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Game Animation Still A Field With Growing Jobs

By Michelle Conner

Back in 1987, the first edition of Final Fantasy was once considered the most state-of-the art animation in the market. Compare it to the most recent version of Prince of Persia (the game), and Final Fantasy 1 looks like a cave drawing.

These days, animators are a high demand profession, primarily thanks to two key developments. First and foremost was the advent of the computer. The other reason was the incredible expansion of video games in large part thanks again to the computer as well as online school. The video game industry brought in $21.4 billion in 2008, and 26% of its 80,000 employees are a new kind of animator, one who specializes in gaming.

From the outside, an animator who specializes in gaming has the same skill set as one who works in TV or film. One must be equally as skilled in front of a Mac, as with pen and ink. Both must also be good storytellers, understand the principles of acting, and such painting concepts of conveying depth, shadowing and the use of color. They also should know animation programming such as Flash.

When it comes to going to college, a young high schooler should quickly learn to develop a demo reel (or now disk) as well as graphic portfolio. Basic knowledge of the entire production process is now becoming standard at the good animation schools such as NYU or Cal Arts.

Where the gaming animator differs from the more traditional TV, film or other animator is what they do with their skills. Storytelling in the video world doesn’t follow a linear path. The reason for this is the game player is in control of what’s on the monitor, and not just sitting by passively being entertained. If the player’s character wants his character to kick an opponent in the head or hand him a bouquet of flowers, there must be an animated sequence for either decision.

Financial aid for animators is pretty much on the same track as for any other art student, only with a number of studios like Disney, Sony and Dreamworks adding their revenues to the pot. It’s not uncommon for Disney to lock up a particularly promising student with a full scholarship to Cal Arts (a school they founded). For those less blessed, there are the usual routes for grants, other scholarships and loans out there. The best thing to do is consult with a financial aid advisor.

As it is, there really aren’t that many working in the field. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates about 20,000 as of 2009, and it doesn’t really differentiate between film and gaming that readily. What is known are over nearly half are employed in California, which also offers the best pay at nearly $80,000 a year.

Still, when one think about it, if it wasn’t for video gaming, animation in general would more than likely be a much smaller business. Earning a degree for this field at an online school will be no surprise as a great choice. It’s a field to consider for those with a strong artistic bend. Finding scholarships and grants is just a click away.

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Article Citation
MLA Style Citation:
Conner, Michelle "Game Animation Still A Field With Growing Jobs." Game Animation Still A Field With Growing Jobs. 24 Jun. 2010. 28 Dec 2014 <>.

APA Style Citation:
Conner, M (2010, June 24). Game Animation Still A Field With Growing Jobs. Retrieved December 28, 2014, from

Chicago Style Citation:
Conner, Michelle "Game Animation Still A Field With Growing Jobs"

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