What Does a Flash Animator Do? Where Do Flash Animators Work? ACR Takes a Look.
|Austin Film School||Austin||Texas|
|Brigham Young University||Provo||Utah|
|Columbia College Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|Grand Canyon University||Phoenix||Arizona|
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Boston||Massachusetts|
|Ringling College of Art and Design||Sarasota||Florida|
|Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design||Denver||Colorado|
|Southern Illinois University||Carbondale||Illinois|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles||California|
What Does a Flash Animator Do?
Flash animators create animation for websites, videos, advertising and marketing, games, and education materials using Adobe Animate CC (formerly Adobe Flash). Flash animators may also use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver (formerly Macromedia Dreamweaver), Autodesk 3ds Max (formerly 3D Studio and 3D Studio Max, and After Effects.
Flash animators have excellent design, art, and layout skills as well as a superior command of high-end 3D packages. They coordinate with creative directors to ensure that the animation compliments the design and works in harmony with the technology used to drive the finished product. Flash animators may also create storyboards and design multimedia presentations.
Where Do Flash Animators Work?
Flash animators work in educational publishing, advertising and public relations, the motion picture and video industries, software publishing, game design and development, specialized design services, computer systems design and related services, marketing, web design, graphic design firms, in the mobile technology industry, and more.
What is the Job Outlook for Flash Animators?
Flash animators are part of the broader career group “multimedia artists and animators.” Employment for this group is expected to grow 8% for the 2016-2026 decade. This is about as fast as average for all occupations. Projected employment growth for animators and multimedia artists will be the result of increased demand for animation and more realistic visual effects in video games, movies, and television. However, job growth may be slowed by companies hiring artists and animators who work overseas for lower wages. The increasing demand for computer graphics for mobile devices may counter slow growth by creating more job opportunities in the massive mobile industry.
Despite average employment growth, competition for job opportunities in animation will remain strong. The Bureau says, “opportunities should be best for those who have a wide range of skills or who specialize in a highly specific type of animation or effect.” Still, the U.S. is home to an impressive population of 73,700 multimedia artists and animators, making it the third largest career field in the world of art and design.
Job opportunities for animators and multimedia artists can be found all over the U.S. However, five states have the highest employment levels. California has the highest, followed by Texas, New York, Georgia, and Florida. Ten metropolitan areas, including several from each of these states, have the highest employment levels of all metro areas. They include:
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA
- Austin-Round Rock, TX
- Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Roswell, GA
- Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX
- Chicago-Naperville-Elgin, IL-IN-WI
- Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA
- Boston-Cambridge-Nashua, MA-NH
The top five industries with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Motion Picture and Video Industries
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services
- Software Publishers
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
- Other Information Services
Other Animation Schools to Consider:
How Much Do Flash Animators Make?
The median annual wage for multimedia artists and animators is $72,520. The mean annual wage is $78,230. The lowest 10% of multimedia artists and animators earn less than $40,870 and the highest 10% earn more than $124,310. At $86,080 (mean), multimedia artists and animators working in the motion picture and video industries have the highest annual wage of the top five industries with the highest employment levels for animators.
It is important to keep in mind that salaries for multimedia artist and animators may vary by experience, type and size of company, and even geographic location. For example, Connecticut-based multimedia artists and animators average $102,630 per year—the nation’s highest average salary for this profession—while South Carolina-based artists average $36,270—the lowest salary for this profession.
In addition to Connecticut, the top five highest paying states for multimedia artists and animators are Washington ($90,700), District of Columbia ($89,210), California ($87,960), and New York ($86,490).
The top paying metro areas for multimedia artists and animators are:
- Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT - $115,070
- San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA - $91,850
- San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA - $91,840
- Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA - $91,010
- New York-Newark-Jersey City, NY-NJ-PA - $87,320
- Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA - $86,240
- Savannah, GA - $82,880
- Sacramento-Roseville-Arden-Arcade, CA, $80,2300
- Raleigh, NC - $79,070
- North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton, FL - $78,980
Some of the lowest paying states for multimedia artists and animators are Iowa ($53,430), Nebraska ($50,650), Montana ($48,900), South Dakota ($44,340), and South Carolina ($36,270).
The top paying industries for multimedia artists and animators are:
- Professional and Commercial Equipment and Supplies Merchant Wholesalers - $99,790
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing - $90,960
- Motion Picture and Video Industries - $86,080
- Software Publishers - $85,270
- Navigational, Measuring, Electromedical, and Control Instruments Manufacturing - $83,050
Salaries for the top five industries with the highest employment levels for multimedia artists and animators are:
- Motion Picture and Video Industries - $86,080
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services - $78,850
- Software Publishers - $85,270
- Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services - $73,780
- Other Information Services - $80,070
How Do I Become a Flash Animator?
Today’s employers prefer to hire animators, including flash animators, with at least a bachelor’s degree. Just a few options include a BA, BFA or BS in Animation, Computer Animation, Computer Graphics, Animation & Digital Arts, Media Arts & Animation, Media Arts & Science, Fine Art, and Computer Science (with an Emphasis in Animation). Courses common to these degree paths and other related programs include Drawing, 2-D Animation Production, 3-D Animation Production, and Stop Motion.
In addition to a 4-year degree, many employers look for at least two years’ experience in the industry, and advanced technology skills. Entry-level positions may require only a degree and experience through an internship or other support position. Senior level positions may require at least five to seven years’ professional experience in the industry and possibly an advanced degree. In fact, more schools than ever before now offer MA or MFA degrees in Animation, Animation & Visual Effects, Animation & Digital Arts, and more.
Some schools in the U.S., and many in Europe and Asia, even offer PhD programs in Digital Arts & Animation, Multimedia & Animation, Computer Science with an Animation Emphasis and others. The Bureau reports that in addition to years of experience and/or advanced degree, animators who show strong teamwork and time-management skills can advance to supervisory positions. Some animators may advance to leadership or directorial positions, such as an art director, producer or director.
Which Schools Offer Programs for Aspiring Flash Animators?
- Austin Film School, Advanced 2D Digital Animation (hands-on workshops and courses)
- Boston University School of Visual Arts, BFA, MA, MFA Graphic Design
- Brigham Young University, BFA Animation, BS Computer Science, Animation Emphasis
- Columbia College Chicago, BA, BFA Computer Animation
- Grand Canyon University, BA Digital Design - Animation
- Massachusetts College of Art and Design, BFA in Animation
- Ringling College of Art and Design, BFA in Computer Animation
- Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, BFA 2D, 3D Animation
- Southern Illinois University, BS Digital Animation (Computer Animation and Storytelling)
- University of Southern California, BA, MFA, Minor Animation and Digital Arts
Awesome Animation Fact: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was America's first animated feature film. Released in 1937, the Disney film cost $1.4 million to produce and remains one of the few animated films listed in the American Film Institute’s 100 Greatest American Films of All Time.