Special Effects Artists and Animators

risk level
Based on 953 votes
by 2031
or $47.57 hourly
as of 2022

Automation risk

48% (Moderate Risk)

Moderate Risk (41-60%): Occupations with a moderate risk of automation usually involve routine tasks but still require some human judgment and interaction.

More information on what this score is, and how it is calculated is available here.

Some quite important qualities of the job are difficult to automate:

  • Originality

User poll

34% chance of full automation within the next two decades

Our visitors have voted that there is a small chance this occupation will be replaced. This assessment is further supported by the calculated automation risk level, which estimates 48% chance of automation.

What do you think the risk of automation is?

What is the likelihood that this occupation will be replaced by robots or AI in the next 20 years?


Moderate growth relative to other professions

The number of 'Special Effects Artists and Animators' job openings is expected to rise 5.4% by 2031

Total employment, and estimated job openings

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2021 and 2031.
Updated projections are due Sep 2023.


Very high paid relative to other professions

In 2022, the median annual wage for 'Special Effects Artists and Animators' was $98,950, or $47.57 per hour

'Special Effects Artists and Animators' were paid 113.7% higher than the national median wage, which stood at $46,310

Wages over time

* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics


Moderate range of job opportunities compared to other professions

As of 2022 there were 35,990 people employed as Special Effects Artists and Animators within the United States.

This represents around 0.02% of the employed workforce across the country.

Put another way, around 1 in 4 thousand people are employed as Special Effects Artists and Animators.

Job description

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.

SOC Code: 27-1014.00


If you're thinking of starting a new career, or looking to change jobs, we've created a handy job search tool which might just help you land that perfect new role.

Search jobs in your local area


Leave a comment

ur mom (No chance) says
Art can't be made by robots. We've seen this time and time again, especially when people use AI to change a perfectly made 24 fps animation to 60 fps. Animation has to have a human touch to be appealing, so there's no way animation can be automated and still have people interested.
Mar 25, 2022 at 08:27 PM
R (Highly likely) says
Like any other art form, AI can provide infinite “creative” samples to choose from
Jan 15, 2022 at 07:22 AM
j (No chance) says
Animation quality would go down by a lot if animation were automated. As an animator, animation needs a human touch. It doesn't look right if it's automated.
Jan 12, 2022 at 03:16 AM
Mikael says
Working in visualization of film, I can't see AI. doing what we do in any foreseeable future. The reason for this is that a lot of the 3d process is a creative feedback-loop between the client and the artist. It's just open talk.

Also, would you have an AI do Lookdev when the client is looking for something stylized? The only way this would work would be if the AI. would be able to have that same back and fourth of ideas. It just can't.
Jan 05, 2022 at 02:24 PM
Bee (No chance) says
Creativity is a strictly biological phenomenon
Oct 03, 2021 at 01:12 AM
elon musk (Small chance) says
Frankly... AI-generated animation stinks
Sep 07, 2021 at 09:35 AM
R. M. Staff (No chance) says
I don't think complex creativity involved in making animations can be replicated. Style choice, message, Easter eggs, and so forth are personal choices of the writers, so I don't think automation will take over easily.
Jun 27, 2021 at 09:37 AM
ShinySnom22 (No chance) says
Robot made art and animation is less likely then Jesus being real.
Jun 17, 2021 at 03:21 AM
Shiva (Could go either way) says
It's the ai world anything can happen
Apr 20, 2021 at 04:34 PM
Sade (Small chance) says
I believe that it wouldn't happen because Animation takes a long time to make. And if a AI makes a mistake on a Animation or something like no emotion or anything on character that pretty much human than it's pretty much boring.
Mar 24, 2021 at 08:39 PM
Wyatt (Likely) says
It is known that computers can create full animations without humans. It is not very good, or creative, but they still can.
Mar 19, 2021 at 02:53 PM
Daniel Castro (No chance) says
There is no way that a job like this will get took an away this job requires creativity which robots don’t have
Mar 10, 2021 at 07:01 PM
tyler (Small chance) says
what kind of robot could animate? possible, but unlikely.
Feb 28, 2021 at 02:33 AM
someone who is scared (Could go either way) says
Yeah, AI has the potential take over animation, and probably will. But a giant part of the interest people have in animation nowadays has to do with the creators, so it's unlikely that all of them will disappear.
Oct 30, 2020 at 12:11 PM
Tanghe (Likely) says
When it comes to creating realistic environments and fx it will be automated deep learning algorithms being fed to the director to place in unreal.
Aug 08, 2020 at 06:31 PM
Parth Biju (Small chance) says
A.I doesn't have imagination capable to us humans
Jul 07, 2020 at 08:44 AM
not likely says
animation and art is about the feeling and creativity that the artist/creator expresses through it. with ai and robots they won't be able to feel emotions as strongly nor as passionately as we humans do. therefore even if they do happen to overtake this job, it won't have have the same feeling most likely resulting in humans continuing this job again.

