Prospective students looking to pursue computer animation degrees in Texas will find various 2- and 4-year colleges and universities offering relevant associate and bachelor's degree programs. Undergraduate certificate options are also available in such areas as 2- or 3-D animation, game development or game concept art. One school also offers a master's degree in interactive technology.
Many of these programs promote students' skills development through the creation of a portfolio, and some programs integrate an internship experience. Several of these programs also feature specialization tracks, such as 3-D animation, programming or game design, further defining a student's marketability and career path. The nine public or not-for-profit schools in Texas with animation programs are described below. Course details and estimated tuition costs are provided as well.
Austin Community College District
Austin Community College District's Visual Communication Department offers certificate and associate's programs in 2-D and 3-D animation. Course topics in the 2-D animation programs include storyboarding, digital painting, and advanced animation techniques. Students learn to use Adobe After Effects, Adobe Flash, and other popular software programs.
The 3-D animation programs cover modeling and rendering techniques, character rigging, and cinematics. Autodesk Maya is the primary software program for 3-D animation students, though Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere are covered as well. Regardless of a student's chosen program, completion of a final portfolio is required.
Collin County Community College District
Collin County Community College District is located in McKinney and offers multiple programs in animation and game art. Students can pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Animation or a certificate in animation, with each program offering specializations in 3-D animation and game art. Each of these programs includes courses in 3-D modeling and rendering, digital imaging, and basic animation, and students are required to develop portfolios in a capstone course.
Located in Baytown, Lee College offers an Associate of Applied Science in Game Design. Combining industry knowledge with production skills, this program facilitates students' understanding of digital gaming development. Courses include design and creation of games, interactive storyboarding, computer illustration, computer ethics, and level design. The school also offers a game designer certificate and a game specialist certificate.
Northwest Vista College
San Antonio-based Northwest Vista College offers an Associate of Applied Science degree with a concentration in 3-D animation. The program, which combines traditional art forms with modern software, helps students develop their skills in various areas of design and animation. Course requirements include digital imaging, lighting, shading, principles of character animation, and character rigging. This degree program requires students to develop portfolios and complete a game and simulation group project. The school also offers certificates in 3-D animation and game concept art.
Richland College is located in Dallas and offers an Associate in Applied Sciences in Interactive Simulation and Game Technology. Featuring core coursework in subjects like basic animation, digital imaging, and 3-D modeling, this program gives students the opportunity to pursue specializations in artist/animation, programming, or educational game design and programming. Each specialization provides course credit through an internship as well as a game and simulation group project.
Sam Houston State University
Located in Huntsville, Sam Houston State University offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Animation. The program is housed in the university's Department of Art, which emphasizes an interactive experience for students through various workshops and lectures. The department houses two galleries, as well as vast studio space to further promote students' engagement within their degree programs. Core coursework includes 2-D and 3-D studio courses, drawing, foundations in digital art, and a survey course in prehistoric to Gothic art history.
Southern Methodist University
Dallas-based Southern Methodist University offers a Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computation and two graduate game design programs. Combining core coursework in engineering and the arts, the bachelor's degree program challenges students to develop their creativity and an analytical approach to technology. In addition to coursework covering topics like 3-D animation, computer graphics, and photography, undergraduate students are required to complete a capstone project and select a minor concentration or a second major. Graduate students can choose to enroll in the Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development program or to pursue the game development certificate. Both programs take two years to complete and are almost identical. However, the master's degree program requires students to complete a thesis project.
Texas A&M University - Commerce
Located in Commerce, Texas A&M University - Commerce offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication with an emphasis in new media. This five-year program features core classes such as basic photography, figure drawing, motion graphics, typography, and electronic media. Following the completion of these fundamental courses, students have the opportunity to pursue their studies in high-end or interactive animation. Before gaining acceptance to the program, students must complete art foundation courses and undergo a portfolio review.
University of the Incarnate Word
San Antonio-based University of the Incarnate Word offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Graphic Art. Students can select a concentration in graphic design or 3-D animation. In addition to core classes such as digital imaging and introduction to computer graphics, the curriculum features advanced courses in character animation and simulations. Students also complete an internship and a senior portfolio.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Computer Animation Programs Offered||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Austin Community College District||2-year, public; large city|| Certificate in 2-D Animation,
Certificate in 3-D Animation,
Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication - 2-D Animation,
Associate of Applied Science in Visual Communication - 3-D Animation
| $2,550 (in-district),
|Collin County Community College District||2-year, public; midsize suburb|| Animation Certificates,
Associate of Applied Science in Animation
| $1,174 (in-district),
|Lee College||2-year, public; small city|| Game Designer Certificate of Completion,
Game Specialist Certificate of Completion,
Associate of Applied Science in Game Design
| $1,672 (in-district),
|Northwest Vista College||2-year, public; large city||3-D Animation Certificate,
Game Concept Art Certificate,
Associate of Applied Science in 3-D Animation
| $2,088 (in-district),
|Richland College||2-year, public; large city||Associate of Applied Sciences in Interactive Simulation and Game Technology|| $1,770 (in-district),
|Sam Houston State University||4-year, public; distant town||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Animation|| $7,618 (in-state),
|Southern Methodist University||4-year, private not for profit; large suburb|| Bachelor of Arts in Creative Computation,
Professional Certificate in Game Development,
Master of Interactive Technology in Digital Game Development
|Texas A&M University - Commerce||4-year, public; distant town||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Visual Communication|| $6,202 (in-state),
|University of the Incarnate Word||4-year, private not for profit; large city||Bachelor of Fine Arts in Computer Graphic Art||$27,798*|
Source: *NCES College Navigator.