Education

Best Animation Degree Programs of 2022

Learn more about the top Animation programs, what to expect, job prospects, and how to choose the program that’s right for you.

Animation is the process of creating the illusion of motion by creating a series of still images. Animation degrees can prepare students for a variety of careers in animation, including character design, storyboarding, and 3D modeling.

Animation degrees offer a broad overview of the field of animation, covering topics such as character design, storyboarding, and 3D modeling. Students in animation degree programs learn about the different techniques of animation, and how to use those techniques to create the illusion of motion.

How to Choose the Right Animation Program

When it comes to choosing the right animation bachelor’s degree program, there are a few key factors that prospective students need to keep in mind. The first is the cost of the program. Animation programs can be expensive, so it’s important to research the tuition rates of the schools you’re considering. You should also factor in the cost of living in the area where the school is located.

Another important factor to consider is the curriculum of the program. Animation is a complex field, and you’ll need to make sure that the program you choose covers all the basics. You should also look at the electives offered by the program to see if there are any that interest you.

Finally, you need to consider the location of the school. Many animation programs are located in major cities, which can be expensive to live in. If you’re not interested in living in a big city, you may want to consider a program that’s located in a more affordable area.

Best Bachelor’s in Animation Programs

The best programs for Animation ranking is based on key statistics and student reviews using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Some of the metrics influencing how the rankings are determined include graduation rate, average salary for graduates, accreditation, retention rate, and cost.

Rank 1
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Arts and Sciences (BADAS) degree from University of Florida is a cross-disciplinary program that covers production, animation, and game design. The program is designed for students who are interested in exploring the digital edge of these fields. BADAS students will have the opportunity to immerse themselves in every aspect of the new and developing digital landscape – from design and production to animation, from programming to game design.

Rank 2
Webster University
Saint Louis, MO

The Bachelor of Arts in Animation from Webster University is a 128-credit hour program that prepares students for a career in independent or commercial animation. The program focuses on core principles and techniques of animation, including 2D and 3D character animation, game art, comics, concept art, and character design. Students also gain hands-on experience through an internship.

Rank 3
The University of Tampa
Tampa, FL

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation from The University of Tampa is a professional degree program that focuses on 2D and 3D computer animation, motion effects, CGI, and visual and advanced software applications. Students who graduate with this degree will seek roles as creative artists within the animation industry and related fields. The BFA in Animation is accredited by NASAD.

Rank 4
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN

The Bachelor of Arts in Animation and Visual Effects from Purdue University teaches students how to bring their ideas to life by incorporating computer rendering, motion, digital lighting, 3D modeling, character rigging, texturing, audio and special effects. Students also learn to develop highly graphical videos for the television and film industries, create imagery by layering video and photo elements, and place actors filmed in front of green screens into virtual environments. The program also offers the opportunity to earn a certificate in business economics, corporate finance, data analytics, or real estate investment.

Rank 5
Loyola Marymount University
Los Angeles, CA

The Bachelor of Arts in Animation from Loyola Marymount University provides students with a deep understanding of traditional and digital approaches essential for success in film, television, video game design, and developing media forms. Students in the program will develop a personal artistic vision while learning about the collaborative filmmaking process. They will be exposed to the latest technology, master classical drawing and storytelling skills, and be equipped with a top-ranked liberal arts degree.

Rank 6
California State University-Fullerton
Fullerton, CA

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Entertainment Art/Animation from California State University-Fullerton is a four-year program that prepares students for careers in the entertainment industry. The program emphasizes the development of problem-solving and critical-thinking skills, as well as the mastery of industry-standard software and technologies. Students take courses in 2D and 3D design, drawing, painting, sculpture, animation, and illustration, and have the opportunity to choose from a variety of electives to tailor the program to their specific interests. The program culminates in a capstone project in which students apply their skills and knowledge to a real-world problem or challenge.

