Students wanting to study motion graphics can learn about digital media, art, design, and computer-based animation at the associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree level. In some cases, motion graphics might be an area of concentration within a digital art, digital media or computer graphics program. Specializations include animated graphics, art and design, film and video, and web-based media.
Degree programs at any level will require that students complete video and animation projects, which they can assemble into a portfolio to be used for job search purposes. Program enrollees are often given occasions to produce and showcase their work for selected audiences, namely at conventions, business meetings, and entertainment events. Internships in professional studios or related settings could be offered in some programs. Industry employers often prefer employees with bachelor's or master's degrees, though some may take applicants with associate degrees. Entry requirements vary depending on the level of study and can range from possessing a high school diploma to completion of previous graphics courses.
Associate Degree in Digital Media and Motion Graphics
Motion graphics associate degree programs are designed to teach students the fundamentals of graphic production software, movie production, and digital art. Students often choose an area of emphasis, including directing, editing, or creating graphics for digital media. Many programs offer art or technologically concentrated certificates to supplement the degree program, such as a certificate in webcast technology or digital video production. Prerequisites for an associate-level program are minimal, usually consisting of a high school diploma or GED. Digital media and motion graphics curricula often include internship opportunities. Common course topics are listed below:
- Understanding the Web
- Digital image production
- Animation software
- Artistic expression
- Video production
Bachelor's Degree in Digital Art and Design
Digital art and design bachelor's programs often encompass a range of digital art mediums. Applicants will need to hold a high school diploma or GED to enroll, and they may need to submit standardized test scores (such as from the ACT or SAT). Familiarity with computers is beneficial. Bachelor's-level students use software and artistic concepts to create projects showcasing what they have learned. Course goals culminate in a professional portfolio intended for job interviews or graduate school applications. Course topics students may study include:
- Digital art history
- Web design
- Computer illustration
- 3-D graphic manipulation
- Creating digital art
Master's Degree in Computer Graphics
A master's degree program allows students to study the theory and practice of creating computer-based graphics and animation. Graduates can enter motion graphics careers or research fields. The computer graphics and animation master's degree is different from others because the final thesis includes not only written work but video and photographic items as well. Some programs may ask students to take a prerequisite graphics course to ensure that they have the necessary background for the program. Master's-level students may need to take classes in computer software and programming, research procedures, art, business, and animation. Program topics may include the following:
- Programming in C++
- Animation research
- Modeling and animation
- Fine arts and writing
Popular Career Options
Associate degree recipients may qualify for some motion graphics entry-level jobs. Positions may deal with Web, digital or DVD media. Bachelor's degree graduates may obtain positions in the digital design, film and game production, website design, and interactive graphics fields. Position examples are listed below:
- Animated graphics designer
- Web graphics developer
- Digital motion technician
- Video game designer
- Special effects artist
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) expected jobs related to graphic design to grow about 3% between 2018 and 2028 (www.bls.gov). This is much slower than the average level of growth for all occupations. The BLS stated that job searchers with Web and animation experience would have an advantage due to the increase in digital versus print media.
The BLS reported salary information for related careers in May 2018. Graphic designers received a median salary of $50,370 during that year. The lowest-paid ten percent of designers earned around $29,610, while the highest wages were over $85,760 a year. Salaries varied slightly according to an individual's employing industry and seniority in the company.
Motion graphics programs teach students the computer and art skills necessary for careers in digital design. Slow job growth is expected in the field of graphic design through 2028.