Art Institutes

Online Game Art & Design Degree Programs

I want to put my ideas in play.

Welcome to one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. If you’re still reading, then you must be up to the challenge. And that’s good, because you’re also in line for a career where you can feed your passion for gaming—and turn the skills you've honed into a career where you do what you love. Your future starts at our online Game Art & Design school, where you can learn what you need to become a key player in the game creation process. Using the same kinds of technology professional’s use, you’ll explore what it takes to get games into the production pipeline. And get yourself into a dynamic industry. You’ll be surrounded and inspired by other talented, creatively driven students. And you’ll be pushed, challenged, and, above all else, supported by experienced faculty*. It’ll put your talent and commitment to the test. But it could also put you in a position to succeed.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
15 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/197 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Core Skills: Graduates demonstrate the ability to apply design and art skills, both traditional and digital, towards game related projects. -Graduates will employ the principles of gaming, balance and usability to plan and create game rules, mechanics, environments, aesthetics and experiences.
  • Principles of Gaming: Graduates employ the principles of gaming, to plan, design, and create environments, level play, background stories, and characters.
  • Industry Readiness: Graduates demonstrate the requisite skills in presentation, interviewing, networking, resume-building and game business knowledge critical to seeking an entry-level artist and/or designer position in the industry
  • Technology and Production: Graduates demonstrate the ability to apply the skills necessary to create quality game-ready assets using industry standard techniques and tools.
  • Professional Practice: Graduates demonstrate knowledge of the managerial and developmental aspects of the game production pipeline and demonstrate knowledge of planning, budgeting, specifications, constraints, scope, teamwork, problem solving, and deadlines that go into making a market-ready game.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Certificate in 3D Modeling for Games

Quarter Credit Hours:
39
Timeframe:
5 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Certificate in 3D Modeling for Games

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3459 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Upon completion of the Certificate program in 3D Modeling for Games, graduates will be able to use a variety of advanced 3D modeling tools and techniques to create high quality models, both for characters and for environment/props. In particular, students will be able to generate realistic 3D models and also models optimized to meet strict polygon budgets for real time rendering in game applications. They will be able to apply materials and textures for realistic effects, and use lighting and camera techniques effectively for enhancing their models. They will be able to create models to meet animation requirements and animate those models.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Certificate in Character Animation for Games

Quarter Credit Hours:
49
Timeframe:
6 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes & Requirements

Certificate in Character Animation for Games

Outcomes & Requirements

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3460 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

  • Upon completion of the Certificate program in Character Animation for Games, graduates will be able to use a variety of advanced tools and techniques to model and animate characters for use in video games. They will be able to create 3D geometry and texture it for realistic characters. They will be able to create skeletons for these models and they will be able to animate the skeletons, using both IK and FK techniques. Building on this basic knowledge, they will be able to implement single and multiple character actions within a game environment, with attention to such other factors as camera and lighting constraints.

Requirements

View Academic Catalog

Game On

The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division’s International Game Developers Association Student Chapter (IGDA) created a game demo that was selected as a finalist in the “GAME ON” competition at the MIA Animation Conference and Festival in Miami, Florida. Their game pitch, LiBot, is a semi-stylized, steampunk, 3D shooter game featuring LiBot, a small robot who is searching for his maker in order to exact revenge after being discarded for not being perfect.

The game project team consisted of several students, graduates, and previous students of The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, including Tina Wong of San Francisco, California (2014 Graduate, Character Animation for Games, Certificate), Yasmany Roman of Flowery Branch, Georgia (Current Student, Game Art & Design, Bachelor of Science), Abinadi Cordova from Riverview, Florida (Current Student, Game Art & Design, Bachelor of Science), and Kit Gardner from Caldwell, Idaho (Current Student, Game Art& Design, Bachelor of Science).

Three members of the project team, along with Sara Wade, faculty mentor for the IGDA group, represented The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division’s IGDA team at the MIA conference on October 22, 2016 where the “GAME ON” winner was announced.

I'm ready to take the intensity to a whole new level.

If you see yourself using your creativity to tell stories, you’re looking at a rigorous education. In our online Game Art & Design courses, you’ll start with the fundamentals like the principles of design, drawing, and color, in both traditional and digital art. You can build skills in game design, level design, 2D concept art, 3D modeling, texturing, and real-time lighting. The focus is on the principles of gaming, balance, and usability; creating the entire gaming experience; and developing games that’ll be used in industry-standard engines. You’ll explore the planning, scope, problem-solving abilities, and economics of creating a market-ready game. And through it all you’ll put in a lot of hours, work your way through a lot of trial and error, and find yourself challenged by other like-minded students. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • Nicole_Simila

    Nicole Simila

    Digital Photography , 2016

    "[My education] helped me to learn ways to use my camera that I had never thought of, or couldn't seem to teach myself."

