What are the top online master's degree programs for animation?
|Academy of Art University||San Francisco||California|
|Savannah College of Art and Design||Savannah||Georgia|
Our list of the top online master's degree programs for animation. The list is in no particular order and is not intended to be a ranking.
Academy of Art University, San Francisco, California
The School of Animation & Visual Effects at Academy of Art University is the only Animation & VFX school that teaches in a studio production environment (StudioX). The school’s distance learning students have the option to work in the studio through a combination of on-campus and online classes and/or learn and engage with peers and expert instructors through videos, digital documents, interviews with experts, livestreams, hands-on work, narrated, interactive slideshows, and recorded audio.
Geared specifically towards art and design, the Academy says that it is “constantly innovating” the animation curriculum created by instructional designers and industry professionals. Assignments are uploaded to the Academy’s custom-designed Learning Management System (LMS), where it is shared with classmates, and instructors can leave visual markups, video, written and recorded feedback. Students in the online program can expect the same rigorous education (but with greater flexibility), hands-on training, and real-world industry expertise as the Academy's onsite students.
Advanced programs for animators include MA and MFA degrees in Animation & Visual Effects.
The MA program provides students an opportunity to work in 2D Animation & Stop Motion, 3D Animation, 3D Modeling, or Visual Effects, while focusing on storytelling with an emphasis on exhibiting technical skills and eliciting emotional responses. Students can expect to take courses such as Advanced Character Animation, Feature Animation, Gesture & Quick Sketch for Animators, Storyboarding, and 3D Animation Physics and Mechanics. Students will also complete a portfolio.
The MFA in Animation & Visual Effects program focuses on developing skills in any one of the many areas of expertise within the animation and visual effects industry. The program educates students in all aspects of animation and visual effects, from ideation to post production. Course highlights include Acting for Animators, Perspective for Characters & Environment, Storyboarding for Thesis, 3D Modeling & Animation (Maya), Traditional Animation, and Visual Effects for Animation. MFA students will also take several Directed Study courses and Special Topics, as well as Animation: Thesis Completion, Final Portfolio Preparation and ANM 900: Internship.
Like all Academy of Art online programs, the MA and MFA are enhanced by the student-run, 6,000-member Facebook group AAUHOO, online social media & blogs, the online library, music library, and learning tutorials, and career advice, support & mentor chats. Students will have the opportunity to engage in one-on-one sessions with the director, town hall meetings, director Q&A, VIP guest speakers, and workshops. They will also have access to live-streamed events & presentations as well as on-demand demonstration videos. Participation in the digital portfolio showcase is also part of the program.
Graduates of the School of Animation & Visual Effects at Academy of Art University have landed positions at Blizzard Entertainment, CBS Interactive, Disney Interactive, DreamWorks Animation, Electronic Arts, Lucasfilm, NBCUniversal, Pixar, and Sony Computer Entertainment America.
Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
Savannah College of Art and Design’s (SCAD) award-winning eLearning program highlights online classes taught by the same “world-class” faculty as the schools on-campus courses. Students in the eLearning program are also provided with “the tools and technology they need to be successful academically and in their professional lives,” says the school.
A sampling of free tools and downloads available to fully enrolled eLearning students include Autodesk Maya, Autodesk 3ds Max, Autodesk Mudbox; Adobe Creative Cloud; Nuke Personal Learning Edition; Microsoft Windows 8, Microsoft Windows 7, Microsoft Visual Studio, Microsoft XNA Game Studio, Microsoft Kinect for Windows SDK, Microsoft Expression Studio; Lynda.com and Unity 3D.
Offered for more than 12 years, SCAD’s online degrees have achieved the rank of Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Teaching and Learning from the Online Learning Consortium, and the school is the first art and design university to receive the Instructional Technology Council’s award for Outstanding Distance Education Program.
Online options for animators seeking an advanced degree include MA and MFA degrees in Animation. The MA is a 45 credit hour program that consists of courses such as Animation Aesthetics and Practice, Art Criticism, Computer-Generated Modeling and Design, Environment Look Development, and 3D Cartoon Character Animation. Students will also complete a Collaborative Project and the Final Animation MA Project, which provides students the opportunity to synthesize their learning into a cohesive project piece. Students propose, develop, and execute a project that is then cut into their reel.
The MFA requires 90 credit hours of study, with many of the same courses as the MA program. Additional courses include Media Theory and Application, and Storyboarding and Previsualization. MFA students will also complete Animation MFA Thesis Exploration and Research, Animation MFA Thesis Visual Component Production, and Animation MFA Thesis Completion. A Graduate Internship is also part of the program.
Courses for the Online MA and MFA programs begin and end on a 10-week schedule to coincide with the university's academic calendar. Graduates of the animation programs at SCAD have landed positions at major studios such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, Digital Domain, and Bento Box Entertainment.