Online Animation Bachelor's Degree

What You'll Learn and What You Can Do After Graduation

Were you a fan of cartoons as a child? Do you want to create the next animated Marvel Comics series or Studio Ghibli film? Are you a visual storyteller? Getting an online animation degree could be the first step in pursuing your dreams. Students should consider the skills these programs teach them, how these skills could be applied to various professions, and the salary potential of graduates in animation before committing. Read on to discover if pursuing an online bachelor's in animation is right for you.

What is Animation?

Animation involves designing images and characters and manipulating those characters to appear as moving images. Traditionally, images were drawn or painted by hand and photographed to be shown on film. Today, most animators use computer programs to generate images and animate them. An online animation degree provides students with the basic understanding of how animation works and introduces students to historical and contemporary techniques.

The field of animation and computer arts is very broad and contains many specialties and subdisciplines, like 2D computer animation, 3D computer animation, code-based art, sound design, electronic object design and manipulation, and visual effects. Students may choose to specialize within their major and supplement major-specific skills with courses in other departments tailored to their prospective careers.

A degree in animation and computer arts can be applied to several different career paths, including video game illustration, graphic design, and film. Most employers in these fields require a bachelor's degree for entry-level positions. Animators may choose to work for animation studios, graphic design firms, video game companies, advertising companies, consulting firms, and more. They might also choose to freelance or start their own animation studios. Job prospects for graduates with a degree in animation are increasingly promising. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment for multimedia artists and animators is projected to grow 8% between 2016 and 2026.

What Can I Do with an Online Animation Bachelor's Degree?

An online animation degree can be a stepping stone to many different careers. Animators may go on to work for an animation studio, such as Pixar, Industrial Light and Magic, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Dreamworks, and more. The skills gained from a bachelor's degree in animation can be applied to occupations other than the traditional animation path.

Skills and Knowledge Gained

Obtaining a computer animation degree online provides students with an understanding of how animation works, common design principles and concepts, the technical process of computer art creation, a working knowledge of animation and graphic design softwares, and the ability to realize creative projects as a member of an artistic team. Most online animation degree programs require 120 credit hours of coursework in total. These courses include topics like 3D animation and visual effects, the history of animation, topics in computer gaming, studio concepts, audio production, and graphic design. The skills learned through these courses can be applied to a career as an animator, graphic designer, book illustrator, video game illustrator, and more.

Since the field of animation and computer art is broad and its skills versatile, students should consider their ideal career path and curate a course of study that best fits their needs. For instance, students wishing to pursue a traditional career in animation should master commonly used animation softwares and build up their creative portfolios as much as possible. On the other hand, those wishing to apply their degree in animation to other fields should tailor their course selections to their job of interest. Students who want to go into advertising might focus on topics such as graphic or computer art design and take electives in marketing or brand messaging. Students who want to work for a consulting firm in the specialized design services industry might build their coursework around 3D modeling skills, statistics, and other research methods.

Careers and Salary Potential

An online bachelor's degree in animation translates to numerous fields and occupations. While animators usually work in the arts and entertainment industries, there are also some non-traditional positions for animators in other industries. For instance, some engineering firms may need 3D modeling skills to create images of their projects. Listed below are a few other industries that employ graduates with a bachelor's degree in animation.

  • Specialized Design Services: This industry includes companies engaged in research and development in the areas of social science, biotechnology, physical science, or the engineering sciences. An animator in this industry may be responsible for creating graphics for clients in these fields.
  • Advertising, Public Relations, and Related Services: This industry creates brand images and promotes products or services. An animator in this industry may be responsible for creating graphics or short animated videos for advertising campaigns.
  • Printing and Related Support Services: The printing services industry produces printed goods without proprietary publishing rights, such as business forms, directories, catalogs, greeting cards, and posters. Animators in the printing services industry may design visual graphics and illustrations for such goods.
  • Newspaper, Periodical, Book, and Directory Publishers: This industry publishes material with proprietary rights, including novels, newspapers, and magazines. Animators in this industry may create illustrations for books or designing magazine layouts.

Here are potential careers for graduates with this degree:

Multimedia Artists and Animators

Annual Median Salary: $70,530

Multimedia artists and animators are visual storytellers who create effects for movies, television, and other media platforms. Their day-to-day tasks include creating animations and graphics, designing storyboards, and attending staff meetings.

Graphic Designers

Annual Median Salary: $48,700

Graphic designers are artists who create visual designs and graphics to capture a given idea, message, or branding. They often work on company logos and brochures, advertisements, magazines, and corporate reports. They might work for a design firm or work freelance.

Multimedia Designer

Annual Median Salary: $50,644

Multimedia designers are visual creators who work with different mediums and tools to promote a company's products or services. They might be responsible for tasks like video editing and web development.