The city of Tacoma, Washington features as many as 30,000 commercial businesses and several hundred full time animation professionals. Tacoma touts ample opportunities for artists pursuing careers in the world's fastest-growing visual arts profession.
Tacoma Schools and Training Programs for Animation
Several Universities, colleges and trade schools Tacoma offer training and academic degree programs in animation design. Some aspiring animators attend local design colleges like Tacoma Community College or Bates Technical College.
Other Tacoma artists enroll at virtual design colleges. Popular accredited online animation schools include the Academy of Art University, Full Sail University, Stratford Career Institute, DeVry, ITT Tech and University of Phoenix. Quite a few online art schools also feature physical locations. University of Phoenix has a campus in Tacoma.
Working as an Animator in Tacoma, Washington
Tons of Tacoma companies hire professional animation designers. Local businesses in need of animators include software developers, online news syndicates, educational media providers, product manufacturers, medical facilities, advertising firms and many others. Some Tacoma artists team up with local animation studios. Others work for regional motion picture producers. Top Tacoma film makers include Tacoma Video Works, Cas Productions, Holistic Forge Works, De Joya Productions and Rock Steady Video Productions. Some animators work for local IT corporations. Successful Tacoma info tech firms include Dream-9 Media, Graphic-Services, High Point Solutions, Sitecrafting and Three Trees Design.
Based on reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, full time animators employed in Tacoma, Washington earn, on average, about $63,000 per year, with a mean hourly wage of around $31.50. The median annual income for all occupations in the state of Washington is just over $58,000. Animators employed in metropolitan areas like Tacoma earn higher salaries (on average) than animators similarly employed in other parts of the state.
Skills of a Professional Animator
A professional animator is an exceptionally talented illustrator with a highly-developed gift for storytelling. The animator is also well-versed with animation-related computer programs. Software design packages frequently used by professional artists include Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photo Shop and the new(er) Adobe Premier, as well as Toon Boom Digital Pro or 3D Studio Max for animated productions. Other important qualifications of professional animators are photography, layout design, set design and web page design. Key animators are usually fluent in HTML and able to program interactive media products. Potential employers of animation professionals prefer positive, proactive self-starters. Project management skills are a plus.