Behind the Curtain: Video Game Animators

Everyone in the world of video games talks about the games themselves and rarely about the people who make the games a reality. Think about this, a report from the Verge and Vulture just last year came out about Take-Two Interactive’s Rockstar Games overworking its employees. It wasn’t the common one or two hours of overtime. We are talking about human beings working over 100 hours on a game which was to be Red Dead Redemption 2. Yet, the gaming community overlooks the people that make these games possible for us to enjoy and only looks at people like the voice actors and motion capture actors. No more overlooking the best anymore, though. In the upcoming weeks here at Whim we will be spotlighting behind the scenes and the creation of your favorite video games, telling you what they do and what you can do if you are interested in working in the business. Without further to do, the spotlight for this week is on the animators/multi-media artists.

People forget about how much an animator can do, they aren’t the stereotypical paper and pencil artists anymore. There are many fields and places where an animator can end up making decent money. The video game business is one of them, with a median salary of around $63,650, that is a very decent salary for someone who gets to create products at a consist rate. For a video game to be made, it doesn’t start in the programming room; it starts with character designs: down to the wrinkles on the faces and clothing of characters, right down to the very exact details of that tree you pass by in Fortnite at least five times a night.

To get an entry job as an animator, you will most likely need a bachelor’s degree at an accredited school, but people have made it just with a high school diploma, experience, and technical skills. Most of the systems that an animator works with are usually Studio Max, Illustrator, FinalCut Pro, and After Effects, but with the way with technology changes on a whim, these can always change. Remember that experience is key, and without it you may have trouble finding a job, so be on the lookout for internships and opportunities on campus to get that experience. Lastly, this is a job of high demand, like journalism. You will be working on a strict deadline, so late hours and weekends spent working can consistently happen, but as long as you are willing to work for it you’ll be getting the big names calling for your services.

Just remember, animators aren’t perfect. They do make mistakes as humans, and they don’t always produce the best work at a 24/7 pace, but determination is the key to being an animator. Thinking outside of the box to impress your bosses is one thing, but to not give up when there are mistakes is the key to success. For animators to succeed and to learn from their mistakes, they must look at those who do succeed and have succeeded in the business. It will be hard to make it as a video game animator, but as long as you have the drive, you can do anything that you can dream of.

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