Animation degree programs are readily available at the associate's, bachelor's and master's levels. Completing an undergraduate program will enable students to pursue entry-level positions like character designer, storyboard artist or computer modeler. Graduate studies provide advanced training, and the ability to specialize in a particular area of interest within animation. Coursework will touch on topics such as composition, visual storytelling, stop motion, and advanced animation software.
Prospective undergraduate students need to have a high school diploma or GED. Students interested in pursuing graduate degrees must obtain a bachelor's degree in animation or a related field.
Associate's Degree in Animation
While there are no film-specific programs available at this level, much of the coursework will be applicable to an interest in animation for movies. General education coursework is combined with a hands-on animation curriculum. These programs may take from 12-24 months to complete. Classes available in this program include:
- Computer animation
- Film and digital video
- Media and composition
- Two and three-dimensional design
- Introduction to digital animation
Bachelor's Degree Programs in Animation
A bachelor's degree program in animation will lecture about animation history, theory, craft and practice. Because much of modern animation is created with computers, industry standard animation hardware and software is studied and mastered. In addition to animation courses, cinema coursework is also beneficial in order to achieve a well-rounded education in the field.
By enrolling in a bachelor's degree program in animation, students are expected to complete a liberal arts education in addition to core animation courses. A few examples of animation classes include:
- Narrative film
- Animation history
- Visual effects for cinema
- Space, form and lighting
- Animation post-production
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Master's Degree Programs in Animation
A master's degree program in animation is dedicated to training students in advanced aspects of animation. In many programs, students will choose a specialized area of interest and complete personal animation projects. Students may choose to focus specifically on animation for movies. A few examples of classes include:
- Traditional vs. computer animation
- Layout and design
- Stop motion
- Visual storytelling
In order to bring animation to the silver screen, there are many tasks that must be completed by animation professionals. A few job possibilities are:
- Web animator
- Character designer
- Post-production artist
- Computer generated special effects artist
- Background artist
- Storyboard artist
- Computer modeler
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted that between 2014 and 2024, the number of jobs available to multimedia artists and animators may grow 6% (www.bls.gov). These professionals earned a mean annual wage of $70,300 in 2015. Those working in motion picture and video industries earned a mean annual wage of $73,270 that same year.
Movie animation degree programs train students to use software and hardware to create animation for films. The programs available at the undergraduate and graduate levels enable students to join the movie industry as multimedia artists or animators.