Distance learning degree programs in computer animation are most common at the undergraduate level. Fully online and blended associate's and bachelor's degree programs are available. They generally impart technical knowledge about computer hardware, computer software and production techniques, as well as help students develop their artistic vision. Online computer animation programs prepare students to perform all of the specialties in computer-based animation productions, such as computer-generated lighting, compositing and rendering, storyboarding, modeling, texturing, and special effects. Students in these programs will need computer software, such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, and Maya.
Programs at this level are relatively rare. Students typically learn fundamental concepts about the creation, manipulation, and movement of digital images, as well as acquaint themselves with some of the software used in the industry. Upon completion, they will be qualified for entry-level positions with computer game developers, television and video production companies, advertising agencies, and engineering firms.
An associate's degree program is likely to have a limited general education requirement in addition to digital imaging and animation classes. Subject-specific courses may include:
- Introduction to microcomputers
- Media arts
- Digital imaging and lighting
- Introduction to animation
- Video and graphic editing
Programs at this level take a more in-depth approach to their subject. They cover fundamental topics in traditional animation, such as drawing, color, character design, scene design and story development, as well as fundamental and advanced topics in digital imaging and video production.
Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Maya and After Effects are among the industry standard software students will learn to use. In order to work with and transmit large files, degree candidates need a robust computer setup and a fast Internet connection. Those who complete the degree requirements will have a demo reel and website to show potential employers.
A bachelor's degree program will have a somewhat more extensive general education requirement than an associate's degree program. Most classes will be subject-specific because computer animation is a broad area. Courses may include:
- Digital imaging and texturing
- Audio and video editing
- 3D modeling
- Camera and lighting techniques
- Digital compositing
- Web animation
- Game animation
- Production teams
Online computer animation programs are available at the associate's and bachelor's degree levels for students wishing to study digital imaging, game animation, media arts, and more. These programs can help prepare graduates for entry-level careers in fields such as engineering, computer game development, and television and video production.