From special effects in a major blockbuster picture to animation on the small screen to cutting-edge computer games, multimedia artists and animators are at work. If you can offer both creativity and technological prowess, bachelor's degrees in multimedia can help you build a career as a digital artist.
Education for multimedia careers
Formal training is important to multimedia careers: The Department of Labor's O*NET website reports that 62 percent of working multimedia artists and animators hold a bachelor's degree. A typical program covers topics like these:
- Design principles for complex graphics and animation
- Scripting, designing and planning narrative sequences
- Tools like graphics tablets and panoramic digital cameras
- Working individually and on a team to meet a client's needs
Four-year bachelor's degrees in multimedia give you exposure to general education courses like math, science, psychology and language, which can help build communication skills for team projects. Because the degree has a broad scope, you get a well-rounded education in addition to focused technical studies. Technology rules in this occupation, so you should become familiar with computer aided design or CAD programs, development environment software, graphics imaging applications, operating systems and video editing tools.
Growth outlook for multimedia careers
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects 5,500 new jobs in this specialized field between 2010 and 2020, with growth of 8 percent, which is slower than the U.S. average. The BLS expects competition in this field as employers hire animators overseas. One positive trend is the rising demand for computer graphics in devices such as smartphones.
Strong wages are typical for pros in new media. Multimedia artists and animators earned median annual wages of $58,510 in 2010, the BLS reports, which is higher than the average for all occupations. Multimedia workers can be found in software publishing, advertising, the motion picture industry and computer systems design services.
Options for multimedia artists
With more education and experience, multimedia artists may go on to art director positions. If you're a self-starting type, you might break out on your own in advertising or freelance design or animation. Many multimedia artists are self-employed, according to the BLS.
Browse bachelor's degrees in multimedia and consider online education, which gives you the opportunity to balance your studies, project deadlines and other commitments. Web-based programs use technology to let you interact with your fellow students under the guidance of experienced instructors.