Art Institutes

Media Arts& Animation

I want to create my own future.

All kinds of industries—beyond just entertainment and media—need creative minds to bring ideas to life. Animators. 3D animators. Multimedia artists. Special Effects artists. Along with others, they put their skills and imaginations to work everywhere from film and TV to medicine and law. If you have the talent, passion, and tenacity to follow that career path, Media Arts & Animation degree programs can prepare you for a life of doing what you love. In our creative and supportive environment, you’ll use industry-specific hardware and software in an environment that’s as challenging and competitive as the real world. 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 won't be easy. But nothing truly worthwhile ever is.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes
X

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2547 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience


It's sink or swim. And I'm ready to dive in.

As a digital storyteller, you’ll find yourself right in the middle of a highly competitive, fast-paced and constantly evolving profession. That’s why it’s critical that you immerse yourself in learning every creative and production phase—from concept through delivery. In our program you’ll start with fundamentals in drawing, composition, color, and design. From there, you can learn to express your ideas in pictures and words. You can create the characters and their stories, then bring them to life in the worlds they inhabit. You can compose the shots and sequences of action, then edit it into a presentation ready for any screen. You’ll work with the same kinds of technology professionals use. You’ll be challenged with assignments drawn from the real world, and you’ll collaborate with your peers, just as you would in a production studio. See our gainful employment pages for possible careers that match the program that interests you.

Meet Our Alumni

  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Sommer Bostick

    Sommer Bostick

    Media Arts & Animation , 2014

    "Working on game based training for the military has exposed me to things I never would be doing when I started at [The Art Institute of San Antonio]."

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    Sommer Bostick

    3D Modeler and Consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton

    Sommer Bostick is working as a 3D modeler and consultant for Booz Allen Hamilton on the San Antonio Riverwalk in Texas. She works on game based training for the military, and is responsible for creating and texturing 3D models, video editing, and demonstrating products and capabilities at marketing events. Sommer says that she learns something new each day. “I think that's one of the coolest things about being in the animation industry because when you have to model and animate something you know nothing about, you have to learn everything about it so you can accurately represent it.”

    Sommer is especially proud to have created a welcome video for Booz Allen Hamilton’s incoming CEO—it was played for hundreds of employees. “That video gained me recognition from leadership and other teams in the firm. I met and talked with the CEO one-on-one during the event [where the video] was played, and it was an amazing experience for me.” Since her video was viewed, Sommer says that the company’s leadership has relied on her more and more. “I realized how much I proved myself to my team, and the whole firm.”

    Sommer, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided her with the knowledge, tools, and skills she needed to transition into her current career. She recommends that current students give it everything they’ve got—even if it means taking a job that isn’t a “dream job.” “It’s experience and you need that.” She adds that the future of her industry lies in staying on top of new technology and developing applications and training. “Currently we are diving into virtual reality with technology like Oculus Rift and Google Cardboard. We are exploring how these technologies can benefit training in the military. I believe that virtual reality can go beyond that into health care and other professions, and be incredibly useful in training capabilities.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2547 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Casey

    Casey Chretien

    Media Arts & Animation , 2013

    "I feel confident and capable venturing out in the visual media field."

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    Casey Chretien

    3D Animator, Provides Studies for Engineering and Design

    James Chretien is working as a 3D Animator at OneSubsea in Houston, Texas. He works with a team of animators to execute client requests for ROV (remotely operated underwater vehicle) studies, design studies, and animations in a 3D environment. “I enjoy being able to use my degree and work in a creative environment. The people I work with are extremely talented,” he says.

    Casey’s creative inspirations include movies, music, nature, experiences, and stories. 

    He recommends that current students maintain a positive attitude and remain willing to learn. “Be respectful of yourself and others. Always perform at your absolute best—this will enable you to grow.”

    Casey, who in 2013 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that his education helped to develop his knowledge and skill set in animation. “Along with the mentorship I received [in] business relations, I now feel confident and capable venturing out in the visual media field.”

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  • Geoffrey Garret

    Geoffrey Garrett

    Media Arts & Animation , 2015

    "Every day has a new challenge—which I [am] prepared for thanks to the Animation for Production class."

