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Animation. Graphic Design. Game Art.

Washington Animation Schools

Written by ACR StaffSeptember 25, 2015
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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Washington State is home to some of the coolest cities in the U.S. Seattle, Bellevue and Tacoma are just a few. While the state is pretty well stocked in the cool cities department, Seattle holds the crown for art and culture. The city is home to top art museums such as Seattle Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum (SAAM) and Henry Art Gallery of the University of Washington. Seattle also houses some of the country’s most creative street art as well as a variety of art centers such as Pratt Fine Arts Center, Seattle Creative Arts Center and Fremont Abbey Arts Center. 

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Thanks to organizations such as Washington Film Works and the Seattle Film Office, the city attracts a number of Hollywood productions each year. Just a include Chronicle (2012), The Details (2011), Outsourced (2006), The Ring (2002), Double Jeopardy (1999) 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), Fear (1996), Disclosure (1994), The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989), and An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).

Because Seattle has a vibrant art and culture scene and an active film office, many aspiring animators choose the city as a starting point for their careers. Fortunately, Seattle is also home to several schools that offer quality animation programs. Smaller cities such as Redmond and Kirkland offer programs as well.

Continue reading to find out which Washington schools offer the best animation programs and where to find them. 

Washington Animation Schools

Washington is home to an interesting mix of art, technical, and traditional schools that offer degrees that can lead to a career in film animation, game animation or computer technology.  Scroll through the list below to review Washington’s top schools for aspiring animators and other digital artists, and what they have to offer.

Washington Institute of Technology – Degrees Offered: AAS in Digital Gaming and Media, and Video and Motion Graphics. Both programs cover 3D Animation

DigiPen Institute of Technology – Degrees Offered: BFA Digital Art and Animation, BS Real-Time Interactive Simulation, MFA Digital Arts

Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) - Degrees Offered: BS Digital Entertainment and Virtual Worlds (BSDEV), Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media Specializing in 3D Animation and Visual FX, Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development

Art Institute of Seattle - Degrees Offered: BFA Media Arts & Animation, BFA Digital Filmmaking & Video Production, BS Visual Effects & Motion Graphics

More Animation related programs to consider: 

Employment and Salary Trends for Washington Animators

Washington State is home to 43,500 professionals working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations, up from 42,240 in 2013. They average $52,930 down slightly from $53,290 in 2013, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Animators and multimedia artists belong to this category and they average $75,740 per year, up from $68,480 in 2013. The state is home to 1,970 salaried animators and multimedia artists, down from 2,530 in 2013. It is important to note that many animators are self-employed, so the combined population for independent and salaried workers is likely much higher than reported.

Other industries with the highest employment levels for animators and multimedia artists are:

  • Motion Picture and Video Industries (highest levels)
  • Computer Systems Design and Related Services    
  • Software Publishers  
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services
  • Other Information Services
  • Specialized Design Services

Although opportunities in these areas can be found in a number of cities across the state, large cities such as Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, and Bellevue may offer more opportunities. Interested in a slower pace? Consider Redmond. Take a look at what these cities have to offer:

  • ArenaNet, Bellevue
  • Big Fish Games, Seattle
  • Bungie Studios, Bellevue
  • DDB, Seattle
  • Digital Double, Redmond
  • DNA Seattle, Seattle
  • Fun Bits Interactive, Seattle
  • JWT, Seattle
  • Mean Hamster Software, Deer Park-Spokane County
  • Microsoft Game Studios, Redmond
  • Sucker Punch Productions, Bellevue
  • The Creative Group, Seattle
  • The Pokémon Company International, Bellevue

Awesome Animation Fact: John Lasseter made his directorial debut with a two-minute 3D computer animated film called Luxo Jr. The film was unveiled at SIGGRAPH in August 1986 and then screened for general audiences at Los Angeles-area theaters in November. The film went on to become the first 3D computer animated film to be nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar. -Pixar