Should You Pursue a Career in Animation? What to Know About 3D Animation Technology

Over the past few decades, animation technology has come a long way. The computer-generated and 3-D animations produced today look nothing like the 2D animations produced at the beginning of the 20th century. As technology continues to evolve and develop, so will the opportunities and options for animation.

If you’re creative, like telling stories, and are curious about what technology can do, a career in animation might be right for you. Learn more about the field, what the careers options are and how to get started in a training certification program.

What Is Animation Technology?

Animation technology allows you to tell a story using hand-drawn or computer-rendered images. When someone creates an animation, they produce a series of images that simulate movement when the images are photographed in rapid succession.

Over the years, animation technology has evolved from the hand-drawn, pixel-based images used to produce classic animation movies like Aladdin or The Lion King to vector-based images to 3-D animation[1], such as what’s seen in movies like the Toy Story series.

Often, animators who produce 3-D animations use a computer to create the images and drawings. They work with software that lets them manipulate the image they are working with, so they can rotate it and turn it in all directions. Sometimes, 3-D animators use motion-capture, which records the movement of people or objects. The animator then turns the images of those objects or people into an animation.

What Skills Do You Need to Work in Animation?

Thanks to technology, you don’t need to be particularly artistic to have a successful career in animation these days. If you’re not the best at drawing, you can use software to make up for any lack of talent. What matters most is that you have a good eye for the way things look and for how colors, light and texture work together.

A career in 3-D animation is likely to rely on the use of technology, from software programs to coding. Since technology develops rapidly, it’s important for an animator to stay on top of programs and to be willing to learn how to use new platforms and codes.

Creativity and the ability to take criticism are two more essential skills for animators. Often, you’ll find yourself working on a team and will need to listen to the ideas of others and build on them. Your coworkers are likely to listen to your ideas and give feedback on or work with you to develop them further.

Persistence is another must-have quality if you’re interested in animation. You’ll need to keep working to build up your skills as an artist, a user of technology and a team player.

What Careers Are Available in Animation Technology?

Animators work in a range of industries. Many are self-employed, meaning they work on freelance projects or run their own companies. About 14% work in the motion picture industry and another 7% work for software publishers[2]. A handful work in public relations or advertising.

The role a person with a background in animation technology plays can vary, too. Some people might specialize in motion capture while others work as texture artists, for example.

What Can You Earn as an Animator?

An animator’s salary depends on their industry and role. The median salary across the occupation was $77,700 in 2020[2]. People working in the motion picture industry had the highest median salary, $92,250. How long you work in the field and your education level can also influence the salary you earn.

What Training Programs Are Available in 3-D Animation?

If you’re interested in learning more about the opportunities available to you in animation technology, one place to start is with a 3-D animation certificate program. You can earn a certificate in animation technology in less than a year. After finishing the program, you’ll be able to take exams to become an Autodesk Certified User or Adobe Certified Associate (Animate CC).

Career certificate programs also prepare you for further study. You can go on to enroll in an associate’s degree program in Digital Media Technology if you’d like.

How to Get Started in 3-D Animation Certificate Program

Orange Technical College offers a 3-D Animation Technology certificate at our Mid Florida campus. Learn more about the program and what you can to do enroll today.


  1. “What Is Animation”, Studio Binder,
  2. “Special Effects Artists and Animators”, Bureau of Labor Statistics,