Degree Spotlight: Computer Animation

Full Sail’s 21-month Computer Animation Bachelor’s Degree program prepares students for a career as an animator in the film and gaming industries. During the first several months of the program, students learn the general foundations of being a 3D artist by taking courses like Fundamentals of Art and Methods of Design. Then, they dive into courses on the different specialties of computer animation (modeling, shading, compositing, and character rigging), before choosing one to focus on.

“Early in the degree program [students] develop an understanding of general 3D knowledge while building their artistic skills. As they develop students will figure out a strength and a passion for a specific discipline, and then they take an art test to be sure their talent and passion match to develop assets for that area,” says Pete Bandstra, the Computer Animation Program Director. The test happens throughout the program, so when a student takes it is dependent upon when they have selected their specialty.

The five-month final portfolio process starts with a month of pre-production for developing concepts and ideas and researching inspirational professional artists, as well as beginning to define their brand as an artists. This is followed by three months of Portfolio Content Creation, where students will work with faculty to create three separate portfolio assets. The final class of the program, the Portfolio Assembly Class, is when students will finalize a personal brand and demo reel before graduating.

According to Pete, each student takes a different career path after graduation, based on their personal strengths and passions. “Modeling is probably the number one career path, closely followed by animation,” he says. “Followed by texturing and compositing. A select few in our campus degree program go after visual effects and character rigging.”

Computer Animation faculty members continue to work in the industry, so their experience helps keep the program’s curriculum continuously evolve. The Program Advisory Board is made up of industry professionals who meet twice a year to help update the curriculum. They’ll be on campus next month, and there will be a Advisory Board Panel that students will be able to attend.