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    Geoffrey Garrett

    Builds Motion and Still Graphics for Two TV Programs

    Geoffrey Garrett is a production assistant at Quarter Moon Production in San Antonio, Texas. He is responsible for building motion and still graphics for the TV programs "Film Flickers" and "Sports Weekly." Geoffrey is proud to be an integral part of the programs’ development. “As soon as I have the script [for a show], I begin to build the graphics for the segments that need them.”

    Geoffrey is inspired to create professional, “flashy” work. “My classmates pushed me to be a better artist, and encouraged me to push myself harder to go beyond my limits,” he says, adding that each day on the job is different. “It’s not the same old dull routine.”

    Geoffrey keeps on top of tech trends and says that “technology and software comes and goes like the tide on a beach, but the thing that remains constant is the skills and knowledge to produce professional results. The knowledge of how to do something is more important than knowing the software.”

    Geoffrey, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that his education provided a strong foundation for his career. “The fundamentals that were burnt into my mind play a part in every day work and each project I work on. Migrating into the workforce was seamless thanks to the terminology and work ethic I gained while I was a student.”

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What Will I Study?

Study Section

I'm ready to start telling stories.

Our Media Arts & Animation curriculum will truly put you to the test. Because it was designed by industry experts to help put you in a position to succeed in a field where the only limit is your imagination. You'll study:

  • Digital Imaging
  • Life Drawing for Animation
  • Character and Object Design for Animation
  • Cinematic Storytelling
  • Digital Editing
  • Computer 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Principles of Animation
  • Acting / Movement
  • 2D Animation
  • Storyboard Rendering for Animation
  • Camera and Lighting Techniques
  • Creative and Collaborative Project Management
  • 3D Modeling
  • 3D Character Animation
  • 3D Textures
  • Web Animation


I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Media Arts & Animation degree programs are built on that creative foundation. It’s 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 and instructors.

 

Meet our Faculty

  • Crystal Bratton Headshot

    C.M. Bratton

    Media Arts & Animation

    "Script writers have to be able to take their internal ideas and turn them into external realities, and that is a process."

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    C.M. Bratton
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I was 8 years old and my school was putting on a play. I was extremely unhappy that I wasn’t given a lead role – even though other 3rd graders were. I bamboozled my way as a glorified extra in the center stage group but, by that time, I was already hooked. I wanted to perform. Fast forward two years. We had just gotten back from summer vacation and our English teacher asked us to write about what we did over the summer. I decided to recall diving for goggles at the big pool one afternoon. My teacher loved it, and for the first time, I considered writing as a possible passion, right along with performance. But my trinity wasn’t complete until 7th grade, when I moved schools and was placed in a mariachi class. Though I knew little about music, the moment I heard la vihuela I knew it had become an integral part of my life. And finally, at the end of 9th grade, I discovered my voice and haven’t stopped singing since.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience to provide an industry veteran's sense of the realities / challenges / opportunities of the profession?

    I became a writer a bit backwards. I wrote poetry as a teen, creative non-fiction in college, and academic papers after. Through theatre, I met another performer who had an idea for a movie and asked for help. Fast forward a few years and that same friend pulled me back to San Antonio to work on a few films, one of which was picked up. It was then that I started seriously working on finishing my first book and, 21 books later, I can firmly say I discovered my life’s task. This somewhat circuitous route has always been steeped in my deep and abiding passion to do what I want and make a living off of it, and I use that to motivate and inspire my students into doing their best work.

    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    One of my favorite assignments is called “POV Standoff." Each student by then has a good grasp of his/her story, and so, in class, I have them write the intro to his/her story in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd POVs. This not only stimulates my own writing (I wrote a book based off an example I showed my class), this is an excellent way to explore narratives outside a student’s traditional comfort zone and look at the story from different angles. We start in class so I can go to every student and work with each of them on how s/he is doing and how to improve. I can also help brainstorm with students or nudge them along, as well as catch early grammar and formatting mistakes. Many of my students get excited and/or challenged, because this exercise is designed to help writers grow beyond their pre-conceived styles and begin to develop more fully his/her own distinct voice.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?

    As writers in an industry dedicated to audio/visual entertainment, we’re incredibly dependent on the rest of the programs. We can write a film or animation, but it is meant to be seen and heard, not read. So we must rely on artists, directors, cinematographers, actors, and all the rest to help make that idea leave the page.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    Students have to take their craft realistically. You cannot create without mastering the fundamentals of written communication. You might have an amazing idea, but if you cannot write it well enough to sell it, it might not ever leave your head. Script writers have to be able to take their internal ideas and turn them into external realities, and that is a process. Don’t be afraid to revise. And then revise again. And then tear it down and start over. It all counts.

