Discover the Best Animation Classes in San Francisco
It’s all but impossible to go a single day in the 21st century without encountering multiple examples of animation and motion graphics. From blockbuster movies and streaming anime to e-commerce websites and reels, the art of moving images is a fixture of life today. This is good news for creatives with an aptitude for technology, as Animators will be in high demand to keep up with the 2028 projected global market size of $531.237 billion.
A career in animation has many perks, including providing an unusual amount of job security for artists and storytellers who desire a lifestyle that includes creating art every day. While changing trends define the highest-demand styles, opportunities are flourishing for those interested in 2D animation, 3D animation, stop motion, and other innovative techniques. Animators and Motion Graphics Artists require similar skills: the difference between the two lies in the definition of “animation” being motion graphics with a storyline. Opportunities in motion graphics are arguably higher today, especially in cities like San Francisco and Seattle, where tech giants like Amazon, Microsoft, and Google offer ample employment opportunities to those who can jazz up their websites and other products with modern moving images.
However, considering the popularity of animation in entertainment today—especially its growth in appeal for adults—it’s likely the storytelling Animator job market will thrive and expand in the upcoming years. From the 2D styles of anime to 3D CGI and other animated effects of live-action films, Animators have plenty to do to keep up with today’s audience demands.
Best Animation Classes & Schools in San Francisco
Cinema 4D in After Effects Bootcamp Noble Desktop - Online
This online Cinema 4D in After Effects Bootcamp guides participants to a solid understanding of Maxon’s Cinema 4D Lite, the version of the software included for no additional charge with Adobe’s After Effects. Through hands-on projects, students will learn to create and work with 3D models to enhance any animation work in After Effects. Whether you are an Animator or Motion Graphics Artist, an in-depth knowledge of Cinema 4D can level up your work.
Prerequisites: After Effects experience equivalent to Noble Desktop’s After Effects Bootcamp is required for this course.
Duration: Three 7-hour sessions or six 3-hour sessions
After Effects Beginner Class American Media Training - 601 Montgomery St, San Francisco, CA 94111
This beginner-level After Effects class is a primer for anyone just getting started in the art of digital video. While not initially created with Animators in mind, After Effects is essential software for many working in the field today. Students will gain a clear understanding of the basics of the program, learning how to craft an animation project, from creating a composition to rendering a final product.
Prerequisites: Basic computer knowledge is all you need for this beginners’ course.
Duration: Three 6-hour sessions
Learning Maya NobleProg - 75 Broadway, San Francisco, CA 94111
Students of the Learning Maya Training Course will learn to use Autodesk Maya to create 3D animations through interactive lectures and hands-on practice in a live lab. By the end of this class, participants will be able to animate and render high-quality projects featuring realistic models and textures. They will also be able to use Maya to simulate water, smoke, and other natural effects.
Prerequisites: You’ll need a basic understanding of computers to excel in this class.
Duration: 14 hours, typically in two 7-hour sessions
After Effects in a Day NYC Career Centers - Online
This one-day After Effects crash course provides students with high-quality instruction and hands-on experience in creating professional-grade motion graphics. Participants will learn the user interface, timeline, and essential functions required to create GIFs, logos, and other animations. Depending on your goals, this workshop may be all you need to get started, or you may use it to meet prerequisite requirements for NYC Career Centers’ After Effects Level 1 intensive.
Prerequisites: Photoshop experience is recommended but not required.
Duration: One 7-hour session
San Francisco Industries That Use Animation
As the headquarters of Pixar Animation Studios and Lucasfilm Ltd.—among many other lesser-known studios—San Francisco is a hotbed for both 2D and 3D storytelling animation careers. Another leading employer of Animators in the Bay Area is the visual effects powerhouse Industrial Light and Magic, creators of the magic behind Star Wars, Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and many other iconic films.
Silicon Valley and San Francisco’s thriving tech industry provides numerous animation and motion graphics opportunities in the Bay Area. Reddit, Uber, and Adobe—makers of common applications in the world of animation—are just a few of the major companies that call the region home, and each employs several individuals in the motion graphics field. This culture of technological innovation supports many motion design studios, branding agencies, and gaming companies that need talented Animators to meet the high expectations of their clientele.
The Bay Area is the ideal home for aspiring Animators interested in staying abreast of the latest innovations in the field or even working on the newest technology that will define the next generation of animation. Solid industry leaders like Adobe are improving the longtime standard applications, while startups like Rive are developing exciting new animation software that promises to open doors for even more positions in the field.
Animation Jobs & Salaries in San Francisco
San Francisco boasts the third-highest number of Special Effects Artists and Animators employed in a metropolitan area in the U.S. About 2,480 San Franciscans worked in the field in 2022, with an average mean wage of $137,000. While LA’s film industry understandably hosts about 12,000 more animation jobs than San Francisco, their average wages differ by less than $1,000. San Francisco is a unique city in its variety of opportunities in animation, offering storytelling opportunities with studios like Pixar and Lucasfilm alongside motion graphics positions with tech companies like Google, Apple, and Adobe. While the cost of living in the Bay Area is notoriously high, the hourly mean wage of $66 makes a comfortable lifestyle possible for Animators in San Francisco.