2018
Top 5 Florida Animation Schools and Colleges - 2018 Rankings
RankingSchoolCity
1Ringling College of Art and DesignSarasota
2University of Central FloridaOrlando
3Full Sail UniversityWinter Park
4The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School Orlando
5Florida State UniversityTallahassee

Our 2018 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Florida. For an explanation of ranking criteria, click here.

1. Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota, Florida
Ringling College of Art and Design

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 1,400 students, offering 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. Established in 1990, the BFA in Computer Animation allows students to do it all. Students learn to create characters and tell their stories, as well as design, paint, model, texture, animate, light, composite, and edit original films. The program also focuses on teaching students how to combine essential technical skills with conceptually original ideas that affect an audience emotionally, visually, and intellectually.

A BFA in Motion Design is also available. This program allows students to study animation, concept design, storyboard art, videography, composition, sound design, and art direction. Students in the program have the opportunity to work across many different fields with students of other majors and with actual, professional clients.

RCAD graduates have worked on every Oscar-winning animated feature since 2003, with 14 alumni working on 2016 Oscar winner, Inside Out and 21 working on 2017 Oscar winner Zootopia.  Graduates have also 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

Established in 1963 and home to more than 66,000 students across four campuses, the University of Central Florida (UCF) is the nation’s second-largest university. One of the nation’s youngest universities, UCF offers around 230 degree programs across 13 colleges. The College of Arts and Humanities is home to the School of Visual Arts & Design (SVAD), which offers a number of degree programs for aspiring animators.

Options include a BFA in Art with an Emerging Media Track/Character Animation Specialization and an Emerging Media Track/Experimental Animation Specialization. The Character Animation specialization is designed to prepare students for careers as animators, modelers, riggers, or texture artists in the film or computer game industries.

Programs for graduate students include an MA in Visual Language and Interactive Media, and an MFA in Emerging Media with an Animation and Visual Effects, Entrepreneurial Digital Cinema, or Studio Art and the Computer Track. The MA focuses on the development of advanced skills for digital media professionals, while the MFA is a terminal scholarly and creative degree suitable for students wishing to pursue careers as professors in higher education or as creative leaders in industry.

3. Full Sail University, Winter Park, Florida
Full Sail University

Full Sail University was established in 1979 and it is home to approximately 15,000 students. The school offers Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Associate degrees and Graduate Certificates in the areas of Entertainment, Media and the Arts. Options for aspiring animators include 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.

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.

4. The Digital Animation & Visual Effects School (DAVE School), Orlando, Florida
The Digital Animation & Visual Effects 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. Programs for aspiring animators include a Bachelor’s degree in Animation or Motion Graphics, and a Diploma and Associate Program in Visual Effects Production or Game Production.

The Bachelor’s in Animation is a 30-month program “provides students with a practical application to the animation process.” Students in the program will learn and understand acting for animators, body and facial animation, character rigging, creature animation, drawing for animators, previsualization, principles of movement, rigging, visual storytelling, and performance using a variety of software.

The 30-month 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 12-month Game Production Program covers Fundamentals of Computer Animation, Character, Prop and Environment Modeling, Level Design, Visual Effects, and Digital Modeling and Sculpting.

The 12-month Visual Effects Program covers 3D Animation, Digital Compositing, 2d/3D Tracking, Digital Modeling & Sculpting, Visual Effects, Studio Production, Lighting and Texturing, and Animation Fundamentals. Programs are offered either online, on-campus or in hybrid format.

DAVE school graduates and instructors have worked on major productions such as The Hunger Games, Green Lantern, Game of Thrones, Terminator Genisys, Jurassic World, Captain America, The Hobbit, Godzilla, and many others.

5. Florida State University, Tallahassee, Florida
Florida State University

Founded in 1851 and home to 41,900 students, Florida State University (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. The College of Motion Picture Arts offers several programs for aspiring animators including a BFA in Motion Picture Arts – Animation and Digital Arts, and The Torchlight Program.

BFA students will begin 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 who would like to freelance or start 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.