Profiles of Schools/Colleges in California (CA) Offering Animation, Design, Gaming, and Media Related Programs

West

Our 2014 rankings of the Top 25 Animation Schools on the West Coast. 

We define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho. 

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

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Our 2014 list of the Top 100 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

11. California Institute of the Arts, Valencia, California 
When the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and the Chouinard Art Institute merged in 1961 with the help of none other than Walt and Roy Disney, it became one of the most coveted artist’s communities on the west coast. Dubbed California Institute of Arts (better known as CalArts), the school quickly climbed the ranks to become one of the top ten schools for aspiring animators and America’s top college for students in the arts.

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ohn C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts

The University of Southern California has earned its spot among the nation’s most esteemed institutions of higher learning. Among its many venerable departments, its School of Cinematic Arts (SCA) has nurtured and inspired generations of film makers, animators, directors and entrepreneurs for 85 years. Not surprisingly, it attracts a who’s who list of faculty, guest lecturers and generous endowments while drawing in students from around the world to California’s golden coast. 

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UCSC

Social art practitioner, documentarian and Assistant Professor John Jota Leaños stumbled upon animation while seeking a way to convey profound social questions in an accessible, bold and often ironic format. Leaños leverages animation along with other mediums to examine today’s issues while peering into the past. Weaving the vibrant and diverse aesthetics of Latino and indigenous cultures, he has gained international acclaim. His animated documentaries have been shown at Sundance, Toronto and Cannes while audiences in Chicago have been wowed by his mariachi opera and passersby in San Francisco have come face to face with his public art projects.

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Otis College of Art & Design, Kathleen Milnes, John Lasseter ,Pixar, Photoshop,

As one of the nation’s oldest art universities, Otis College of Art & Design’s Los Angeles campus has long served as a beacon for aspiring artists. Featuring a first year foundational curriculum, students gain a working knowledge of the skills vital to art and design fields before choosing their major of choice. Among their choices is Otis’ distinguished BFA in Digital Media whose many compelling attributes attract top talent and faculty.

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West

Our 2013 list of the Top 20 Animation and Game Design Schools on the West Coast. 

For the record, we define the West Coast as California, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and Idaho. 

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Norco College

Norco College’s Game Development program may be relatively new to the scene but it’s quickly flexing its muscles and earning attention with a rigorous A.S. of Game Art program. By leveraging the savvy insight of working faculty and industry advisors, the curriculum doesn’t lose track of the fundamentals of game development nor does it overlook the trends on the horizon.  It’s also not averse to incorporating a little fun into the tough business of creating games (as is evident by the faculty-created Boom Ninja! Project). These are exciting times for the program which is currently expanding to offer three additional A.S. degrees (Game Design, Game Programming and Game Audio) thanks to a $2.8 million Title V grant.

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Animation Mentor

Degrees Offered:  Animation Fundamentals
Character Animation Production Track
Animal and Creature Production Track
VFX Fundamentals

Tuition Information:  6-week online workshops begin at $599
12-week courses range from $1,999 to $2,799 plus applicable fees. Payment plans and private student loans are available to those who qualify.

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Norco College

In the southern California county of Riverside sits a 2-year Game Development program like few others, earning considerable attention from industry and universities alike. Norco College’s Game Development department offers an A.S. of Game Art which doesn’t miss a beat, focusing on techniques seldom explored in 2-year programs elsewhere. The high caliber of work produced by students is testament to the program’s emphasis on fundamentals and its close collaboration with industry advisors and working faculty to develop and iterate the curriculum. Though capable of breaking into their careers immediately, many graduates choose to further their studies at premier 4-year institutions.

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Loyola Marymount University

Overlooking the Pacific from the bluffs of Los Angeles sits Loyola Marymount University, a gem in animation education that we’re taking a closer look at today.

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