Computer Animation: Career Diploma Summary

About this article
With a diploma in computer animation, you'll have the skills to enter an exciting field full of creative reward and room for growth. This article describes some of what you can expect from a good diploma program, and offers information about the field of computer animation.
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What is a Computer Animation Diploma Program?

Computer animation is used extensively in television, film, theme park rides, computer games, and all sorts of digital environments. A diploma in computer animation will give you the necessary skills and understanding of the creative and technical processes you need to begin a career. You will learn to draw, visualize, and effectively apply principles of color, perspective and shading. A good program will teach you about texture mapping, motion capture and animation, and help you translate your traditional art skills into the characters, objects, scenes, and virtual environments that will become the digital world you are creating. Some programs offer skills in audio and video production also, to give you an overview of the entire process of creation that leads to a final product.

Skills Acquired

To succeed in the world of computer animation, you need to master many skills. A good diploma program will teach you drawing, color, character design and computer applications. You will learn advanced 2-D and 3-D animation principles as well as story development, background design, scene layout and special effects, and achieve proficiency with such animation software tools as PhotoShop, After Effects and 3D Studio Max. You'll learn animation theory and techniques, drawing and design for animation, 3D animation production, 3D graphics production, techniques for life-like drawing and rendering, and more. Students with the academic and practical training offered by a diploma program in computer animation can find work in various industries and specialties. A good program will equip you with a professional quality portfolio to demonstrate your talent and skills. Areas where you might turn for entry-level employment include computer generated lighting, compositing and rendering, storyboarding, texturing, computer modeling, special effects, graphic art, background painting, forensic art, or video post-production.

Coursework in a Computer Animation Diploma Program May Include:

  • Animation Theory and Techniques
  • 3D Animation Production
  • 3D Graphics Production
  • Life Drawing and Rendering
  • Cinematography for Animation
  • Compositing and Post-Production

Career Outlook and Salary Information

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, computer animation specialists should have good job opportunities for the next several years, though competition will be sharp. Still, demand for skilled computer animators continues to grow as the demand for authentic looking graphics continues to grow in entertainment, education and information applications. In 2004, the average annual income for computer animation artists was about $50K.

Popular Schools

  • Campus and Online Programs
    1. Full Sail University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
      • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
    Bachelor's
      • BS - Simulation and Visualization (Campus)
      • BS - Game Design (Campus)
      • BS - Media Communications (Campus)
      • B.S. - Computer Animation
      • B.S. - Graphic Design
  • Online Programs Available
    2. The George Washington University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development
  • Online Programs Available
    3. Purdue University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Science in Communication
    Certificate
      • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management
  • Online Programs Available
    4. ECPI University

    Program Options

    Certificate
      • Web Design & Dev
  • Online Programs Available
    5. Colorado State University Global

    Program Options

    Bachelor's
      • BS - Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    6. Penn Foster High School

    Program Options

    High School Diploma
      • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
      • HS Diploma
  • Online Programs Available
    7. Johns Hopkins University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Communication
    Certificate
      • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication
  • Online Programs Available
    8. Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology
  • Online Programs Available
    9. Grand Canyon University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • M.A. in Communication with an Emphasis in Education
  • Online Programs Available
    10. American University

    Program Options

    Master's
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication
      • Master of Arts in Strategic Communication - Advocacy and Social Impact Concentration

Featured Schools

Full Sail University

  • Master of Fine Arts - Media Design
  • BS - Simulation and Visualization (Campus)
  • BS - Game Design (Campus)

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The George Washington University

  • Graduate Certificate in Multimedia Development

What is your highest level of education?

Purdue University

  • Master of Science in Communication
  • Graduate Certificate in Strategic Communication Management

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ECPI University

  • Web Design & Dev

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Colorado State University Global

  • BS - Communication

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Penn Foster High School

  • Penn Foster High School with Early College Courses
  • HS Diploma

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Johns Hopkins University

  • Master of Arts in Communication
  • Post-Bachelor's Certificate in Applied Research for Communication

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Saint Mary's University of Minnesota

  • Master of Education in Learning Design and Technology

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