Occupation Summary

Special Effects Artists and Animators

O*NET 27-1014.00


Create special effects or animations using film, video, computers, or other electronic tools and media for use in products, such as computer games, movies, music videos, and commercials.

Annual Wages:
Employment Rate:
Employment is expected to increase by 19.69%.
Education Level:
Bachelor's Degree. According to O*Net, the majority of people employed in this occupation have this level of education.
Business and Industry

  1. Design complex graphics and animation, using independent judgment, creativity, and computer equipment.
  2. Create two-dimensional and three-dimensional images depicting objects in motion or illustrating a process, using computer animation or modeling programs.
  3. Make objects or characters appear lifelike by manipulating light, color, texture, shadow, and transparency, or manipulating static images to give the illusion of motion.
  4. Assemble, typeset, scan, and produce digital camera-ready art or film negatives and printer's proofs.
  5. Apply story development, directing, cinematography, and editing to animation to create storyboards that show the flow of the animation and map out key scenes and characters.
  6. Script, plan, and create animated narrative sequences under tight deadlines, using computer software and hand drawing techniques.
  7. Create basic designs, drawings, and illustrations for product labels, cartons, direct mail, or television.
  8. Create pen-and-paper images to be scanned, edited, colored, textured, or animated by computer.
  9. Develop briefings, brochures, multimedia presentations, web pages, promotional products, technical illustrations, and computer artwork for use in products, technical manuals, literature, newsletters, and slide shows.
  10. Use models to simulate the behavior of animated objects in the finished sequence.
  11. Create and install special effects as required by the script, mixing chemicals and fabricating needed parts from wood, metal, plaster, and clay.
  12. Participate in design and production of multimedia campaigns, handling budgeting and scheduling, and assisting with such responsibilities as production coordination, background design, and progress tracking.
  13. Convert real objects to animated objects through modeling, using techniques such as optical scanning.
  14. Implement and maintain configuration control systems.

National Industry Employment Patterns

Industry % of Special Effects Artists and Animators employed Annual Growth Rate
Motion picture and video industries 11.1 4.77
Software publishers 8.7 1.06
Computer systems design and related services 4.2 1.71
Advertising, public relations, and related services 2.5 1.18
Specialized design services 2.4 1.26

Labor Market Information

2022 Statewide average hourly wage $36.78
2022 National average hourly wage $53.43
2020 National employment 62,400
2020 Texas employment 2,595
Texas projected employment by 2030 3,106
Texas projected annual employment and Turnover openings through 2030 337

* Due to confidentiality rules, not all regions may have the data displayed. The sum of all the regions may not be equal to the state total.

Top 10 Relevant Knowledge Areas Relevant Importance Levels
Computers and Electronics
Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
English Language
Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Knowledge of design techniques, tools, and principles involved in production of precision technical plans, blueprints, drawings, and models.
Communications and Media
Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
Customer and Personal Service
Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Sales and Marketing
Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.
Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
Engineering and Technology
Knowledge of the practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.
Production and Processing
Knowledge of raw materials, production processes, quality control, costs, and other techniques for maximizing the effective manufacture and distribution of goods.
Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.

Top 10 Relevant Skill Areas Relevant Importance Levels
Active Listening
Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking
Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Active Learning
Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
Judgment and Decision Making
Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Time Management
Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Complex Problem Solving
Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

Top 10 Relevant Abilities Relevant Importance Levels
Oral Comprehension
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
Written Comprehension
The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
Oral Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
Near Vision
The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Visual Color Discrimination
The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
Problem Sensitivity
The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
Deductive Reasoning
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
Written Expression
The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

  • Working with Computers
    -- Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Thinking Creatively
    -- Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates
    -- Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
  • Getting Information
    -- Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
    -- Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Other Activities

  • Achievement
    - Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence
    - Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.


Digital cameras: Panoramic digital cameras;

Graphics tablets: Digital paper;

Personal computers: Personal computers;

Pressure stylus: Digital pens;


Computer aided design CAD software: AutoDesSys form Z; Autodesk 3ds Max Design; Autodesk Alias Design; Autodesk Alias Surface; Autodesk AutoCAD Civil 3D; solidThinking;

Configuration management software: Perforce Helix software;

Desktop publishing software: QuarkXPress; Adobe Systems Adobe InDesign;

Development environment software: Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Suite; Adobe Systems Adobe AIR; Adobe Systems Adobe ActionScript; C; Code libraries; Component libraries; Crytek CryEngine; DX Studio; MaxScript; Maya Embedded Language MEL; Unity Technologies Unity; Unreal Technology Unreal Engine; XML User Interface XUI;

