An animator is a visual artist who makes a series of images known as frames that, when exhibited in fast succession, create the illusion of movement known as animation. The salary prospect is so high that one can become one of the highest paid animators.
Animators work in a wide range of industries, including film, television, and video games.
Because animation is so closely tied to filmmaking, and filmmaking is so labor-intensive, most noteworthy works necessitate the collaboration of numerous animators.
The techniques used to create the visuals or frames for an animation piece are determined by the animators’ artistic styles and the field in which they work.
Animated films share several film crew positions with live-action films, such as the directors, producers, sound engineers, and editors, but they differ significantly, that is, they do not require most of the crew positions seen on a physical set for the majority of the history of animation.
The key animator handles both layout and key animation in hand-drawn Japanese animation productions, such as Hayao Miyazaki’s films.
In Japan, certain animators, such as Mitsuo Iso, accept complete responsibility for their sequences, making them more than just the main animator, demonstrating that being an animator is worthwhile.
Is Being an Animator Worth it ? Do they get paid well?
Based on 57 salaries, an entry-level Animator with less than 1 year of experience can expect to make $50,290 in total compensation. This includes tips, bonuses, and overtime pay
Also, early career Animators with 1-4 years of experience get an average total salary of $55,264. Mid-career Animator with 5-9 years of experience makes an average total salary of $62,459 per year.
Lastly, experienced Animators with 10-19 years of experience get an average total pay of $73,991. Employees in their late careers (20 years or more) earn an average total salary of $58,911 per year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average pay for animators in 2017 was $70,530 per year. The national average, according to Glassdoor, was $74,000.
Compensation for animators, like many other occupations, is based on the level of experience. Therefore, it’s not uncommon for senior-level animators or art directors to make well into the six figures.
Over 59 percent of all animators were self-employed in 2017. According to BLS, many steady animation positions only last as long as a project’s developed.
It’s possible to obtain a long-term animation career, but it is more rewarding if you don’t mind seeking gigs and always developing your talents.
With the facts and salary scale provided, we can conclude that working as an animator pays well, and you can likely become one of the highest paid animators in the state, whether full-time, as a freelancer, or as a last-minute animation project.
How to Become an Animator
Becoming an animator is a fantastic job that allows you to bring images and ideas to life in industries as diverse as law, healthcare, cinema, education, television, and gaming.
Continue reading to learn about the processes required to become an animator and how to break into this fast-paced, thrilling business.
1. Consider taking animation classes or enrolling in a degree program:
For most people, attending school is the first step towards becoming not just an animator but one of the highest-paid animators.
Multimedia artist and animator jobs normally require a bachelor’s degree, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Naturally, the animation program you choose should be based on your specific professional objectives, past education, and skills.
Associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs, as well as non-degree programs such as certificate and diploma programs, are available.
Non-degree programs focus on specific specialities and may require prior skills or knowledge in certain areas.
Degree programs typically provide a broader education, moving from foundational to advanced courses, whereas non-degree programs focus on specific specialities and may require prior skills or knowledge in certain areas.
In any case, choose a program that provides you with hands-on exposure to industry technologies and is taught by industry experts.
2. Make a commitment to improving your abilities
Your professors can only teach you so much about how to become an animator, no matter how amazing your animation program is.
They can motivate you to do your best, but you must still put in the effort.
You’ll want to work on acting and observation abilities besides developing core art skills and mastering animation and editing tools. This will aid you in comprehending body language and movements, allowing you to recreate specific emotions and features in your characters.
Another important factor is teamwork. You’ll need to practice being a good group member and managing feedback and critiques for animation projects, and you’ll need to practice being a good group member and managing feedback and critiques.
3. Make an impressive portfolio and demo reel:
If you ask any industry staff how to become an animator, they would tell you that having a strong/good portfolio is essential.
Building portfolio pieces is an important aspect of the curriculum in the Media Arts & Animation programs at The Art Institutes.
It’s best for animators to have their portfolios posted online, where they can have a section for a short demo reel and another for longer work samples.
