The city of Chicago, Illinois, featuring as many as 225,000 businesses and the largest motion picture studio outside of Hollywood, is home to many thousand local artists pursuing careers as professional animators. Recent advancements in digital technology have opened many new opportunities in this lucrative, high tech field.
Chicago Schools and Training Programs for Animation
Universities, colleges and learning centers in Chicago, Illinois offer numerous classes and degree programs in visual animation. Chicago artists earning degrees typically major in photography, film studies, fine arts or communications design. Many aspiring Chicago animators attend local art colleges. Popular Chicago animation schools include the International Academy of Design and Technology, Flashpoint Academy, Westwood College, Roosevelt University, East-West University and dozens more.
Some Chicago artists save a lot of gas money by attending virtual design colleges. Popular accredited online schools with animation design programs include the Academy of Art University, Post University, Full Sail University, National University, DeVry, Stratford Career Institute, University of Phoenix, The Art Institutes, ITT Tech and others. Quite a few cyber art schools offer supplemental campuses and local learning resource centers. University of Phoenix and The Art Institute both have campuses in Chicago.
Working as an Animator in Chicago, Illinois
Many assorted types of Chicago businesses hire local professional animators. Most animation is produced as cartoons and video games, but animation is also used for medical imaging, legal evidence, engineering studies, promotional advertising, website design and educational media, among other things. Some Chicago artists create professional designs for local animation studios like Chicago Film Works, Chicago Post & Graphics, Animation Technologies and Calabash Animation. Other local animators are employed by top Chicago graphics-based IT corporations. Leading local info tech firms include Altrum Technologies, Fidelity Information Service, Micro Train and Metropolitan Chicago Information Center.
On average, professional animators in Chicago, Illinois who are employed full time by United States businesses earn about $60,000 per year, with a mean hourly wage of around $30.00. Artists employed in a major city like Chicago tend to earn higher incomes than artists similarly employed in other parts of Illinois.
Skills of a Professional Animator
Professional animators are exceptionally talented illustrative masters of characterization. They seem to effortlessly impose recognizable humanoid qualities on hand-drawn images of people and animals, not to mention inanimate, abstract or invisible objects like houses, furniture, circuits, semiconductors, viruses and subatomic particles. It takes an extraordinarily creative, uniquely twisted mind to make a virus look adorable.
Aside from astute drawing skills, other essential qualifications include photography, prototyping, set design and innovative computer generated artwork. Key animators are also adept at web page construction and fluent in HTML and other programming languages, as well as familiar with all related software packages and all major computer operating systems. Key personal attributes employers love to see are superb communication skills, a clever sense of humor and project management potential.