They say everything's big in Texas, and the animated film industry is no exception. The state of Texas supports as many as two-and-a-half million commercial businesses, among them many thousand high tech corporations and visual media producers. Lately, more and more Texas artists are finding work in the field of professional animation.
Texas Schools and Training Programs for Animation
No less than ten dozen Texas Universities, colleges and art schools offer workshops and professional degree programs in animated motion picture production. Long-established Texas design colleges include University of Texas in Austin, Del Mar College in Corpus Christi, El Centro College in Dallas, University of Texas in El Paso, American Intercontinental University in Houston and the International Academy of Design and Technology in San Antonio. Also popular is Everest Institute, which has campus locations in Austin, Houston and San Antonio.
Many of today's Texas artists acquire animation skills and earn professional degrees online. Popular accredited cyber art schools with animation-related courses include University of Phoenix, ITT Tech, The Art Institutes, DeVry and Stratford Career Institute, to name just a few. Many of these virtual design colleges also feature numerous local resource facilities. ITT Tech has nine campuses in or near Austin, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, Waco and San Antonio. University of Phoenix maintains about twenty locations in and around Austin, Houston, Dallas, El Paso, McAllen and San Antonio. The Art Institute has training centers in Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston and San Antonio.
Working as an Animator in Texas
Texas businesses that hire local animation artists include software developers, website designers, advertising agencies, community groups, local government offices, medical schools, engineering firms and many more. Some Texas artists earn their livings at local animation studios like Animation House, Planet Texas Studios and Powerhouse Animation in Austin, Cat Computer Animation, Lonco, Green Grass Studios and Janimation in Dallas, 3D-Motif, Illusions Studio and Starz Media in Houston or Cerutti Productions, Impulse Images and Preshow Productions in San Antonio.
Other Texas animators land jobs with local movie makers who produce their own animation. Top Texas motion picture companies include Meyerson Law Firm in Austin, Reed-Hewitt in Corpus Christi, Media Management in Dallas, Universe Picture Productions in El Paso, Tech Avenue in Houston and Woodlawn Theater in San Antonio. Some local animators do technical work for graphics IT corporations. Top Texas info tech teams include Activeprospect in Austin, Blue-Diamond-Services in Corpus Christi, Aridi-Computer-Graphics in Dallas, West-End-Graphics in El Paso, Hi-Fi Graphic in Houston and A-Plus-Net-Solutions in San Antonio, to name just a few.
Based on studies by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, professional full time animators living in the state of Texas earn, on average, about $57,740 per year, with a mean hourly wage of around $27.75. However, this figure is based only on the incomes of 1,530 full time Texas animators employed with domestic companies, and does not reflect the incomes of part time animators or local freelance professionals.
Skills of a Professional Animator
The skills involved in the creation of a successful animated work include drawing, photography and proficiency with animation software packages like Toon Boom Studio (for most purposes), Flip Boom (for kids), 3D Studio Max (for major motion pictures) and Illusion Mage (a relatively new 3D animation package). Cost-free open-source animation software is also available, though obviously lacks the diverse features of pricier brands. Popular favorites in free downloadable animation software are Pencil for 2D images and Blender for 3D designs. Other useful animation skills include web design, interactive media, fluency in one or more programming languages and project management potential.