A Closer Look at a Career as a Multimedia Artist
When someone says the word “artist” to you, the image that may come into your mind is someone with a palette, easel, and a whole bunch of watercolours. Even when you go to an art gallery or a museum, the works of art showcased are most likely to be paintings or murals. It may not enter your mind that art can be created in other ways too—not just the standards palette, easel, and colours.
These artists may not use traditional tools that we are familiar with but they are equally creative and talented. These professionals are known as multimedia artists, and though you may not be as be familiar with their job title, you are likely to be familiar with their work especially if you watch a lot of TV or film. And like the great artists that we all admire, their work can also create a lasting impact on those who witness it.
If you’ve always been inclined to aesthetics and are passionate about digital technology, a multimedia artist can lead to a truly rewarding career. Let’s get to know more about this below.
Multimedia Artists – What You Need to Know
A multimedia artist utilize technology to create art specifically graphics, animation, special effects, and other visual images that are meant for not just film or TV, but the internet, video games, and other forms of media as well. The amount of work they have to do usually depends on the industry they are in. For instance, an animated TV commercial may not require a lot of work compared to a full-length animated feature film.
Nevertheless, any type of work as a multimedia artist entails 100% focus and commitment, as any slight misstep can be a costly one as they will be asked to do a do-over of the work they have done.
Multimedia artists can work for a wide variety of industries, including advertising agencies or TV or film production companies. They can work under the supervision of an art director or individually and collaborate with other artists and animators.
According to PayScale.com, multimedia artists can earn C$33,000 – C$77,000a year with additional potential earnings for bonus and profit sharing.
As multimedia artists are essentially artists too, they are expected to have a good sense of art and design aesthetics. In addition, they have expert knowledge in how to make visual images capture light, texture, shadow, and colour appropriately for the target medium and audience. Lastly and most importantly, a multimedia artist should have expert-level competence of graphics-based computer programs, including ones centred on three-dimensional design. As computer software is an ever-evolving industry, it pays to have the strong capacity to learn new software and technology quickly as well as they will need to continuously know how to improve their skills and expand their techniques.
Apart from technical proficiency, succeeding as a multimedia artist requires an arsenal of strengths. Communication skills and time management abilities are also important since they are asked to present their vision or concept for their work and therefore must know how to explain it clearly. In addition, they work under strict timelines whether they are a part of a commercial, film, or TV program, or any other project.
Earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts, Computer Graphics, or Animation is a good way to kick off a career as a multimedia artist. Some of the most popular educational institutions to earn these degrees are the Emily Carr University of Art and Design in Vancouver, BC, the Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) in Toronto, ON, and Sheridan College in Oakville, ON. The latter, in fact, is the alma mater of Domee Shi, whose film “Bao” won Best Animated Short Film at this year’s Oscars.
Pros and Cons
Like with any job, a career as a multimedia artist comes with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. One common downside is the long hours that are associated with the job, where some may be required to work evenings and weekends, depending on deadlines provided. Some feel that the ever-changing technology can be a bane too as it can be a challenge to constantly keep up with the trends where the graphics software or applications can easily become obscure just in a few years’ time.
A pro of working as a multimedia artist though is the opportunity to meet a variety of people, and encountering a wide variation of projects that appeal to the mainstream audience such as animated short films that are lead-ins in high-profile and much-awaited movies such as “The Incredibles 2.” Some are also grateful for the travel opportunities that come with the job.