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

It's time to take the next step.

If the Bachelor’s degree asks so much of you, why push yourself even further? Good question. Simple answer: the Master of Fine Arts degree program in Computer Animation is your chance to build on everything you’ve learned and gain a broader and deeper understanding of the profession so you can launch your career or go further in the one you have. In a program that combines art history, criticism, advanced studio exploration and experimentation, you’ll have the opportunity to explore computer animation from many different aspects. The focus in on the creative process and helping you develop skills as a traditional studio artist, filmic storyteller, art historian, and critical thinker—while you sharpen your technical animation skills.

Degrees Offered

Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation

Quarter Credit Hours:
180
Timeframe:
12 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Bachelor of Science in Media Arts & Animation

Outcomes

See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/390 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 application of learned concepts from foundation level art courses. These would include: drawing, color, form, design, composition and foundation level digital art skills.
  • Demonstrate an applied technical knowledge of animation tools and software according to current industry standards.
  • Demonstrate a practical understanding and application in the principles of animation, acting and movement and cinematic storytelling as it relates to 2D and 3D animation (as applicable).
  • Demonstrate professionalism, through the creation and presentation of a demo-reel and self-promotion package, according to current industry standards.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, plan, execute, and deliver quality animation projects.
  • Demonstrate the ability to work on team-based projects.

View Academic Catalog

Master of Fine Arts in Computer Animation

Quarter Credit Hours:
90
Timeframe:
6 Quarters

Gainful Employment

Outcomes

Master of Fine Arts in Computer Animation

Outcomes

See ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/378 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:

  • Apply theoretical underpinnings of art history, critical thinking and storytelling to the traditional and emerging forms of computer animation.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with the tools and techniques of animation, and derive effective technical solutions that meet professional standards.
  • Demonstrate experimentation and originality with the tools and techniques of animation, and present advanced conceptual and practical solutions.
  • Demonstrate professionalism through the creation and presentation of a thesis project according to current industry standards.
  • Demonstrate the ability to conceptualize, plan, execute, and deliver quality animation projects.

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

  • amanda_burnham

    Amanda Burnham

    Graphic & Web Design , 2008

    "[My education] prepared me for the actual process of developing a website. With the instructors checking in at every milestone of the project, it simulated client interaction and feedback."

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    Amanda Burnham

    Director of Web Design and Development for Monster Design Company

    Amanda Burnham is the director of web design and development for Monster Design Company. She oversees all incoming web projects and manages workflow, design, development, and intern work. “I've worked for Monster Design Company since my 2011 [which was] my first year attending The Art Institute of California—San Francisco. I was lucky to be [hired on] before I finished my degree. I also work freelance on the side.” Amanda adds that a typical workday includes checking the job board, organizing projects by priority, and delegating as needed. She’s focused on completing jobs before deadline.

    She understands that it’s easy to feel pressure during school but emphasizes to current students that school is only temporary. “Keep pushing, be professional, and put out only your best work. You never know who is watching and who could help you get a job in the future.”

    Amanda cites a challenge that she experienced in her work—when she had to customize a WordPress website for a client. “I had a client that wanted a portal for users to apply to be an agent for his company. I wanted to use a particular plugin to do this, but because of the highly sensitive information we were capturing, I needed to find a way to make it as secure as possible.” She researched and customized plugins to accomplish the task. “From my experience, there really isn't anything you can't do on the web. If you don't know how to do it, spend a few hours on Google and make a plan.”

    Amanda adds that her career is detail-oriented and that designers have to love what they do. “If you don't [love what you’re doing], you're not going to care very much about the quality of your work. Even with the ‘not so fun’ jobs or clients, you need to find the excitement in every job. Passion and dedication is what clients and employers notice.”

    She works in a small team environment, which has enabled her coworkers to become close friends. “Not only do we collaborate on many projects, but we also come up with our own crazy ideas for projects to do on the side. I think we all compliment each other very well.”

    Amanda, who in 2008 earned an Associate of Science in Graphic Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that in school, she worked on web projects from start to finish. “It prepared me for the actual process of developing a website. With the instructors checking in at every milestone of the project, it simulated client interaction and feedback. Also, student feedback gave me many sets of eyes [on my work] and I believe made me a stronger designer.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/386 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 California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University alumni Eric Drake

    Eric J. Drake

    Culinary Management , 2015

    "The knowledge and skills I gained in school [are used in my job] every single day."

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    Eric J. Drake

    Floor Manager at Bumble

    Eric J. Drake is the floor manager at Bumble, a farm to table restaurant in Los Altos, California. He oversees front of house management, runs the floor, and expedites hosting and serving of customers. Eric enjoys the human element of his job—serving people and working with his employees. “I love having a hand in making someone’s day better. Food is a great way to do that,” he says.

    Eric explains that when he joined the restaurant, he quickly realized that there was a lack of communication between the front of house and back of house. He set out to fix that problem immediately. “Now everything is organized and communication with the kitchen is much better.” Eric mentions that he supports the new trend of mandatory tipping—or eliminating tips altogether and paying employees a higher wage.

