Aspiring computer animators can find a variety of certificate programs as well as associate, bachelor's and master's degree programs online. While certificate programs generally focus on one animation program or technique, degree programs involve using several tools and technologies. Graduates of full degree programs can find entry-level jobs in video game design and movie animation, or they can begin freelance work as animators.
Online Computer Animation Courses
The following are some of the online computer animation courses available.
- Introduction to 2D and 3D Design Course: This is generally one of the first classes offered in animation programs. Students learn 2D and 3D design techniques using basic animation software. This class may also include the history and theory of computer graphics. The course is imperative to animation design because it is rooted in dimensional compositing. Students complete graphics assignments to be graded by the instructor.
- 3D Modeling for Motion Graphics Course: 3D modeling revolves around creating polygons and learning the technology that adds texture, weight and other dimensional details. Students learn about workflow, terminology and how to use professional level software for modeling and rendering 3D characters and environments.
- Character Animation Course: In this class, students learn to create animated characters through modeling exercises, storyboard development, artistic conceptualization and intermediate texturing techniques. Students prepare characters for hypothetical game or movie placement. Advanced degree levels require substantial drawing skills for this class. The development of one character is generally a full-course project so the final product may be used for students' portfolios.
- Program Scripting Course: Scripting is the technical aspect of computer animation, and some programs put more emphasis on this subject than more artistically focused ones. Students are introduced to programming languages and may also be taught specialized animation software programming. Understanding scripting may give graduates an advantage in being able to control the building blocks of computer animation.
- Advanced Animation Techniques Course: Offered near the end of most animation programs, this class prepares students to complete full professional computer animation projects. Topics covered include texture and background development, modeling, lighting, shading and storyboard preproduction. The course may also be broken up into several specialized courses, especially at the graduate level. To demonstrate skills in this subject, students complete class projects that may be included in their final portfolios.
- Independent Final Project Course: Nearly always the last class offered in online computer animation programs, this class allows students to round out the computer graphics equivalent of a resume, the film reel. Students compile and edit projects completed during the program with the help of the instructor. At the master's level, programs may also require that students complete an internship as a part of this class prior to graduation.