Art Institutes

Visual Effects& Motion Graphics

My ideas have power.

Some people see things as they are, and want to make them more interesting, more exciting, more memorable. And a few of them manage to work their way into film and television production houses and design firms, making their living combining images, space, movement, sounds, and imagination to communicate and entertain. If you think you have the talent and commitment to join them, the place to start is with our Visual Effects & Motion Graphics degree programs. Here, you’ll work with professional-grade HD video technology and computer equipment as you have the opportunity to learn to grab the attention of an audience that’s growing more sophisticated every day. 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* who are dedicated to helping you succeed.

*Credentials and experience levels vary by faculty and instructors.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3449 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info

View Academic Catalog

Classroom Experience


Teach me to think in three dimensions.

The Visual Effects & Motion Graphics degree programs can be the path that leads you to a creative career. You’ll start with fundamentals, from principles of typography, color, layout, and design to the latest computer software technologies. You can develop skills in areas like digital compositing to create the layered and textural landscapes that engage audiences on many levels. In a production-style, collaborative environment, you’ll take projects from initial concept to final execution. Working in teams with fellow students, just as you’ll collaborate with others as a creative professional, you’ll push yourself in new directions and arrive at unexpected solutions. You’ll work harder than you thought you could, but you might just go further than you every thought you would. 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 Andrew Satterwhite

    Andrew Satterwhite

    Culinary Arts , 2013

    "The Art Institute of San Antonio [taught me] why recipes come out a certain way."

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    Andrew Satterwhite

    Line Cook at Luke San Antonio

    Andrew Satterwhite is working as a line cook at Luke San Antonio in Texas. He’s responsible for set up, prep, and running the grill station for dinner service. Andrew served in the United States Army for four years as a parachute rigger and has also worked in construction. “All [of these experiences] have taught me skills that I can use for myself, but also I have used them to help this country grow,” he says.

    Andrew looks to his surroundings for inspiration and says that the best part of his culinary career is that it’s always changing. “This is one of the most diverse and exciting careers to have. I can go anywhere and learn recipes, techniques, and cultures to help me make new and exciting dishes [to] introduce to my family and others.”

    Andrew, who in 2013 earned an Associate of Applied Science in Culinary Arts from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that his education taught him why recipes turn out a certain way. “Growing up in California, I was lucky enough to encounter many cultures and the cuisines that accompanied them. In the Army, I used an electric skillet and a barbeque to make all my meals.” He recommends that current students open their minds to learning. “Figure out how to make [learning] a driving force in everything you do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2550 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Angela Lawson

    Angela Lawson

    Digital Photography , 2015

    "My education at The Art Institute of San Antonio gave me the skills, knowledge, and business sense to be successful in [any] genre of photography that I choose."

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    Angela Lawson

    Real Estate Photographer for Curb Views, LLC

    Angela Lawson is a real estate photographer for Curb Views, LLC, in San Antonio, Texas. She photographs houses and collaborates with realtors to build virtual tours of real estate listings. To create her work, Angela visits homes for sale, photographing the inside and outside. “Sometimes, the home may not be photographically ready and I help the owners and realtors to straighten up,” she says. “I had a realtor specifically request me as her photographer because she liked my photographic style. The previous home I shot for her sold in the first 8 hours of being listed. She was so happy and that made me happy!”

    Angela’s creative inspirations include Annie Leibovitz, Martin Schoeller, Herb Ritts, Jerry Uelsman, Christian Coigny, and Helmut Newton. She’s excited to be learning new skills and meeting new people. “I have the chance with each passing day to make better work than the day before. This work is seen by many, many different people and is a reflection of my hard work and knowledge of my craft. I always enjoy learning more about photography.”

    Angela, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided the skills, knowledge, and business sense she needed to be successful in photography. “I learned about lighting, photographic design, portraiture, photojournalism, corporate and architecture, business practices, and so much more. All of this knowledge sets me apart from many photographers out there in the world.” She adds that current students should take their time and stay focused on their goals. “While you may pick up certain skills quickly, others may be more challenging. Life events, finances, and learning curves may seem to overwhelm at times—it happened to me—but don't let them discourage you from your goals and passion for what you want to do.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/4262 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Ayme Troas

    Ayme Troas

    Interior Design , 2015

    "My education [taught me] how to communicate with other designers. When they ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about."

