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Art Careers in Technology

written by: ciel s cantoria•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 9/14/2010

Are you a budding artist seeking information about art careers in technology? Here’s a list of popular job opportunities where artistic senses are expressed in digital and multimedia forms. The list starts with entry level jobs, progressing to the higher paying art careers in technology.

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    Overall Job Outlook for Art Careers in Technology


    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the increasing interests in realistic video games and special effects in movies and television will bring about increased demand for this type of job. More computer animation input will be needed in improving mobile phone technologies and for medical and scientific researches as well as for designing services.

    However, competition is expected to be stiff, since the increasing numbers of qualified applicants allow potential employers to choose those with the most suitable styles and creative ideas for their needs. Hence those who would like to broaden their sources of job opportunities could do so by acquiring advanced degrees in fine arts courses or art administration or a master’s degree in medical illustration.

    Learn about these careers as we start our list with entry level positions; they are enumerated in order of the art career’s progression in the world of technology:

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    (1) Multi-Media Artist/Animator

    Nuvola multimedia 

    This job involves the use of artistic creativity in sketching by hand or by using the latest computer technology for creating complex designs or animation based on a storyboard, which will be used as special effects for advertising campaigns, in print media, Internet, movies, television series or cartoons, and for computer games.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    Annual average salary range is from $34,665 to $60,045 including payment of bonuses. Info is based on National Pay Data.

    Top hirers for these jobs are advertising agencies, audio/video entertainment productions, e-learning solutions, movie industry companies, and game software companies. The latter hold the record for highest salary with offers ranging from $41,402 up to $63,386.

    Educational Attainment, Work Experience, and Future Career Growth

    Most multimedia artists or animators have completed college degrees in AB-Art or AB-Multimedia & Web Design.

    Experiences in this field are gained through previous work experience as graphic artist or as assistants to film-video editors or as animators. Career advancements and opportunities to earn higher pay are by elevating to graphic designer or 3D artist-designer level via achievements that manifest excellence carried out with the right attitude, by meeting deadlines, and by continuously and consistently coming up with creative and unique ideas.

    Locations in the US with Highest Number of Employment and Highest Salary Offers

    US States with Highest Number of Employment

    • California $76,010
    • Washington $64,840
    • New York $62,150
    • Minnesota $51,010
    • Oregon $58,100

    US Cities with Highest Salary Offers

    • San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, CA $83,610
    • San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City, CA $81,320
    • Los Angeles, Long Beach, Glendale, CA $76,070
    • Seattle, Bellevue, Everett, WA $65,450
    • Raleigh, Cary, NC $53,860

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    (2) Production Artist/Graphic Artist


    A production/graphic artist’s job is to carry out the graphic designer’s drawings by creating software generated templates with attention to accuracy and completeness of details. In a large corporate setting, the artist usually works with the art director and graphic designer as a team or as an assistant in a graphic designer’s studio.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    National Salary Data provides information of average hourly rates ranging from $13.22 - $20.69 and average annual salaries ranging from $31,221 - $49,970, including overtime pay and bonuses.

    Top hirers for this job are industries engaged in printing and imaging solutions, graphic arts design, business signage, advertising agencies, marketing , advertising, and media management.

    Graphic arts design companies have the highest pay rate ranging from $13.91 - $21.10 per hour.

    Educational Attainment, Work Experience, and Future Career Growth

    Those who land top paying jobs in this field are mostly graduates of (1) Bachelor of Fine Arts-Graphic Design, (2) Bachelor of Arts- Art,(3) Associate of Applied Science-Graphic Design and (4) Bachelor of Fine Arts.

    Some of them have formerly worked as production artists or graphic artists in top hiring companies, while future career growth is directed toward other art careers in technology like graphic designer, senior graphic designer or art director.

    Locations in the US with Highest Number of Employment and Highest Salary Offers

    US States with Highest Number of Employment

    • District of Columbia $68,110
    • New York $56,680
    • Vermont $42,630
    • Utah $42,550
    • Minnesota $46,220

    US Cities with Highest Salary Offers

    • San Francisco, San Mateo, Redwood City, CA $74,660
    • San Jose, Sunnyvale, Santa Clara, CA $68,810
    • Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT $67,610
    • Framingham, MA- $61,350
    • Washington, Arlington, Alexandria, District of Columbia VA-MD-WV $60,160

    Continue to Page 2 for more on Art Careers in Technology

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    Find information about art careers in technology for graphic artists, 3D artists, and graphic designers and find out where each career could lead to. Learn more from this article by Ciel S. Cantoria.
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    (3) Graphic Artist Animator

    800px-Compulite Animator 

    The principal duty of graphic artist–animator is to provide support to a team of designers and game developers in visualizing creative animation designs. This job includes the conversion of graphic files for coding and working closely with software programmers in order to develop the most suitable platform.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    National Salary Data furnishes information that average annual salary comprising salaries and bonuses ranges from $32,445 - $ 62,018.

    The top hirers are industries engaged in (1) audio /video/entertainment production, (2) television broadcasting, (3) marketing/advertising and media management, (4) media-film visual effects, and (5) entertainment or game software.

    Educational Attainment, Work Experience, and Future Career Growth

    Most graphic art animators are graduates of (1) Bachelor of Arts in Communication, (2) Bachelor of Science in Graphic Design, (3) Bachelor of Arts or (4) Bachelor of Fine Arts. They get started in this career as illustrators or as animators. They can advance to the next level and have higher earning opportunities as film video editors or 3D animators.

    Locations in the US with Highest Number of Employment and Highest Salary Offers

    US States with Highest Number of Employment

    • This job shares the same BLS statistics for multimedia artists.

