Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Flroida. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.
1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design (RCAD) was established in 1931 by circus baron, art collector, and real estate developer John Ringling. The school opened with just 75 students and 111 course offerings. Today, RCAD is home to 1,300 students and it offers BFA degrees in eleven disciplines and BA degrees in two. Just a few majors include Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, and Visual Studies.
The Computer Animation program is one of the most popular programs at RCAD, accounting for around 20% of the student population. The program was established in 1990 and it leads to a BFA. Graduates of the program have gone on to work at Blue Sky Studios, Cartoon Network, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, Nickelodeon, Pixar, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Walt Disney Animation, and many others.
2. University of Central Florida, Orlando, Florida
University of Central Florida (UCF) is home to the College of Arts and Humanities, which houses the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD). SVAD offers a number of degree programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Character Animation Specialization and an Emerging Media Track/Experimental Animation Specialization. Graduate programs include an MA in Visual Language and Interactive Media, and an MFA in Emerging Media with three Track options. They include Digital Media, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, or “Studio Art and the Computer.” To name just a few, UCF SVAD graduates are prepared for careers as animators, modelers, riggers, or texture artists in the film or computer game industries.
About UCF: UCF was established in 1963. The school houses four campuses across Orlando and in Daytona Beach, along with a population of 64,000 students. This makes UCF the nation’s second largest university. Also one of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges.
3. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University offers a BS in Computer Animation that takes 20 months to complete on-campus, and 32 months to complete online. Students can expect to take courses such as 2D and 3D Animation, Character Animation, Animation Production, Shading and Lighting, Character Rigging, and Visual Development. According to the school, “courses focusing on relevant topics such as storytelling and communication are designed to further round out your skill set.” A total of seven Project and Portfolio courses must be completed as well. These courses “combine hands-on learning experiences with summative and formative portfolio assessments.” Courses cover 3D Arts and Computer Animation.
About Full Sail: Full Sail University was established in 1979 and it is home to approximately 15,000 students. The school offers degrees at all levels and Graduate Certificates in the areas of Entertainment, Media, and the Arts.
4. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School) offers several programs for aspiring animators including a Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics, and Certificates in Visual Effects Production and Game Production. The Bachelor’s in Motion Graphics introduces students to 3D Modeling and Animation for Motion Graphics. Students in the program will learn and practice the principles of Animation, Compositing, Composition, and Design.
The 15-month Game Production Program covers Animation Fundamentals and Digital Modeling and Sculpting, while the 12-month 3D Visual Effects Program covers Modeling & Sculpting, Visual Effects, Studio Production, and Animation Fundamentals as well. DAVE school graduates have worked on major productions such as Captain America, The Hobbit, Godzilla, Terminator Genisys, and Jurassic World, to name a few.
About DAVE School: Founded in 2000, The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (Dave School) is a 35,000 square foot facility located on the backlot of Universal Studios Florida, Soundstage 25. The school offers intensive and “comprehensive training” in 3D Modeling, 3D Animation, 3D Visual Effects, and Game Production.
5. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
The College of Motion Picture Arts at Florida State University (FSU) offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program. BFA students will begin the program with Film History, Screenwriting, Directing, Cinematography, CG and Live Action Production, Editing and Sound. Students will then learn the craft of digital filmmaking through 3D Animation, Character Development, Compositing, Modeling, Stop Motion, Texturing, Rendering, and Visual Effects Cinematography.
The Torchlight Program gives FSU animation students interested in freelancing or starting their own studios the opportunity to learn about “current and emerging business practices of the motion picture industry.” The program offers coursework in key areas such as Distribution, Marketing, and Motion Picture Financing.
About FSU: Founded in 1851 and home to more than 41,000 students, FSU is one of the largest and oldest of the 11 institutions of higher learning in the State University System of Florida. The school offers more than 275 degree programs across 16 colleges.