Visual effects professionals can expect a rise in available jobs in the foreseeable future. This does not, however, mean the market will get less competitive. The market has been more demanding lately, requiring people trained with the most up-to-date software and industry procedures, as well as real-world experience and teamwork skills. Because these types of jobs are branching out, specialists’ salaries may be more than those listed below, and part-time workers may make less.
Visual effects salaries have many different variables, including industry, type of contract, and length of experience. Film and video editors can expect a salary around $45,000 U.S. dollars per year. 3d concept artists can expect $58,000 per year, while 3d animators can expect $62,000. Producers average $48,000 per year, and compositors average $49,000 per year. The software side of things is much more lucrative, averaging $114,000 per year. This is because retraining for new software is constant, and many new products require engineering of a separate platform to run the product on.
The type of company you work at has a large effect on things as well. Publicly-held companies and private trusts pay more than their smaller counterparts. Typically, self employed work, contract work, and work for nonprofits brings in the least amount of money. This is highly variable, though, from your level of expertise to the type of project you are working on. You may bring in much more money for specialized, cutting edge work than an easy and straightforward project. You can make a great salary if you are a dedicated, whichever company structure you decide to work for.
Your level of seniority in the business has much to do with your salary as well. Typically, workers can expect to receive a $20,000 raise for each decade in the business. For a student just starting out, possibly the average salary will be $40,000. When you have five to nine years experience, the salary averages $62,000. When you have 10-20 years experience, salary averages $86,000. When you have over 20 years experience, you can expect $98,000. Keep in mind this is a broad overview of the visual effects field as a whole, and will vary by your own area and level of expertise. The geographical area you choose to reside in has a great effect on job availability as well, so be sure to scout out high-density visual effects areas when looking for a new job.
Many programs can prepare you for visual effects careers. Great programs will provide you with teachers with industry experience and the most up-to-date programs available. They will also provide you with a broad spectrum of everything in your chosen field, so if you end up liking special effects producing more than prop design you have an avenue for that. Some offer retraining for new programs and tools that have appeared in the market. Do your own research into some of the companies already out there, but remember not to let this hamper you. Many of the best and brightest visual effects companies have not even been created yet!
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