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    Ayme Troas

    Design and Sales for KBK to Trade

    Ayme Troas is working in design and sales for KBK to Trade in San Antonio, Texas. She assists designers in finding the right fabrics, furniture, accessories, and lighting for interior design projects. Ayme also works with vendors to get information for clients and to place orders. “The design industry is always evolving, as are the people. Every once in a while someone comes along and takes the industry by storm. I enjoy learning about the new trends and introducing them to our clients,” she says.

    Ayme finds creative inspiration in the world around her. “Whether it’s people, food, my surroundings, or a movement, there is always something that will spark a start to my next project.” Her creative heroes are people in the design industry who go above and beyond to reach the best possible design outcome. Looking to the future, Ayme believes that computer renderings will continue to improve—and will soon look like actual photographs. “The industry is headed toward more digital advances [including] creating applications for tablets or phones [that will allow designers to make] on-the-spot renderings. These [applications] would be extremely beneficial to designers who are always on the go.”

    Ayme, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Interior Design from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education taught her the industry language as well as how to be a strong communicator. “When [other designers] ask for particular items by name, I know exactly what they are talking about and therefore I can help them more proficiently. I’m also able to quickly draft plans or create sketches to show custom pieces or room layouts.” She adds that current students should push their creativity and don’t hold back. “Find your signature style but don’t be afraid to explore others.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/2546 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • 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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What Will I Study?

Study Section

I'm ready for the challenge. And I'm not afraid of hard work.

It takes a lot to pull off a truly remarkable visual effect. And it can take everything you have to become one of the professionals who do the job every day. The Visual Effects & Motion Graphics curriculum is focused on helping you do just that through as you study:

  • 3D Design
  • Maps, Mattes, and Masks
  • Conceptual Storytelling
  • Motion Graphics
  • Video for Visual Effects
  • 3D Modeling and Animation Techniques
  • Post-Production Management
  • Camera and Lighting Techniques
  • Editing for Visual Effects
  • 3D Textures
  • 3D Effects
  • Advanced Visual Effects
  • Interactive Visual Design
  • Production Studio


I'm looking for my proving ground.

At The Art Institutes system of schools, creativity is our core, our calling, our culture. Visual Effects & Motion Graphics is 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

  • San Antonio Visual Effects & Motion Graphics Lead Instructor Thomas Brecheisen

    Thomas Brecheisen

    Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

    "Work hard, be determined, and know that someone else out there is working harder, studying harder, and 'sleeping faster' to compete for the exact same job."

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    Thomas Brecheisen

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

    I’ve always been involved in the creative arts—and I always knew I’d be somehow involved in education. I just happened to find a particular love for the cinematic arts, especially visual effects. I put my heart and soul into perfecting my craft, always with the eventual goal of teaching.

    How do you help prepare students for a professional career?

    Students in my Intro to Visual Effects class don’t create space robots, explosions that level cities, or epic light saber duels. They study the career possibilities in the visual effects and motion graphics industry. And they get a road map to guide their journey through to their Portfolio classes, which add clarity and direction to what they’ve studied. After completing all the classes leading to Portfolio, they’ll have the skills, materials, and experience to create a professional reel that can lead to their dream career.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?


    I strive to infuse a sense of purpose into each of my students. There’s a purpose behind each class, each assignment, and each friendly chat in the hallway. When students feel they have a goal-centered purpose, nothing can stop them from achieving their potential. I consider it my purpose to mentor students—not only bring them knowledge, but empower them to succeed.

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


    The visual effects industry is the epitome of collaboration. That’s why I expect students to work with peers from others departments to capture and create their effects. Visual Effects & Motion Graphics students work with Photography, Game Design, Animation, and Digital Film students on most of their projects. If you stay in your seat long enough after a movie, you’ll see that most of the people who worked on that film are visual effects professionals. Everyone has a part to play, and we rely heavily on expertise from other programs to achieve our goals.