Each piece you share should include a summary of your work and your project objectives. Only show your best work and keep your portfolio and reel up to date as you develop new and better pieces.
Remember to include a contact area, as well as your CV and a brief explanation of your experience and hobbies, on your website.
You can get portfolio ideas by looking at other animators’ online portfolios or, if you’re still in school, ask your Career Services staff and teachers for feedback and suggestions.
4. Get a diverse range of work experience:
Internships and freelance employment can help you get experience outside of the classroom while you’re still in school. (Your professors or Career Services may connect you with current industry practitioners.)
Even if you find a full-time job after graduation, you’re more likely to start as an entry-level animator than as a lead animator. You may still want to conduct some freelancing work or volunteer for organizations that you care about while working to enhance your profession.
All of this knowledge can help you network with other experts, improve your talents, and broaden your portfolio.
Remember that putting in the time and effort to improve and succeed as an animator is a big part of the process towards becoming one of the highest-paid animators.
The countries to find Highest Paid Animators
In the United States, the average animator’s gross compensation is $47,706, which equates to a $23 hourly rate. They also receive an average bonus of $1,217.
Salary estimates are based on salary survey data in the United States received directly from businesses and anonymous employees.
The average income for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is $35,380.
A senior animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, makes an average of $57,948 per year, making the US the number one state with the highest-paid animators.
In Australia, the average animator earns a gross compensation of $61,053 per year or $29.50 per hour. They also receive a $1,557 bonus on average.
Salary estimates are based on salary survey data taken directly from Australian employers and anonymous employees.
The average compensation for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is $45,352.
A senior animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, gets an average income of $74,281, or 54343.98 US dollars, making Australia the second-highest state with the highest-paid animators.
In Canada, the average animator’s gross compensation is $52,784 per year or $25 per hour. They also receive a $1,346 bonus on average. Salary estimates are based on salary survey data from anonymous individuals and businesses in Canada.
The average income for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is $39,146. A senior-level animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, gets an average income of $64,116, or 50584.81 US dollars, making Canada the third-highest state with the highest-paid animators.
In Japan, the typical animator earns a gross pay of 4,365,377 yen per hour, or $2,099. They also receive an average bonus of 111,317 dollars.
Compensation estimates are based on data acquired directly from employers and anonymous employees in Japan through salary surveys.
The average income for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is $3232,678.
A senior-level animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, gets an average salary of $5,294,674, or 48046.25 US dollars, making japan the fourth highest state with the highest-paid animators.
In France, the average gross salary for an animator is 32 265 Euros or €16 per hour. They also receive an average bonus of 823 Euros. Wage estimates are based on data acquired directly from employers and anonymous employees in France during a salary survey.
The average income for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is 23 915 Euros.
A senior animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, makes an average salary of 39 169 Euros, or 46080.57 US dollars, making France the fifth highest state with the highest-paid animators.
6. United Kingdom (UK)
The average gross salary for an animator in the United Kingdom is £27,227, or £13 per hour. They also receive a £694 bonus on average.
This is the salary estimates based on salary survey data in the United Kingdom acquired directly from employers and anonymous employees.
The average compensation for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is £20,192.
A senior animator (8+ years of experience), on the other hand, gets an average income of £33,072, or 45092.18 US dollars, making the UK the sixth highest state with the highest-paid animators.
In China, the average animator’s gross compensation is ¥126,041, or ¥61 per hour. They also get a bonus of ¥3,214 on average.
Wage estimates are usually based on data gotten directly from employers and anonymous employees in China during the salary surveys.
The average income for an entry-level animator (with 1-3 years of experience) is ¥94,483.
A senior animator (8+ years of experience) earns an average income of ¥154,750 or $23907.00 in American dollars, making Chinese the seventh-highest state with the highest-paid animators.
13 Highest Paid Animators
These are the highest-paid animators in the world.
1. Walt Disney:
What else is there to say about the king of twentieth-century animation? Without a doubt, Walt Disney is the most well-known animator in the world.