Document management software: Adobe Systems Adobe Acrobat;

Enterprise application integration software: Extensible markup language XML;

Graphical user interface development software: Figma;

Graphics or photo imaging software: Freeverse Lineform; Electric Rain Swift 3D Xpress; HASH Animation:Master; Indigo Renderer; Inivis AC3D; Luxology Modo; Luxrender; MagicTracer; Massive Jet; Cybermotion 3D Designer; DAZ Productions Bryce; DAZ Productions Carrara; Corel CorelDraw Graphics Suite; Corel Painter; Caligari Corporation trueSpace; Celsys RETAS; Character Studio; Cheetah3D; ACD Systems Canvas; Ability Photopaint; Adobe Systems Adobe Creative Cloud software; Adobe Systems Adobe Fireworks; Adobe Systems Adobe Photoshop; Autodesk Combustion; Autodesk Maya; Autodesk Mudbox; Autodesk SketchBook Pro; Autodesk SoftImage; Blender; Bohemian Coding DrawIt; Bunkspeed HyperDrive; Bunkspeed HyperMove; AutoQ3D; Adobe Systems Adobe FreeHand MX; Adobe Systems Adobe Illustrator; Adobe Systems Adobe ImageReady; Ambient Design ArtRage; Apple DrawBerry; Xara Designer Pro; VectorDesigner; Three-dimensional graphics software; Trapcode Particular; Trimble SketchUp Pro; Two-dimensional graphics software; e-on software Vue; Quad Software Grome; sK1; Mental Images Mental Ray; Maxon BodyPaint 3D; Microsoft Expression Design; Aqsis Renderer; NVDIA Gelato; Nevercenter Silo; NewTek Lightwave 3D; Next Limit Maxwell Render; NodeBox; RealFlow; Satori Paint; Serif DrawPlus; Side Effects Software Houdini; Skencil; SmithMicro Anime Studio; SmithMicro Manga Studio; SmithMicro SoftwarePoser; SplutterFish Brazil; Sunflow Render System; Pixarra TwistedBrush; Pixelmator; Pixologic Zbrush;

Object or component oriented development software: Python; Object-oriented programming languages; jQuery; C++;

Office suite software: Microsoft Office software;

Operating system software: Microsoft Windows; UNIX; Apple macOS;

Platform interconnectivity software: Adobe Systems AdobeMlashMX;

Presentation software: Microsoft PowerPoint;

Process mapping and design software: Microsoft Visio;

Spreadsheet software: Microsoft Excel;

Video creation and editing software: Maxon Cinema 4D; TechSmith Camtasia; Pixar RenderMan Studio; YouTube; Autodesk 3ds Max; Apple Final Cut Pro; Autodesk MotionBuilder; Adobe Systems Adobe Premiere Pro; Adobe Systems Adobe Director; Adobe Systems Adobe After Effects; Chaos Group V-Ray;

Web page creation and editing software: Google Sites; Adobe Systems Adobe Dreamweaver; Social media sites;

Web platform development software: Microsoft Silverlight; PHP; Adobe Systems Adobe Flex; Adobe Systems Adobe Shockwave Player; AJAX; Extensible hypertext markup language XHTML; Drupal; Dynamic hypertext markup language DHTML; JavaScript; Hypertext markup language HTML; Cascading style sheets CSS;

Word processing software: Microsoft Word;

Related O*NET occupational titles for Special Effects Artists and Animators include:
  • 27-1011.00 Art Directors
  • 27-1021.00 Commercial and Industrial Designers
  • 27-1012.00 Craft Artists
  • 43-9031.00 Desktop Publishers
  • 27-4032.00 Film and Video Editors
  • 27-1024.00 Graphic Designers
  • 27-2012.05 Media Technical Directors/Managers
  • 27-2012.00 Producers and Directors
  • 15-1255.01 Video Game Designers
  • 15-1255.00 Web and Digital Interface Designers

Sources of Additional Information
  • For information about accredited schools of art and design, visit: National Association of Schools of Art and Design
  • For more information about careers in video game design, visit: Game Career Guide
  • Special Effects Artists and Animators

  • Contact Texas Workforce Commission
    Labor Market and Career Information  |  101 E. 15th Street, Annex Room 0252  |  Austin, Texas 78778
    Official Website  |  1-800-822-PLAN (7526)  |  512.936.3200

    ** The information in this report may be derived from many sources like O*NET, BLS (Bureau of Labor Statistics), OOH (Occupational Outlook Handbook), and Career One Stop.