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Professional Artist at Amber Singleton Art, Director of Fine and Performing Arts, Visual Art Instructor
Knowledge of Adobe Illustrator is necessary for multimedia art and animation. Check out the app, eMotion. AutoDesk and Kinect are good tools as well. Pixar uses RenderMan. I would do some research of the companies that you are interested in and see what each studio is using. Another way of finding out more is to do informational interviews with animation and media arts companies in your area. If you go to college for these subjects, check out their programs and notice what companies students end up working for. There are many software platforms out there, it just depends what part of the industry you want to be a part of. Thorough research will be the best tool for you as you move forward with your schooling and career.
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Principal Artist at Zynga
San Francisco, California
It's great to see that you're interested in multimedia arts and animation. This question used to be easier to answer but has become more complicated over the past few years.
Most commercial art and animation has moved into the digital space.
For input devices, Wacom is still the top choice for many industry professionals but many artists have branched out to use the Apple iPad line with the Apple Pencil while others take advantage of Microsoft Surface line and its stylus. Unfortunately these are very expensive pieces of hardware so if your school has multimedia classes or labs, definitely take advantage of those resources to access these kinds of equipment.
As for software, there has been a similar broadening of choices as more competitors have come to market. The Adobe Creative Suite (Phototshop, Illustrator, After Effects, etc.) has been the mainstay for 2D art and design for years. Now there are other options including the likes of Procreate and Krita.
Adobe used to release single purchase software that was in the hundreds to thousands of dollars to purchase. They've since moved to the subscription model that can range from $10-$53/month depending on how many individual programs you want access to. Procreate is an iPad app that is a flat cost of $10 and Krita is free to use.
Animation, specifically is an entire world of possibilities on its own and will vary depending on if you're creating 2D or 3D animation and if you're working in making games or films. I am less familiar with this aspect of the arts industry but I can tell you that Maya is one of the standards for modeling and animating in video games. But again, this a professional level piece of software and has a license fee of $1545/year. So hopefully your school can get you educational access to software in this range.
Finally, one thing that has recently hit the market is a Playstation 4 piece of software called Dreams. It is not only a game, but it also includes powerful creative and development tools. You use your Playstation controller to manipulate objects, paints, game objectives, programming, and even music to create interactive media. It can be difficult but there are tutorials and a bustling creator community to turn to for support and advice.
I hope this gave you a place to start. I know that it didn't fully answer your question. With so many options out there it would be daunting to give an exhaustive list. Good luck and I hope that you can find success in your pursuit of a career in the arts.