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Computer animation is used in movies, television, video games and digital media. Though there are not many programs focused specifically on animation in Washington, students can find both undergraduate and graduate options that feature coursework in animation and related topics. These programs are generally available at 4-year schools.
To gain admittance to some of these programs, students need to have completed previous coursework or degree programs. Students might have the opportunity to use labs and create portfolios. Additionally, some programs require students to gain practical experience through internships, projects, research or a thesis. Profiled below are the five Washington schools offering programs in animation.
Eastern Washington University
Eastern Washington University is a public school located on a 300-acre campus in Cheney, Washington. Students can find a bachelor's degree program in three-dimensional animation and game development through the school's Computer Science Department. The program provides students with a solid foundation of general computer science and programming skills. Within the animation emphasis, students delve into the tools and methods of developing three-dimensional digital animations. Within the department, 15 experienced faculty members instruct students on data structures, algorithms, web application development, three-dimensional modeling and animation, computer graphics and coding.
Lake Washington Institute of Technology
Kirkland's Lake Washington Institute of Technology was established in 1949 and now offers more than 100 professional and technical training programs. The 104-credit associate's degree program in digital gaming and media provides students with the technical knowledge and skills to create three-dimensional animated graphics. The program trains students for entry-level positions in the media field or for transfer into four-year programs. Artist methods are explored through coursework in drawing and composition, high-resolution sculpting, motion graphics, character animation and game design.
Shoreline Community College
This two-year public school is located in Shoreline and offers an associate's degree in visual communication technology with a focus on animation for video and multimedia. Core visual communications courses cover marketing, graphic design, digital illustration and web design. Coursework in the animation track includes three-dimensional modeling, history of animation and three-dimensional design. Students also gain expertise in several software programs including Photoshop, Flash, Dreamweaver, InDesign, Maya and AfterEffects. Hands-on experience with these programs provides students with the components of a solid professional portfolio. Individuals may gain additional experience through internship opportunities during their second year in the program.
University of Washington
Located in Seattle, the University of Washington includes two state-of-the-art computer and graphics lab facilities offering undergraduate and graduate studies in digital animation. The Raitt Hall laboratory and the Fremont Fab Lab provide animation students with facility resources, as well as community and classroom space. The school's computer science department also boasts lab space at the Paul G. Allen Center for Computer Science and Engineering. The university offers animation courses in its bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs.
The 180-credit computer science program offers students coursework in digital animation. In addition to general education and computer science courses, students may select electives that teach graphical lighting and shadowing techniques, scene and character rendering, storyboarding, three-dimensional modeling, special effects and motion animation. Students work together to create short and feature films, and they may complete individual animation productions in animation capstone courses.
The school also offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) in Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS). Students must take two DXARTS prerequisites during their first year before applying to the program, which is designed for those intending to continue to graduate studies. Core classes total 94 credits in basic art and research. The curriculum also offers courses in animation, digital film work, audio processing and mechatronic art. Students must achieve a minimum 2.5 cumulative GPA and present an original thesis project to graduate.
Those applying to the part-time professional master's program in computer science and engineering generally have a bachelor's degree in computer science or a related field, as well as industry experience. Students complete 40 credits of coursework with topics in lighting and shadows, two- and three-dimensional animation, digital rendering and modeling. The program also requires completing eight credits of colloquium courses.
The 90-credit doctoral DXARTS program requires applicants to hold a related master's degree and provide examples of previous work. To graduate, students must participate in a research study throughout each quarter of the program, pass a general examination and present an individual doctoral project.
Washington State University
Washington State University offers campuses in Spokane, Vancouver and the Tri-Cities, with a main campus in Pullman. The College of Arts and Sciences offers major and minor bachelor's degree coursework in digital animation. The School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science provides graduate studies for a master's degree in computer science, and students in this program can also select coursework in animation.
The 120-credit bachelor's degree program in digital technology and culture offers three concentrations, including culture and technology, media authoring and digital information management. In the media authoring track, students learn about digital animation, design and interactive media. Students must complete 24 credits, as well as an English course in order to qualify for this program; however, experience in the digital arts may be substituted as a prerequisite. A minor in digital technology and culture is also available to undergraduate students.
Offered only at Washington State University's campuses in Pullman, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, the 30-credit master's degree program provides advanced graphics, digital animation and design courses. A bachelor's degree in computer science is required to apply.
School Comparison: At a Glance
|School Name||School Type & Setting||Animation Degree Programs||Undergraduate Tuition & Fees (2015-2016)|
|Eastern Washington University||Four-year, public; fringe town||Bachelor of Arts in 3D Animation/Game Development||$7,866 in-state; $22,272 out-of-state*|
|Lake Washington Institute of Technology||Four-year, public; large suburb||Associate of Applied Science Transfer in Digital Gaming and Media||$3,880 in-state; $9,218 out-of-state*|
|Shoreline Community College||Two-year, public; large suburb||Associate in Applied Arts and Sciences in Visual Communications Technology: Animation and Video for Multimedia||$3,730 in-state; $6,451 out-of-state*|
|University of Washington - Seattle Campus||Four-year, public; large city|| Bachelor of Science in Computer Science,
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Arts and Experimental Media,
Professional Master of Science in Computer Science and Engineering,
Doctor of Philosophy in Digital Arts and Experimental Media
| $11,839 in-state; $34,143 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$16,278 in-state; $28,326 out-of-state (graduate)*
|Washington State University||Four-year, public; distant town|| Bachelor of Arts in Digital Technology and Culture,
Minor in Digital Technology and Culture,
Master of Science in Computer Science
| $11,967 in-state; $25,567 out-of-state (undergraduate)*
$12,745 in-state; $26,177 out-of-state (graduate)*
Source: *NCES College Navigator