Movies, TV shows, and video games are what they are today with talented animators. Whether you’re already on the path toward an animation career or considering taking the first steps, ensuring this is the right field for you is essential.
Often offered at community or junior colleges and technical schools, an associate degree provides a fast, affordable entry into the industry.
What Is an Animation Degree?
An animation degree is a bachelor’s or master’s in making animated films and video games. It can be studied at vocational arts schools specializing in the field, traditional universities, or other colleges offering various degrees and programs.
The degree is usually a mixture of art and design, film and video, 3D modeling, drawing, and computer programming classes related to creating 2D and 3D animation. Students learn the entire production process, from concept design and storyboarding to the final composition of energies. They also train in various software for creating animations, such as Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Macromedia Flash.
In addition to learning the technical skills needed for creating animated characters, stories, and videos, students are encouraged to develop their creativity in the classroom. Students often build animations or projects they can take with them when they graduate, which can help them find work in the industry after graduation.
Many graduates who have an animation degree decide to stay in the film and media industries. Still, others take their skills into fields like education, advertising, and graphic design, where they can utilize their creative and artistic prowess for clients. Some even pursue a master’s degree to move into more senior positions in the field.
What Are the Requirements for an Animation Degree?
Solid artistic abilities and good time-management skills are essential regardless of educational background. Additionally, it’s a good idea to join a professional organization for animators to meet and network with distinguished artists who can share their experiences and mentor aspiring professionals. This can help you strengthen your portfolio work and advance in the field.
A bachelor’s degree is the minimum requirement for most entry-level jobs in animation, though some roles require a master’s degree. In addition to coursework, a degree program should include an internship or other relevant industry experience to give you a leg up when applying for jobs.
An alternative to a degree in animation is a general art degree, which can provide more flexibility if you find that being an animator is not your passion or that you cannot enter the field as successfully as you would like. A general art degree focuses on the various techniques used in multiple artistic disciplines, from drawing and modeling to painting and sculpting.
Students can choose the best schools for animation that meet their career goals by selecting a concentration in a particular subject area like computer graphics or fine arts. This helps them gain technical expertise and meets the requirements for their desired careers. It’s also a great way to meet potential employers and connect with peers in their chosen industry.
How Can I Get a Degree in Animation?
You can earn a bachelor’s degree in animation in several ways. Some schools offer a stand-alone program, while others incorporate the major into other art or design degrees. Choosing a school accredited by a nationally recognized body is essential.
Additionally, choosing a school that offers courses that align with your career goals is essential. For example, if you want to work as a 3D animator, ensure the school provides coursework to prepare you for that job.
You should also look at the type of bachelor’s degree a school offers. A bachelor of science (BS) degree will focus more on animation’s computing and software aspects, while a bachelor of fine arts (BFA) will require more art-specific classes.
Finally, checking out the admission requirements for a bachelor’s degree in animation is essential. For example, some schools require a certain minimum GPA or SAT scores, while others may have an application fee.
Once you have found the right school, enroll in a bachelor’s degree program in animation and visual effects. You can find programs at colleges and universities nationwide or enroll in a fully online program. These programs allow students to take their studies at their own pace and collaborate with other students through a micro-community platform.
How Can I Get a Job in Animation?
It will take a lot of hard work to be an animator. You’ll need to master animation tools, hone your skills, and build an impressive showreel before you can accept work. While this can be done independently, it will likely take more time, and you will need access to the network of seasoned animators that many degree programs offer.
In an art program, you’ll have a team of faculty that are professionals in the industry and have worked on such films as The Jungle Book and Hunchback of Notre Dame. You’ll learn from the best and use a project-based learning model that mirrors the production pipeline in the real world.
As part of your education, you’ll also be exposed to the theories behind visual effects and animation and learn how to apply these concepts to the real world in a professional setting. You’ll gain a strong foundation in 3D animation, digital lighting, and character rigging and learn how to combine filmed actors in green screen environments with computer-generated characters and scenery.
You’ll also be able to focus your education by choosing an emphasis, allowing you to deepen your knowledge of the specific area of visual effects and animation that interests you most. This will enable you to tailor your degree and make it more relevant to your career goals.