Visual_Effects_Motion

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:
15
Timeframe:
12 Quarters
Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/5604 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

Upon successful completion of the program, graduates will have the opportunity to:

  • Demonstrate the ability to use traditional design skills in the production of digital art projects.
  • Demonstrate an applied technical knowledge of compositing, effects, animation tools and software according to current industry standards.
  • Demonstrate professionalism through the creation and presentation of a portfolio and self-promotion package, according to current industry standards.
  • Apply visual effects and motion graphics skills to meet the needs of corporate communication, television, motion picture, video production, and other media outlets.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, plan, execute, and deliver quality visual effects and motion graphics projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work on team-based projects.

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 California - San Diego alumni Brian Townsend

    Brian Townsend

    Media Arts & Animation , 2010

    "The skills I learned in school helped me turn a hobby into a profession."

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    Brian Townsend

    Brian Townsend describes himself as a kid who was always drawing in his notebook instead of taking notes. His natural creativity led him to a career as a 3D artist and photographer on the design team for Microsoft Surface tablets. He had the prestigious honor of creating all of the shots used by the CEO of Microsoft and President of Windows when the Surface tablet was unveiled—his design work was also displayed prominently on the screens in Time Square in New York City.

    Brian creates all of the marketing shorts and 3D animations for the tablets and his job involves photography, 3D animation, and graphic design. “Often I help the design team photo realistically visualize [new concepts in 3D] long before they physically exist. This helps them work through design variations as well as communicate their ideas clearly to the engineering teams who actually build the products,” he says. Brian adds that the most important part of his job involves telling a clear story as quickly as possible, using images and animation.

    In addition to his creative pursuits, Brian is a military veteran who served as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of Specialist. He served in both Korea and Iraq, and believes that his military training provided the discipline he needed to transition to school and finally to a civilian career with Microsoft in Seattle. “My time spent in the service prepared me for school in ways I never imagined. Had it not been for the Army, I wouldn't have had the same work ethic that allowed me to get so much out of my education.”

    Brian, who in 2010 earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Media Arts & Animation from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that the skills he learned in school helped him to turn his creative passion into a profession. “[In my job], I use skills I learned from the foundation classes on up through the most advanced classes. I can’t emphasize the importance of the fundamentals enough though. I fall back to those constantly and I still reference my fundamentals of design and color theory books.”

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/376 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    *As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

    Read More...
  • Carolina Hernandez

    Carolina Hernandez

    Fashion Design , 2014

    “[In school], I learned to [follow] patterns and how to manipulate fabric to create texture. I also learned how to design based on the principles of symmetry, line, scale, and proportion.”

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    Carolina Hernandez
    Carolina Hernandez is the owner of Veteran Couture, a company that designs ready to wear and couture designs for men and women. She also creates “costumes and avant garde masterpieces.” Carolina is a United States Navy veteran who continues to serve as a reservist. She adds that she keeps herself challenged in her profession by never taking “no” for an answer. “I believe the opportunity is in my hands. My ultimate goal is to be internationally known and be able to teach others how to get there.”

    She began sewing when she was 16 years old and living in Mexico. But it wasn’t until she started school that she learned how to follow patterns, manipulate fabric, and design on the principles of symmetry, line, scale, and proportion. Today, she uses those skills to brainstorm designs and fabrics. “Then I start drafting patterns. I make samples and make any alterations to the pattern, then cut and sew the garment. Every project is different and requires different steps during the process.”

    Carolina explains that fashion is a non-stop commitment. She takes every opportunity she has to showcase her work and meet new people within the industry. She also surrounds herself with other creative people, including photographers, models, and make up artists. “The industry is very competitive but it’s also open to people to be creative and develop their own style. I still make mistakes but I have improved so much. You have to keep going.”

    Carolina, who in 2014 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Diego, says that her education taught her a full range of skills that she could not have learned on her own. “I learned how to design and how to do digital work in Photoshop and Illustrator.” 

    Now, she enjoys seeing her designs come to life and likes to view her work in portfolios and magazines. She’s excited about her future and is proud to have moved to Los Angeles to become her own boss. “I say to myself, ‘I know I can do it. I have what it takes and will finish what I started.’”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/369 for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...
  • The Art Institute of California - San Diego alumni Corey Bolwyn

    Corey Bolwyn

    Media Arts & Animation , 2008

    "Embrace the artistic vision and the technology that will push the art. Every film has its extraordinary challenges and none of them ever feel the same."

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    Corey Bolwyn

    Corey Bolwyn’s love for animation began when he was a child, playing the game Dragon’s Lair. “I was blown away by Don Bluth's character ‘Dirk the Daring,’” he says. Years later, Corey has helped to create movies that could provide that same inspiration to the next generation. Corey, a Character Technical Director for Walt Disney Animation Studios, has worked on Academy Award winning major motion pictures including “Big Hero 6” and “Frozen.” His most recent accomplishment is creating animation for the recently-released “Zootopia.” His role on the film was Character Technical Director and Technical Animator.

    Corey is a graduate of The Art Institute of California—San Diego.* He earned a Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation in 2008.

    Working as a member of the creative team, Corey was tasked with achieving the artistic vision of the film’s directors—while staying on time. “You have to find a balance between the highest quality possible versus knowing when to stop due to time constraints.”

