Utah is home to just under 3 million people and the population is on the rise. The state was home to around 2.7 million people in 2010. Population growth is always good news for every industry. This is especially true when it comes to creative industries. In Utah, the number of salaried professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media Occupations (ADESM) rose from 16,580 in 2012 to 18,280 in 2015. Salaries increased as well from an annual mean of $41,960 in 2012 to $44,530 in 2015. Besides a growing population of artists of all kinds, Utah has experienced significant growth in the technology, game design, and even film.
For starters, a recent New Yorker article discusses how Utah became the next Silicon Valley and many are now calling the metropolitan area that includes the Salt Lake City metro area, Provo, Park City, Utah and the surrounding areas ‘Silicon Slopes.’ Headquartered in Provo, Micro Focus (formerly Novell) is one of the world’s largest computer networking firms. Adobe and eBay have offices in Utah and Salt Lake City is one of the few cities to offer Google Fiber.
Next, Salt Lake City is home to the University of Utah, where you’ll find the nation’s second best game development program and a number of major video game studios can be found here. Just a few include Electronic Arts Inc., Avalanche/Disney Interactive, and ChAir Entertainment Group - Epic Games. According the most current figures, around 17 major game studios provide 600+ jobs in the state of Utah. Finally, the state’s 40-something film commission—The Utah Film Commission, attracts film productions of all kinds, including animated productions. This means, you will also find a number of animation studios here such as Golden Street Animation in Provo, Lumenas Animation Studios in Salt Lake City, and Park City Film Studios.
Besides population growth, Utah’s numerous colleges and universities with top art and design programs have contributed to the thriving creative scene here. Just a few of the best include the University of Utah, Brigham Young, Broadview Entertainment Arts University (BEAU), and Weber State University.
Utah Animation Schools
Utah is home to 41 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities. Students interested in supplementing an existing art or design degree may earn a certificate in animation at a community college such as Salt Lake Community College (SLCC), or enroll in a four-year university to earn a BA, BS, BFA, or even an advanced degree in animation or a related field. Let’s take a look at some of the state’s best options.
Stevens-Henager College - Degrees Offered: BS Graphic Arts
According to the Stevens-Henager College website, the BS in Graphic Arts program prepares students for a career in graphic design or animation and multimedia. Graduates may become freelance designers, or “land entry-level positions in advertising agencies, in-house production departments, and more.”
Utah Valley University - Degrees Offered: BS Animation & Game Development
Brigham Young University - Degrees Offered: BFA Animation, BS Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis, BFA Illustration
Salt Lake City
University of Utah – Degrees Offered: BA Animation, BA Film & Media Arts with an Animation Emphasis, BS Computer Science with Entertainment Arts and Engineering (EAE) Emphasis
Broadview Entertainment Arts University (BEAU) - Degrees Offered: BFA Comic and Sequential Art, Digital Video and Media Production, Game Art. According to the BEAU website, the BFA in Comic and Sequential Art at was designed "for students who want to create cartoons, comic books, storyboards, graphic novels, and animated features."
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Utah Animators
Utah is home to 18,280 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations, up from 16,580 in 2010. They earn an average salary of $44,530 per year, up from $41,960 in 2010. Of this group, 150 are salaried multimedia artists and animators, down from 220 in 2010. They earn an average salary of $53,910 per year, up from $52,370 in 2013.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, the “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” group has the second highest concentration of employment in this occupation and at an average annual salary of $75,150, this group is the fourth highest paying “industry” for animators and multimedia artists.
Besides this, it is important to note that individual salaries vary by education, experience, industry, location, and other factors. For example, the states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas, and Georgia. The highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:
- California ($82,170)
- Washington ($75,740)
- Massachusetts ($73,470)
- New York ($70,660)
- Idaho ($69,450)
In Utah and across the U.S., the industries with the highest levels of employment are:
- Motion Picture and Video industries
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Software Publishers,
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Other Information Services
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($81,760)
- Other Information Services ($80,310)
- Software Publishers ($76,090)
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers ($75,150)
- Motion Picture and Video Industries ($73,950)
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts that overall employment growth for animators and multimedia artists will average six percent for the 2014-2024 decade. This means that the industry will see 3,900 new jobs in the coming years. Salaries are on the rise as well. The nationwide median wage for animators and multimedia artists was $58,510 in 2010. As of December 17, 2015, the average salary was $63,630.
While opportunities for animators can be found all over the state, many of the best opportunities can be found in major cities such as Salt Lake City, West Valley City, Provo, Orem, West Jordan, and Sandy.
Awesome Animation Fact: Lady and the Tramp (1955) was the first animated film to be made in CinemaScope—a cinematographic process in which special lenses are used to compress a wide image into a standard frame and then expand it again during projection. It results in an image that is almost two and a half times as wide as it is high. This widescreen movie format was a brand-new technology at the time. –mental_floss, Oxford Dictionaries