Digital Animation Major and Undergraduate Degree Program Information

Essential Information

Undergraduate certificate programs in digital animation consist mainly of digital animation instruction and emphasize courses such as digital graphics, photography and lighting. Associate's degree programs include general education coursework, and they also highlight software programs, such as Adobe Illustrator and Adobe PhotoShop. Associate's-level students should have completed science and computer-related coursework prior to enrollment. More advanced techniques are explored in bachelor's degree programs, which include computer animation technology and character modeling classes. Bachelor's-level students are encouraged to further develop their creativity and visualization skills.

Admission for these undergraduate programs require a high school diploma or equivalent. Graduates with a bachelor's degree in digital animation may go on to earn a graduate certificate or master's degree in the field.

Animation Certificate Program

Animation certificate programs concentrate solely on animation instruction rather than supplemental general education courses required to earn an associate's degree. Students enrolled in a one- to two-year animation certificate program learn the skills needed to find entry-level employment in the field of digital animation. Below is a sampling of the courses likely to be found:

  • Animation history
  • Electronic media design
  • Digital graphic techniques
  • Media criticism and aesthetics in animation
  • Audio production principles
  • Photography and lighting

Associate's Degree in Digital Animation

Associate degree programs in digital animation focus heavily on 3D design, modeling and storyboarding. Students learn to create animated characters, backgrounds and props. They study lighting, sequence rendering, editing and compositing. Students enrolled in this two-year program will likely take classes using such software as Adobe Illustrator, Adobe PhotoShop, Maya and Adobe AfterEffects. Classes include:

  • Digital video editing techniques
  • Film animation procedures
  • Digital illustration and painting
  • Computer 2D animation design
  • Computer 3D animation design
  • Cinematography fundamentals

Bachelor's Degree in Digital Animation

Students enrolled in a four-year bachelor's degree program in digital animation learn to apply visualization techniques to static data for such applications as accident recreations, movement analysis and growth performance. They also learn to make animated characters interact with physical and virtual objects and environments. In addition, these programs are designed to help students tap into their creativity to develop stories conducive to animation. Students enrolled in a bachelor's degree program in digital animation typically take classes in the following subjects:

  • HTML
  • Advanced character modeling
  • Motion capture techniques
  • Surfacing and texturing techniques
  • Scientific visualization fundamentals
  • Writing for interactive applications

Popular Career Options

Students who have earned this certificate may find employment in the following areas:

  • Web animation
  • Video editing
  • Special effects

Upon graduating from an associate's degree program in digital animation, students typically pursue such careers as:

  • Graphic artist
  • Cartoonist
  • Interactive web designer

Bachelor's degree program graduates can pursue careers such as:

  • Computer animator
  • Website designer
  • Gaming programmer

Continuing Education

Graduate certificate digital animation programs are available in interactive design, game design, 3D animation and digital video production. Master's degree programs are available in digital cinema with an animation concentration, featuring instruction in hand-drawn and stop-motion animation. There are also master's degree program options for those desiring to specialize in digital media.

Individuals with an interest in a career creating animations for interactive web sites, video games, cartoons or other forms of media may want to enroll in an undergraduate certificate, associate's degree, or bachelor's degree program in digital animation.

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