however, it is not unlikely that ai/robots may assist in creating animation or art. for example, they could prepare reference photos, help make animation smoother etc.

i just don't think it is possible for something as creative as animation and art to be overtaken by a bunch of coding.
Jun 01, 2020 at 07:24 PM
Garrett (Likely) says
AI will likely allow digital artists enhanced capability like a software package - it won't entirely replace artists but will push the boundaries and speed at which things are done.
Apr 23, 2020 at 03:44 AM
Jason (Highly likely) says
I'm surprised by the reactions here. Fundamentally speaking, animation is a very repetition task, and repetitive tasks lend well to automation. In Japan, animators earn less than ten dollars an hour, and even then a lot of jobs are outsourced to even cheaper countries like Korea and Vietnam. No matter how you look at it, the future is not that bright.
Apr 01, 2020 at 06:26 AM
Thedrivewillalwaysbethere says
While complex AI has the ability replace us in some distant future, that does not mean we as individuals should stop creating art. We will always have the capacity to create and express ourselves, even if we cannot churn out work as quickly as a computer. AI art will always stem from human ingenuity, even if it does surpass us in the technical areas of visual media.
Mar 30, 2020 at 02:03 PM
Owen Walters (Could go either way) says
I don't think we're anywhere close to being able to have a computer make a comparable movie or TV show from scratch. That being said, I do think it's possible that many who specialize in technical skill will see a reduction in employment. The tools are going to change and likely be much easier for writers/directors to use themselves reducing the need to pay someone else to do it.
Mar 11, 2020 at 01:24 AM
Matt (Small chance) says
not likely. there is too much difference between every project to be taken over by an AI
Feb 29, 2020 at 04:34 PM
vivimagic (Could go either way) says
AI is being used more and more to optimise workflows, and scripts are being created to do that even further. All it would take to an AI to know what the client like and how to do it the quickest way to do and bang, AI will start to take the creative process.
Feb 27, 2020 at 09:24 AM
Anika Yip (Highly likely) says
I said highly likely, but idk... art is a lot more than just the finished process, it’s about the process. A lot of people do art and have communities of it, something AI couldn’t do.

At the same time, AI is already making art... but I think people’s interest in art highly depends on their own creativity and ability to create art.
Feb 14, 2020 at 09:16 PM
Val (No chance) says
Robots/AI don't have the same level of creativity or a wild imagination the same way as humans do; animation is an art, not a math problem that can be solved by machine. Machines only have the capability to serve us not to replace us and Art is a way we humans express ourselves what purpose would it serve if a robot painted or sketched on a canvas.
Jan 23, 2020 at 12:43 AM
handrian Kusnadi (Highly likely) says
surely the animation work will be replaced by robot technology
Dec 06, 2019 at 10:21 AM
Sadie (No chance) says
To be an animator is like to be full of emotion like the art itself is telling you about the creator and his/her way of life.
Nov 24, 2019 at 05:46 PM
Tanghe says
That job is already useless.
Just have a guy act and motion capture it and voila.
Aug 08, 2020 at 06:32 PM
Lizzie says
But that isn't the same. Have you seen rotoscope animation (motion capture animation) compared to animation from imagination? There's a REASON rotoscoping is barely used anymore, except for when a pose is too confusing to freestyle draw. It doesn't have the same effect as exaggerated motion, that can only be done correctly by humans who know what does and what doesn't look good.
Oct 23, 2020 at 01:39 PM
Samuel Israelsen (No chance) says
Motion capture is a useful tool when it comes to animation but it cannot create a finished product all on its own. It needs to be refined and made to look natural. If you look at raw motion capture footage, the result is almost always jittery and unnatural. A 100-meter giant would not move or function the same way as a 6-foot tall human in a Motion Capture suit. Think of it as something of a reference. Like a prebuilt frame of a house to build on. The basic structure is there, we just need to put on the walls and details to make it look good. Also, 2d animation can't be done with motion capture. Hope this helps :)
Dec 19, 2020 at 03:31 AM
Apocalypse Angel says
The process by which artists produce their work is going to be increasingly reliant on shortcuts. The jump from traditional to digital with things like the undo function was probably the first major example of this. In the near future, almost every part of the process will involve automatic generation, just because it will be multitudes faster and give you virtually similar results. The artists will become directors/programmers. Those who don't adapt will die out, unless you're a hobbyist of course.
Oct 16, 2019 at 04:46 PM
Pete says
This will not happen. AI tools will become available to offload animators from tedious tasks like rotoscoping and tracking, but appealing animation, specially caricatured and stylised animation, requires the animator to understand humour, feelings, pop culture references etc etc
Oct 10, 2019 at 08:50 PM
"[...] but appealing animation, specially caricatured and stylised animation, requires the animator to understand humour, feelings, pop culture references etc etc."

