Animation is an art form that creates the illusion of movement by showing many still images in rapid succession. Ever since the advent of fully animated feature films, animation has become a wildly popular career choice among visual artists throughout the world. The state of Alaska offers ample opportunities for illustrators, photographers and other artistic professionals who seek careers in animation design.
Alaska Schools and Training Programs for Animation
Universities, colleges and training programs for professional animation work are fully accessible in the state of Alaska. Popular local educational options include University of Alaska at Anchorage. However, Alaska artists seeking training in professional animation typically enroll at one of many nationwide accredited online schools. Among the best of these are the Academy of Art University, Full Sail University, Stratford Career Institute and University of Phoenix. Other ways to learn the necessary skills include private lessons and on-the-job training.
Working as an Animator in Alaska
Many different companies hire professional animators for many different reasons. Animation is created for entertainment purposes, as in cartoons and video games, but is also used in promotional advertising, how-to videos, public service announcements, diagnostic imaging, law enforcement, engineering, educational media and any other situation deemed appropriate.
Some Alaska artists work for local animation studios like Regal Dimond and Alaska North Star productions in Anchorage, or Alaska Universal Productions in Fairbanks. Some animators are employed by info tech firms specializing in computer graphics. Successful local examples include AK-Fast-Net, Arctic-IT and Web Weavers Tech in Anchorage. Other Alaska-based companies that hire professional animators include colleges, engineering firms, hospitals, ad agencies, web designers, software developers, news syndicates and more.
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a professional animator who works full time for a U.S. company in the state of Alaska earns, on average, about $51,000 per year. The mean hourly wage for a professional animator in Alaska is around $24.50. Alaska ranks reasonably well among states in terms of average annual income for animation design professionals. However, this data only applies to the several dozen full time Alaska animators employed at U.S. companies. It does not account for the incomes of hundreds more part time animators and local freelance cartoon artists.
Skills of a Professional Animator
The basic skills needed for professional animation work are advanced illustration technique and computer graphic expertise. But th- th- th- th- that's not all, folks! Other important qualifications are web design ability, programming skills, photography and interactive media. A professional animator must also understand the tasks of other people involved in creating the finished product. Animation layout artists set backgrounds, camera angles and lighting. Storyboard artists use pre-written scripts to arrange illustrated panels. Background artists paint the scenery. Voice actors help give each character its unique personality. The animator brings it all together and once again, art imitates life.