    He gained his passion for food from his mother—and adds that his father taught him what it takes to be successful. Eric adds that the industry can be challenging but urges current students not to take things personally. “People in this industry are passionate. Keep your chin up, brush off [any disagreements in the workplace], and go on doing your job.”

    Eric, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Science in Culinary Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that his education provided the knowledge he needed to transition into a culinary career. “A degree doesn’t make you a great manager, that can only happen on the job. But the knowledge and skills I gained in school [are used in my job] every single day.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/1410 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 California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University alumni Lucia Mendez

    Lucia Mendez

    Fashion Design , 2015

    "[My education] covered every area of the fashion industry."

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    Lucia Mendez

    Technical Designer for BYER California

    Lucia Mendez is a technical designer for BYER California, based in San Francisco. She’s responsible for writing specs, sketching new designs, and specing sample garments. “I [joined the] company right after graduation,” she proudly states.

    Lucia says that her grandfather inspired her to pursue fashion design. Today she is excited to be part of a nationally recognized fashion company. “[My work] is in an area that may not be as creative, but it is essential for the fashion industry.”

    Lucia, who in 2015 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education provided a solid foundation for her transition into the world of fashion. She recommends that current students stay focused. “Know what you want and once you start, do not stop. Don’t give up.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/380 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 California - San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University alumni Marichuy Reynoso

    Marichuy Reynoso

    Fashion Design , 2007

    "[My education provided] a thorough overview of the field."

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    Marichuy Reynoso

    Brand Manager for Vince Camuto

    Marichuy Reynoso is the brand manager for Vince Camuto. She’s based in San Francisco’s East Bay. Marichuy is responsible for relationship building and merchandising, as well as evaluating floor space, product on hand, and updating mannequins on the merchandise floor. “I enjoy the experience of understanding what customers buy and don’t buy. This is great information when designing,” she says.

    Marichuy is proud to be in a challenging career that makes her leave her comfort zone. She recommends that new designers remember to master the basics. “The human body has not changed. However, fibers and new technologies are changing, especially in performance wear.”

    Marichuy, who in 2007 earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Fashion Design from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education provided a thorough overview of the fashion industry. She also credits the school’s career services team for helping with her job search. Marichuy adds that it’s important to participate in fashion shows to show off skills. “[Internships are also important]. They are solid experience that appeals to employers.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/380 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.

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  • Sabrina Padua

    Sabrina Padua

    Fashion Marketing & Management , 2016

    “No matter how long the days are, I enjoy that I get to be in this industry making a difference, alongside my team. It's great to finally be able to have a career that I've always envisioned myself being in.”

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    Sabrina Padua
    Researches and Creates Trend Plans Two Years Before Final Product Hits Stores 

    As the product line coordinator for Lucy Activewear, Sabrina Padua has many responsibilities. She coordinates and manages data pertaining to the product line, product creation, and development—and works with the “tops” category team to help to determine new product and consumer needs, price points, and strategic developments. Prior to her current position, she worked with prAna, Mel Cotton’s Sporting Goods, Forever 21, and Urban Outfitters.

    Each day is a balance of new tasks and outstanding projects. “My work consists of creating multiple presentations on PowerPoint [for] different cross-functional partners, managing data pertaining to the product line on multiple Excel files, and ensuring the integrity of its contents. I also attend prototype fittings, organize salesman samples, attend meetings with different teams (design, product development, marketing, sourcing) to go over seasonal collections, and coordinate all of the important gates and milestones when it comes to the product life cycle,” she says.

    Sabrina adds that she didn’t quite know what to expect on her first day at work. “I had butterflies in my stomach and I would think to myself, ‘Am I going to do a good job? What if I don't catch on? What if this isn't for me?’ But the moment that I walked into the office and met everyone, all of my fears were put to rest. I realized very quickly that I knew my strengths and my skills, and I was prepared for any challenges that may come.”

    She explains that fashion takes a high level of commitment—but it’s an exciting field full of creative individuals. “[I work with people that] I can learn from and look to as role models. I see what it takes to be successful and I strive to learn and adapt quickly, and to contribute to the future of the brand as much as I possibly can.”

    Working on projects two years before they hit stores can be a challenge. “We are really in the forefront of the product's lifecycle. I help my team brief the new ideas and we work together with the designers to create an entire product line. My team goes out in to the market to find out what styles, fabrics, and technologies are trending, and we work with our designers who then create the collection based on the details our findings.” From that point, the project evolves to include fittings and samples of the designs that will be available in stores.

    Sabrina, who in 2016 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that her education taught the key skills needed to transition into the fashion industry. “It’s great to come into the field knowing industry terms, departments, and how they pertain to the product line.” She adds that it’s also important that individuals in the industry continue to innovate and create. “It's good to be adaptable, flexible, and on your toes. There's so many different moving parts when it comes to introducing the product and brand to the market.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/383 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 California—San Francisco, a campus of Argosy University alumni Samson Chen

    Samson Chen

    Fashion Marketing & Management , 2011

    "Soak up knowledge and experience like a sponge. Collaborate with industry leaders and mentors that you want to emulate."