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    Nicole Simila

    Self-employed Business Owner and Photographer at EvelynJo Photography

    Nicole Simila is a self-employed business owner and photographer at EvelynJo Photography. She runs her business on nights and weekends, after she completes her full time job. This determination, and her passion for photography, keeps her motivated. “There are going to be times where you feel like you may have failed but keep your head high and you will succeed.”

    She discusses a time when she was shooting weddings—only to realize that it wasn’t what she wanted to be doing. “The stress and worrying that came a long with it wasn't worth the time and effort. I figured out through [my education] that I wanted to mainly focus on working with children.” Today, she says that her studio work with children provides smiles and creates joy for the children’s parents, friends, and family.

    Nicole adds that since she’s completed her education, her photography workload has increased. She attributes this to the confidence she’s gained as a photographer.

    “My hard work and determination throughout school helped me to succeed and learn so much more than I had known before.” She says that she always has room to grow and seeks out tips and tricks to add to her repertoire.

    Nicole, who in 2016 earned an Associate of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that her education helped her to learn about studio lighting and camera operations. “It helped me to learn ways to use my camera that I had never thought of, or couldn't seem to teach myself.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • William_Douglas

    William Douglas

    Digital Photography , 2015

    "I try to encourage others to express their creativity and think outside the box."

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    William Douglas

    Spent 10 years in the United States Army as an 11B/4 sniper

    William Douglas spent 10 years in United States Army as an 11B/4 sniper. “I served during Operation Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Operation Just Cause and was honorably discharged as Staff Sargent,” he says. Today, he is the owner of Liam Photography in Atlanta, Georgia. He takes professional, editorial, portrait, and drone photos. And recently he was honored to have one of his photos selected by National Geographic to be on the cover of its newest book on “Big Cats.”

    William says that one of the biggest challenges he faced as a photographer was giving models instructions for poses. “I was able to overcome this by shooting friends and family members and working with some of the members of my photography club. I learned to be more of a leader when directing shoots. I try to encourage others to express their creativity and think outside the box.”

    He recommends that current students build their professional connections and experience through networking and reading photography blogs and articles. “I spend a lot of time on sites like SLR Lounge reading articles and blog posts,” he adds.

    William, who in 2015 earned an Associate of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education provided a strong foundation for his career. But he adds that being a photographer requires constant learning. “You cannot just graduate and think you will immediately make money as a photographer. It takes, time, patience, and networking—a lot.”

    See http://aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • VisualDesign

    Jeffrey Siereveld

    Web Design & Interactive Media , 2014

    "My education taught me the basic fundamentals of web design and interactive media, [including] the ability to read and manipulate it to get the results I am looking for."

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    Jeffrey Siereveld

    Freelance Website Designer

    Jeffrey Siereveld is a freelance designer specializing in WordPress websites. He says that a typical day involves building sites or adjusting the layout of an already-existing website. “I spend a lot of time researching the industry. Whether that is testing WordPress themes or researching a niche for my next big idea, there's always something to do.”

    Before becoming a freelancer, Jeffrey was a web design intern for Blizzard Internet Marketing, creating sites for the vacation rental, travel, and tourism industry. He understands the competitive nature of his industry and recommends that students find ways to break up their days increase productivity. “It will help you to keep moving forward when the going gets tough.”

    Jeffrey says that the biggest professional challenge he’s encountered is making the decision to become a professional freelancer. “The agency I worked for told me it was going to

    He adds that he finds clients via word of mouth—saying they are better to work with and often pay more than those found on freelancer websites. Jeffrey says that designers need to understand that everyone must pay their dues as they make their way up the ladder. “There’s a good chance that you will have to take jobs that pay less than you expect. But until your professional portfolio is built out enough to attract or persuade people that don't know anything about you, it will be really hard to charge $100 per hour or more than $1,000 for a simple website. Eventually you will get there.”

    He cites a quote by Eric Thomas as being motivational: ”When you want to succeed, as bad as you want to breathe, then you will be successful.” And he keeps creativity flowing by maintaining a clean and organized workspace. “It's so easy for me to work late into the night and have empty cans or water bottles on or around my desk before I step over to my bed and fall asleep. So keeping my work area clean and organized definitely impacts my creativity.”

    Jeffrey states that his roommate is also a mentor. “My roommate is an search engine optimization (SEO) expert who has been working in this industry for about four years longer than I have. He’s created his own company that has been growing every day and he doesn't have any employees. Just seeing what he is doing, and learning about SEO from him, has given me the desire to create a company of my own and not give up on it.”

