|1||College for Creative Studies||Detroit|
|2||Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University||Grand Rapids|
|3||Eastern Michigan University||Ypsilanti|
Our 2019 rankings of the top animation school programs in Michigan. For an explanation of the ranking criteria, click here.
1. College for Creative Studies, Detroit, Michigan
Founded in 1906, the College for Creative Studies (CCS) is home to more than 1,400 students enrolled in over a dozen degree programs across 14 academic departments. Serving 285 students, Entertainment Arts is the school’s largest department, and it offers a BFA in Entertainment Art with a Concentration in Animation. Per the school, the Animation Concentration prepares students to “develop character performance within a variety of 2D and 3D applications.”
Students will hone their skills in “traditional and computer-generated (CG) animation and design and gain experience in stop-motion, motion graphics, and experimental media.” Course highlights for the program 3D Techniques, Drawing: Visualization, Gesture Drawing, Computer Character Animation, Lighting and Rendering, Visual Narration, Experimental Animation, Sound Design, Digital filmmaking, and Advanced Story Concepts.
All Entertainment Art students will have the opportunity to customize their curriculum by taking coursework in other concentrations such as Digital Film or Game Design. Students will also complete a Writing Workshop, Senior Production Studio, and an optional internship.
Graduates of the CCS Animation Program work throughout the industry as animators, designers, fabricators, storyboard artists and visual development artists. Graduates have been hired at major studios across the U.S. including Sony Pictures Imageworks, DreamWorks Animation, and Disney ABC Television Group, to name a few.
2. Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University, Grand Rapids, Michigan
Kendall College of Art and Design of Ferris State University (KCAD) was founded in 1928. The school serves more than 1,000 students enrolled in around 24 BFA, BS, MA, MFA, and Certificate programs. KCAD offers a BFA in Digital Art and Design that allows students to work in one of two focus areas including Entertainment Art (animation, digital 3D, visual development for games and animation, and sequential arts like comics and storyboards) and Multimedia Design (interaction design for the web, apps, virtual reality, the internet of things, and video and motion design animation).
Per the school, “with substantial flexibility in the degree of specialization/ generalization built into the curriculum, students will be able to develop portfolios in one or more of these professional media markets: Visual Development, 2D Animation, 3D Game Art, Motion Design, and Interaction Design.” Course highlights for the Entertainment Art Focus include Animation & Motion Graphics, 3D Character Design, Imaging for Game, Animation & Film, Comic Media Design, Applied Music and Sound, Video, 3D Game Art, Interactive Multimedia Design, Storyboard Art, and 2D Character Animation. Students will also take Professional Studio I & II, and Digital Art and Design Thesis I & II.
Multimedia Design students will take most of the same courses and studios as students in the Entertainment Art Focus, including Digital Art and Design Thesis I & II.
Students in both programs will also gain knowledge and hands-on experience via high-end equipment and on-campus facilities such as Cintiq Studios and a wide range of cameras, microphones, and lighting equipment, and via access to The Dow Center FlexLab, and KCAD Library.
Graduates of the programs will have the skills and experience needed to pursue career paths in areas such as 2D animation, 3D game art, visual development, interaction design, and motion design.
3. Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan
Founded in 1849, Eastern Michigan University (EMU) serves around 20,315 students enrolled in over 200 undergraduate majors and 150 graduate programs through the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Health and Human Services, and Technology, and the Graduate School and Honors College. The College of Technology, which serves nearly 7,000 students, houses the School of Visual & Built Environments. Here, students can earn a BS with a Focus in Simulation, Animation, and Gaming (SAG) or they can take a Minor in SAG.
The school says the SAG degree is a multidisciplinary area of study, combining traditional art mediums, programming, creative writing and story development with coursework focusing on modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, and camera work in 3D. The program gives students a wide variety of experiences in their course of study, which includes courses such as Environment Design, Historical and Contemporary Approaches to Animation, Introduction to Simulation, Animation and Gaming, Principles of Animation, SAG Rigging, Story Development, and Simulation and Animation Dynamics, to name a few.
Graduates of the program go on to become Game Designers, Character Designer, Effects Artists, Modeler and Storyboard Assistants, Graphic Designers, Computer Animators, Concept Artists, and more.