Digital artists express their creativity through video, computer animation, digital photography and web page design. Students can earn associate's degrees in the digital arts that prepare them for entry-level careers in web or graphic design. They can also pursue fine arts degrees at the bachelor's or graduate level.
Programs at the undergraduate level require a high school diploma or GED, as well as a portfolio for bachelor's degree programs. These courses address digital imaging and photography, drawing, animation and web design. Students will also learn about art history. Master's degree programs require a bachelor's degree in a related field and a portfolio. Master of Fine Arts students will take advanced courses in digital art theory, animation and modeling. Studies can combine class instruction with studio exercises. Some companies and professional organizations provide certifications in this field.
Associate of Applied Science in Digital Art
This degree program typically focuses on the commercial arts applications of web and graphic design, as well as some general education courses, such as communications or social science. Students can complete the program in two years.
Associate of Applied Science degrees are typically focused on skills applied directly to the digital arts trade. Some common courses include:
- Graphic design
- Digital photography
- Web design
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art
This 4-year degree incorporates more traditional aspects of fine art, including theory, conceptual analysis and technical skills, with the technological aspects of digital design. Students may still pursue careers in the commercial arts, but also explore more creative expression through digital media.
A bachelor's program in digital art includes courses in both theory and technical skills. Coursework might include:
- Art history
- 3-dimensional modeling and animation
- Digital imaging
- Design studio
Master of Fine Arts in Digital Arts
Master of Fine Arts programs last two years and are designed for students who want an in-depth study of the digital arts. Students might focus on a particular area, such as cinematic arts, or they may explore the broader topic of the role of digital arts in society.
Students at the graduate level may choose coursework focused on an area of concentration, such as animation or film. Graduate programs also usually require a thesis project and a design studio component. Courses might include:
- Digital art theory
- Methods in digital art
- 3-dimensional modeling
- Advanced animation
Popular Career Options
While many pursue a fine arts degree because of their passion for expressing themselves creatively, this isn't always a lucrative field and competition for jobs is intense. However, undergraduate digital arts programs prepare students for careers in the commercial arts. Job titles might include:
- Graphic designer
- Web designer
- Multimedia designer
- Print production specialist
Students graduating with a master's degree in digital arts go into careers in the commercials arts, fine arts or the film industry. Some pursue academic careers in teaching or research. In addition to graphic, web and multi-media design, career options might include:
- Art director
- Creative director
- Lead animator
Continuing Education Information
Students with an associate's degree can often transfer their credits to a bachelor's degree program. Otherwise students can work with advisers to find out what credits transfer to 4-year programs. There is no standard professional certification in the digital arts field. However, some larger organizations in the industry, such as Adobe (www.adobe.com) offer certification in their products or technologies.
Digital art is a highly competitive field, but a digital arts background can help prepare individuals for a career in commercial arts. Both undergraduate and graduate degree programs are available in this field.