Animation is an art form that combines video and visual art into animated drawings and requires a certain skillset and knowledge of specific tools. Learning such an art is achievable through higher education programs, and you can learn about schools with animation programs and how to choose the best one for you here.
Overview of Animation Programs
Students interested in learning how to animate pictures can find animation certificate and degree programs at more than 200 postsecondary institutions in the United States. These programs are most often found in art departments or schools of art at colleges and universities and are available from a wide variety of schools from four-year universities like New York University, at two-year schools like Salt Lake City Community College and through institutions specializing in the arts, like the California Institute of the Arts.
In animation programs, students learn to use a variety of animation tools, understand the laws of physics and human motion and apply this knowledge to 2D or 3D images to create animations. Although some programs require artistic talent for enrollment, as evidenced by a portfolio, others teach beginning drawing as part of an animation program.
Choosing a School
Students should read up on a number of schools and choose one that has an animation program that suits their career goals. For instance, they may want to investigate what software and animation tools are available through school facilities. Some software programs to look for include Lightwave, 3D Studio Max, Bryce or Poser. Additionally, students may want to find out if schools have internship programs or relationships with potential employers.
Top Animation Schools
Based off of factors including the the average starting salary for graduates, professor reviews, tuition cost and program reputation, the following schools are some of the top schools to consider for animation programs:
- California Institute of the Arts
- Carnegie Mellon University
- Full Sail University
- Rhode Island School of Design
- Ringling College of Art and Design
- Rochester Institute of Technology
- Savannah College of Art and Design
- School of Visual Arts, New York
- University of California, Los Angeles
- University of Southern California
Animation School Requirements
In order to start learning how to be an animator via an accredited program, the student must first be accepted into such a program. This typically requires at least a high school diploma or GED. Other than that, many animation schools also base their acceptance decision on a portfolio. A portfolio is a curated collection of a student's previous work as an artist.
Many students applying to animation schools use works they've already completed in their portfolio, though sometimes they may need to create new works to meet the school's specific portfolio requirements. For instance, the portfolio requirements for California Institute of the Arts' character animation program include figure drawings of human models, observational drawings from real life, and a video introduction.
Learning how to create animations can be done through programs offered at many colleges across the country. It is important for a student to research what animation programs schools offer and both how well they suit the student's aspirations and career goals.