Not necessarily. The writers/directors will take care of this part, the AI won't need to understand that, it'll just animate it.
Sep 13, 2021 at 03:27 AM
Vitty (Small chance) says
The art of storytelling and human imagination is something that could never be replaced by artificial intelligence, however the actual animation could be done by robots
Oct 04, 2019 at 10:49 AM
Mike (No chance) says
I believe AI's won't take over creating cartoons because computers tend to make circular square and rectangle figures. Where as by hand you can make as many unusual figures with infinite possibilities.
Sep 26, 2019 at 07:44 PM
Bruh says
Bruh, do you even know what 3d animation is?
Feb 18, 2020 at 07:39 PM
Shawn (Could go either way) says
I think even if ai is destined to take a big chunk of animators jobs that is at least 20 years away from becoming a reality.
Sep 15, 2019 at 05:39 PM
Bruh says
More like 7 years
Feb 18, 2020 at 07:38 PM
Mira (Highly likely) says
Look, the ai is already making art. They're writing scripts. As they get better and better, they will learn to mimic human creativity, enhance it, and surpass us. I'm terrified of this future.
Jul 21, 2019 at 03:47 AM
Kevin H says
I think not. The art that AI made still need human's role. The currently existing AI arts are just a collage of picture being mashed together from a huge collection of neural dataset. Only a few may look good, and a lot are horrible fiasco. Can the AI imagine of what kind the picture want to be? the scene? the perspective and point of view? What kind of accessories and outfits they wanna make? Is it enjoyable and understandable by humans ? big NO.

Arts are made for other humans to enjoy, therefore AI can't completely portray or convey what the humans want to create from his/her imagination. Art can't be made just by clicking one "Make Me a Good Art" button. Artists are still needed to concept and retouch.

AI mostly will be used to help quicken the creative process, not completely replace artists.

EVEN IF the AI managed to do all of above, it will be in a far distant future. It would take decades to do so. There are many better things for AI developers to do rather than prioritizing on this multimedia field, such as medical field, transportation, etc.

In the end, all we want to do is work and collaborate together with AI to enhance and quicken our creative work.
Aug 09, 2019 at 05:59 AM
Alej says
I actually agree with this.

The way a human creates art is heavily influenced by environment, upbringing, current social situations both personal to the artist and globally, it’s heavily influenced by their teachers and definitely other forms of art (in music, painting, animation and/or film-making a creator will draw motivation, ideas and techniques from quite a few of his heroes, mentors, teachers, “that cool beat” or “this cool sequence found in episode X of favorite series Y”).
AI/neural engines, genetic algorithms, etc... they can do all that, they can learn from a teacher and iterate infinitely towards perfecting an outcome (whether good or bad in the eyes of most people), collect tons of references from which to base its art from.

I could only argue that the missing ingredient will still be “the soul”.While collecting, learning, etc a person can understand, learn and attach an emotion to said reference, skill, techniques, etc... while I see an AI being devoid of said understanding (at least in a remotely similar way) for the foreseeable future.
Jul 19, 2020 at 05:27 AM
1 says
Art is about creative, sentient thinking, which artificial intelligence will never compete against the human mind in
Mar 30, 2019 at 12:38 AM
Stasik (No chance) says
It could only change the thing we claim worthly in art.
Apr 23, 2019 at 10:24 AM
STARFIGHTER7806 (No chance) says
I really hope they don't as this is my dream job
Aug 05, 2019 at 06:57 AM
Yeah same here
Nov 12, 2019 at 06:25 AM
Tanghe says
You are all wrong you yourself are just an AI you're just running on a biological computer. You need to w8 a long time to do basic evolution AI can evolve permanently and push changes to other AI's. They will be better then us at everything. if they allow our species to exist it will be out of compassion.
Allot of us will have also joined them as cyborgs or in death. if i make an identical clone of my brain it can still be an artist.
Aug 08, 2020 at 06:35 PM

Leave a reply about this occupation

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

People also viewed

Graphic Designers
Computer Programmers
Fine Artists, Including Painters, Sculptors, and Illustrators
Video Game Designers

Have your say

Elizabeth Annette Wolter on Writers and Authors

Someone who is passionate about storytelling on Writers and Authors

Vk on Computer Programmers

Dave Leininger on Database Architects

Nemesio Gallardo Araujo on Civil Engineering Technologists and Technicians