What does it take to get a job with Walt Disney Animation Studios? What is it like working at Walt Disney Animation Studios? ACR takes a look:
About Walt Disney Animation Studios
Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS) is one of the world’s largest and most well respected animation studios. It is also the country’s oldest and the first in the U.S. to produce an animated feature—Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. This 1937 feature utilized cel animation (Disney was the first to use it), which “pioneered a new form of family entertainment.” Snow White marked the beginning of Disney’s quest to create a collection of animation features that would later become worldwide classics.
Just a few of Disney’s most popular productions are Pinocchio (1940), Fantasia (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Cinderella (1950), Alice in wonderland (1951), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Sleeping Beauty (1959), and 101 Dalmatians (1961). The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, The Lion King, Hercules, Mulan, Lilo and Stich, and The Princess and the Frog are just a few of Disney’s more recent productions. Like Disney’s earlier animated features, its most recent are also destined to become classics.
In addition to being the first to use cel animation, according to the Disney Animation Studios website, the company pioneered the use of digital methods for creating hand-drawn animation using the Academy Award winning software “CAPS.” The company also developed 3D painting and rendering techniques in Deep Canvas—also Academy Award winning software. Today, the company “championed the use of and now contributes to” Open Source Software such as Ptex, Partio, Minki, Partio, SeExpr, Dynaica, Pythoscope, and Reposado.
Walt Disney Animation Studios is located in Burbank, CA and it is home to more than 600 employees from animators to storyboard artists to software engineers. The company’s artists and tech talent spend their days creating some of the world’s most elaborate animated features in a festive environment.
Walt Disney Animation Studios Jobs
Like other studios, Walt Disney Animation Studios is always looking for fresh talent. The company is also dedicated to helping future animators and other artists develop their skills. Disney has a Talent Development Program for graduating students, an Art & Production Summer Internship Program, an International Art & Production Summer Internship Program, and a Technology Internship Program. To apply for all programs, you will have to fill out the online application to create a profile. Please visit the official WDAS website at www.disneyanimation.com and click “Careers” to create a profile and confirm application deadlines.
To browse through salaried positions, visit the company website and click “ Careers,” then “Open Positions.” As of August 27, 2011, Walt Disney Animation Studios had more than 25 open positions. Just a few include:
- CG Animator
- EFX Artist
- Digital Character Modeler
- Character TD
- Character Pipeline TD
- Crowd FX Artist
- Talent Development CG Animator
- Visual Development Artist
To apply for an open position, you must first confirm that you have the experience and skills the company is looking for. This information is listed with each position. According to the company website, for animators, WDAS is looking for a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Animation or related field or equivalent work experience. The company is looking for a range of experience, but you should have at least 2 years computer animation experience with Maya or a similar program. To get started, you must upload your resume and your reel/website, and tell Disney who you are.
Disney Animation Studios Salaries
Walt Disney Animation Studios does not list specific salaries, but several career and salary websites do. Salaries for full-time Disney employees are competitive within the field, and some internships even pay handsomely. According to Glassdoor.com, the following are just a few average salaries for several positions with the company:
- Cartoonist/Animator: $116,000-$125,000
- CG Animator: $83,000-$89,000
- CG Animator (hourly contractor): $56-$60
- Effects Artist: $103,000-112,000
- 3D Modeler: $106,000-$114,000
- Animation Trainee: $3,337-$3,629 per month
- Lighting Artist: $127,000-138,000
Burbank is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area. According to the to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, animators and multi-media artists living in the Los Angeles area earn an average salary of $76,360-$76,9200 per year. Across the nation, animators earn a mean annual salary of $63,440. Salaries vary greatly based on education, experience, size of company, position, etc., so they could be much more or much less than the local and national averages.
Animation Schools to Consider:
- Atlanta, Georgia; Savannah, Georgia; Lacoste, France; and SCAD eLearning