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Animation Major: Information and Requirements

Students in an animation bachelor's program explore the computer software used to create 2-D and 3-D images for television shows, films, computer games, and video games.

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Essential Information

Based on the demands of today's technologically-savvy industry, the majority of animation degree programs place a strong emphasis on computer animation. However, most animation programs still require that students build the fundamental sketching, drawing, and technical competencies necessary to capture motion onto paper. Students also learn about creating and developing characters for these mediums, developing and following stories, and managing a concept from creation to post-production. Most animation majors will divide their time between classroom lectures, studio experience, and computer laboratory sessions.

These programs usually take four years to complete. Applicants are required to hold a high school diploma or GED, and they may need to submit portfolios as well.


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Bachelor's Degree in Animation

A strong interest in drawing, the arts and computer technology are strongly recommended for students interested in an animation major.

Many of the courses included in a degree program in animation cover the technical aspects of computer animation as well as the physical aspects of drawing. Some examples of core courses in the subject include:

  • Animation fundamentals and design principles
  • 2-D and 3-D animation
  • Advanced modeling
  • Production studio and studio techniques
  • Life drawing
  • Texture and lighting
  • Digital imaging

Popular Career Options

There are a variety of career options available for graduates of an undergraduate degree program in animation. A few potential entry-level positions include:

  • 2-D and 3-D animator
  • Illustrator
  • Concept and composite artist
  • Game designer
  • Animation scripter
  • Prop modeler
  • Flash/web animator

Salary and Career Information

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) projects 6% growth for multimedia animators and artists in the years 2014 through 2024. In May 2015, the BLS stated that these workers earned a yearly median wage of $63,970.

Continuing Education Options

Students who are interested in continuing their studies in animation have a few graduate degree options available. They can choose a degree that meets a particular emphasis of study in the field, such as a Master of Arts in Interactive Technology and Animation, or a Master of Arts in Video Game Design and Animation. These programs provide advanced technical seminars and many opportunities for portfolio-building work.

Animation degree programs teach students the fundamentals of computer graphics and visual effects through didactic courses and computer lab sessions. Graduates are qualified to pursue entry-level work in the animation field, as well as master's degrees.

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