There is a wide availability of digital animation certificates as well as associate degrees. However, the most common prerequisite for a career in digital animation is a bachelor's degree; a master's degree may prove even more beneficial. While entry-level opportunities are available for college graduates, additional work experience may be required, depending on the employer. Skills in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and Flash are typically required and knowledge of HTML (hypertext markup language) may be preferred.
Some colleges offer online programs in digital animation. Interested applicants must have an undergraduate degree to gain admission in the Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) program. The master's degree typically lasts three years. During this time, students learn animation foundations and trends.
Bachelor's in Digital Animation
Digital animation bachelor's degree programs often allow students to concentrate on a particular type of animation, such as game design, 3D animation or character modeling. Students can take courses that include:
- Digital animation software and technology
- Animation modeling
- Storyline production and
- Digital drawing
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M.F.A in Animation and Digital Arts
An M.F.A. in Animation and Digital Arts is geared towards individuals who know they want to work in the animation and digital art field. They study 2D and 3D character design and motion graphics. Additionally, digital animation graduate students learn to incorporate sounds and special effects to tell a story. Some common course topics may include:
- Animation design
- Writing for animation
- Interactive animation
- Classical film theory
- Film criticism
Popular Career Options
A bachelor's degree and an M.F.A. in Animation and Digital Arts may qualify candidates for jobs in stop-motion animation, visual effects, web design, video game design and 3D animation.
Employment Outlook and Salary Information
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), multimedia artists and animators make a median annual wage of $63,970 as of May 2015. The job outlook for these artists and animators is expected to grow 6% from 2014-2024, which is as fast as average compared to all other occupations.
A number of schools and organizations sponsor digital animation seminars, workshops and conferences, which may be series workshops or events that are more complicated, that last 1-7 days. Workshops and seminars can focus on a particular topic, such as Adobe Flash, or teach general digital animation topics for beginning to advanced students. Some colleges also sponsor guest speaker seminars.
Digital animation artists can look to industry magazines or printed books to learn tips of the trade and keep their skills up to date. The Web also provides digital animation resources, such as digital animation videos, blogs, articles and message boards.
Training in digital animation varies and may start from a certificate or associate program, but bachelor's or master's degrees are typically preferred by employers. The undergraduate program allows students to focus on a particular type of animation while the M.F.A. provides advance lessons such as incorporating sounds and special effects to tell a story.