Visual Effect Salary | Visual Effects Artists Salary | Croner Company

Visual Effects Artists Salary Survey

The Croner Animation and Visual Effects Survey is the benchmark compensation survey of the animation and visual effects industry.  The Croner Survey provides up-to-date competitive compensation information about positions in companies that produce animated feature films or develop animation and/or visual effects for feature films, television, and/or software games.

In 2020, 11 companies, representing approximately 5,500 U.S. employees and 62 unique jobs, participated in the Croner Survey. These companies use the survey data to understand current market trends and salary differentials to benchmark compensation, to establish job architecture and rational pay levels and pay structures, and to make informed decisions about bonus plans and equity plans. The results include comprehensive data for animation salaries and visual effects salaries.

View all jobs covered in the Survey:2021 Croner Animation Position Grids


Participant Companies

2020 Participant Companies
Fox Corporation
The Madison Square Garden Company
NBCUniversal Media, LLC
Netflix, Inc.
Riot Games, Inc.
Skydance Animation
Sony Interactive Entertainment LLC
Sony Pictures Entertainment
Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc.
The Walt Disney Studios



Position Grids & Job Families Reported

To view a pdf of the complete list of positions by family and by level, please click here: 2021 Croner Animation Position Grids

Job Families

TV Animation / Shorts
Production Design / Art Direction
Studio Executives
Character Design
Visual Development
Character Animation
Stop Motion
Character Set-Up / Rigging
3D Environment
Shading / Texture Painting
Character Simulation
Generalist Technical Direction
On-Set Data Acquisition
Motion Capture
Virtual Production
Stereoscopic Imaging
Rotoscope / Digital Paint Art
Match Moving
Motion Graphics
Producing / Production Management
Line Producing
Feature Effects Producing
Post Production
Animated Feature Film Editing
Visual Effects Editing
Special Projects Editing
Recording Engineering
Sound Editing
Transfer Operations
Production Systems Administration
Production Systems / Tools Software Engineering
Pipeline Software Engineering
Color Scientist
Digital Resource Management
Business Affairs
Production Accounting
Production Finance
Artist Management
Department Management
Talent Development Outreach
Marketing / Promotions


Policy Data Reported

The Full Report of Results covers Policies and Practices data, including sections on:

  • Short Term Incentive Plan Design
  • Equity Plan Design
  • Amenities
  • Salary Adjustment Budgets

Position Data Reported

To view sample position data, please click here: Sample Position Information - Standard

The Compensation Data Report reports the following compensation data for each position:

  • Number of Incumbents Reported
  • Number of Companies with Match
  • Geographic Composition
  • FLSA Status
  • Project Employee / Employment Contract / In Collective Bargaining Unit %
  • STI Eligibility
  • STI Awards Received
  • STI Targets
  • LTI Eligibility
  • LTI Awards Received
  • Base Salary
  • Target Total Cash Compensation
  • Actual Total Cash Compensation
  • Actual Cash Awards as % of Base Salary
  • Annualized NPV of LTI Awards
  • Total Direct Compensation
  • Paired Comparison Postion Match Analysis for Base Salary, Actual Total Cash Compensation and Total Direct Compensation
  • Differentials (of average pay between organization levels by job family category)

Data Cuts Provided Where Relevant:

Visual Effects
Software Games

Northern California
Southern California

Custom Cut of Data For an additional fee of $450, the participant company may select a subset of companies from the full participant list for a custom cut of data. A minimum of five companies is required.

Survey Schedule

Survey Planning Meeting: March
Questionnaire Distribution: April 
Data Effective Date:  April 1
Questionnaire Due Date:  May 15
Full Report of Results Published:  Late July 
Salary Budgets Survey Supplement: August 
Report of Results Webinar:  September 


Participation Fees

Participation Fee
The 2021 Participation Fee is $8,600.  The Participation Fee includes the Full Report of Results, which includes the Compensation Data Report (xls) for the U.S. and Canada and the Policies and Practices Report (pdf) for the U.S., along with the Interim Salary Budget Supplement.

Canada Core Position Report*
The 2021 Participation Fee for Canada-only data is $4,300. The Canada Core Position Report provides the Compensation Data Report (xls) for selected jobs in Canada. See below for the list of positions and level roll-ups included in the 2019 Canada Core Position Report, indicative of positions likely to be reported in 2021.

Custom Cut of Data for Participants 
For an additional fee, a participant company may select a subset of companies from the participant list for a custom cut of the data set. A minimum selection of ten companies is required.  A custom cut of the data set for "All Incumbents" is $550. A custom rerun of the data set including all data cuts is $950.

Purchase of the Current Published Report As a Non-participant
It is possible to purchase the 2020 Survey data without having participated, by signing a Participation Agreement for the 2021 Survey and paying a 50% non-refundable deposit up front toward the 2021 participation fee.  There are two options to purchase the current data:

Purchase Option #1: 2020 Full Report of Results $17,200

  • The 2020 Full Report is available for purchase for $17,200 plus a non-refundable 50% deposit of $4,300 towards the 2021 participation fee.
  • Total payment required to receive the 2019 Full Report, including the 50% deposit towards 2021 participation, is $21,500.
  • As a committed and signed Participant, your company's survey submission would be due in May 2021, along with the second half participation fee payment of $4,300 due in June 2021.  Participation along with the 50% payment entitles your organization to receive the 2021 Full Report.

Purchase Option #2:  Ten Positions selected from the 2020 Compensation Data Report $4,300

  • Compensation data only, for up to ten positions, from the 2020 Compensation Data Report is $4,300, plus a non-refundable deposit of 50% towards the 2021 participation fee.
  • Total payment required to receive 2020 data for ten positions, including the 50% deposit towards 2021 participation, is $8,600.
  • As a committed and signed Participant, your company's survey submission would be due in May 2021, along with the second half participation fee payment of $4,300 due in June 2021.  Participation along with the 50% payment entitles your organization to receive the 2021 Full Report.

*Canada Compensation Data - Reported in 2019
This list of reported positions and of level roll-ups provides an indication of the scope and type of positions which may be included in the 2020 Report.  Exact positions to be reported is determined by participation from Canada companies.

By Position:
Layout Supervisor
Senior / Lead Animator
Associate Animator
CG Supervisor
Senior / Lead Character Set-Up / Rigging Technical Director
Character Set-Up / Rigging Technical Director
Lighting Artist
Senior / Lead Effects Artist
Story / Visual Development - Pipeline / Sequence Leadership
Technical / Shot Production - Senior / Lead Individual Contributor
Technical / Shot Production - Individual Contributor
Effects / Live Action - Senior Individual Contributor

By Level:
Senior Production Leadership / Head of Function
Pipeline / Sequence Leadership
Senior / Lead Individual Contributor
Individual Contributor
Associate Individual Contributor


The Croner Company conducts this Survey as an independent third party to ensure the confidentiality and consistency of the data provided.  All data are held in strict confidence and are reported only in summary form.  No attribution is made to any specific data from any participating companies.  The Croner Company aggregates data using DOJ "Safe Harbor Guidelines" to ensure full regulatory compliance of the Survey report.

Survey reports are distributed only to participants and all participants are required to sign an agreement that confirms they will abide by our confidentiality standards.

Register to Participate

To register your company for participation in this Survey or to ask questions about participation, please contact Susan Cronk at (415) 485-5512 or email us at