Masters Degree in 3D Animation: Program Summary

Master's programs specializing in 3D animation are rare. Students interested in learning about 3D animation may apply to a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Arts program, and choose a specialization in 3D animation.

Essential Information

A professional 3D animator is able to use geometric representations to create three-dimensional graphic images for computers, video games, television, films and cartoons. MFA degrees in Digital Arts with a specialization in 3D animation are 2-year programs designed to provide students with the technical ability to create animations. Students spend significant amounts of time in the classroom and computer lab learning about the technology behind the field.

They explore the algorithms used to create three-dimensional figures as well as how to create 3D models, control 3D rendering and apply the concepts of physics and weight to animated creations. They also examine how to channel these technical rules into comprehensive stories that can convey emotion and capture minute details. Upon graduation, most students should have a considerable portfolio of work and a completed thesis or project, depending on the institution's requirements.

A bachelor's degree is the most common prerequisite to a master's program in 3D animation. Undergraduate programs in computer graphics, drawing, art, design and visual animation are good precursors to a master's in the field. Incoming students are also often asked to submit a body of work or portfolio for consideration before enrollment.


Master's Degrees in 3D Animation

Many of the courses in a 3D animation master's degree program focus on honing technical skills, while others relate to storytelling and the animation industry. The coursework in these programs is advanced and students are expected to have mastered the basics of animation and graphic design. Students learn to use techniques in 3D animation to artistically express ideas. Possible courses include:

  • Techniques of character animation
  • 3D modeling and animation
  • Storyboarding
  • Drawing from imagination
  • 3D character animation
  • Animation of digital characters

Popular Career Options

A graduate degree focusing on 3D animation can lead to careers in computer design, special effects, broadcast design, television and film. Graduates may take positions as:

  • 3D animation artist
  • 3D modeler
  • Concept artist
  • Technical director
  • Videographer
  • Special effects artist
  • Animation editor

3D animation is an increasingly important field in virtually all areas of the entertainment industry. Students who would like to pursue a career involving animation can apply to a 3D animation master's program, in which they will learn the essential aspects of animation and develop a portfolio that will help them achieve careers in this field.


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