The state of Washington features as many as 675,000 commercial businesses and more than 2,000 full time professional animators. Washington offers numerous opportunities for artists seeking jobs in the field of animation, the world's fastest-growing visual arts profession.
Washington Schools and Training Programs for Animation
Many Universities, colleges and art schools in the state of Washington offer professional animation training and academic degree programs. Some aspiring Washington animators attend local design colleges like Seattle Pacific University and the International Academy of Design and Technology in Seattle, Spokane Community College and Interface Computer School in Spokane or Tacoma Community College and Bates Technical College in Tacoma.
Some aspiring Washington animators opt for virtual design training programs. Popular accredited online animation schools include the Academy of Art University, Full Sail University, Stratford Career Institute, DeVry, ITT Tech and University of Phoenix. Some animation schools also feature local campuses and resource facilities. ITT Tech is located in Bellevue, Lynwood and Federal Way. University of Phoenix has campuses in Bellevue, Kennewick, Lynnwood, Tacoma, Tukwila and Spokane. The Art Institute maintains a Seattle facility.
Working as an Animator in Washington
A wide range of Washington businesses hire professional animation designers. Animation is used in cartoons, interactive games, mobile apps, how-to videos, medical imaging, educational media, software development and feature films, among other things. Some Washington artists work for state-based animation studios like Tooned-In or Arkitek Studios in Seattle, American Animation Studios in Prosser, Martin Arts in Sammamish and Run Studios in Redmond, to name a few. Other local animators are employed by motion picture producers who feature their own animation. Well-known Washington movie producers include Blue Plate Digital in Seattle, Apogee Digital Media in Spokane and Tacoma Video Works in Tacoma. Some animators are employed with local IT corporations specializing in computer animation. Washington state info tech firms include Disney Interactive Media in Seattle, Acellus Communications in Spokane and Dream-9 Media in Tacoma.
Full time Washington animators employed by U.S. companies earn, on average, about $62,250 per year, with a mean hourly wage of around $29.95. The median annual income for all occupations in the state of Washington is just over $58,000.
Skills of a Professional Animator
A professional animator must have extraordinary talent in drawing, sculpting and set design to create expressive characterizations and scenes we can all relate to. Other important technical skills include proficiency with animation software applications, as well as web page construction, photography, character development and interactive media. These days, animators are also familiar with various computer operating systems and several programming languages, including HTML. Project management potential is also a plus, as animators often work closely with other industry professionals like storyboard artists, layout designers, lighting technicians and voice actors.