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

    Early on, I ask my students what they think employers look for. I usually get the expected answers: talent, passion, dedication, and skill. They’re surprised when I tell them that those things will help, but the real answer is, “Can you make someone else money?” I learned very early in my career that this is show business, not show dedication or show passion. We’re trying to make a product to sell. That’s the bottom line. The two most important things I can help a student develop are craft and confidence. If they come out of school with these two traits, they can be very successful in the film business.

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

    Work hard, be determined, and know that someone else out there is working harder, studying harder, and “sleeping faster” to compete for the exact same job. If I can do one thing for students, it’s to instill in them a work ethic to maximize their chances for success.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    My calling is to inspire students to reach their full potential so they can share their amazing talents with the world.

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  • Pachecano HS

    Robert Pachecano, M.A.

    General Education

    "The most critical advice I give to students is to never accept things at face value."

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    Robert Pachecano, M.A.
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I have come to find a home at The Art Institute of San Antonio.  I thought it was going to be a challenge to teach the discipline of Sociology in a creative environment but I come to find that it blends very well in the creative environment of Ai San Antonio.  If I can point to a defining moment, it would be when my first term teaching, on the last day of class, some of my students’ final words to me were, “This is the BEST class I have ever taken.”  “I learned A LOT.”  “You are the BEST instructor I’ve EVER had.”  “I didn’t think I was going to make a connection with sociology and ________” (insert graphic design, game art design, interior design, fashion management, culinary, etc.).  The impact that I have had on students has been far reaching and rewarding at the same time.  


    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 often tell my students on the first day of class that teaching sociology is only one of the many jobs I have had in the community.  Along with a career in academia, I have been a social worker and a case manager.  I have worked with diverse populations in this area:  from single mothers, to survivors of domestic violence, from homeless veterans and veterans undergoing drug treatment, to people coming in and going out of the federal prison system, witness protection, and federal probationers.  I very much draw from the experiences and the interactions I have had with different people and this has given me the unique perspectives I take in class.  It has also given me ability to be patient and really listen to what people are saying, or trying to communicate to you.  Making a connection is often the simplest thing someone can do, to make the biggest impact on anyone you meet and interact with.  

    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?

    If I can point to one particular assignment in my course, it would be the paper and presentation.  The paper involves them choosing a current social problem in our society today and they have to incorporate a chapter from the textbook, along with other sources online and research.  This allows them to synthesize everything we’ve discussed in class and apply it in some way in the analysis that goes into their paper.  THEN, they also have to present their paper to the class as well.  Those who are writing challenged are challenged to really focus their thoughts unto paper.  Those who are presentation shy are challenged to come out of their shells.  These are two skills that students must master before they get out there in real world.  They have to be able to effectively present their thoughts in writing AND they have to be able to express those thoughts to other people.  I simply use the perspective sociology gives students to help them accomplish this. 

    I often say, no matter your major:  graphic design, game art design, interior design, fashion management, culinary, etc.; you will be dealing with people, as customers, as clients and the like.  Sociology as a discipline helps you do this.  Understanding the groups people inhabit and the effect groups have on people as individuals  gives students, who are future creative professionals an edge no one else has.  The most critical advice I give to students is to never accept things at face value.  That, the real challenge lies in seeking the real reasons why things happen, why people act the way they do.  This is critical because we live in a world now where things are just accepted as truth, because it’s on a website, or someone important said it. 

    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 do what I do because of education.  Education is many things.  Education is empowerment.  Education is liberty and liberation.  It is a driving force that fuels the future; that enables people to carry on even when the odds, the challenges the barriers seem insurmountable. I am living proof of this.  I am proud to say, I am from the westside of San Antonio, born and raised.  I come from humble beginnings where sacrifice for education was the mantra; was the mission statement; was the vision.  Education above all else was something my migrant worker grandparents and parents instilled in me from the beginning, for two simple reasons.  That is the only way you can be truly free, and it is, “the only thing that they can’t take away from you”, as my mother would say.  


