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Digital Art Schools in California

Written by ACR StaffMarch 8, 2012
Digital Art Schools in California
Did you know... Each student at The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School at Universal Studios Orlando) learns how to work at a studio by spending 12 weeks as a Production Artist on a school-produced film. As a result, they have produced dozens of shorts in class. Their animated Star Wars fan film, The SOLO Adventures, won the Lucasfilm award at Star Wars Celebration V! You can see it and many more at www.DaveSchool.com.
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California has the highest population of artists in the U.S. and the number is growing. Artists of all kinds come here to work in multiple areas art from animation and illustration to painting and sculpting. The state is home to one of the largest number of art museums and galleries in the world, as well as hundreds of animation companies, advertising agencies, graphic design firms, and other creative agencies. California’s digital artists work in these areas and many others, and they can easily find work in creative environments across the state from Los Angeles all the way up to Santa Cruz.

The number of art museums here is endless, but just a few include the world-renowned Getty, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), the San Diego Museum of Art, the Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA), San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and the de Young Museum. Just a few of California’s top animation studios include DreamWorks Animation, Sony Pictures Animation, and Walt Disney Feature Animation. Top advertising agencies run the gamut from Saatchi & Saatchi and J. Walter Thompson to Foote, Cone & Belding (FCB).

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In addition to housing the nation’s largest collection of artists, museums, galleries, and studios, the state is also home to so many schools for artists you’ll lose count. For digital artists, several schools stand out from the rest. They can be found from southern to northern California. Just a few include the University of Southern California (USC) in Los Angeles and University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC).

California Digital Art Schools

California is home to more art schools than any other state. California’s 450+ accredited colleges offer the widest variety of art degree programs in the U.S., and the number grows each year. Scroll through the list below to review California’s best options for aspiring digital artists and what they have to offer.

Find California schools with animation, graphic design, and/or game art programs.

Los Angeles
University of Southern California (USC) - Degrees Offered:  B. A. Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Entertainment; M. F. A. Animation and Digital Arts, Interactive Media

Northridge
California State University Northridge - Degrees Offered: B. A. Animation, Video/Digital Art, Graphic Design, Illustration; M. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration or Video/Digital Art Concentration; M. F. A. Art, Studio Art Option with Video/Digital Art Concentration; Visual Communication Option with Illustration, Video/Digital Art Concentration or Graphic Design Concentration

Orange
Chapman University - Degrees Offered: B. F. A. Digital Arts with Emphasis in Animation or Visual Effects; Graphic Design; Studio Art: New Genres

Santa Cruz
University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) - Degrees Offered: B. A. Film and Digital Media, Art: Electronic/Digital Media; B. S. Computer Science: Computer Game Design; M. F. A. Digital Arts and New Media; Ph. D. Film and Digital Media, Computer Science with focus on Games

More California schools with Digital Art related programs:

Employment and Salary Trends for California Digital Artists

California was home to more than 226,000 artists in 2002. By 2010, the population had increased to more than 270,000. The average salary for California artists overall is $65,370 annually, up from $51,380 in 2002. That said, salaries for digital artists are literally all over the grid. Some digital artists earn between $52,000-$60,000 a year, while others may earn $89,000 all the way up to $129,000+ per year. In addition, salaries for digital artists vary greatly by field. For example, California animators average more than $74,000 annually, while graphic designers average $57,240. Illustrators average more than $66,000 and art directors average $106,000+.
Nationwide, mean annual wages of artists were $41,660 in 2002. The lowest paid artists earned less than $16,000, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $73,000. By 2010, the mean annual wage for artists was $52,290. The lowest paid artists earned $19,480 and the highest paid artists averaged an impressive $91,770.