What Does a Compositing Artist Do? Where Do Compositing Artists Work? ACR Takes a Look.
|Azusa Pacific University
|InFocus Film School
|Los Angeles Film School
|Purdue University Polytechnic Institute
|School of Visual Arts New York
|The DAVE School
|University of Central Florida
What Does a Compositing Artist Do?
Compositing artists are some of the most important players in the production process. They are responsible for helping create the final finished animation, film or other project by detecting errors and developing compositing strategies, which results in an overall balanced look. Compositing artists may use compositing software such as Adobe After Effects, Flame 3D Visual Effects (VFX), Motion 5, Nuke, or others to help flesh out the final touches.
Compositing artists work with lighting directors and FX artists to help create the final finished product. According to the career center at DePaul University, compositing artists, FX artists, and lighting directors work together to develop compositing strategies and achieve an aesthetically balanced overall look. The compositing artist corrects errors that may not have been anticipated by other departments. Compositing artists may also work with lighting and digital or live action elements.
Where Do Compositing Artists Work?
Compositing artists work primarily in the film and video industries, but they may also find work in game design and development, advertising, graphic design, and web design.
What is the Job Outlook for Compositing Artists?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report employment and salary information for compositing artists. However, the agency does report information for many of the top industries for compositing artists including:
- Software Development (games), 24%, much faster than average for all occupations for the 2016-2026 decade
- Web Development, 15%, much faster than average
- Film and Video, 13%, faster than average
- Advertising, 10%, faster than average
- Animation, 8%, fast as average
- Graphic Design, 4%, slower than average
Compositing artists play a vital role in the production process for videos, feature films, animated productions, shorts, and much more. Without them, the final look of any given project may not be polished enough for publication or release.
Other Schools to Consider:
How Much Do Compositing Artists Make?
Compositing artist salaries vary greatly by location, company, experience, education, benefits, and more. However, websites such as PayScale and Glassdoor.com report that today’s compositing artists may average from $52,000-$74,957 per year. Compositing artists living in entertainment capitals such as California and New York could earn up to six figures per year. These individuals typically work in higher-level positions such as senior compositing artist or lead animation compositing artist.
How Do I Become a Compositing Artist?
The animation and film and video industries are extremely competitive, so many employers prefer a bachelor’s degree or higher in visual effects, animation + visual effects, compositing + visual effects, or related area. In addition, employers prefer to hire artists with a minimum of three years’ experience for intermediate positions. It is possible to secure an entry-level position as an assistant or other support position with limited experience, as long as you have a bachelor’s degree in the right area from an accredited college.
What are Some Top Schools for Compositing Artists?
Just a few top programs for aspiring color key artists include:
- Azusa Pacific University, BA Animation and Visual Effects
- DePaul University, BFA Film and Television, Visual Effects Concentration, BFA Animation, Cinema Concentration (heavy compositing coursework), Minor Visual Effects
- Indiana University, BS Media Arts and Science
- InFocus Film School, 12-Week Compositing for Visual Effects Program
- Los Angeles Film School (LA Film), BS Animation, Concentration Visual Effects
- Purdue University Polytechnic Institute, BS Visual Effects Compositing
- School of Visual Arts New York (SVA NYC), BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
- The DAVE School, Bachelor’s Visual Effects Production
- University of Central Florida, School of Visual Arts and Design (SVAD), MFA Emerging Media, Animation and Visual Effects Track
Awesome Animation Fact: The Japanese animated film Spirited Away (2002 US) is the only non-western animated film to win an Academy Award (2003) for best animated feature. Originally titled "Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi,” the film also collected more than 50 other awards and 20+ nominations.