Rank 7
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art (Animation) from Arizona State University is a degree that prepares students for a career in animation and entertainment media. The program provides an education that sustains tradition and fosters innovation in visualization methodologies and tools. Upon completion of the program, graduates are able to demonstrate the technical and artistic abilities to create animations for exhibition in arts venues and in entertainment media-arts industries. They are also prepared to pursue advanced research in graduate animation programs.

Rank 8
Florida International University
Miami, FL

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation at Florida International University is a 120-credit program that emphasizes concepts and technical practices essential to the production of 2D and 3D computer animation and new media. Students in the program will explore the role of animation and new media within contemporary culture, its potential for artistic output, and creative storytelling.

Admission to the program is based on a portfolio review by a departmental committee. The focus of the review is on quality work, technical ability, and consistency.

Rank 9
Columbia College Chicago
Chicago, IL

The Bachelor of Arts in Computer Animation from Columbia College Chicago is a great choice for students interested in exploring multiple animation techniques and taking on a minor or second major. The BA allows students to take a variety of courses in different animation styles, giving them a well-rounded education in the field. Students in the BA program will also have the opportunity to complete two animated films by their final year.

Rank 10
Ball State University
Muncie, IN

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Arts from Ball State University provides students with a comprehensive digital animation experience. The curriculum leads students through a classic arts foundation and then into a strong technical foundation guided by industry demands. Students will learn up-to-date animation techniques and how to use industry-standard animation software. They will also have plenty of opportunities to participate in hands-on, collaborative projects with students and faculty in other courses of study.

What to Expect From a Bachelor’s in Animation Program

Students in a bachelor’s in animation program can expect to take courses that cover topics such as character design, storyboarding, and 3D modeling. The degree usually takes four years to complete and requires 120 credits. In addition to coursework, students often have to complete an internship and build a portfolio.

Animation students should possess some natural artistic talent, as well as communication and computer skills. As they progress through their degree, they will likely build a portfolio to showcase their skills. In addition to coursework, internships, and portfolios, many animation programs also require students to participate in lab work and collaborate with other students.

There are several different types of animation degrees, including a BA, BS, and BFA. While these degrees can all lead to similar careers, they may differ in terms of course offerings. For example, BA degrees may provide more comprehensive or interdisciplinary training, BS degrees may offer more technical training, and BFA degrees may emphasize creation processes and portfolios.

When choosing an animation program, prospective students should focus on available concentrations. Choosing a specialization in animation, such as 3D computer animation, visual effects, or game design, can help learners hone in on their ideal careers.

Common Animation Courses

Courses will vary according to your school and program. However, common courses frequently taught in bachelor’s in animation programs include the following.

-3D Animation -2D Animation -Character Design -Background Design -Layout and Composition -Animation History and Theory -Drawing for Animators -Digital Tools for Animators – Acting for Animators

3D Animation

This course covers the principles and techniques of 3D computer animation. Topics include 3D modeling, lighting, texturing, rigging, animation, and rendering. Students will use industry-standard software to create both static and animated 3D models and scenes. Upon completion, students should be able to create 3D models and animations that demonstrate an understanding of the principles of 3D computer animation.

Storytelling for Animation

This course covers the principles and techniques of animation storytelling. Topics include the history and evolution of animation storytelling, the role of the storyboard artist, the relationship between story and design, and the use of timing, staging, and movement to create meaning and emotion. Students will develop a basic understanding of the animation story development process and will be able to apply the principles of animation storytelling to the development of their own projects.

Animation History

This course covers the history of animation, from its beginnings in the late 19th century to the present day. Students will explore the work of early pioneers such as Emile Cohl and Winsor McCay, and learn about the development of animation techniques and technologies over the years. The course will also examine the influence of animation on popular culture, and the ways in which it has been used to communicate social and political messages. Upon completion, students should have a comprehensive understanding of the history of animation and its significance in the world today.