    Is there anything else you'd like us to know about you, your experience, or your role as a faculty member at The Art Institutes?

    I currently have 21 books published, with another 3 on the way this year alone. I’m also working on several scripts and TV show ideas, and love to discuss them with anyone. And finally, you can see my work online through one of the films I worked on – it is an amazing feeling to watch an actor take your words and elevate them to a level higher than you imagined. That is why I write, and that passion is what I strive to share as an instructor.

    www.cmbratton.com
    www.facebook.com/writercmbratton

    What was the inspiration for your books?

    Dragons. I’ve always loved reading about them, and that has spread to an enduring love for fantasy and sci-fi.

    Please explain what we are seeing in your books.

    There are several themes in my work. Dragons, yes. But also fairy tales, exploring Wonderland, apocalyptic intrigues, post-apocalyptic societies, and of course, zombies.

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  • Nathan Anderson

    Nathan Anderson

    Media Arts & Animation

    "Say yes, and let the journey begin."

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    Nathan Anderson

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

    My artistic epiphany happened some time during the Kansas City Art School summer program I attended between my junior and senior years of high school. Realizing that there was a way for me to make a living at what came naturally to me was, in a word, inspirational.

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

    I strive to provide students a balanced set of educational goals. While holding their work to the industry standard is a laudable goal, I think it’s more important to help them build the skills, attitudes, and effective work habits that’ll help them succeed—and sustain that success throughout their careers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I assign homework that puts into practice the techniques we’ve covered in that day’s class...then in the next class I share some more advanced techniques that yield better results. I do this to show students that they’re entering an evolving field of art and technology. There will always be some new tool, technique, software or hardware that’ll make them say, "How did I live without this?" The key is to have as many creative tools as possible, so that when there’s a problem you have many options for solving it.

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

    No artist should create inside a bubble. Sometimes a fresh perspective on a creative problem yields a better solution. I always urge my students to find that one other artist who they feel comfortable showing their work to...someone who’ll critique their work without the usual platitudes or flattery. That person will be a friend and colleague for life.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Say yes to anything a prospective client or employer asks of you—even if you have no idea how you’ll do it, even if the prospect terrifies you. Say yes, and let the journey begin.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I take great pride in my students and their accomplishments. This school has done a great job creating a curriculum that teaches the skills to become creative professionals, while fostering an environment of artistic exploration.

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  • Norm Engel

    Norm Engel

    Media Arts & Animation

    "I live the life of an artist... how cool is that?"

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    Norm Engel

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

    In the early 1990s I started experimenting with computer animation. That’s when my technical and artistic skills came together to form a perfect outlet for expression.

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

    I share my story with students so they understand how they can use their skills in diverse ways. I’ve worked on literally hundreds of commercial productions. Many have aired on network television, PBS, MTV, VH1, and CMT. I also continue to pursue the fine art of painting. My canvases can be found in many private collections and galleries worldwide. All this adds credibility to what I teach, as well as a sense of the possibilities that are available.

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

    I teach a variety of classes that involve teamwork. It’s an important thing to learn, as the industry demands that animators work in teams; they subdivide the work to achieve bigger goals than an any one individual could achieve.

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

    The reason I enjoy teaching is selfishly simple. This truly is a labor of love. I’m an artist surrounded by extremely creative people. Artists share—that’s what we do. The faculty and students here are all creative artists sharing and growing. The ideas, the energy, the enthusiasm, and the politics of art. Wow. I live the life of an artist…how cool is that?

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  • Saul HS

    Saul Sandoval

    Media Arts & Animation

    "Collaborating allows for networking and brings people with different strengths to work towards a greater goal that might otherwise prove to be unrealistic if approached by one person."

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    Saul Sandoval
    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    For the final projects, I give more freedom to students on the subject matter but there still is a list of competencies to hit. I feel too much control can stifle the creative process as each artist has a different style of reaching the same goal, and I encourage students to explore these ideas on their own. Secondly, it allows students to care for their work by connecting to it on a much more personal level. Being able to choose what you are working on adds a level of enthusiasm to the learning process.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project? 

