3D Animation Major and Undergraduate Degree Program Information

The art of 3D animation uses computer-generated graphics to produce animated imagery for film, television, video games and advertising. Associate's and bachelor's degrees are both available at the undergraduate level; graduate programs also exist.

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Essential Information

At the associate's degree level, 3D animation programs provide students with practical, career-oriented training. These degree programs focus on visual perception, lighting and shape. Students often complete a portfolio at the conclusion of the program. Many 4-year undergraduate colleges and universities offer 3D animation as a major or as a concentration within a related major, such as general animation, visual communication or digital design. Students of 3D animation programs can learn a variety of artistic techniques. Thus, they might become prepared to create movies, video games and other forms of media. Most programs culminate in the creation of a portfolio of creative work which may include short films, exercises in drawing or sample commercials. Most programs only require a high school diploma, while others may indicate the need for experience with computer graphics and/or animation software.

Associate's Degree Programs in 3D Animation

Students receive valuable professional experience through foundational training in traditional animation practices as well as modern 3D animation skills through courses such as the following:

  • Introduction to 3D animation
  • 2D animation
  • Basic drawing
  • Lighting and modeling in animation
  • 3D animation special effects
  • Writing and storyboarding

Bachelor's Degree Programs in 3D Animation

These programs provide students with practical and theoretical skills, ranging from the technical aspects of video production to the history of the field. Courses may include the following:

  • Fundamentals of 3D computer graphics and modeling
  • Storyboard creation
  • Texture and lighting
  • Drawing techniques
  • 3D animation character design
  • History of animation

Popular Career Options

Graduates of 3D animation bachelor's degree programs are prepared for a variety of positions in industries as varied as advertising, web development and film production. Popular career options include the following:

  • 3D animation modeling
  • Storyboard artist
  • Video game animation artist
  • Motion capture director
  • Web animation designer

Continuing Education Information

Most entry-level positions are open to students who have undergraduate degrees. Employers of 3D animation artists and designers value the strength of an applicant's portfolio above all else. Students who are seeking further education can pursue a Master of Fine Arts in 3D Animation. Additionally, Ph.D. programs in animation, computer graphics and design are available. Certification is not required for careers in 3D animation.

3D Animation is available for students at both the associate's and bachelor's degree levels. Students in either 2- or 4-year programs will receive career-focused training and learn a variety of artistic techniques.

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