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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Arizona Animation Schools

Written by ACR StaffFebruary 19, 2016
Did You Know.....Full Sail University offers online degree programs in computer animation, game art, and game design? Learn more about Full Sail University's online programs.
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Arizona is no stranger to Hollywood. In fact, The Arizona Film Office of the Arizona Department of Commerce has a number of major productions to its credit, and many are classics. Sean Penn's Into the Wild (2007) was filmed in parts of Bullhead City, Kingman, Page, and Yuma, and scenes from The Savages (2007) were filmed on location in Sun City. The Oscar winning film Little Miss Sunshine (2006) made its way through Chandler, Flagstaff, and Phoenix, and scenes from Star Wars Episodes IV and VI (1977 and 1983), Natural Born Killers (1994), Psycho (1960), Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984), Forrest Gump (1994), Planet of the Apes (1968), Wayne’s World (1992) and Casablanca (1942) were filmed here. 

The Arizona Film Office attracts major productions such as these by offering incentives, access to picturesque shooting locations, and easy access to local talent and staff. As a result, the Arizona film industry continues to thrive, attracting production companies from all over the U.S. and abroad. This includes animation studios.

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In addition to an active film and video industry, the State of Arizona is home to a variety of advertising agencies located in major cities such as Phoenix and Tucson; it is home to the Tucson Animation Screening Society (TASS), which promotes Japanese animation (anime) for the University of Arizona, and it is home to top-rated art and design schools such as the Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA), which offers a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in animation and the University of Advancing Technology (UAT), which offers a BA in Game Art and Animation.

Arizona-based animators also work in technology, public relations, information services, and education. The state is home to around 84 Title IV degree-granting colleges and universities and hundreds of other learning centers that offer art and design programs. More than 1,000 computer design and information technology firms can be found in the state, as well as  hundreds of creative firms that often hire talented animators.

Many of Arizona’s top colleges and universities offer art and design programs accredited by the prestigious National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD). A large number of community colleges such as Mesa Community College and Scottsdale Community College also offer animation certificates, enrichment courses, or other non-degree animation programs.

Arizona Animation Schools

Art Institute of Phoenix – Degrees Offered: BA Media Arts & Animation, BA Visual Effects & Motion Graphics, BA Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, BA Game Art & Design

Arizona State University (ASU)-Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts – Degrees Offered: AAS Digital Game and Simulation - Digital Animation and Production; AAS to BAS Digital Game and Simulation - Digital Animation and Production for Pima College

University of Advancing Technology - Degrees Offered: AA, BA Game Art and Animation (traditional and online), AA, BA Serious Games and Simulation and Virtual Modeling and Design (traditional and online), AA, BA Digital Video

Southwest University of the Visual Arts (SUVA) – Degrees Offered: BA Animation; MFA with an Emphasis in Motion Arts

The Art Center College of Design – Degrees Offered: BA Entertainment Design, BA Interaction Design, BA Film

More Arizona Schools with Animation related programs:  

Employment and Salary Trends for Arizona Animators

Arizona is home to 30,930 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. Of this group, 300 are salaried multimedia artists and animators averaging $54,180 per year. In 2010, the state was home to 190 animators and multimedia artists averaging $56,690 per year. Nationwide, the median annual wage for animators and multimedia artists was $63,630 as of December 17, 2015 and overall employment for this group is expected to increase by six percent for the 2014-2024 decade, which is as fast as average for all occupations.

It is important to note that many animators and multimedia artists are self-employed. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” has the second highest concentration of employment (not highest employment level) in the nation for animators and multimedia artists. This means, it’s safe to assume that the population of animators and multimedia artists in Arizona is much higher. These individuals typically to earn more as well. According to the Bureau, “Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers” is the fourth highest paying industry for animators and multimedia artists. As of 2015, the average salary for this group was $75,150.

The industries with the highest concentration of employment for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • Motion Picture and Video industries
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers
  • Software Publishers
  • Specialized Design Services
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services

The industries with the highest levels of employment are:

  • Motion Picture and Video industries
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services
  • Software Publishers
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Other Information Services

The top five highest paying states for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • California ($82,170)
  • Washington ($75,740)
  • Massachusetts ($73,470)
  • New York ($70,660)
  • Idaho ($69,450)

The top paying industries for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers ($81,760)
  • Other Information Services ($80,310)
  • Software Publishers ($76,090)
  • Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers ($75,150)
  • Motion Picture and Video Industries ($73,950) 

The states with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are California, New York, Washington, Texas, and Georgia. However, Arizona-based animators can do a few things to increase their chances of landing a position. Consider searching in major cities such as Phoenix, Tucson, Mesa, Chandler, Glendale, Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Tempe. In addition, the top industries for animators should be at the top of your list, of course.

Awesome Animation FactThe massive wildebeest stampede in The Lion King (1994) used a computer to replicate the hand-animated wildebeest from many different angles, creating differences in appearance among them. Similarly, in the crowd scene in The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), a number of base characters were programmed into the computer. A program called CROWD then scrambled actions randomly so that the characters in the crowd were doing different things: laughing, clapping, jumping, and so forth. –