Game art or “interactive art,” is a unique art form that has evolved over the decades from sketching googly-eyed ghost monsters (think Pac Man circa 1980) to creating game artwork that looks as realistic as live action film characters and landscapes. This means, it takes a tremendous amount of talent to make it as a game artist today, as expectations are at an all-time high. This is true in the world of console games and now for online and mobile games. Besides the game industry, game artists are in demand in advertising, graphic and web design, film and video, and even education.
Fortunately, a large number of schools across the U.S. offer a variety of game art and design programs, and the State of Pennsylvania has its fair share. Just a few include Carnegie Mellon University, The University of the Arts, and Drexel University. Read on the find out which Pennsylvania schools offer the best programs for aspiring game artists and where they are located.
Pennsylvania Game Art Schools
Messiah College – Degrees Offered: BA Digital Media with a Mobile Application and Game Design Concentration
Drexel University - Degrees Offered: BS Game Art and Production
Temple University – Degrees Offered: BFA Graphic and Interactive Design
The University of the Arts – Degrees Offered: BFA Game Art (Launches Fall 2016)
Carnegie Mellon University - Degrees Offered: BS Game Design; Master of Entertainment Technology (MET) jointly conferred by the School of Computer Science and the College of the Arts.
The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) - Degrees Offered: BA Interactive Arts; BDes Interdisciplinary Digital Studio
More Game Art related programs to consider:
- Savannah, Atlanta, Hong Kong, France, and Online via SCAD eLearning
Employment and Salary Trends for Pennsylvania Game Artists
The gaming industry is expected to generate $107 billion worldwide in 2017, according to the Global Games Market Report. With hundreds of thousands of game designers and developers at work and billions in revenue, the U.S. gaming market is the largest in the world. The population increase of gamers and game designers is expected to continue, with the number of designers increasing anywhere from three to six percent, according to some reports. Others predict an even higher increase.
Game art is both technical and creative. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports salary and employment figures for both fine artists and software developers. Figures for game artists may fall somewhere in the middle. According to the BLS, the U.S. is home to more than 1.1 million software developers, averaging $95,510 to $102,880 per year. The lowest 10 percent earn less than $56,310, and the highest 10 percent earn more than $149,480. The U.S. is also home to 50,300 craft and fine artists averaging $44,400 per year.
Pennsylvania is home to nearly 315,000 salaried software developers averaging anywhere from $88,760 to $90,150 per year. The state is also home to 310 salaried fine artists averaging $43,070 per year. Several other sources offer salary information for game designers and developers. According to Gamasutra’s latest Game Developer Salary Survey (2014), game developers nationwide averaged $83,060 in 2013. PayScale reports that senior game designers average $87,921 per year.
Head to the Lancaster or Harrisburg-Carlisle Metropolitan area where you will find the highest concentration of jobs and location quotients for fine artists. Choose any major city and you will find plenty of opportunities for game artists as well. The largest are Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Allentown, Erie, Reading, and Scranton.
Awesome Animation Fact: Animators and imagineers have hidden representations of Mickey in most of the Disney films and all of the parks. It started as a joke between Walt Disney and other imagineers and became a tradition secretly carried out for decades. “Hidden Mickeys” usually consist of three circles drawn to represent Mickey’s head and ears, but sometimes they plant Mickey in a crowd scene. – Best of Web Shrine