Students interested in learning animation at a dedicated training facility will find that almost all of their options are located in major metropolitan areas. Since this is also where many of the highest-paying jobs are located, it makes sense that students looking for a career change consider looking at the kinds of cities that offer the most robust training options for aspiring animators.
What is Animation?
Animation is the process of photographing a still image—typically a drawing—then making slight modifications to the image while taking successive pictures. An animator will rapidly show these pictures to make it appear as if the image is moving. Animation skills are great to have in many different jobs. Animators don’t just create movies or television shows. They also create moving graphics for websites, video games, or visual effects. Most animators now use software to create the graphics, though some still use drawings and sketches to bring their imagination to life.
Read more about what animation is and why you should learn it.
What Can You Do with Animation Skills?
Learning animation opens doors to different fields. The most obvious field is filmmaking: producing visual effects, developing computer-generated special effects, or creating images for any media type. Movies, television, the internet, and (video) games all rely on Animators for their products. Yet, Animators can also work as Medical or Mathematical Animators, Illustrators, Games Developers, and VFX Artists. Illustrators focus on still images, both hand-drawn and computer-generated, while Medical or Mathematical Animators, Games Developers, and VFX Artists develop 3D moving images. After Effects and Premiere Pro are the go-to animation software for professionals.
The Los Angeles metropolitan area is a hotspot for animators. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it has the highest employment level for Special Effects Artists and Animators in the country. The city also ranks sixth among the top-paying U.S. metropolitan areas. In addition to employment opportunities, Los Angeles has many entertainment options, including restaurants, shopping, sports, museums, and concerts. It is also a short drive from beaches, mountains, and deserts. According to Glassdoor, Animators in Los Angeles earn $65,000 annually.
In addition to offering many jobs in animation, Los Angeles also has several different schools where students can learn new animation skills. Training Connection, Lumenbrite, Ledet Training, and UCLA Extension are just some available options. Students can pick from more extended programs like Motion Graphics or focus on specific programs related to animation, such as Animate or After Effects.
New York City
New York City is a culturally diverse city with a rich history and a wide variety of dining and entertainment options within easy walking distance. It attracts thousands of new residents every year. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, New York City also has many job opportunities and ranks fifth among the top-paying metropolitan areas in the country. Glassdoor reports that Animators who live there earn about $67,000 per year.
For New York City residents interested in taking an animation class, Noble Desktop offers several different in-person animation classes at its New York City campus. With a central location and easy access to public transportation, Noble is a popular choice for students who want to take a shorter course like After Effects in a Day or a longer class like After Effects Bootcamp. Expert instructors teach small-group classes in spacious, modern classrooms. Future Media Concepts is another New York City school that offers animation training.
Portland has lots of green space and excellent walkability and bike-ability. People enjoy its laid-back lifestyle and its offbeat shops and restaurants. It is also home to many startup businesses. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Portland ranks third among the top-paying metropolitan areas in the country. Glassdoor reports that an Animator in Portland earns an average of $59,000 per year.
Portland residents looking for animation training can enroll with Ledet Training near the Portland city center. Ledet offers an introductory After Effects class and a more advanced option. It also offers a beginner-level class in Cinema 4D.
Lots of Animators live in Orlando and in the state of Florida in general. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Florida has the fifth-highest employment level for Special Effects Artists and Animators in the United States. In addition to animation job opportunities, the city of Orlando is also known for its mild weather and variety of recreation and entertainment options. Glassdoor reports that Animators who live there earn about $57,000 per year.
Future Media Concepts offers three different After Effects classes for students in Orlando who want to learn animation. There is a beginner, intermediate, or advanced option, each of which takes multiple days to complete.
In a list of Best Places to Live in Texas, U.S. News & World Report ranks Dallas second, explaining, “Offering both big-city excitement and quiet, suburban living, the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area has an interesting mix of Texas pride and cosmopolitan offerings.” Dallas also has many job opportunities, a relatively low cost of living, and no state income tax, and it has become popular with people looking to relocate. Animators earn about $62,000 per year working in Dallas, according to Glassdoor.
