multimedia artists create special effects and animated images for movies, television programs, and computer games. They either draw by hand of use computers to design the large series of pictures that form animated images. Most multimedia artists work in the motion picture, video, advertising, and computer systems design industries. Some multimedia artists create storyboards (presentations in a series of scenes similar to a comic strip) for commercials that help advertising agencies decide which commercials to produce. They may also draw storyboards for movies and animated programs. Storyboards help guide the placement of actors and cameras in the television and motion picture industries, as well as other pre-production details for commercials.
multimedia artists should be highly creative and have an aptitude for visual design and drawing. They need to be able to work well with a team. multimedia artists who are self-employed should have an entrepreneurial spirit and be very self-motivated.
In 2002, multimedia artists earned a median annual salary of $43,980. Earnings ranged from the lowest 10%, who earned less than $25,830, and the highest 10%, who earned more than $85,160. In the motion picture and video industries, multimedia artists earned a median annual salary of $58,840.
Training and Education
There are many educational paths that lead to employment as a multimedia artist. Some artists attend colleges or universities where they earn a Bachelor in Fine Arts (BFA) or Master in Fine Arts (MFA). These programs usually include courses in English, social science, and natural science, as well as art history and studio art. Many independent schools of art and design offer fine arts training in the form of an Associate in Art or Bachelor in Fine Arts degree. These programs focus more on the studio training aspect, rather than the general education found in university settings. Most programs include a training component in computer graphics and other techniques. More than 200 postsecondary institutions are accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design.
When employers of multimedia artists are deciding who to hire for full-time jobs or contract work, they often rely heavily on the artists’ portfolio. The portfolio demonstrates an artist’s talent and skill and includes handmade, computer-generated, photographic, or printed samples of the artist’s work. Internships are also an excellent way to acquire skills, demonstrate experience in the field, and enhance portfolios. multimedia artists who work for advertising agencies usually begin completing simple tasks and practicing their skills on the side. Many multimedia artists freelance part-time while holding another full-time job until they gain more experience and recognition.
In 2002, artists, including multimedia artists, held about 149,000 jobs. More than 50% were self-employed.
Between 2002 and 2012, employment of multimedia artists is expected to increase about as fast as the average. However, competition for these jobs is expected to be high. Many young people are attracted to this occupation, wishing to develop their talent and creative ability in a lucrative way. This will increase competition for both salaried positions and freelance work. Opportunities will be best for those who have mastered their specific artistic techniques, and who also have highly developed computer skills.
For more information on a career as a multimedia artist, please see our directory of schools offering Multimedia Training