Online bachelor's degree programs in animation allow students to interact with one another and their professors via course management systems. Industry-standard software programs, like Adobe Creative Suite, may be required. Students must also have audio and video chat capability and possibly a printer or digital camera. These programs can typically be completed in four years and are fully online.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators aren't strictly required to hold a degree, but a bachelor's degree program can help them develop the technical skills preferred by employers.
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Bachelor's Degrees in Animation
Through an online bachelor's degree program in animation, students combine skills in design and computer graphics technology to develop animated characters and settings that fit a specific storyboard concept. Applicants should be artistic and creative. They receive training in storytelling and obtain the technical skills needed to become a successful animator. Individuals interested in undergraduate programs in animation can also pursue online degree programs in graphic design, illustration or game design.
Program Information and Requirements
A bachelor's degree program in animation can be completed in four years, though some schools offer part-time learning, which could take longer. Fully online programs are available in animation. Through the online courses, students upload artwork, interact with classmates, watch video demonstrations of techniques, complete assignments and participate in lectures through discussion boards and email.
To complete an online program, students must have high-speed Internet access. Equipment that allows them to watch online videos and chat with their classmates could also be necessary, as well as software needed to view course materials, such as Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash and Apple QuickTime. Special applications, including Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, could also be required. Some bachelor's degree programs have hardware requirements, such as a printer or a digital camera.
List of Common Animation Courses
As part of a bachelor's degree program, students usually need to take common general education classes, including English, math and science. They might also take basic art classes, such as art foundations, art history and life drawing, before advancing to animation classes.
Participants learn to create a storyboard, which involves crafting mini animations to develop a story idea and prepare for camera shots. The class emphasizes skills in drawing, problem solving and creativity.
Designing and Creating Characters
Students create basic figures and develop them into 3D, fully animated characters. They use techniques to give their characters shading and texture that appear life-like.
This course covers methods and tools, like using standard vectors and basic animation software, to design characters for the Web. Students might also create interactive banners or short videos.
In this course, participants learn how to make how to move and control their characters. They study methods for posing characters, setting them on a page and making movements that are natural and interesting. They could critique their classmates' work, as well as receive critiques, so they can improve.
Career Information for Graduates
With a bachelor's degree in animation, graduates can pursue careers as video game animators, 2D or 3D animators, storyboard artists, character designers or multimedia artists. According to the BLS, multimedia artists and animators made a median annual salary of $63,970 as of May 2015 (www.bls.gov). The BLS projected that employment for multimedia artists and animators would increase by six percent - as fast as the average for all occupations - between 2014 and 2024.
Continuing Education Information
Individuals who would like to continue their studies can pursue a master's degree in graphic design, animation or media design. Although the majority of these programs are campus-based, some schools also offer them online. Individual courses are also available so students can keep their skills in modern art, animation and software fresh and applicable.
Animation degree programs at the bachelor's level are available completely online, though students may need to purchase specific software. In addition to general coursework, students in this program focus on web and character animation, designing and creating characters, and storyboard creation to prepare for careers as animators.