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

Our 2015 rankings of the top graphic design schools in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Cranbrook Academy of Art, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan (Top 1% of schools considered)

Cranbrook Academy of Art dates back to 1932 when it was called The Academy of Art. Home to around 150 students, the school consists of 10 departments led by an Artist or Designer-in-Residence. Programs for aspiring graphic designers include an MFA in Graphic Design. The program, which places strong emphasis on studio work time and group critique, is offered through the 2D/graduate graphic design department.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 25 Public Graphic Design School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia (Top 1% of schools considered)

Established in 1838, Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is home to more than 31,000 students enrolled in around 226 certificate and degree programs across 13 schools and one college. The School of the Arts is home to the Department of Graphic Design. The Department offers two programs for aspiring graphic designers. Students may choose between the BFA in Graphic Design or the MFA with a Concentration in Visual Communications (Graphic Design).

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Our 2015 rankings of the Top 15 game design and development programs in the Midwest. We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana, South Dakota, and North Dakota. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. DePaul University, Chicago, Illinois

DePaul University was established in 1898. It is the nation’s largest Catholic university with a student population of 23,799 students enrolled in more than 300 programs through 10 colleges and schools. The College of Computing and Digital Media offers several programs for aspiring game designers including BS and MS degrees in Computer Game Development with Concentrations in Game Design, GamePlay Programming, and Systems Programming.

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 Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. 1. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California (top 5% of schools considered)

Established in 1961, California Institute of the Arts is home to 1,489 students enrolled in more than 70 programs at all degree levels. The nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts, CalArts attracts a large population of aspiring filmmakers and animators. Around 26.9 percent of the schools population is enrolled in the School of Film/Video. The School offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and BFA and MFA degrees in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Public Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), Los Angeles, California

Founded in 1919 as the Southern Branch of the University of California, the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) is home to 43,239 students enrolled in more than 220 programs across five schools and 109 academic departments. UCLA’s School of Theater, Film and Television is home to the Animation Workshop.

Founded in 1948 by Disney Animator William Shull, the Animation Workshop is a three-year MFA program that accepts just 12 new students each year. Before applying to the program, students typically earn a BA in Film and Television. The BA program gives future MFA students the opportunity to study all facets of Digital Media, Film, and Television, as well as a full year of Animation studies, followed by an internship. 

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Our 2015 list of the Top 50 Private Animation School Programs in the US. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.


11. California Institute of the Arts (CalArts), Valencia, California

Established in 1961 by Walt and Roy Disney, CalArts is the nation's first postsecondary institution to offer graduate and undergraduate degrees in both the visual and performing arts. Home to 1,489 students, with 26.9 percent enrolled in the School of Film/Video, CalArts offers a BFA degree in Character Animation, and a BFA and MFA in Experimental Animation.

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Our 2015 rankings of the top animation programs in the Midwest.

We define the Midwest as Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Idaho, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota.

For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio

The Ohio State University (OSU) was established in 1870. It has a student population of nearly 65,000 enrolled in more than 350 programs across more than a dozen schools and colleges. Within OSU’s College of the Arts and Sciences, the Department of Art and the Department of Design both offer programs for aspiring animators.

The Department of Art offers both a BFA and MFA degree in Art with an Emphasis in Art and Technology that allow students to study 3D Modeling and Animation, Art Games, Digital Imaging, and other related areas. The Department of Design offers an MFA in Design with a track of study in Digital Animation and Interactive Media. This program operates in conjunction with the Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD), which provides world-class facilities and technical expertise in the context of an interdisciplinary research center.

Many graduates of the Design program have animated and directed some of the best-known works of studios such as Pixar and DreamWorks, while others go on to explore the application of animation and interactive media to game design and emerging approaches to visualization within a full range of disciplines and industries.

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Art Schools in Illinois January 25, 2016

Art Schools in Illinois

Illinois is home to the nation’s fifth largest population of people working in Arts, Design, Entertainment, Sports, and Media (ADESM) occupations. Nearly 67,000 individuals are members of this creative group and more than 49,000 live in the Chicago-Joliet-Naperville metropolitan area. This is not surprising.

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Illinois Animation Schools January 22, 2016

Illinois

Illinois is home to the nation’s third largest city—Chicago. While artists may live in just about any city or town in Illinois, the largest population of artists lives and works in the Chicago metropolitan area where you’ll find most of the state’s art museums, theaters, performance venues, television and film studios, animation studios, advertising agencies, technology companies, PR firms and other creative agencies.

Aspiring artists in the state, nation and abroad also come to Chicago to attend some of the world’s top art and design schools. The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), American Academy of Art, and Columbia College are just a few. 

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DePaul University’s animation program has grown considerably in recent years, attracting top talent to the Windy City in the process. With undergraduate (BA and BFA) and graduate (MA and MFA) degree offerings, DePaul’s students explore different animation techniques and styles taught by a large roster of faculty that hails from diverse animation backgrounds themselves.

For our latest Spotlight Q&A, we connect with two DePaul animation instructors whose contrasting styles and experience illustrate the program’s breadth and depth. Associate Professor Scott Roberts has been integral to the development of the program. His extensive commercial and artistic portfolio- which includes 3D game art and sculpture- allows him to straddle both DePaul’s Animation and Game Development programs. Veteran Disney animator Brian Ferguson offers his unparalleled insight to students as DePaul’s Animator in Residence instructor. While his work on classics like The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast are unforgettable, it’s his ability to go between classical and 3D animation with ease that has us in awe. We hope you enjoy! (This interview was conducted via phone & has been edited for length & clarity).

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