Cartoon Animator Degree Programs by Program Level

Aspiring cartoon animators generally study graphic design, video production and storyboarding. The most common cartoon animation programs award an associate's or bachelor's degree.

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Essential Information

Associate's and bachelor's degree programs in cartoon animation include both class instruction and hands-on exercises to allow students to learn and practice drawing, modeling and animating with industry-standard software. Graduates can apply their skills at film studios, graphic design firms, web development companies, video game manufacturers or video production companies.

Prerequisites include a high school diploma or equivalent and standardized test scores. BFA candidates also need to have strong artistic abilities, computer skills and possibly an art portfolio.

Associate of Applied Science in Animation

Associate of Applied Science (AAS) programs in animation cover the artistic, creative and practical skills needed to make cartoons. Students learn to write cartoons, create characters and settings, and operate current animation software. Most degree programs emphasize 2D and 3D animation techniques. Students complete hands-on projects where they create portfolios of their work.

Instruction in a cartoon animator associate's degree program includes story development, background design, special effects, animation technology and graphic design. Students often take classes in the following subjects:

  • Digital animation software
  • Storyboard illustration
  • 2D animation
  • 3D animation
  • Animated background design

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs teach students advanced concepts and skills used to create 2D and 3D cartoons. Many animation BFA programs also include courses on video game design. Students learn to create cartoons for movies, television and the Internet. Some programs cover storytelling techniques and political cartooning.

Students in animation BFA programs learn how to apply human motion to 2D and 3D characters. They also learn about rendering effects, special effects and the application of video and audio production techniques to animation projects. The following are other topics usually covered in classes:

  • 3D modeling
  • Digital special effects
  • Interface design
  • Animation history
  • Animation sound design

Popular Career Options

Graduates can apply their skills at film studios, graphic design firms, web development companies, video game manufacturers or video production companies.

Employment Outlook and Salary Info

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicted 6% job growth for multimedia artists and animators between 2014 and 2024. These workers earned a median annual salary of $63,970 in 2015, according to the BLS.

Associate's and bachelor's programs in cartoon animation cover topics like storyboard illustration, digital animation software, and the history of animation. These programs often require completion of animation portfolios or projects as well. In terms of the job outlook for graduates, animators are expected to see average employment opportunities compared to all occupations during the 2014-2024 decade.

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