Film

5 Unexpected Cities thriving in Animation, Visual Effects, and Videogames.

July 19, 2021
4 min read

Photo by Alex Haney

Digital Entertainment is an industry not limited by language or geographic borders. If you work in animation, vfx, or videogames, and are curious about other cities, then have a look at the following top 5 cities to live and work in animation.

We believe these are the cities where the production of video games development, visual effects and animation are thriving. Additionally, these cities have more to offer outside of your work life.

5. Madrid

Photo by Jorge Fernández Salas

This might come as a surprise to many. Still, Madrid’s animation and video games production is among the best. Moreover, it is the biggest among cities with production across western Europe.

The city has a long list of animation studios. Still, the most known are the I-real 3D, La Bombilla, 24, Studio, Cartoon Network Espana and Free Your Mind.

As an animation artist working in Madrid, you should expect to earn, on average, €24,210 a year. However, the salary varies by experience and positions like junior animator, senior animator, lead animator and the studio you work for. Most studios and animation companies in Madrid pay between €24K and €34K per year.

In your spare time, you can visit any of Spain’s beaches and many other events that you may enjoy while working and living in Madrid, such as the SIGMAD Festival, Lleida’s Animac festival, Cordoba’s Animacor festival and the Animabasuro festival that is held in Bilbao.

Working in Madrid in digital entertainment also allows you to experience sensational Tenerife, which hosts the Tenerife International Animation festival, perhaps the continent’s largest gathering.

Although cities in Spain have excellent living standards, most excitement is in Madrid. The city has three of the top seasonal galleries in Spain; the Prado, Museo de Arte and Museo Nacional de Arte. If you enjoy soccer, you will have a great time cheering for Real Madrid Club.

4.Tokyo

Photo by Jezael Melgoza

Tokyo is the home of Mamoru Oshii, the famed creator and winner of Golden Lion and Palme-d-Or.

The city boasts of Hayao Miyazaki, Japan’s version of Walt Disney. Tokyo is also renowned for notable animation styles like Manga and Anime. Inspiring animations studios such as Mad House, Studio Ghibli, and excellent video game studios include Konami, SEGA and Bandai.

The Japanese have true-labour of love for the animation industry judging by the creativity and originality that they show in their animations. The age range for junior digital artists is between 20 to 30 years old, and they earn $13,000 a year.

Those with a little more experience are within 30 to 40 years of age and make slightly under $25,000 a year. Senior animators take home an average of $30,000 annually.

You will be working alongside the elite. Plus, Tokyo is unique everywhere you go. Its many prefectures offer excitement and a fresh experience, which is why it was ranked 9th on monocle’s most livable city list.

After work, you can enjoy Team Lab Borderless, a digital art museum with impressive borderless artwork. You could also watch sumo wrestlers practice at local sumo stables or watch a professional match. If you love baseball, the Japanese version will excite you. They do things differently, live-wave their umbrellas when it’s a home run.

3.Paris

Photo by Anthony DELANOIX

Paris came to light because of its traditional and visual creative form of storytelling.

The city also has a thriving animation, vfx, and video games sector, like major studios like Ubisoft, whose presence can be felt across Paris. However, the city’s unique resource is the many animation studios that line its streets. They include Weevup, Dynamic Creative, Minidoc, Il Estune Fois, La Petite Production, Blackmeal, Gorille, Echo Studio and Scope Digital.

Animators in Paris earn high salaries, although living standards are equally high. As an animator in Paris, you should expect to earn, on average, €34000 each year. Wages in this city range between €18,400 and €51,400.

There’s a lot to do in Paris when you are not busy creating characters at the studio. First, you could visit the site where the Eiffel tower stands and have a look at this notable landmark. Then the Louvre is the place to go; it showcases France’s rich artistic past. Alternatively, you can walk along with one of Paris’ famous streets, the Champs-Elysees. Other places of interest include Notre Dame and the Moulin Rouge.

2.Seoul

Photo by Mathew Schwartz

In Seoul, animation is the second-best pastime. The city has very many animation studios. Listing them all here would be exhausting, but the most notable ones for animation include AKOM, Anivision and Sunwoo Entertainment.

Animators in this city earn about ₩27,799,627 (KRW) per year on average. This is the same as an average hourly wage of about ₩13,366. In addition, you will also be entitled to a bonus of approximately ₩708,955. An entry-level animation technician will earn about ₩20,725,492 while senior-level artists make about ₩33,945,456.

Seoul offers a lot of fun things to do outside of work. For example, you could head over to Busan and enjoy the sea and visit the unique puncheon, a mountainous region with an amusement park and beautiful scenery. In addition, you could do other things while in Seoul to plan a weekend visit to the Ganghwa do island and explore fortress walls, mudflats, and hikes.  

1.Reykjavik

Photo by Einar H. Reynis

You might be wondering why this city is listed here, considering Iceland has one of the lowest populations worldwide. It’s a country of 280,000 people spread out over 103,000 square kilometres.

Iceland has outgrown its film wasteland title and set up a thriving animation industry. New York’s Framestore set up a studio in the country to tap into the local talent made of people who studied and worked in the animation industry, locally and globally.

This decision has paid off, seeing as they have produced incredible movies that include Contraband, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, and Sherlock Holmes, to name a few.

CAOZ is another studio making headways in the country, and this one is unique because it is purely homegrown. They are the people behind the animated film Legends of Valhalla.

The studios are doing well because the government gives up to 20 percent in tax incentives. In addition, there is plenty of support from the local Film Commission.

Animation experts in Reykjavik earn about 472,000 ISK each month, but the salary scale falls between 217,000 ISK and 750,000 ISK. These are average figures and include transport, housing and various other benefits. The salary varies significantly based on skills, gender, location, most importantly, experience.

When you are not busy at the office, exploring the scene around the city is a great way to know more about it. For example, you could visit the local swimming pools and enjoy warm waters. Also, experience the Hallgrimskirkja Church, a towering structure visible from every point in the city, or take part in local activities available most of the day such as wale watching, helicopter rides or horse riding.

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