An Overview of Courses for Your Computer Animation Degree

Computer animation is a fast growing field thanks to major advances in technology. The new methods of 3D animation make it cost effective for film makers to use computer animation to create special effects, fill in backgrounds, and even create characters. Computer animation is no longer reserved for high tech outer space special effect scenes. It is routinely being used in most movies made today and this has created a high demand for professionals who hold a computer animation degree.

A computer animation degree requires four years of study which results in a BA degree in computer animation. Over this course of study students learn how to use complex animation software, create storyboards, design animated sets and backgrounds, create characters, and learn timing techniques. Computer animators need artistic ability plus technical skills in order to be successful. These are some of the courses one might expect to take when working towards a computer animation degree.

To learn the basics, students usually begin with a 2D animation class. This involves creating characters and scenes with movement through free hand drawings. This helps students develop a feel for natural movement and proportion. It gives students the opportunity to develop story telling ability using their artistic and creative abilities.

More advanced classes in 3D animation will follow. These classes give students the chance to work in virtual space. They will learn to use Maya and Adobe, the software most commonly used in animation studios.

After learning how to use the software and having mastered fundamental classes such as character animation, fundamentals of animation, scene composition, and scripting basics, students go on to create a short animated film. First, students take the animation preproduction class where the students learn about the preparations needed to make a film by organizing the storyline, creating characters and sets, and planning camera action. In the animation production class, a short film is actually made which is added to the student portfolio.

Math courses are also required for a computer animation degree. These classes give students an understanding of how the real world works and how objects are formed so the 3D generated characters and objects will appear and behave in an expected manner. These math courses include college mathematics, geometry, and physics.

English courses are required for a computer animation degree since creating a story will require the creation of dialogue. English classes will generally include both English composition and creative writing. These courses also help to fulfill the requirements needed for a bachelor's degree.

Courses required for a computer animation degree include classes that teach students how to create characters and sets, how to use lighting and shading, how to create natural movements, proper timing of movement to voice, preproduction, production, and demo reel creation. In addition, courses must be taken to satisfy the requirements for completion of a BA degree., including English and math classes as well as classes on communication, psychology, and art or animation history.

Upon successful completion of the courses required by the attending institution, the student is awarded a Bachelor's of Arts degree in computer animation and is ready to begin an exciting career in the film industry.

Schools Offering Training Programs in Computer Animation

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            Character Animation for Games (C)
            • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
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            Bachelor of Science, Animation & VFX
            • Located in Hollywood, CA, offering degrees in film, music production, business, animation and more.
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            Computer Animation, Bachelor of Science (Online)
            • Full Sail University offers online degree programs that are designed for the world of entertainment, media, arts, and technology. Full Sail's approach is centered on real-world industry experience and creative problem solving.
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            Game Development (Bachelor)

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            Coleman University is a private non-profit teaching university founded in 1963 and located in San Diego, California. Its undergraduate and graduate programs prepare individuals for technology-focused careers and leadership. As San Diego’s oldest school dedicated to information technology, Coleman University has historically educated a large number of the region’s business-technology professionals.


            Master of Fine Arts: Graphic Design
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