Students who live in Dallas and want to take an animation class can choose from Digital Training & Designs or Lumenbrite. Both schools offer many different classes in After Effects, including a bootcamp, a beginner course, and a class for more advanced students.
People love Seattle for its combination of employment and recreational opportunities. Niche ranks it the best city in America for outdoor activities and the third best city for young professionals, giving it good grades for diversity, nightlife, and public schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the state of Washington has the second-highest overall employment level for Special Effects Artists and Animators. According to Glassdoor, Seattle Animators earn about $78,000 yearly.
Several animation classes can be found in Seattle. The centrally-located School of Visual Concepts runs a workshop in Animation and Motion Graphics and one in After Effects. Luminous Works Training also has After Effects classes on its schedule–both for beginners and more advanced students–and Sonic Training offers a short Animate course.
CNN Money calls Atlanta “a job-seekers paradise” and places it in the number one spot on its list of 50 Best Places to Live in the U.S. list. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the state of Georgia is a good place to work as an Animator since it has the third-highest employment level for Special Effects Artists and Animators. In Atlanta, Glassdoor reports that Animators earn an average of $62,000 annually.
Ledet Training, Lumenbrite, and Emory Continuing Education offer animation training in Atlanta. With the exception of a Cinema 4D class at Ledet, classes are in After Effects, a popular Adobe animation app. Both beginner and more advanced students will find a range of course options.
Chicago has a dynamic economy, a wide variety of entertainment options, and a reputation for friendliness. It also takes the number nine spot on Niche’s list of Most Diverse Cities in America. The city is relatively inexpensive, making it unique compared to other large cities. According to Glassdoor, Chicago-based Animators earn about $67,000 annually.
Students will find several different animation classes in the Chicago area. Ascend Training, CTS Training, Future Media Concepts, and Training Connection all offer a variety of different After Effects courses, ranging from beginner to more advanced. Ledet Training also offers After Effects training and a Cinema 4D class.
Houston recently earned the number two spot on U.S. News & World Report’s list of Ten Most Desirable U.S. Cities for Millennials. The ranking is due to Houston’s employment opportunities, high quality of life, and relatively low cost of living. This city has become a popular choice among people who relocate to another city. Glassdoor reports that Animators in Houston earn $61,000 per year.
Students can find many schools offering animation training in the Houston area. Lumenbrite and Ledet Training have various After Effects classes, and Ledet also runs a class in Cinema 4D. Certstaffix Training runs remote courses in After Effects and Animate. However, it provides Houston students with access to a computer lab.
Many people think of San Diego as an ideal place to live, with its beautiful beaches, mild weather, and a vast array of recreation and entertainment options. U.S. News & World Report recently placed San Diego at the top of its list of Most Fun Places to Live in the U.S. San Diego also has many job opportunities for Animators. Glassdoor reports that Animators living in San Diego earn $59,000 per year.
San Diego residents can learn animation skills with an in-person class at Ledet Training, AcademyX, or Sonic Training. Ledet teaches After Effects and also Cinema 4D. AcademyX also has an After Effects Class, while Sonic offers training in Flash/Animate.
Learn Animation Skills Online
Students who don’t live in these major metropolitan areas still have plenty of options for learning animation. They will find that many schools now offer both live online and on-demand animation courses. These formats have become increasingly popular in recent years because they offer greater flexibility and give students more options. Students can attend an online animation class from any location with internet service.
One great way to learn more about live online animation courses is to use Noble Desktop’s Classes Near Me tool.
Learn Animation Skills with Noble Desktop
Many experts agree that animation is much easier to learn when taken either in a live online class or in person. Noble Desktop provides animation classes in both formats. Class sizes are small, and instructors can give students plenty of attention and feedback.
In just a few days, students can learn how to use Adobe After Effects in Noble Desktop's bootcamp. This class is ideal for people new to the field of animation and motion design. Those with more time can learn what it takes to become an Animator in Noble’s comprehensive Motion Graphics Certificate course. This class teaches animation with After Effects, video editing with Premiere Pro, and audio editing with Audition.