    He believes that his biggest challenge is the continually changing industry. He keeps growing and learning to keep ahead of trends. Jeffrey, who in 2014 earned an Associate of Science in Web Design & Interactive Media from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education provided the fundamentals he needed to move into a web design career. “The knowledge of HTML and CSS, and the ability to read an manipulate it to get the results I am looking for, have been a huge help.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/202 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • FilmProd

    Pocco Roberts

    Digital Photography , 2014

    "Without [gaining educational experience] in camera settings, understanding light, networking, the use of Photoshop/Lightroom, and how to run a photography business, I would never have been able to live my dream of being an artist."

    Read More
    Pocco Roberts
    Owner and Lead Photographer at PSR Images

    Pocco Roberts is the owner and lead photographer at PSR Images in Turner, Maine. He says that a typical day involves setting up photo shoots, working on current photos, and selling artwork through my website. He’s also a United States Army veteran who earned the rank of Sergeant.

    Pocco says that he enjoys a career where he’s able to create. And he recommends that current students be patient during classwork that may appear to be repetitive. ”I remember taking several classes that seemed to have little to do with the genre of photography that I was interested in. However, if you give it your very best, you will walk away with something that makes your photography better.”

    He is often challenged in his work and says that patience, determination, and asking for help when it’s needed has helped him to overcome obstacles. “Be smart, research, learn, and move to a new location if you must. But if your dream is to be an artist, and it is your passion, then nothing will get in your way.” He’s always striving to evolve and believes that “if your art is the best it can be, then it is time for a new career.”

    Pocco enjoys challenging himself and uses his art to take on social issues. He also marks the passage of time through visual statements. “Remember, art doesn't need approval, it just needs inspiration.” Today, he experiences the benefits of his hard would through networking and making new friends, a steady paycheck, and a positive reputation among his friends.

    Pocco, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Science in Photography from The Art Institute of Pittsburgh—Online Division, says that his education taught him proper camera settings, lighting techniques, networking, use of Photoshop/Lightroom, and how to run a photography business. [Without that foundation], I would never have been able to live my dream of being an artist.”

    See aiprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Study Section

I have the imagination. I need the tools.

In this competitive industry, companies are looking for creative people who are passionate about the craft of taking a game from concept to market-ready. The courses for Game Art & Design will help you prepare to do just that, as you study:

  • Digital Imaging
  • Life Drawing
  • Drawing & Anatomy
  • 2D Animation
  • Digital Storytelling
  • Character and Object Design
  • 3D Modeling
  • Game Art & Design
  • Texture Mapping
  • 3D Animation
  • Material & Lighting
  • Game Modeling
  • Game Production Pipeline
  • Designing Interior Spaces and Worlds


I'm looking for my proving ground

At The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Our online Game Art & Design degree programs are built on that creative foundation. They’re also built on our knowledge that a creative career is not for the faint of heart. Because it’s tough out there, it’s tough in here. But we temper the tough with the support you need to make your creativity marketable. We provide the mentoring and real-world experience you need to prevail, with faculty* who’ve worked in the field and internship possibilities at successful businesses. Here, you’ll be encouraged and expected to be bold. To take risks. To push yourself and the people around you. So if your heart is telling you that you belong in a creative field, you belong here. It’s the hardest thing you’ll ever love.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty & instructors.

 

Meet Our Faculty

  • Vernon Reed

    Vernon Reed

    Game Art & Design

    "The world is full of talented people driving taxis because they lack motivation."

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    Vernon Reed
    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I’d always intended to become a scientist, but art had different ideas. Some of my artist friends started pointing out that the things I was making were, in fact, art. That’s when I got serious.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    In the classic way—I share war stories and cautionary tales from the real world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring—and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    Students can get caught up in a rush to master the next technique and absorb the next concept. The final portfolio process is often their first opportunity for meaningful, comprehensive, objective evaluation of their body of work—and it can be unnerving. One assignment requires students to submit examples of over a dozen kinds of work, which is then evaluated against industry standards—that really gets their attention. I keep pushing students by reminding them of the competition. Some students “get their wings,” as it were, during this process, and it’s a joy to see them transcend their previous limitations.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?


    All games are made by teams, so collaboration skills are vital. Our assignments tend to focus on individual achievements, but the review and critique component provides an excellent opportunity to hone valuable skills like giving and receiving objective feedback. I tell all my students this is the surest way to grow as a creative, over the span of a career.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?


    Talent and ability aren’t enough. The game industry is perceived as glamorous, and more people want in than it can accommodate, so breaking in is very difficult. Without strong desire and motivation, you may not realize your dreams.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I teach both intro and portfolio classes, and it’s a real joy to see how my students have grown as artists and budding professionals. Read More...
The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta alumni Harlen Capen Photography is an extremely fast-paced career when it comes to new technology. Harlen Capen
Digital Photography, The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta, 2015