His name has become almost inextricably linked with animation. There are more documentaries about Walt Disney’s work than anyone else. He could not possibly be left off of this list. Not to mention the fact that the animation studio he established is still going strong and is one of the most successful in the world.
He’s a genius, and his legacy will loom over the animation industry for centuries.
The Walt Disney Company is now projected to be worth $74.9 billion, and it continues to produce award-winning animated and live-action films.
2. Matt Stone and Trey Parker:
Trey Parker and Matt Stone have amassed a combined net worth of $800 million in less than 20 years, and the adult cartoon sitcom that propelled them to the top is still going strong.
South Park, which airs on Comedy Central, grew out of the duo’s two animated shorts from 1992 to 1995. The show has been criticized for being filthy and controversial, yet many people find it entertaining.
According to IMDB, the show has been nominated for more than a dozen Primetime Emmy Awards since its premiere in 1997, winning five of them.
AFI, Annie, and CableACE Awards have all been given to the show.
3. Matt Groening:
Matthew Abram “Matt” Groening is the creator of “The Simpsons”.
In addition, he is worth $500 million, the screenwriter/comedian/television producer has won several Emmy Awards, as well as the distinction of “longest-running primetime series,” which he won in 2009 after Gunsmoke.
Groening is also the creator of the animated series Futurama, which won an Emmy for Outstanding Animated Program in 2011. But, returning to The Simpsons, the 20th-anniversary episode in January 2010 drew over 20 million viewers.
That’s what you call a committed following.
Famous cartoons developed by William Hanna and Joseph Barbera, better known as Hanna-Barbera, include Tom and Jerry, Scooby-Doo, and The Flinstones.
Hanna-Barbera was founded in 1957 by two friends who met while working at MGM Studios. They wasted no time in forming a partnership.
The Ruff and Reddy Show and The Huckleberry Hound Show, both of which won Emmy Awards, were the studio’s debut works.
Some of our favourite Hanna-Barbera cartoons made it to the big screen, including The Flinstones, which was entirely live action, and Scooby-Doo, which had a mix of animation and live-action.
Despite the fact that William Hanna and Joseph Barbera are no longer alive (they lived to be 90 and 95 years old, respectively), their characters live on thanks to Warner Bros. Animation (WBA), legions of devoted fans, Cable, YouTube, and every other media outlet in between.
They have a total net worth of $300 million dollars.
5. Hillenburg, Stephen:
Where have you been if you haven’t heard of SpongeBob SquarePants? Squarepants isn’t simply a cartoon; it’s a multibillion-dollar global business.
According to Advertising Age, the SpongeBob SquarePants empire has over 700 license partners globally, with SpongeBob SquarePants: The Movie alone grossing $86 million.
So, what is the benefit to the creator from all of this? A whopping $90 million. Not bad for someone who used to teach marine biology.
6. Seth MacFarlane:
Seth Woodbury MacFarlane has a net worth of $55 million as an actor, animator, writer, producer, director, comedian, and singer. He is best known for creating, producing, and writing the enormously famous adult animated sitcom Family Guy.
MacFarlane voices many of the characters in the program. The most famous is Stewie Griffin, a sarcastic talking infant with a snobby British accent. He also plays Stewie’s father, Peter Griffin, and the family dog, Brian Griffin.
MacFarlane has a couple of other shows under his belt, including American Dad and The Cleveland Show. The animator also wrote Ted and Ted 2.
7. Hayao Miyazaki:
Hayao Miyazaki, a Japanese animator, has created and produced some of the most important anime films. He is a co-founder of Studio Ghibli and handles almost half of Japan’s top-grossing animation films.
Many of these films, such as Spirited Away and Howl’s Moving Castle, are undoubtedly familiar to you. They put a lot of emphasis on fantasy elements and strive hard to bring to life ideas that you won’t see in other animated films. This is Miyazaki’s claim to fame, and it’ll be remembered for decades to come.
With a net worth of $50 million, he is one of the wealthiest people in the world. Also, one of the highest-paid animators.
