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Animation Jobs in San Francisco

San Francisco remains a great choice for anyone interested in animation jobs. The city is a short drive away from Silicon Valley, home to the biggest animation companies in the world. Pixar and Lucasfilm remain the biggest employers for animation in the region, but the city is also home to numerous advertising agencies and boutique design firms, which employ salaried and freelance animators.

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, San Francisco ranks third in terms of the total number of animation jobs available and the average level of salaries in the field. Among those cities, about 13% of all animation jobs are located in San Francisco.

The top ranked schools in San Francisco with programs and degrees in animation are Stanford University ($44,169 per year, out-of-state), San Francisco State University ($18,372 per year, out-of-state)and Academy of Art University ($20,040 per year, out-of-state), according to rankings published by the Hollywood Reporter and Hack College in 2016.

All animation today, used in TV, film, and games, requires the use of complex software packages. Therefore, an entry-level animator's first goal is to master the leading software packages used for CGI animation. Most major studios use Maya, After Effects, and Photoshop for most of their animation needs. While some animation jobs are going overseas, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts positive growth over the next decade for jobs in animation, fueled by the increasing demand for CGI in gaming and mobile applications.

According to Glassdoor, some of the highest-rated animation companies in San Francisco include Rapid Eye Digital, Lucasfilm Animation, and Pixar Animation.

In San Francisco, the most popular animation jobs are CGI Animators, Java Programmers, UX Designers, Graphic Designers, CGI Modelers, and Environment Artists.

The following are estimates of salaries and wages for animation jobs in San Francisco, which were compiled from Salary.com, Glassdoor, and the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics:

Art Director Assistants - $97,000 per year, or $46.63 per hour

Creative Directors - $141,000 per year, or $67.79 per hour

Art Directors - $134,000 per year, or $64.42 per hour

Multimedia Artists, Animators, and CGI Artists - $89,000 per year, or $42.79 per hour

Graphic Designers - $67,000 per year, or $32.21 per hour

Graphic Designers - $67,000 per year, or $32.21 per hour

Animators - $75,000 per year, or $36.06 per hour

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


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  • Featured Animation Jobs in San Francisco

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  • Rigger

    Nimble Collective, Mountain View, CA

    Listed 11 Days ago
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  • Art Director

    Pocket Gems, San Francisco, CA

    Listed 11 Days ago
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  • Art Director

    ObEN, Los Angeles, CA

    Listed 11 Days ago
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  • Lighting Artist

    Carbon VFX, Santa Monica, CA

    Listed 11 Days ago
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  • 3D Generalist

    Carbon VFX, Santa Monica, CA

    Listed 11 Days ago
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