Animation Careers in Michigan Overview
The State of Michigan has its fair share of creative companies that are often on the lookout for fresh talent. Some of the world’s top advertising agencies have offices in Michigan and several noted production studios are located in Detroit, Ann Arbor, and Warren. Michigan is also home to dozens of colleges, universities, and technical schools that offer top-tier animation programs.
This means, that not only do aspiring animators have access to quality training prorgams, they may find opportunities to teach in the art, film, or computer science departments of Michigan’s 100+ colleges and universities. While Michigan-based animators can find work in a variety of industries, including education, most work in industries such as advertising and public relations, and film and video.
Employment and Salary Trends for Michigan Animators
Michigan is home to more than 48,000 professionals working in Art, Design, Entertainment, Sports and Media (ADESM) occupations they average $47,650 per year. Around 290 of the state’s ADESM professionals are animators and multimedia artists. They average $50,740 per year down from $61,730 in 2013 when the state was home to 450 animators and multimedia artists.
Across the nation, employment for animators and multimedia artists is expected to increase six percent for the 2012-2022 decade. The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas and Georgia.
The highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:
- California ($82,170)
- Washington ($75,740)
- Massachusetts ($73,470)
- New York ($70,660)
- Idaho ($69,450)
Across the U.S., the industries with the highest levels of employment are the Motion Picture and Video industries, Computer Systems Design and Related Services, Software Publishers, Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services, and Other Information Services.
‘Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers’ has the second highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists, along with an impressive average annual salary of $75,150 per year.
The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:
- Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($81,760)
- Other Information Services ($80,310)
- Software Publishers ($76,090)
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers ($75,150)
- Motion Picture and Video Industries ($73,950)
Aspiring Michigan-based animators may find employment opportunities at the following studios and creative agencies:
- Dale Myers Animation Studios, Detroit
- Digital Image Studios, Farmington Hills
- Duffey Petrosky, Farmington Hills
- Freshly Ground Productions, Detroit
- J.R. Thompson Company, Farmington Hills
- Leo Burnett, Detroit, Troy
- McCann Detroit, Birmingham
- Michigan Motion Picture Studios, Pontiac
- Real Integrated, Bloomfield Hills
- S2 Games, Portage
- Sandbox Studio, Inc., Sterling Heights
- SMZ Advertising, Troy
- Stage3, Warren
- Team Detroit, Detroit
- Young & Rubicam, Dearborn
In addition to the cities listed above, the state’s largest cities are well worth exploring. So consider Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, Lansing, Clinton, and Flint as well.
Michigan Animation Training Programs
Many Michigan schools offer animation programs that have been accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). Others may be regionally accredited. Degree options range from a BFA in Entertainment Arts to a BS in Simulation, Animation and Gaming. Just a few options include:
College for Creative Studies, Detroit - BFA Entertainment Arts, Animation Concentration
Siena Heights University, Adrian - BA or BFA Art: Studio Art (Explores Animation)
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Rapids - BAS Digital Animation and Game Design, BFA Digital Media (Explores 2D and 3D Animation, Interactive Design, Video and Motion Graphics)
Grand Valley State University, Allendale - BA or BS Film and Video Production, Animation Focus
Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti - BS Simulation, Animation and Gaming
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Winter Park, FL & Online
- Computer Animation - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Game Programs - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Graphic Design & Digital Arts - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Film & Digital Cinematography - Bachelor's & Master's - Online & Campus
- Mobile Development - Bachelor's - Online & Campus
- Simulation & Visualization - Bachelor's - Campus
According to the Michigan Film Office, several community colleges also offer everything from a Certificate to an Associate’s degree in Animation. Popular options include Henry Ford Community College (Dearborn), Macomb Community College (Warren), Schoolcraft College (Livonia), Washtenaw Community College (Ann Arbor), Wayne County Community College (Detroit), and West Shore Community College (Scottville).
Awesome Animation Fact: Yogi Bear, the first break out character created by Hanna-Barbera Studios, was one of just several Hanna-Barbera characters to have a collar. This allowed the body to be kept static and to redraw just the head in each frame when he was speaking, thus reducing the number of drawings needed for a seven-minute cartoon from 14,000 to around 2,000. -Listverse