Concept Art

This course introduces the student to the world of concept art and its production for the entertainment industry. Students will learn about the different types of concept art, from environment and character design to storyboards and prop design. They will also learn about the production pipeline and the different stages of concept art development. The course will culminate in the student producing a portfolio of concept art pieces that can be used to apply for jobs in the entertainment industry.

Character Design

This course covers the principles of character design for animation. Topics include design theory, the use of line, shape, color, and texture to create characters, and the application of design elements to create characters that convey emotion and convey a message. Upon completion, students should be able to create original characters for animation using a variety of design elements.

Career Options for Animation Graduates

Graduates of animation programs work in a variety of industries, including film, television, video games, and web design. They may also work in fields such as education, advertising, and marketing.

Animator

Animators are responsible for creating the 2D or 3D images in movies, television shows, video games, and other forms of media. The job might involve creating characters, backgrounds, and other visual elements; planning scenes and storyboards; and adding movement, color, and other effects to the images. Animators might work in a variety of settings, including studios, advertising agencies, post-production houses, and game development companies.

Video Game Designer

Video game designers are responsible for the creative direction, design, and overall vision of a video game. They work with a team of programmers, artists, and other designers to bring the game to life. Designers come up with the initial concept for a game, create the characters, worlds, and stories, and oversee the development process to ensure the game meets their vision.

3D Modeler

3D modelers create three-dimensional images that are used in a variety of industries, including video games, movies, architecture, and product design. Modelers use computer programs to create the models, which are often based on real-world objects or characters. The job might involve creating models from scratch or modifying existing models to meet the needs of a particular project. 3D modelers typically work in a team environment with other artists and designers and often collaborate with animators to bring their models to life.

Graphic Designer

Graphic designers develop visual concepts, using computer software or by hand, to communicate ideas that inspire, inform, and captivate consumers. They help to make an organization recognizable by selecting color, images, or logo designs that represent a company’s mission. The best graphic designers have a combination of artistic talent and technical skills that allow them to translate their vision into a format that can be used by a printer or website developer. Graphic designers typically need to have a bachelor’s degree in graphic design or a related field.

Texture Artist

Texture artists are responsible for creating the textures that give an object its appearance in a computer-generated image (CGI) or 3D animation. To do this, they use software to paint or photograph 2D images that are then applied to the 3D model. Texture artists must have a strong understanding of color, light, and shadow, as well as an eye for detail, since they often have to create textures that look realistic when viewed up close. In addition to their artistic skills, texture artists must also be proficient in the use of specialized software.

Insights From an Animation Graduate

Crystal Brandt is an Animator at Pixar. She has a bachelor’s degree in animation from the Rhode Island School of Design. Crystal has over 15 years of experience in the animation industry.

ClimbtheLadder: How did you make the most of your Animation degree program so that it prepared you for post-graduation jobs?

Crystal Brandt: I took a lot of classes outside of my major to round out my skillset. I took classes in film, video, and photography to learn how to tell stories with my animations. I also took classes in history and art so that I could understand the context of my work.

I would advise students to take classes outside of their major to learn new skills and to gain a better understanding of the world around them.

ClimbtheLadder: What are the most rewarding aspects of your career? What are the most challenging aspects of your career?

Crystal Brandt: The most rewarding aspect of my career is seeing my work on the big screen. It’s a great feeling to know that my work is entertaining people all over the world. The most challenging aspect of my career is the long hours. Sometimes I have to work 12-hour days, which can be tough.

ClimbtheLadder: Was there anything about your Animation program that you didn’t expect or anticipate?

Crystal Brandt: I actually didn’t know much about the animation field before I started my program. I was really interested in drawing and wanted to learn how to make my drawings move. I had no idea that there were so many different types of animation! I also didn’t know that the field was so collaborative.

In my program, we had classes on storyboarding, character design, background design, and sound design. We also had to take classes on film history and film theory. I loved learning about all of the different aspects of animation and how they all came together to create a final product.

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