Some technical schools and community colleges offer Associate of Arts (A.A.) or Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in animation. Students in these programs learn the artistic and technological aspects of drawing pictures for animation processes. Programs typically cover animating 2- and 3-dimensional pictures, and provide extensive hands-on training with current animation software.
Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs in cartoon animation explore the professional practices and principles in the gaming and computer animation industries. Students earning a bachelor's degree in cartoon animation learn the advanced principles of character development in two and three dimensions, drawing, storyboarding and modeling.
To apply to these programs, students must possess a high school diploma and a strong GPA, as well as an aptitude for art and technology. Submission of a portfolio may also be required.
Associate's Degree in Animation
The classes in these programs give students the opportunity to create a portfolio, showcasing their skills to potential employers. Coursework includes design basics, raster and vector graphics and digital video production. Classes on the following topics are usually required:
- Digital imaging
- Animation storyboarding
- Animated special effects
- Cartoon character creation
Find schools that offer these popular programs
- Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
- Computer Typography and Composition
- Graphic and Printing Equipment Operations
- Prepress, Publishing, and Image Design
- Printing Management
- Printing Press Operation
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation
Coursework in these programs cover topics like drawing, creating special effects, using advanced modeling software and creating virtual models. Students take art classes to improve their creative skills, and take computer classes to learn current animation software. They are usually required to learn about the subjects mentioned below:
- Animation physics
- Studio animation techniques
- Visual storytelling
- Digital animation techniques
- Animation design
Employment Outlook and Salary Info
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (www.bls.gov) predicts that multimedia artists and animators will see job growth of 6% between 2014 and 2024, which is about the average for all occupations. The median annual salary for these professionals is $63,970, as of May 2015. Animators either work independently as freelancers or for animation studios.
Continuing Education Information
Some cartoon animators earn a master's degree in animation or multimedia art. These programs include classes on game design, specialized camera work, computer programming, digital publishing, virtual reality and advanced visual effects. Master's degree program graduates often work as visual effect specialists, video game programmers or senior animators.
Over the duration of a cartoon animation program, students will get a grasp on different techniques within the industry and learn to use the relevant software. Students will be required to form a portfolio, which will help showcase their work to future employers.