How to Become A 3D Animator

3D Animators are professional and highly skilled people who use real-life objects and latest technology to create animated objects such as, characters, backgrounds, and other objects etc. 3D Animators are very popular in the film, television and gaming industry. In addition to that, numerous businesses use 3D animations for advertising purposes as well.

Should I Become a 3D Animator?

As discussed above, creation of 3D animations require a lot of graphic designing skills and is very technical. This career is a combination of 3D art with the latest and highly sophisticated computer technology. 3D animators use their skillset and often work for the film industry to create 3D motion pictures. Not only that, 3D animators get employed in production, gaming, business, technology as well as the science industry. They create graphics for films, video games and even mobile applications etc. Their job is demanding and they often work long hours to finish their work.

Apart from being creatively skilled with graphic designing and latest software technology, 3D Animators must have excellent communication, teamwork and time management skills. They are often required to work in teams when they are hired for big projects. They also get to use the most advanced software and echnology. Therefore, employers look for people whose skills are cutting edge with a fresh perspective.

Education Required

Bachelor’s degree

Major Requirement

3D Animation


Not required


Internships are favored

Key Skills

Communication Computer, Time-management Skills and Creativity etc.

Annual Mean Salary (2019)

$84,780 (Special Effects Artists and Animators)

Job Outlook (2018-2028)

4% (Multimedia Artists and Animators)

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Career Outlook for 3D Animators

According to the data reported by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2018-19, all Special Effects Artists and Animators earned $84,780 as annual mean income in 2019 which approximates to $40.76 mean wage per hour. Moreover, a 4% career growth is expected for Multimedia Artists and Animators between 2018 and 2028. This growth rate is as fast as the average growth of other occupations. The demand for 3D Animators is increasing due to the popularity of high-quality 3D movies, video games and television etc.

In addition to all that, the BLS reported Motion Picture and Video Industries as the top paying industry for this occupation with an annual mean salary of $100,910. California was the state with the highest employment level (11,910) and Connecticut was listed as the top paying state with an annual mean salary of $105,770 in 2019.

Steps to Become a 3D Animator

If you are creative and skilled in this area, then this career may be perfect for you. To help you begin your journey, here is a complete step by step guide.

Step-1: Getting a Bachelor’s Degree

Most 3D Animators acquire at least a bachelor’s degree in computer science with various courses in animation techniques, technology, lighting, graphic designing and so on. Such courses help them hone their skills and build a strong portfolio. Graduates often take digital arts classes to improve their sketching, designing, movement and modeling techniques.

Step-2: Building a Portfolio

It is important that you build a very strong portfolio that showcases your best work as it is a very competitive industry and hiring decisions are typically made in light of your portfolio. A portfolio should highlight your artistic style as well as your technical capabilities. However, employers prefer hiring candidates who possess impressive artistic abilities and outstanding work ethic.

Step-3: Career Advancement

3D animation industry always utilizes advanced and state of the art technology for their big budget projects. That is why, employers of this industry keep up to date technology and software to stay ahead of the curve. Therefore, you may often need to take courses related to such advancements to stay relevant and in demand.

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