8. Genndy Tartakovsky:
Genndy Tartakovsky, a Russian-born animator, is a veteran of Cartoon Network, having created several hit animated series.
He is the creator and director of Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack, as well as the original Star Wars: Clone Wars series.
His work is undeniably well-known, and he has a talent for animation. His art style is distinctive, but it is his talent for storytelling and directing that has earned him acclaim in the animation industry.
He has a monetary value of $10 million.
9. John Kricfalusi:
His Nickelodeon series Ren & Stimpy is his most well-known work, but it is his animation style and approach to animation that has had the most profound impact on the business.
On his art blog, he has a wealth of information for both new and seasoned animators.
His contributions to the realm of animation have influenced the artistic styles of many modern cartoons.
Everyone who grew up in the 1980s or 1990s will remember ren &. These are the types of masterpieces that have a lasting impact on society and the animation industry.
With a net worth of $10 million, he is one of the wealthiest people in the world.
10. David Feiss:
David Feiss is the most prominent figure on this list because of his animation style and sense of humour, which helped to establish Cartoon Network Studios.
Cow & Chicken was the first original Cartoon Network show, and it paved the door for a slew of others to follow. Granted, it isn’t the most popular or well-known series on the market.
Feiss, on the other hand, created four seasons of a show that was popular among children. His animation technique was also used in ads that he assisted in creating.
With a net worth of between $1 and $5 million, it’s really fantastic!
11. Danny Antonucci:
Another Cartoon Network legend, and the father of three children who enjoyed passing time in the cul-de-sac, is here.
Danny Antonucci is a veteran animator who began his work at a young age. In his late teens, he began working at Hanna-Barbera and eventually rose through the ranks to open his own animation business.
He made a few niche cartoons for that studio, including The Brothers Grunt, which appeared on MTV. However, his most well-known effort is Ed, Edd n Eddy, which aired on Cartoon Network for ten years.
He developed the entire show in his studio, A.k.a. Cartoon, in Canada.
Until Adventure Time overtook it, this was Cartoon Network’s longest-running show. Danny’s work is still among one of the best on the market, with a distinct flair with a net worth of $3 million.
12. Craig Mccracken:
Craig McCracken is an American animator who has worked for Cartoon Network for a long time.
He developed many shows from the early twenty-first century that cartoon fans may know, such as The Powerpuff Girls and Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends. His cartoons all have the same art style and are spotless.
It’s the way you can tell his cartoons apart at a glance. He has a $1 million net worth.
13. Eric Goldberg:
Eric Goldberg is one of today’s lesser-known but still enormously famous Disney animators. To suggest he’s not well-known while simultaneously being popular appears to be an oxymoron.
However, Goldberg appears in several behind-the-scenes videos and some featured interviews detailing his animation process. His work for Disney has evolved significantly over the course of his career, as the studio has shifted its concentration away from 2D films and toward 3D.
Actually, the foundations of animation never change. That’s the brilliance of Goldberg’s work, and you’ll hear it a lot if you look up his name on YouTube and also having a net worth of $312,000.
Although “firsts” of any kind are difficult to prove, J. Stuart Blackton appears to be the first film-based animator, with his Humorous Phases of Funny Faces in 1906 launching a successful series of animated films for New York’s pioneering Vitagraph Company.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Walt Disney Animation Studios’ first entirely animated feature picture, was produced in 1937, ushering in a new era of family entertainment.
How a Mosquito Operates?
The 1973 film Westworld, a science-fiction film written and directed by novelist Michael Crichton in which humanoid robots live among humans, was the first feature film to incorporate digital image processing.
Stop motion animation, 2D animation, 3D animation, Traditional animation and Motion graphics.
Animation is a relatively new and intriguing job field that offers a wide range of opportunities.
For enterprises like motion picture studios, gaming firms, and advertising agencies, animators produce pictures by hand or using computers. Commercials, movies, video games, and television series are all produced by them.
Animation is a modern art form with a wide range of career options. If you’ve always enjoyed the animation, you can turn it into a lucrative career!