What Does an Inbetweener Do? Where Do Inbetweeners Work? ACR Takes a Look.
|Brigham Young University||Provo||Utah|
|California State University Long Beach||Long Beach||California|
|Cazenovia College||Cazenovia||New York|
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Boston||New York|
|Regent University||Virginia Beach||Virginia|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester||New York|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah||Georgia|
|School of the Art Institute of Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|School of Visual Arts||New York||New York|
What Does an Inbetweener Do?
The animation historians at Disney say that, “at most animation studios, the best animators only sketched a few animation drawings, leaving gaps in between. Later on, a person called an "inbetweener" would finish the scenes by drawing in between the areas that the animator had left.” Well, not much has changed about this key position.
Today most job descriptions affirm that inbetweeners are responsible for the continuity of movement between scenes in an animated production. Inbetweeners decide how animated characters will move when transitioning between major key movement scenes. After the animator draws out key scenes, it is up to the inbetweener to take the images and create the characters’ movements in transitioning between scenes. Inbetweeners use illustration and 2D animation skills to complete assigned tasks.
Many aspiring animators spend several years in the inbetween department in order to gain valuable experience in the industry.
Where Do Inbetweeners Work?
Inbetweeners take direction from assistant animators, animators, and animation directors primarily at animation production studios, motion picture and video production studios, gaming companies and multimedia firms.
What is the Job Outlook for Inbetweeners?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not report employment and salary information for inbetweeners. However, the agency does report information multimedia artists and animation as a group. Information for animators should give aspiring inbetweeners an idea of what to expect when it comes to job outlook.
The U.S. is home to 73,700 multimedia artists and animators, making it the third largest career field in the world of art and design. 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. “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,” reports the BLS, which is great news for aspiring inbetweeners.
Job opportunities for animators and multimedia artists can be found all over the U.S. However, five states have the highest employment levels—California, Texas, New York, Georgia, and Florida. Ten metropolitan areas, including several from each of these states, have the highest employment 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:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
How Much Do Inbetweeners Make?
The BLS reports that 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 reiterate that inbetweener is an entry-level position that many aspiring animators take on to get their foot in the door at a film studio or production company. Salaries for these profesionals may fall somewhere between salaries for the lowest 10% and 25% of multimedia artists and animators, which would be $40,870-$54,400.
Salaries for multimedia artist and animators may vary by experience, specialization, type and size of company, and 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 an Inbetweener?
Although inbetweener is an entry-level position, many top employers prefer a degree, plus experience from an internship or other support position. Common degree paths include a BA, BFA or BFA in Animation, Animation & Digital Arts, Media Arts & Animation, Computer Animation, Computer Graphics, Media Arts & Science, Fine Art, Illustration, Graphic Design, or Computer Science (with an Emphasis in Animation).
Courses common to these degree paths include Drawing, 2-D Animation Production, 3-D Animation Production, and Stop Motion. Animators also study anatomy to study how animals and humans move in order to make character movements more realistic.
Which Schools Offer Programs for Aspiring Inbetweeners?
- Brigham Young University, BFA Animation
- California State University Long Beach, BFA Art, Illustration/Animation Option
- Cazenovia College, BFA Visual Communications: Illustration/Animation
- DePaul University, BA, BFA, MA Animation
- Massachusetts College of Art and Design, BFA in Animation
- Regent University, BA Animation
- Rochester Institute of Technology, BFA Film and Animation – Animation Option
- Savannah College of Art and Design, BFA, MA, MFA Animation; BA, BFA, MA, MFA Illustration
- School of the Art Institute of Chicago, BFA, MFA in Studio, Concentration Animation
- School of Visual Arts New York, BFA Animation, Cartooning, Computer Art, Computer Animation and Visual Effects, Illustration
Awesome Animation Fact: Computer software can calculate and recreate the physical movement of objects dropping, bouncing, and even knocking into each other. However, the personalities and emotions of people and creatures are too complex for a computer to understand. The human animation artist is still a vital part of the process. –Fact Monster