. USC Games offers four degree programs and four minors for aspiring game designers. School of Cinematic Arts degrees include a BA in Interactive Entertainment and an MFA in Interactive Media. Viterbi School of Engineering degrees include a BS in Computer Science (Games) and an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development. Minors include Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design, and Game Entrepreneurism.

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Top 100 Most Influential

After eight years of writing about video games, I wanted to take the pulse of the game industry. I organized this list with the criteria for influence being: how long since a studio’s last release, how many releases they had in 2013 and 2014 combined, how many copies were sold, how many people still play their games today, what do they have coming out in the near future, how unique are their games, and how much competition from other studios do they have?

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With a population of just 935,614 (2014), Delaware is one of the smallest states in the U.S. Still, this tiny territory has big dreams when it comes to attracting creative industries such as filmmaking. In fact, the state legislature recently approved the formation of a Motion Picture and Television Development Commission that will work under the Department of Finance. The state hopes that the move will bring more jobs and money into Delaware. The state is already home to the Delaware Film Office, which is a private non-profit organization that promotes the Video Game, Motion Picture, Television Production, and New Media industries in Delaware. The growth of organizations such as these may lead to growth in the animation and multimedia art industry. 

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Wyoming is home to more than 3,000 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media occupations. Just a few include graphic design, producing and directing, public relations, photography, and film and video camera operators. While the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has not determined the number of animators living and working in Wyoming, the state has an impressive Film Office that has attracted award-winning productions such as Nebraska (2013), Django Unchained (2012), and Brokeback Mountain (2005), most recently, as well as older films such as Starship Troopers (1997), Dances with Wolves (1990), as well as Rocky IV (1985), and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Disney/Pixar’s animated film The Good Dinosaur (2015) recreates Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

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New Hampshire is home to more than 7,500 salaried professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. The population has increased dramatically since 2013 when the state was home to 6,390 ADESM workers. These individuals work in a range of areas from graphic and commercial design to multimedia art and animation. 

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The Maine Film Office has been offering support services for film productions since 1987. Although younger than most film offices in the U.S., the office offers has managed to attract a number of big budget Hollywood productions through incentives, permit-free access to locations, and a variety of competitions and festivals that promote the state and all it has to offer. Just a few famous movies that feature scenes shot in Maine include Shutter Island (2010), The Cider House Rules (2000), Jumanji (1995), Casper (1995), Forrest Gump (1994), and Pet Sematary (1989). Many other films have been shot in Maine as well as television shows, videos, commercials, and other productions.

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The Nevada Film Office (NFO) manages more than 300 film projects each year. Thanks to the quantity (and quality) of films that make their way through Nevada each year, many production and post-production studios routinely set up shop in Nevada. This spells opportunity for aspiring animators and other artists interested in the film industry.

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Visual College of Art and Design of Vancouver (VCAD) sits in the heart of the city surrounded by the thriving film, visual effects and game industry scenes that draw artists and studios from around the world. Thanks to VCAD’s enticing electronic arts diploma programs, the school attracts students from far and wide. Programs include 3D Modeling Animation Art & Design, Game Design & Development, Mobile Game Design & Development, and the latest addition, Visual Effects Art & Design. The tracks consists of 6 terms that are each 3 months long and ultimately produce graduates who are industry-ready from day one.  

3D artist and game industry veteran Roger Mitchell heads up the programs. His career has taken him from work as lead artist on AAA game titles to founding his own game design and delivery studio. Mitchell and the carefully assembled crew of instructors at VCAD work closely with their extensive industry connections to develop course content that is both exciting to students and relevant to their careers. We recently caught up with Mitchell to get a closer look at VCAD’s offerings- in particular the Game Design & Development and Mobile Game programs. Enjoy!

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According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), film and video editors take footage shot by camera operators and organize it into a final product. They collaborate with producers and directors to create the final production. Most editors have one or more assistants who support the editor by keeping track of each shot in a database or loading digital video into an editing bay. Assistants also may do some of the editing tasks. Because digital filming is the norm these days, nearly all editing work is done on a computer, and editors often are trained in a specific type of editing software. 

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