    I think collaboration is a great way to view a problem from different points of view. Collaborating allows for networking and brings people with different strengths to work towards a greater goal that might otherwise prove to be unrealistic if approached by one person.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world?

    “Be a PROFESSIONAL!” I remind my students that their behavior is constantly on display for other peers to observe. The actions of showing up on time, creating work that pushes their abilities, asking questions, participating in open discussions, and taking ownership of their education all helps to formulate their brand as an artist. This brand is what students will remember and take away once they complete the program and graduate. Networking and being a contributing member of a production starts in school. I also remind students that they are competing with artists from around the world for the jobs they want. Reminding students of this perspective suddenly makes them reflect on their artwork as a body of material that might grab the attention of a studio rather than just mere homework.
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  • Rebecca Kerr Portrait

    Rebecca Kerr

    General Education

    "Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success."

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    Rebecca Kerr
    Is there a class assignment that exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring? Similarly, how does your approach inspire each student to push themselves beyond their own perceived limits?

    Just the act of Public Speaking often pushes students outside their comfort zone. Standing up in front of a full classroom with all eyes on you can be uncomfortable. Then students must organize their ideas and clearly present them to the class. That can be terrifying! Students often enter my class believing they can't stand up and deliver a speech to their peers. However, I provide the students with coping mechanisms, skill development, and a safe environment allowing them to deliver not only one but many speeches.

    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?


    Collaboration in a communication class serves a dual purpose. Collaboration allows students to improve their group communication skills, as well as develop an end result that is better than any single group member could do alone. Working in a group challenges students to clearly express their ideas, mediate during disagreements, compromise for the good of the project, lead, follow, and much more. Additionally by bringing students from different fields of study and diverse backgrounds together, students' own ideas, abilities, and limitations are challenged often resulting in a better end product.

    In your opinion, what is the single most important thing you impart to your students to help them succeed in your class and in the real world? Alternatively, what is the most critical advice you would offer any student as he / she embarks on a creative career?

    I work to ensure students leave my class with the ability to clearly and effectively communicate their ideas. I believe the ability to skillfully convey abstract ideas, like those often found in art, can set an artist apart from their peers. In the creative career field, students will be asked to communicate on many levels. They will pitch ideas, lead groups, speak to investors, and hopefully deliver acceptance speeches. My advice to students: Continue to refine your speaking skills so that the ability to communicate never stands in the way of your success.

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  • San Antonio General Education Faculty Christina Dixon

    Christina L. Dixon

    General Education

    "A closed mind never grows."

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    Christina L. Dixon

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

    My purpose in life is to educate people, whether formally or informally. I‘ve always had a strong desire to help others understand the importance of diversity and acceptance. As an African-American woman, I learned very early on that the world isn’t always friendly. But one experience turned it around for me. Early in my professional career, my professor asked me if I’d ever considered teaching. She’d seen my work, and worked with me at charity events. She told me, “If more people had been introduced to the world the way you see it, it might be a better place.” That’s when I decided to try my hand at teaching.

    The change didn’t happen instantly though because I wasn’t swayed.  It took a couple years of convincing from my faithful, persistent mother to get me to go out and actively pursue teaching.  I never saw myself teaching professionally but from what my mother and my professor saw in me, it must have been meant.  Here I am now, enjoying the interaction—both teaching and learning from the many students I encounter each day.

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

    I bring the real world of psychology into the classroom...and show that it doesn’t have to be boring or hard to understand. If I can reshape how my students think and behave by teaching some of the core principles of psychology, they’ll be better prepared to adapt in an ever-changing world—and more open-minded about the people they encounter. I do this by challenging their beliefs and exposing them to fresh insights about people and cultures around the world.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    All my class assignments are focused on discovery. I ask students to research and explore both common, everyday issues and those that are monumental and life-changing. As the quarter progresses, I ask them to explore their own lives...to apply what they’ve learned in class to reshape their lives for the better. Through this process, they learn to appreciate diversity—hopefully to accept themselves despite their flaws, and create unique and personal pieces of art.

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

    A closed mind never grows. An open mind is more exposed to the world. Art demands that you see the world through different lenses. If you want to be successful, you must be open to seeing the world untainted, in its true form. This is how the wise get their wisdom.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    You’re not coming to my class for a counseling session...but you’ll be calmed and enlightened when you leave.


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