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 Houston alumni Andray Clark

    Andray Clarke

    Design & Technical Graphics , 2012

    "The Art Institute of Houston opened the doors to design for me. I have always been aware of my passion but didn't have the direction or knowledge to make it work for me."

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    Andray Clarke

    Andray A. Clark creates illustrations, animations, and 2D/3D modeling for Superior Energy Completion Services in Houston, Texas. Andray is an active serviceman. He’s spent eight years in the United States Navy, earning the rank of Petty Officer 3rd Class. Andray is the only illustrator within the company and he’s careful to manage each project to ensure it’s completed in a timely manner. “I love my job and the clients love my work, so it is always worth it.”

    Andray is proud to have completed his education and set a positive example for his children. “Most families I knew growing up didn’t see college graduation as a possibility. I’m proud to show my kids that this is one of the many options that can be accomplished by hard work and dedication.” Andray says he comes for a family of creative artists. His mother is a nurse who also works as an artist, decorator, and florist. He enjoys the opportunity to be creative and innovative. “This field is [on the forefront] of technology. The products that we have been trained to produce have multiple end users and [are] in demand.”

    Andray, who in 2012 earned a Bachelor of Science in Design & Technical Graphics from The Art Institute of Houston, says his education opened the door to a career in design. “I have always been aware of my passion [for design] but didn’t have the direction or knowledge to make it work for me.” He recommends that current students work hard and discover their strengths. “Search for what you love and point it toward a career path.” Andray believes that successful illustrators and animators must also stay ahead of the curve. He says that future industry trends include evolving rendering software, using animation and 3D models for marketing, growing minority-owned business, and understanding marketing and educational material.

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1632 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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  • Danielle Heredia HS

    Danielle Heredia

    Design & Technical Graphics , 2015

    “If you don’t look forward to working with your clients and your company, what’s the point?"

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    Danielle Heredia

    Graphic Designer, Combines Technical Knowledge with Interior Design and Engineering

    Danielle Heredia is a graphic designer for Spfm. Lp. in San Antonio, Texas. She assists the lead designer in creating and revising graphic designs. Danielle transferred into The Art Institute of San Antonio from Texas State University. “The program is what pulled me—Design & Technical Graphics was a new degree there. It is a graphic design degree [that incorporates] technical background knowledge such as conceptual product design, interior design, and engineering,” she says.

    Danielle admits that the coursework was tough, but is thankful that she stuck with it. Now that she’s working in the field, she says that she’s constantly learning on the job. “I had to adjust to managing multiple projects for multiple companies. To some this may not be a very big obstacle, but for a freshly graduated graphic designer starting her professional career, I wanted to get this down right.”

    Her passion for her job and pride in her workplace motivate Danielle. “If you don’t look forward to working with your clients and your company, what’s the point? You should be proud of your work.” She adds that she feels gratified when a client understands why she’s chosen a particular layout. “My job is not only to appeal to the company graphically but to communicate a message successfully through graphics.”

    Danielle, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Design & Technical Graphics from The Art Institute of San Antonio, says that her education provided a well-rounded view of the design field. “This degree broadened my field of knowledge.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/3447 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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