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Animation Jobs in Los Angeles

Los Angeles might give budding animators the best chances for success in their careers. The city is home to some of the biggest and most prolific animation companies in the world. Animators can find work on feature films, TV series, special effects projects, and advertising campaigns. Although some animation jobs are going overseas, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics remains optimistic about the growth of animation jobs in the US, claiming that the increased demand for animation, particularly in the mobile and gaming industries, will offset the offshoring of jobs.

According to Glassdoor, some of the highest-rated animation companies in Los Angeles include Sony Pictures Animation, Luma Pictures, 20th Century Fox Animation, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Warner Brothers Animation, Legacy Interactive, and DreamWorks Animation.

The top ranked schools in Los Angeles with programs and degrees in animation are University of Southern California (USC, $49,464 per year, out-of-state), American Film Institute (AFI, $47,030 per year, out-of-state), University of California Los Angeles (UCLA, $51,990 per year, out-of-state), and California Institute of the Arts ($43,400 per year, out-of-state), according to rankings published by the Hollywood Reporter and Hack College in 2016.

Some aspiring animators are self-taught, while others enroll in an art or animation school to learn the craft. Whichever root you choose, it is essential that you have a mastery of CGI software for this career path. The major software packages being used by studios for animation are Maya, Photoshop, and Adobe After Effects. Usually, these three software packages will be used in conjunction. For example, an animator may use Maya for the CGI modeling and rendering, photoshop for the textures and matte painting, and After Effects for the final compositing. Learning all three packages will make you more competitive in the job market.

In Los Angeles, the most popular animation jobs are CGI Modelers, CGI Animators, Character Riggers, Java Programmers, UX Designers, and Environment Artists.

Some of the top cities for finding jobs in animation tend to be Los Angeles, NYC, Chicago, San Francisco, and Miami. You could build a successful career in animation in any one of these cities. However, out of those cities, Los Angeles ranks first in terms of the total number of animation jobs available and the average level of salaries in the field. Among those cities, about 17% of all animation jobs are located in Los Angeles.

Professionals working in animation in Los Angeles also tend to work in the following industries, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics: Engineering, Advertising, Corporate Videos/Presentations, Technology, Interactive Entertainment, Virtual Reality, Gaming, Architecture.

The following are estimates of salaries and wages for animation jobs in Los Angeles, which were compiled from, Glassdoor, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Art Director Assistants - $85,000 per year, or $40.87 per hour

Creative Directors - $124,000 per year, or $59.62 per hour

Art Directors - $126,000 per year, or $60.58 per hour

Multimedia Artists, Animators, and CGI Artists - $86,000 per year, or $41.35 per hour

Graphic Designers - $56,000 per year, or $26.92 per hour

Graphic Designers - $56,000 per year, or $26.92 per hour

Animators - $73,000 per year, or $35.10 per hour

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