Our 2017 rankings of the top 5 animation school programs in Washington. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. University of Washington, Seattle, Washington
University of Washington (UW) offers several programs for aspiring animators through the school’s Computer Science & Engineering Department (UW CSE). Options include BS degrees in Computer Science or Engineering, and a PhD or Professional Master’s Program (PMP) in Computer Science & Engineering (CSE). All programs offer heavy animation coursework and access to the department’s three main labs (The Graphics and Imaging Lab (GRAIL), the Center for Game Science, and the Animation Research Labs) dedicated to research in the areas of Animation, Computer Graphics, Game Science, Vision, and Visualization.
According to the Department, “The GRAIL group is known for ground-breaking research in computational photography, games for science and education, 3-D reconstruction, Internet photo collections, object recognition, human shape and motion analysis, information visualization, and animation, while researchers at the “Center for Game Science use gaming to solve grand challenges, crowdsource human problem-solving to aid scientific discovery, and improve student interest and achievement in mathematics.”
The Animation Research Labs “is a multi-disciplinary effort that brings together faculty and students from UW CSE, the Department of Architecture, and the Schools of Art, DXARTS, Drama, and Music. The ARL is focused on advancing the state-of-the-art in animation through teaching, research, and computer-animated production in collaboration with experts from Disney Animation Studios, Bungie, Industrial Light & Magic, Microsoft Game Studios, Pixar, and many others.”
About UW: Established in 1861, University of Washington is home to 58,819 students across three campuses located in Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma. The school offers more than 579 degree options across 306 programs and 16 colleges and schools.
2. Digipen Institute of Technology, Redmond, Washington
Digipen Institute of Technology offers a BFA in Digital Art and Animation that is available at the school’s Redmond campus and international branch campuses including Digipen Europe-Bilbao and Digipen Singapore. According to the school, the program is designed to “prepare students to create artwork at the professional level.” Students in the program will develop “excellent” drawing skills, strong storytelling abilities, production experience and experience with modern studio processes. Sample courses include Animation, Human Anatomy, Art and Technology, Storytelling, Storyboards, 2D and 3D Animation, Cinematography, and Conceptual Illustration and Visual Development.
Digipen graduate have been hired at companies such as Activision, Blizzard Entertainment, Disney Online, Electronic Arts, and Microsoft.
About Digipen: DigiPen Institute of Technology was founded in 1988. It is home to approximately 976 undergraduates and 78 graduate students from 50 states and close to 50 countries. The school offers 10 graduate and undergraduate programs in the areas of Art, Design, and Computer Science.
3. Academy of Interactive Entertainment, Seattle, Washington
The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) offers a variety of Game Design and Animation programs. Offerings for aspiring animators include an intensive Advanced Diploma of Screen and Media, Specializing in 3D Animation & VFX for Film, an Advanced Diploma of Professional Game Development, Specializing in Game Art & Animation, and a Certificate II in Creative Industries (Media), 3D Animation Foundations.
The Advanced Diploma Programs take two years to complete, full-time or 1.5 years, intensive, and they are also available part-time, online. The Certificate Program offers 10, 15 and 20-week options and it is available online and on campus. Courses cover Animation, 3D Modeling, Texturing, Lighting, Rendering, Character Design, Environment Design, and Short Movie Production.
About AIE: The Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) was established in 1996. The school, which has a dedicated Online campus and seven campuses in the U.S. and Australia, teaches on a studio model, so classes emulate the industry workplace environment. AIE students can expect to be in “class” for 20 hours per week.
4. The Art Institute of Seattle, Seattle Washington
The Art Institute of Austin offers several programs for aspiring animators. Options include a BFA in Media Arts & Animation and a BS in Visual Effects & Motion Graphics. Students in the Animation Program will take a variety of classes such as Character and Object Design for Animation, Cinematic Storytelling, Computer 3D Modeling and Animation, Acting / Movement, 2D Animation, Storyboard Rendering for Animation, Camera and Lighting Techniques, 3D Modeling, 3D Character Animation, and 3D Textures, and Web Animation. Visual Effects & Motion Graphics students will take some of the same classes and others such as Editing for Visual Effects, 3D Effects, Advanced Visual Effects, and Interactive Visual Design.
About The Art Institute of Seattle: The Art Institute of Seattle is one of The Art Institutes, a system of schools throughout North America. The school offers Diplomas, and AAA, BFA, and BS degrees in Animation & Effects, Film & Production, Gaming & Technology, Visual Design, Interior Design, Fashion, Marketing, and Culinary Arts. A Diploma Program (Art of Cooking) is also available.
5. Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington
Evergreen State College focuses on interdisciplinary teaching and learning. According to the school, the animation curriculum “is taught in interdisciplinary programs in conjunction with dance, music, performance, religious and ritual studies, visual art, math, physics, literature, social studies, history and natural history. Depending on faculty placement, it is also taught with film, video, and media history and theory in the foundation program, Mediaworks/Non-Fiction Media.” Students in the program have access to the Electronic Media (EM) Department, which supports the schools Animation Labs, Film Editing, Multimedia Lab (MML), Music Technology Labs, and the Center for Creative and Applied Media. The undergraduate programs at Evergreen State College lead to a BA, BS, or BAS degree.
About Evergreen State College: Evergreen State College was established in 1967. The school is home to approximately 4,089 students from 47 states, 27 foreign countries. Evergreen offers more than 60 undergraduate fields of study and three graduate programs.