Visual Effects Programs: Overview of Visual Effects Education and Training Programs

Published Nov 11, 2009

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Visual effects education programs provide the animation and computer skills students need to express their creative ideas into 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional stories. Bachelor's and master's degrees are the most common degree programs, but scholars can find associate and doctoral degrees at specialized art schools. Potential careers for workers in this field include 2D and 3D animator, character designer, concept artist, compositor, visual effects artist and storyboard artist.

Visual Effects Associate's Degree Program Overview

Associate's degree programs can be tricky to find, but some art and technical schools offer an Associate of Arts in Animation and Visual Effects. Courses here teach the fundamentals of the field, like 3D modeling, character animation, story boarding and drawing. At the conclusion of the associate's degree programs, learners possess a portfolio of work which includes a demo reel demonstrating the techniques and skills they obtained.

Visual Effects Bachelor's Degree Program Overview

Bachelor's degree programs in the arts are widely available at universities, colleges and art schools. A Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Visual Effects is one such program. Students acquire skills like digital composition, conceptualization, animation and textural landscaping. Specialized courses in this degree program include photography, lighting, cinematography, typography, computer graphics and visual effects.

Visual Effects Master's Degree Program Overview

Master's degree programs emphasize the storytelling aspect of animation, ensuring that graduates are able to depict detailed character emotions. Professors teach learners an understanding of light, physics and texture application to allow them to create more realistic animated stories. Students often have to apply their skills into creating a final thesis project, which a committee board reviews and provides feedback on. A Master of Fine Arts in Animation and Visual Effects prepares students to take on a leading role in the animation industry.

Visual Effects Doctorate Program Overview

Doctoral degree programs are rare in visual effects, but art schools have been making them more widely available in recent years. These programs are very research-intensive and involve graduates picking a specific animation topic to study throughout their doctorate program. This research is highly valued in the field because many animators focus on their own work instead of researching and developing new techniques. These academic pursuits can help doctoral graduates obtain positions as professors and pass down their knowledge of animation to students.

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