Careers in Animation: Articles on Employment Trends, Salary Trends, Types of Jobs & Education/Training Requirements

Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Game Design School Programs in the US. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. University of Southern California (USC), Los Angeles, California

Established in 1880, the University of Southern California is home to 43,000 students enrolled in more than 200 undergraduate programs, 300-plus graduate programs, and more than 150 minors across 18 colleges and schools. USC Games offers four degree programs and four minors for aspiring game designers. School of Cinematic Arts degrees include a BA in Interactive Entertainment and an MFA in Interactive Media. Viterbi School of Engineering degrees include a BS in Computer Science (Games) and an MS in Computer Science with a Specialization in Game Development. Minors include Game Animation, Game Audio, Game Design, and Game Entrepreneurism.

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Top 100 Most Influential

After eight years of writing about video games, I wanted to take the pulse of the game industry. I organized this list with the criteria for influence being: how long since a studio’s last release, how many releases they had in 2013 and 2014 combined, how many copies were sold, how many people still play their games today, what do they have coming out in the near future, how unique are their games, and how much competition from other studios do they have?

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YouTube Gaming PewDiePie Let's Play

Hit F5. That’s how long it takes for a new YouTube celebrity to be born, and these days most of them are coming from the game industry. People share edited or unedited gameplay videos of them playing games for minutes or hours with commentary, and millions of other gamers rush to watch them. The vicarious Let’s Play obsession has taken over YouTube and led to the rise and success of the livestream gaming site, Twitch.TV, which Amazon bought one year ago for $970 million. Today, in honor of the brand new YouTube Gaming streaming app that just launched to compete directly with TwitchTV, we’re doing a tour of the ten YouTube gamer accounts with the most subscribers on the Internet. Our only restriction is that we won’t include big corporate company accounts!

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Dota 2 The International Summer Majors

A decade ago, competitive gaming was a grassroots movement consisting of mostly first person shooters, fighting games, and the undying fandom of the original StarCraft. I was lucky enough to discover the DotA mod for Warcraft III way back in 2007, and it has been a thrill to watch the MOBA (Multiplayer Online Battle Arena) community grow by the millions. Eventually Heroes of Newerth, League of Legends, and other MOBAs were released, but it wasn't until Valve launched Dota 2 that today's eSports industry really began to take off.

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Sheila Sofian

ACR is excited to announce a new Interview Series that spotlights the work of women in the fields of animation, multimedia and game design. From LaVerne Harding and Mary Blair to Kazuko Nakamura and Jennifer Yuh Nelson, women have influenced generations and offered new perspectives to the craft. Though they remain a minority in the industry, their rank continues to grow; in fact, women now represent a majority of animation students in American college programs. We’re looking forward to following the work they do and bringing you their voices.

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The students and faculty of the Media Arts & Science department at Indiana University- Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) practically ooze with exuberance for their study. Finding a home in IUPUI’s School of Informatics & Computing (the first of its kind in the U.S.), they are encouraged and expected to explore new frontiers in the growing field that merges technology with art. The flexibility afforded to them allows each undergrad to explore their own areas of interest while leveraging state-of-the-art facilities and the expertise of passionate working instructors and faculty.

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Anyone interested in understanding our brave new world that blends art and technology need not look any further than the work of UCLA’s Rebecca Allen. As returning Chair of the university’s Design Media Arts department (a department which she founded in the 1990s), she presides over one of the nation’s premier interactive design programs that offers both B.A. and M.F.A. degrees.

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Ohio graphic design schools: most expensive to least expensive

Ohio is home to 215 Title IV degree-granting institutions. To become a Title IV school, an institution must meet five requirements. They must have (1) accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, (2) offer a program of at least 300 clock hours in length, (3) sign a participation agreement with the Department, (4) grant an associate's degree or higher, and (5) be in business for at least two years. Once these requirements have been met, the school becomes eligible for Title IV federal financial-aid programs. 

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Tracy Fullerton is not your average game designer. Instead, she turns traditional game narrative and motivation on its head (evident in her work-in-progress Walden, a Game). She isn’t the typical gamer, either. She’s drawn to games that experiment with player choice and present complex dilemmas. And she’s anything but your average faculty member. After all, how many college students have the opportunity to learn from someone who has produced games, started her own venture-backed company, and acts as a thought-leader in the industry and academia?

Fullerton does all of this as Director of USC Games and Game Innovation Lab, one of the nation’s preeminent game programs that consistently snags the top spot in the rankings. Offering a B.A. and B.S. from two of USC’s most prestigious departments (the School of Cinematic Arts and the Viterbi School of Engineering), USC Games also lures majors from other departments with its minor degrees in addition to its M.F.A. and M.S. graduate programs.

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Animator, professor, historian, author, producer, lecturer and Academy Award winner- John Canemaker has donned many hats throughout his illustrious career. At NYU’s prestigious Tisch School of the Arts, he has shared his intimate knowledge and love of animation to guide thirty-five years’ worth of young creatives as they learn the finer points of the craft.

No matter the type of animation employed, Canemaker keenly teaches his students the fundamentals that persist. He personally knew and worked with many of the standard-bearers of the animation- including several of Disney’s Nine Old Men. But his status in the world of animation belies his humble origins and late-blooming start. Were it not for words of encouragement from a college instructor at the age of 28, his career might have taken an entirely different trajectory.

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