What Does a Texture Artist Do? Where Do Texture Artists Work? ACR Takes a Look.
|Brigham Young University||Provo||Utah|
|California Baptist University||Riverside||California|
|California State University Fullerton||Fullerton||California|
|Columbia College Chicago||Chicago||Illinois|
|George Washington University||Washington||DC|
|Indiana University South Bend||South Bend||Indiana|
|Massachusetts College of Art and Design||Boston||Massachusetts|
|Montclair State University||Montclair||New Jersey|
|Pace University||New York||New York|
|Rochester Institute of Technology||Rochester||New York|
|San Jose State University||San Jose||California|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah||Georgia|
|University of Southern California||Los Angeles||California|
|Washington University-St. Louis||St. Louis||Missouri|
|Watkins College of Art||Nashville||Tennessee|
|Westfield State University||Westfield||Massachusetts|
What Does a Texture Artist Do?
A texture artist’s job is to paint surface textures on animated characters, environments, and props. The number of textures animators work with is endless and may include things such as wrinkles, fur, scales, sweat, and mud. In some cases, the textures used in animation cannot be found in real life. In these instances, the texture artist invents his own textures using his imagination and creativity skills.
Texture artists use a variety of software, platforms, and rendering environments to create textures for environments, characters, objects, and props for animated films, television shows, and video games. Some of the most common types of software, platforms, and rendering environments used in animation include Photoshop, 3D Paint, UV Layout/Editing, RenderMan, Mental Ray, Maya, Shaders, and Houdini. Texture artists also use digital matte painting techniques to create textures and they work with advanced surface types, subsurface scattering, and global illumination.
Where Do Texture Artists Work?
Texture artists work in animation studios, film and video production studios, for game companies, web design companies, graphic design firms, advertising firms, and mobile technology companies.
What is the Job Outlook for Texture Artists?
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports employment for fine artists, such as texture artists, as a major group. This includes illustrators, painters, and sculptors. Employment for this group is expected to grow 6% for the 2016-2026 decade, which is as fast as average for all occupations. This will add 3,100 positions to the current (salaried) workforce of around 53,400 artists. Keep in mind that the employment outlook varies by industry. For example, employment of animators is projected to grow 8% for the 2016-2026 decade and 24% for game developers (software developers).
How Much Do Texture Artists Make?
The median annual wage for fine artists is $48,960. The lowest 10% earn less than $22,020, and the highest 10% earn more than $101,400. For texture artists in the animation industry, note that multimedia artists and animators average $72,520. The lowest 10% earn less than $40,870, and the highest 10% earn more than $124,310. Texture artists in the animation industry can expect their salaries to fall somewhere between fine artists and animators.
In addition to industry, salaries for fine artists vary based on geographic location, type and size of company, and many other factors. For example, the highest paying states for fine artists are:
- Connecticut - $80,010
- California - $76,230
- Oklahoma - $65,140
- New Jersey - $62,840
- Arizona - $62,200
Some of the lowest paying states are Arkansas ($24,510), South Carolina ($28,070), Montana ($31,150), New Mexico ($35,110), and Missouri ($39,430).
The top paying industries for fine artists are:
- Computer Systems Design and Related Services - $88,100
- Architectural, Engineering, and Related Services - $86,700
- Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing - $81,630
- Motion Picture and Video Industries - $80,320
- and Related Services - $72,250
Salaries for the top five industries with the highest levels of employment for fine artists are:
- Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers - $52,200
- Motion Picture and Video Industries – 80,320
- Other Miscellaneous Store Retailers - $46,780
- Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools - $57,890
- Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers - Not Reported
How Do I Become a Texture Artist?
Many employers prefer to hire texture artists with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in art, fine art, illustration, digital art, drawing and painting, or other related area. Experience is preferred as well. Aspiring texture artists may obtain valuable experience through an internship or entry-level position. Some texture artists with exceptional talent, but little formal training, may qualify for some entry-level positions.
Which Schools Offer Programs for Aspiring Texture Artists?
Just a few schools that offer programs for aspiring texture artists include:
- Brigham Young University, BFA Illustration
- California Baptist University, BA, Minor Illustration
- California State University Fullerton, BFA Art, Drawing and Painting
- Columbia College Chicago, BA, BFA Illustration (drawing, painting, cartooning, typography, digital illustration, figure drawing)
- George Washington University, Corcoran School of the Arts & Design, BA, BFA, Dual Degree, Minor Fine Art
- Indiana University South Bend, BFA Drawing and Painting
- Massachusetts College of Art and Design, BFA Industrial Design
- Montclair State University, BFA Animation/Illustration
- Pace University, BA Art with Digital Media, (Animation, Illustration, Graphic Design, Web Design, 3D Design)
- Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), BFA, MFA Industrial Design
- San Jose State University, BA Design Studies (Animation/Illustration Area)
- Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), BA, BFA, MA, MFA Illustration with a Minor in Illustration for Entertainment or Animated Illustration and Publication Design; BA, BFA, MA, MFA Sequential Art; BFA, MFA Industrial Design
- University of Southern California, BFA Studio (with 24 units of Fine Arts electives)
- Washington University-St. Louis, Sam Fox School of Design and Visual Arts, BFA, Emphasis in Illustration, Interaction Design
- Westfield State University, BA Illustration
In addition to RIT and SCAD, schools such as DePaul University, Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA), Memphis College of Art (MCA), New York Film Academy (NYFA), Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC), Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (PAFA), Syracuse University, and the College of Visual and Performing Arts (CVPA) at UMass Dartmouth offer graduate programs in fine art, illustration, drawing, industrial design, and/or animation.
Other Schools to Consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning
Awesome Animation Fact: When it comes to creating likable characters, sometimes it’s best to go back to the drawing board until you get it right. According to Yahoo!7, one of the world’s most loved animated characters, Woody from Toy Story, was originally written to be a type of ‘sarcastic jerk’ who frequently insulted other toys throughout the film. Fortunately, Disney deemed this character totally unwatchable and halted film production until a more appealing personality for Woody was developed.