Why Study Animation and Visual Effects
Animation + Visual Effects is a versatile and highly in-demand skill set for today’s digital artists and storytellers. The ever-evolving digital world demands artists that have the ability to critically generate content that is both technical and creative.
Our degree is an Art major. Many schools offer the degree outside of an Art department. The benefit is additional coursework in drawing, photography, painting, and ceramics—all of which are skills directly related to the field of animation and visual effects.
Our generalist approach to the discipline presents graduating students with a wide range of career opportunities in the entertainment industry. Coursework covers topics such as 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, lighting/rendering, compositing, rotoscoping, effects simulation, environments, matte painting, green screen filming, storyboarding, digital painting, motion graphics, AR/VR, motion capture, and a variety of digital animation techniques and mediums. Students also have the opportunity to take additional courses in Studio Art and Graphic Design to complement their area of interest within the degree.
The ideal student has a passion for drawing, computer technology skills, and patience to focus on minute details over long periods of time. The ideal student is able to work according to a director’s instruction, while still finding a creative solution.
Students will gain hands-on and practical experience creating digital content, both independently and in a collaborative studio setting. Additional opportunities available include:
- Jackson Alley Film Festival: Animation + Visual Effects students regularly contribute to APSU’s own film festival, which seeks to bring together students from various disciplines across the College of Arts & Letters
- 24 Hour Animation Contest for Students: Student teams participate in this international contest each October, where teams of 5 compete to create a 30 second animation on a given theme within the 24 hour deadline
Students have the opportunity to get class credit for Internships. The Art+Design department has a designated Internship Coordinator who helps the student navigate this option. The surrounding Nashville area provides opportunities for on-site internships while virtual and remote internships are also a possibility.
With the help of The Center of Excellence in the Creative Arts, we are able to bring in industry professionals each year to meet with students and classes.
Students who complete this degree will primarily be prepared for work in the entertainment industry. The courses will prepare students to work in an animation studio or a special effects studio. However, there are other opportunities to use the degree in Graphic Design firms animating for time-based advertisements.
In Fall of 2017 the department moved into a new $21.3 million dollar, 46,000 square feet Art + Design Building, featuring custom studio space for all the concentrations. Animation + Visual Effects has a dedicated Mac computer lab with access to Autodesk Maya, Adobe Creative Cloud, Toon Boom Harmony, Dragonframe, and The Foundry’s Nuke, Mari, and Modo. The lab is a versatile space that also includes a green screen wall and several Cintiq Pro workstations. Additional lab equipment includes five Rokoko motion capture suits, a DJI drone, Lightform projection mapping, Oculus Rift VR headsets, Dragonframe keypads, and filming/lighting equipment. The department also manages The Vault, where students can check out equipment for personal use such as Wacom Intuos Pro tablets, Cintiq Companion tablets, portable green screen and lighting equipment, smartphone Stedicams, projectors, DSLRs, and audio recording equipment. The department MakerSpace features additional equipment such as a CNC router, laser etcher, and MakerBot 3D printers.
Scott Raymond - Previous to teaching at APSU, Scott spent 8 years at DreamWorks Animation, first as a crowds artist and then as an animator. He has worked in feature & tv animation, live-action visual effects, AR, gaming, webseries, theme parks and commercials - the latter winning several National ADDY awards for animation.
What Will I Learn
- Students will learn to apply the principles of animation to a variety of mediums on industry-leading software
- Students will learn to critically look at live-action footage and manipulate it at a professional level
- Students will learn to work with 3D assets to create dynamic visuals for film and real-time applications
- Students will learn how to use visual tools to create compelling narratives
- Students will be exposed to a collaborative studio environment and learn to work collaboratively
- Students will examine professional practices and create a portfolio demo reel of their work