    Corey describes “Zootopia” as a very stylized film. “We had to hit very silhouette-driven shapes in our character’s performance. You can see this style in the art book and in the film. Besides the shape language, most of the characters had moving fur and clothes going over the fur. This makes life very challenging at times. The fur likes to come through the clothes—if you don't know what you are doing.”

    Corey adds that some departments at Disney work more closely together than others. “I happen to be in a department that is very close, and we are all very technical and artistic. The two disciplines require that we collaborate closely and feed off of each other. If you don't, you won't last long.”

    Corey has now been in the animation industry for eight years, and he believes that the biggest change in that time is the complexity of animation. “Technology allows us to create very hand-crafted films—literally anything you want to make. Even within our department there are so many varying disciplines where artists are experts. It really is quite fascinating.”

    Corey recommends that current students keep learning and growing. “Embrace the artistic vision and the technology that will push the art. Every film has its extraordinary challenges and none of them ever feel the same.”

    * As of 2012, a campus of Argosy University

    See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/376 for program duration, tuition, fees, and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

    Read More...

What Will I Study?

Visual_Effects_Motion

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

  • Alex Ingram

    Alex Ingram

    Digital Photography

    "You have to be able to rely on yourself and become an expert at your craft"

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

    When I was going into my undergraduate, I declared my major as business and found myself completely uninterested in it. I switched to become an art major, which I thought was an easier track, and was later surprised at my level of engagement throughout my education. I loved the coursework and it lead to my first internship as the photographer for my school's newspaper and continued to spiral forward into my career. 
     
    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 weave in my professional experience in a two-fold manner, the first of which is coming from a heavy production and art direction background. I utilize all of the technical skills that I learn from lighting to Photoshop. In addition, I incorporate an entrepreneurial mind-set that nothing will be handed to them, develop strong community relations and create a portfolio that they can ultimately sell. 

    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?

    During any final project or capstone for my class, students have to partner with an organization in the community that they feel lends a hand to their style in photography. They have to document their process, write a blog, and create a one minute video pitch on what the organization means to them and how collaborating with them can help establish their brand. 

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

    Collaboration is imperative to student success so they can define roles in their own business building process so that they know how to delegate tasks in the future.  

    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?


    You have to be able to rely on yourself and become an expert at your craft. In addition, you also need to be able to develop a process so that it can be replicated if you were to develop a creative team. 

    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?

    After finishing my masters in digital arts at The Pratt Institute in New York City, I was offered a job as a producer at Art Partner under Mario Testino, an Internationally recognized fashion photographer, and from there worked in luxury goods and services with IMG models. Upon coming back to San Diego, I wanted to find purpose through my photography so I joined non-profit organizations such as Outside the Lens, The AJA project, The David's Harp Foundation and The Lux Institute. Read More...
  • Andrea Herrera-Nasrallah

    Andrea Herrera-Nasrallah

    Fashion Design

    "If you have a desire to work in a particular industry, pursue it from the start and remember that small jobs can lead to big places."

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    Andrea Herrera-Nasrallah
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    When I was five years old, my mother told me it was Halloween and that I needed to prepare a costume. As I dug through my drawer and created a princess outfit from everyday clothes and my craft supplies, I saw the power of transformation in creating costumes. I pursued a degree in costume design for theater at UC Irvine and have been a designer ever 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 believe in integrating my experience into the classroom. For example, I bring in pieces that I am currently working on to parallel classroom projects and show examples of real life factory production. I believe this gives them a better idea of the end project as well as adding relevance to their classroom assignments.  


    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?

    In my classes, I like to incorporate a current trend into their projects. I often have students replicate patterns from fashion magazine tears. For example, in surface design we might source from a trend forecasting report to develop patterns and effects. Recently the cast of Girls was featured on the cover of Glamour magazine and each actress had a unique sleeve design. My class was challenged to replicate each design. This allows students to learn basic skills, while also staying on top of trends and exploring their own creativity.

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

    In the fashion industry creative teams and designers often work together to develop lines, so I believe in having students mirror this process as much in the classroom.

    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 would tell my students to stay passionate. People are often the most successful and invested when they are doing something that they really love. The first career choices really follow you throughout your entire career. If you have a desire to work in a particular industry, pursue it from the start and remember that small jobs can lead to big places. 

    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?


    The most rewarding part of being a designer is to think of a concept and then see it bring joy to the customer. I'll never forget the time I went to the grocery store and saw a little boy wearing one of my costume designs even though it wasn't Halloween. His costume seemed well worn and loved. To me, that is the satisfaction of all the hard working coming together.

    Read More...
  • Ann Dunham

    Ann Dunham

    General Education

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    Ann Dunham
    What would you say is the defining moment in your life when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?
    In third grade the teacher asked for the definition of a detail and I raised my hand and said it was the most important thing and she said, no, it was the least important thing. From that moment on, I knew I was destined to become a creative professional.
    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?
    You have to be at the top of your game to be competitive, so let’s start now. Design is an iterative process, a journey whose destination we do not know. That is why we sketch and develop concepts, to surprise ourselves. It is not about entering a word into a search engine to find your answer.
    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?
    My digital color theory class exemplifies my approach to teaching.
    What role does collaboration contribute to students' success, especially when students from other programs contribute to the same project?
    Collaboration is essential. It is so important to include perspectives outside of your own.
    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?
    Dediction.

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The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston alumni Sommer Bostick 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]. Sommer Bostick
Media Arts & Animation, The Art Institute of San Antonio, a branch of The Art Institute of Houston, 2014