    Education is my mission. Sociology is my passion.  Service to others and empowerment fuel my values.  This is all I know.  It is all I have grown up with, it is what was given to me and what I give to students in class.  Because I am still a student (in a doctoral program), being able to relate to students and all they go through is just as important as course material and concepts. I know I have faced the same, exact odds, barriers and challenges. Every day I step into a classroom, I carry all of this with me.  I pride myself on being flexible and understanding; but still expect everyone to give all they have to their educational endeavors.  This is because this is what was expected of me, not just from teachers and professors, or researchers; but from my family, alive and in heaven now.  No matter what you have going on, how bad it seems, how impossible things seem to get; education is the solution to it all.  It is what will ensure a brighter future.

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  • Vanessa Langton Portrait

    Vanessa Langton

    General Education

    "Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!"

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    Vanessa Langton
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    As a kid I made drawings regularly. When fellow students and teachers began to recognize my potential, I thought maybe there was something to art and creative expression. My mother nurtured my interests in art by taking me to museums regularly to look at the works of great artists and she bought me art supplies to practice. I knew very young that I could not live without art and art history in my life.

    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?

    Prior to teaching art history I worked as a graphic designer and I know what it is like to be an ambitious art student trying to prep a portfolio to hunt for a job. As an art historian, I also know how important it is to be able to describe your artwork through written and spoken words. Through art history, students learn not only about different eras in art, but they also learn how to talk about art. These skills can be applied to any area of study—graphic design, the culinary arts, game art design, photography, etc.

    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?

    At the end of each quarter, my students are required to give an oral presentation. Not only does the student have to research a specific artist or art era, but they have to put together a slide show, a script, and present this to a room of their peers. This pushes the student towards a goal as they are faced with a deadline.

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

    Perhaps when students are assigned to work together they end up discussing their chosen areas of studies through a critical point of view and look beyond the surface to acquire meaning. They could question the who, what, and why using methods of formal analysis to all areas of the creative spectrum.

    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?

    Work hard and always give your best—your work is a direct representation of yourself and your abilities!

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  • Marilyn Ibey HS

    Dr. Marilyn Ibey

    General Education

    "Attitude is the aroma of the soul."

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    Dr. Marilyn Ibey
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    The defining moment of my life was the two successful heart surgeries of my third daughter at age 6 in 1984.  It was then that I devoted my life to the health, education and welfare of my four children and to my future grandchildren, and to my future students in teaching science.

    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 received my Bachelor in science from McGill University in 1972.  I married and raised my four children while getting my Secondary Science Teacher Certification, working part-time in retail, and doing volunteer work.  After I started teaching science at Northside ISD , I earned my Masters of Arts in Molecular Biology from University of The Incarnate Word in 1997.  Then in 2013, I earned my Doctorate in Educational Policy and Leadership from University of Texas at San Antonio. I published an article in the European Journal of Math and Science in January 2016.  I guess you could say that I am a life-long learner and science educator, as well as the matriarch of my family.

    I have taught secondary science for 20 years and  college science for the last five years. I know how to impart the interdisciplinary science knowledge and skills needed for science literacy to sustain life on this planet in this day and age.  I also impress upon my students that success any professional capacity requires self-discipline. critical thinking, and teamwork beyond having  the necessary knowledge and skills.

    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?

    I interview each student about their art and aspirations.  Then I assign them a Power Point and oral presentation about one career in Biology.  The students come to see that Biology is a huge and diverse area of scientific endeavor and that biologists, as artists, are very  passionate and devoted to their fields.

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

    All future professional jobs require some degree of collaboration or teamwork to produce a top quality product.  Considering others’ contributions and  perspectives from inside and outside the field, and receiving support from team members are the keys to success.

    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 tell students to follow their professional passion and their careers will always be a source of joy and inspiration.

    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?

    Science teaching at The Art Institute of San Antonio has broadened my art of teaching diverse students. I am inspired by the contagious creative passion!


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