    US Cities with Highest Salary Offers

    Based on reports, the following are the top US cities with the highest salary range:

    • Los Angeles, CA $35,699 to $101,736
    • Chicago, Illinois $29,636 to $66,129
    • New York, New York $35,608 to $73,698

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    (4) 3D Artists and 3D Designers

    800px-Vertical farm2 

    Three-D artists provide exactly what the job title describes--that is, to come up with story-telling animations via digital technology using traditional knowledge of laying out the characters and objects into three dimensions. These skills are often applied in video games, development of visual 3D models and storyboards, as well as visual effects. Tasks may also include animation, background paintings, and 2D layout.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    The National Pay Data for this job show average annual salaries, bonuses, and profit sharing ranging from $37,569 to $ 65,415.

    Top hirers for 3D artists include industries engaged in (1) entertainment or game software, (2) audio/video/entertainment, (3) 3D animation, (4) toys/games, and (5) media-film visual effects.

    Educational Attainment, Work Experience, and Future Career Growth

    3D artists are mostly graduates of (1) Bachelor of Fine Arts, (2) Bachelor of Arts, (3) Bachelor of Arts–Computer Animation (4) Master of Fine Arts or (5) Bachelor of Science in Computer Science.

    They usually start out as graphic artists and in some cases, sales associates in computer software or as animators. Those who excel in this line of work have potential to advance in future art careers in technology as 3D designers or video game designers and eventually as art directors.

    Locations in the US with Highest Number of Employment and Highest Salary Offers

    US States with Highest Number of Employment

    This job shares the same BLS statistics for multimedia artists.

    US Cities with Highest Salary Offers

    • Redmond, Washington $53,000 to $103,106
    • Redwood City, California $68,748 to $88,309
    • San Francisco, California $54,938 to $83,576
    • Austin, Texas $40,661 to $78,500
    • San Diego, California $54,045 to $81,389

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    (5) Graphic Designer / Supervising Graphic Designer / Senior Graphic Designer

    463px-Tornado safety in schools 

    Graphic designers or supervising graphic designers or senior graphic designers head a team of animators, illustrators, fine artists, layout artists, and graphic artists in executing the overall design and layout of a project. This person initiates the concept and plans the visual solutions on how to come up with the most effective way to convey marketing campaign messages for products by way of print and broadcast media like magazines, journals, packaging, catalogues, brochures, VTRs, and other forms of media exposure.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    Top level graphic designers earn average annual salaries with totals ranging from $42,483 - $63,463 comprising basic salaries, bonuses, and profit sharing schemes.

    For information about top hirers, please see info furnished for graphic artist section.

    Career Outlook

    Graphic designer or supervising designers or senior graphic designers start out with their careers in entry level positions like graphic artists, junior graphic designer, production artist, illustrator, animator, layout artist, fine artist, or desktop publisher.

    Career growth will lead to higher paying jobs as:

    • Art director - $41,322 to $67,486
    • Senior art director - $56,370 to $88,218
    • Creative director - $55,418 to $107,539

    Information about US locations have been furnished in the graphic artist section.

    Continue to Page 3 for more on Art Careers in Technology

  • slide 8 of 11
    Gain insights on how much video game designers and art directors earn and what makes their jobs exciting and rewarding. Find more details in this page of our article about art careers in technology by Ciel S. Cantoria.
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    (6) Video Game Designer

    450px-Halo3LaunchInNYC ShaneKim MasterChief 

    Video game designers conceptualize new themes and ideas for the latest video games in seemingly realistic settings and will supervise the work of a team of artists like video game artists, animators, sound designers and virtual world designers and engineers. They are well rounded in all types of media as possible outlets for the company’s video game products including websites and films.

    Ideas should all be created from scratch and if possible add more value by creating and developing in accordance with environmental requirements. The designer must be able to adjust his ideas according to feedback and will take ideas from thereon in order to improve the video game to its most entertaining level.

    Pay Rates and Top Hirers

    Average annual salaries of video game designers range from $41,541 to $71,273 in the form of salaries, bonuses, and profit sharing schemes. Information about top-hiring companies are the same as the information contained under the video game artists section.

    Career Outlook

    These artists start out in their video game designing profession as software engineer-developer programmers or as 3D artists. They often advance in their careers as art directors or by venturing on establishing their own video game production outfits.

    Information about the US locations where this job has the highest demand and highest salary offers has been furnished in the section for video game artists. Nevertheless, the US city with highest salary offer for this job is Boston, Massachusetts, with total annual salaries ranging from $42,892 to $91,563.

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    (7) Art Director or Creative Director

    748px-Kamlesh Verma 

    Art directors are considered as the artistic career to aim for in the advertising industry's art career jobs. Art directors basically run the show and supervise the entire team of graphic artists, designers, and multimedia resources including engineering and talent agencies.

    The art director’s concepts and creative juices will be the basis of the entire production’s work, from which the rest of the team will build, develop, and design its creative input subject to the director's approval.

    Depending on the size of the advertising outfit or broadcast industry, a higher position considered as senior to that of the art director is the position of creative director. Generally, the creative director’s concern is to communicate or negotiate with the clients and to convey and coordinate the latter’s requirements to the production team.

    Average annual pay starts at $56,779 up to $90,309 including bonuses and profit shares. You will find the top paying advertisers, marketing, publishing, and graphic design industries with the highest salary offers for this prestigious art career in technology in the following cities:

    • Washington, DC $ 77,500 to $104,540
    • New York, NY $77,073 to $102,717
    • Boston, MA $77,125 to $100,552
    • San Francisco, CA $72,748 to $117, 354
    • Los Angeles, California $75,543 to $96,775

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    Reference Material & Image Credit Section

    Reference Materials:

    • Occupational Employment Statistics ---
    • Occupational Outlook Handbook ---
    • Salary Survey for Country: United States ---

    Image Credits Section: