Whether you call it the Great Lakes State, the Wolverine State or Water Wonderland Michigan is one of the nation's favorite places to visit thanks to its rich history, beautiful scenery, and reputation as a survivor. Detroit's many trials and tribulations may have something to do with that. However, despite the city’s troubles, Hollywood is still fascinated with it, which is one of the reasons why many major productions still film here. In addition to this, The Michigan Film Office offers incentives for filmmakers of all kinds—including animators. The Office also offers resources for productions, big and small, which creates opportunities for people that work in all areas of film production.
While the film and video industry is a major employer of animators, animators in the state also work in advertising, public relations, technology and even education. Many of the state's 107 Title IV degree-granting schools offer opportunities to teach the next generation of animators or obtain a degree. Continue reading to find out which schools offer programs for animators and where to find them.
Michigan Animation Schools
Michigan is home to a number of art schools, technical schools, and traditional colleges that offer a variety of unique degree programs for aspiring animators. Just a few include Broadcast and Cinematic Art and Film and Video Production with an Animation/New Media Emphasis. The following list highlights Michigan’s best options for aspiring animators and what they have to offer.
Siena Heights University – Degrees Offered: BA or BFA Art: Studio Art (Explores Animation)
Grand Valley State University - Degrees Offered: BA or BS Film and Video Production, Animation Focus
College for Creative Studies – Degrees Offered: BFA Entertainment Arts, Animation Concentration
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University - Degrees Offered: BAS Digital Animation and Game Design, BFA Digital Media (Explores 2D and 3D Animation, Interactive Design, Video and Motion Graphics)
Eastern Michigan University - Degrees Offered: BS Simulation, Animation and Gaming
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).
More Animation related programs to consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
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.
Awesome Animation Fact: Many of the Car names in Cars (2006) are borrowed from an Isaac Asmimov short story, “Sally,” about sentient robotic cars. -Pajiba