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Master of Fine Arts (MFA): Special Effects Animation Degree Overview

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Special Effects Animation program teaches students how to use computer graphics and animation to create visuals effects in film and media. Explore common courses and job opportunities.

Essential Information

A Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree will prepare students for animation work in motion pictures, video games, and other forms of entertainment. Throughout the program, students may learn innovative ways to use cutting-edge software applications in developing a thesis project or a portfolio of work. Some programs may offer fieldwork experiences and internships, as well as workshops that familiarize students with emerging technologies.

These programs are typically three years in length (six semesters), and require a bachelor's degree. Applicants may also be required to provide a portfolio or reel demonstrating their ability and experience in art and animation. Some programs may require entrance exams.


Master of Fine Arts in Special Effects Animation

The curriculum of a Master of Fine Arts program in special effects animation is intended to help students gain an understanding of the importance of professionalism and collaboration while working on projects that enhance their skills in technology, problem-solving, communication, time management, presentation and film criticism. The courses offered will improve students' ability to use animation, 3-D modeling, visual effects, and storyboarding. Courses may also focus on technical aspects such as rigging, lighting, tendering, or compositing. Common courses include:

  • Traditional animation
  • Layout design
  • VFX techniques
  • Motion graphics
  • Music and sound

Career Outlook and Salary Info

Once individuals have completed a Master of Fine Arts Special Effects Animation degree program, they should have the appropriate knowledge and skills to pursue careers in the entertainment industry or in other fields specializing in animation. Individuals may decide to pursue jobs as professors, editors, animators, character designers or cinematographer.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual salary for multimedia artists and animators was $63,970 in 2015. Overall, employment of these artists and animators was projected to increase by 6% from 2014 to 2024. Employment of animators would increase over this time period due in part to an increase in public demand for animated video games, movies and other forms of entertainment.

Students interested in special effects animation can earn a Master of Fine Arts to obtain the necessary skills in technology, animation and design. Graduates can work in a variety of jobs and expect positive job growth as multimedia artists and animators.


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