What are the top animation school programs in Colorado for 2020?

Top Animation School Programs in Colorado- 2020 College Rankings
1Rocky Mountain College of Art and DesignDenver
2University of Colorado - DenverDenver
3Colorado Mesa UniversityGrand Junction

Our 2020 ranking of the top animation school programs in Colorado. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.

1. Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, Denver, Colorado
Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design

In 1963, well-known illustrator and educator Philip J. Steele founded Rocky Mountain School of Art, which later became Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (RMCAD). The school serves 760 students enrolled in 16 degree and certificate programs offered in campus/hybrid and online formats. More than 100 students are enrolled in the schools Animation Program. Options include a BFA in Animation with an Emphasis in 2D or 3D Animation, and Certificates in 3D Animation: Pre-Production or 3D Animation: Character Animation.

Animation program highlights include Drawing (2D) or Advanced Software (3D) Concentrations; Stop Motion, Anatomy and Figure studies; Modeling, Character Design, Virtual Environments, and Storyboarding, and Line of Action. The BFA program takes four years to complete.

The Certificate programs consist of 18 credit hours of study. Certificate program highlights include Fundamentals of Animation, 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies, 3D Character & Production Design, Game Animation + Motion Capture, Advanced Character Creation Methods, and Advanced Computer Animation Motion Studies.

Graduates of RMCAD’s Animation BFA Program are prepared to seek positions such as Flash Developer/Designer, New Media Designer, Digital Videographer, 3D Artist, Character Developer, and many others. RMCAD graduates have landed positions at Pixar, Blue Sky Studios, Lola VFX, and Industrial Light & Magic, to name a few.

2. University of Colorado - Denver, Denver, Colorado
University of Colorado - Denver

Established in 1912, the University of Colorado Denver (UC Denver) serves around 19,560 students enrolled in more than 140 degree programs in 13 colleges and schools. The College of Arts & Media is home to the Department of Visual Arts (VA) and the Digital Animation Center (DAC), which offer a BFA in Visual Arts with an Emphasis in 3D Graphics and Animation.

Per the school, the 3D Graphics and Animation Emphasis “is a competitive and rigorous four-year curriculum focused on preparing students to work in a wide variety of fields that use animated digital computer graphics (CG), including entertainment, film and television, gaming, medicine, and science.” Each year between 28 and 34 students are selected for the program, which consists of courses such as Character Creation, Environment Production, Surface Modeling, VFX Rigging and Animation, and Digital 3D Methods: Motion Graphics for Animators.

To fine-tune the emphasis, students are also required to take at least twelve semester hours of Visual Arts electives.

To date, DAC student senior short films have been seen in over 230 national and international film festivals in 22 countries. The school says its student films have been seen by hundreds of thousands across the globe, winning more than 50 Best Animated Short awards in non-student categories.

3. Colorado Mesa University, Grand Junction, Colorado
Colorado Mesa University

Founded in 1925, Colorado Mesa University (CMU) started as a junior college enrolling 39 students. Today, the school serves more than 11,000 students with access to more than 100 majors at the certificate, associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral levels. Among the schools 100+ programs is a BFA in Animation, Film, Photography & Motion Design (AFP&MD). Majors enter a three-tiered program of study.

 “The first tier consists of courses in the principles of animation, film, photography, and motion design,” says the school. “The second tier follows with intermediate-level courses where students apply and expand upon earlier basic concepts while exploring more complex applications and completing projects that address the interaction of time, motion, and space.” The third tier “offers advanced levels of study providing opportunities for majors to produce a more individual and high-quality portfolio coupled with options for experimentation, collaborative work, and travel.”

In June 2019, AFP&MD students travelled to Peru to study and photograph butterflies. The trip also included a visit to Machu Picchu. “Also unique to AFP&MD are the possible experimental combinations of multiple areas of study in animation, film, photography, and motion design. Students at the senior level have opportunities to integrate all four AFP&MD areas or focus on various combinations of digital techniques. Students are encouraged to follow their passions and interests and focus on the area or areas most suited to their individual career goals.”