This guide is all about how to become a multimedia artist. It walks through key steps, such as how to get a multimedia artist degree and some potential career paths for multimedia artists.
Multimedia artists work at the intersection between art and technology, and the need for them is only increasing. If you enter megastores like Nike and Louis Vuitton, you would see some outlandish stuff, like touch displays and walls that change virtual products on rotation. And who’s responsible for all of that? You guessed it—multimedia designers. With the rise of virtual and augmented reality, it’s becoming one of the hottest professions along with software development.
If the sound of all this excites you, let’s dive into this intriguing world where video games become reality.
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Featured Multimedia Artist Programs
|School Name||Program||More Info|
|Southern New Hampshire University||Online BS in Graphic Design||Visit Site|
|Columbia University||UX/UI Bootcamp||Visit Site|
|University of California, Berkeley||UX/UI Bootcamp||Visit Site|
|University of Texas at Austin||UX/UI Bootcamp||Visit Site|
|University of Minnesota||UX/UI Bootcamp||Visit Site|
|University of Denver||UX/UI Bootcamp||Visit Site|
What Do Multimedia Artists Do?
So what does a multimedia artist or designer do exactly, and how do they do it?
Multimedia Design is very vast since it encompasses all art, which utilizes technology and traditional artistic skills to come into existence. Therefore, professionals in this field design and make art for digital media. Such professions can include graphic designers, illustrators, animators, and other 2D & 3D artists.
Their common thread is that they need to be skilled in software that builds these assets. Sometimes they also need to know how to code or physics, like in the case of game designers. Because this profession is evolving, some multimedia artists create physical installations such as sculptures or screens for projection mapping.
The possibilities are limitless, and so are the ways these wizards can apply their skills.
OK, but this all sounds very vague. What are some specific things multimedia designers do? For instance, a multimedia artist might create an ad banner using HTML5 and Adobe Animate for an e-commerce website. Simultaneously they could create a video using animation and special effects for the same ad campaign featured on YouTube.
Another multimedia designer might focus on projection mapping for an art gallery working with how light is projected in the physical space. Yet another might work on creating video game characters and test out how far they should jump and the bounce of their landing. These are all called multimedia artists, but they have very different specializations.
In general, a multimedia artist is responsible for the following:
— Creating assets (illustrations, 2D & 3D digital art, graphics, animations) using graphic software
— Developing storyboards and storylines
— Installing or designing new special effects
— Editing videos and other assets such as graphics and photos
— Collaborating with other team members and departments to understand the ask and iterate through feedback
Multimedia Artist Degree
Are you still thinking about it?
The demand for multimedia artists is projected to grow 10 percent faster than average. Therefore, you can rest assured there are many employment opportunities out there. But what does it take to become one?
Let’s start with the beaten path first: To become a multimedia artist, you usually need a bachelor’s degree either in fine arts, graphic design, computer graphics, animation, multimedia design, or a related field. Some knowledge in tech is always required, so someone might take computer science courses to supplement their degree, especially if it’s in fine arts. A master’s degree can always give you a salary boost, but it is not required.
However, like with any artist, multimedia designers can also be self-taught. Many never went to a traditional college, or if they did, they might have studied an unrelated field. Many multimedia designers go the self-taught route, and especially in today’s world, there’s absolutely nothing you can’t learn online. Apart from many graphic software companies like Adobe offering courses and certifications, there are also platforms like Coursera & Udemy where one can learn all the skills. And finally, there are some reputable short-term programs offered both online and in-person to help you get a jump start on your career. We will take a look at some in a bit.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s see what other things you need to have in your back pocket to land that job you’ve always wanted.
Many argue that a portfolio is as important, if not more important, than your degree. Some employers don’t care how you acquired the skills if your work looks good. They want to know you can get the job done and that your aesthetic is a good fit for their project. Therefore, a portfolio needs to showcase your best work and tell your prospective employers you’re the person for the job. Then again, you can also go off the beaten path once again and become a freelancer. There are many platforms out there like Upwork that help you find clients.
Next, you will need to know the tools of the trade, a.k.a. the graphic software you utilize to make your masterpieces come to life. There are always industry standards, but different companies can work with different ones. Though you will have your favorite programs, you might also have to show some flexibility and dabble your feet in other ones. Examples of such software are Cinema 4D, the Adobe Suite, Unity, Final Cut Pro, and Sketch Up.
Finally, this last one is a no-brainer: experience. Though portfolios can often make up for the lack of experience, a resume that comes with impressive companies you’ve worked for can make a difference. If you’re new to the game, don’t fret, especially since educational programs help with job placement, but more experience does equal a higher salary.
Enough with the general stuff. Let’s get into some specifics and look at the best colleges and intensive programs for you to look into.
Sample List of Intensive Programs or Certifications (Online and In-Person):
- Shillington College of Graphic Design
- Motion Computer Graphics Master Academy
- One-Year Immersive at the Austin Center for Design
- Interaction Design Program at George Brown College
Career and Salary Outlook
As tech evolves, so does multimedia design. Though artificial intelligence has been able to replace a lot of tedious tasks through automation and process immense amounts of data in short periods, it still has a long way to go before it can replace creativity. Sure there are games like “No Man’s Sky” where A.I. generates unique planets and beings. But even in this case, someone had to design and build the graphics to give it the ability to do such a thing.
The term “multimedia artist” is very broad and covers a wide spectrum of careers, so let’s look at some average salaries depending on the job title and according to State.
Average Salaries According to Job Title:
- Multimedia Artist: $90,104
- Illustrator: $55,234
- Graphic Designer: $58,370
- Animator: $57,068
- Visual Effects Artist (VFX): $83,344
- Motion Graphics Designer: $65,000
Nowadays, as a multimedia designer, you can even go as far as to create NFTs (non-fungible tokens) and build an income. If you learn the skills, your creativity is the limit. And nothing beats seeing the look on visitors’ faces when they can change the color of a wall just by touching it.
Due to environmental and other reasons, people have been replacing fireworks and rappers with drone-created holograms. All these are the work of multimedia artists. If you can think it, they can do it. Never before than now have art and everyday life become so closely integrated. We are on the precipice of immense technological breakthroughs fueled by the human desire to create and experience. So what’s stopping you? You could be the next creator of the “Bored Ape Yacht Club.” The world is waiting for your genius.