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    Samson Chen

    Creative Entrepreneur at TOA, Article & Goods and Azil Boutique

    Samson Chen describes himself as a “creative entrepreneur” at TOA, Article & Goods, and Azil Boutique—companies that provide handmade or specialized creative pieces. He prides himself in building a business model for these companies out of experience and observation. “[I see] what is missing in the market and [determine] how I can change it, improve on it, or break into it,” he says.

    Samson admits that he had to swallow his fear and believe in his intuition when going out on his own. “Sometimes failure or trial-and-error is the best way of learning.” He enjoys being independent. “The heart and soul I put into my work [makes me feel] satisfied and rewarded.

    Samson, who in 2011 earned a Bachelor of Science in Fashion Marketing & Management from The Art Institute of California—San Francisco, says that his education provided the fundamentals he needed to work in the creative industry. He recommends that current students learn as much as they can—even in unpaid positions. “Soak up knowledge and experience like a sponge. Collaborate with industry leaders and mentors that you want to emulate.”

    See http://ge.artinstitutes.edu/programoffering/383 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

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What Will I Study?

Media_Arts_Animation

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 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

  • Media Arts & Animation Instructor Billy Burger

    Billy Burger

    Media Arts & Animation

    "Create your own style, your own brand."

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    Billy Burger

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

    I’ve always been driven to create things. While I was running a neon studio here in San Francisco in 1992, I had lunch with a producer from Colossal Pictures. Just sitting there talking to him, realized I was destined for a career in animation.

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

    I share all of my professional experience, including creating 2D special effects for films, in every class I teach. In my Portfolio classes, I translate all the studio expectations into rubrics that foster the best work possible.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    I teach a class called Animation Studio, where, in the past, students had basically worked on material for their show reel. I reached out to Chris Ayers, a character designer whose creations have included characters for the film Men in Black.

    I asked him if my students could animate some of the characters a book of sketches he’d published, called The Daily Zoo. The idea was to help students build their reels, and potentially forge a professional relationship with him. It’s been a mainstay—and a great, real-world opportunity—for my Animation students ever since.

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

    Create your own style, your own brand. I tell my students that the real world isn’t a textbook exercise or an online example. Out there, the stage is blank and it's time to create something completely new—on their own, from scratch—and make it industry-quality. That’s why I stress the need to create work that’s unique—to develop a strong style and a solid reel to help them join the next generation of commercial artists.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Recently, I chose two students and two graduates to work on a story idea for a short film I came up with a few years ago. They’re beginning work on the model pack, storyboards, and initial principle animation. It’s something they can add to their resume and their reel.

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  • Trey Gallaher

    Trey Gallaher

    Game Art & Design

    "Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most."

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    Trey Gallaher

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

    From a young age, I knew I wanted to be an artist of some sort.  When I took my first art history class in college I saw the work of Artemisia Gentileschi and knew what I was destined to do.

    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?

    Whenever possible, I try to use samples of my own work or an anecdote from my professional experience to set the tone and create a picture of the industry practice and standard.  I have always been a hands-on type of teacher. I try to show, not tell, and demonstrate the skills and steps required to achieve a higher standard.

    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 character design classes, I give an assignment where students explore abstract visual concepts through thumbnail sketching and silhouette refinement. I begin by showing them how to get started, what methods and tools to use, and set them to work. Through their own exploration and work they find a spark of originality and an idea that sets the direction for further development.  They are often surprised by their own discoveries and in finding something unique and special in their own working process. This is the heart of what I do. I teach process for image creation and visual problem solving thereby unlocking my student’s potential.

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

    One of the many rewards of attending a traditional brick and mortal college in the modern age is the collaboration and feedback you get from an on-ground experience that generates and fosters professional working relationships.  By having a diverse student body with a variety of design concentrations, students are exposed to neighboring disciplines often working together on projects exchanging ideas and both giving and receiving feedback.  Critiques and group discussion are where students stand to benefit the most.  Students find themselves surrounded by other creative individuals attempting to solve similar types of design problems.  Through this exchange and collaboration, they make connections and form lasting bonds that carry on after their college life and into the professional work place.

    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 ethic and accountability are the two biggest requirements to becoming a professional.  Taking personal responsibility for the development, execution and on-time delivery of the highest-grade work possible is the sign of a student that is ready for the industry.  When students enter The Art Institute, it begins with their passion and talent.  Our job as faculty is to guide that passion and talent through challenging course work and instruction that will better prepare them for the demanding industry standard. A strong work ethic and accountability are the promise each student must make to themselves in order to achieve success.

    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?

    For over thirteen years at Ai I have been continually amazed by the high caliber of work our students achieve.  I have a strong respect for the discipline it takes for students to stay focused on their goals in this busy and challenging age. I applaud and consider it a privilege to stand behind them in their dedication to their own passion, talent and decision to make their dreams a reality.




     

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The Art Institute of Michigan alumni Calvert Griffin [My education] helped me to learn how to be an effective teammate and work well with others. Calvert Griffin
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design, 2014, The Art Institute of Michigan