Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Animation & Visual Effects

General

Read more about this program on the school's website

Program Description

The MFA in Animation & Visual Effects program focuses on developing skills in any one of the many areas of expertise within the animation and visual effects industry. The program educates students in all aspects of animation and visual effects, from ideation to post-production. Communication, collaboration, and time management skills are emphasized throughout the program to ensure graduates are acclimated to the intense professional culture that awaits them.

Course Description

Semester 1

  • ANM 609: Gesture & Quick Sketch for Animators
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 623: 3D Modeling & Animation 1 (Maya)
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 688: Traditional Animation
    Major / 3 Units
  • GLA 621: History & Techniques of Character Animation
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units

Semester 2

  • ANM 683: Storyboarding for Thesis
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 686: 3D Character Animation 1
    Major / 3 Units
  • GLA 636: Acting for Animators
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units
  • ILL 625: Perspective for Characters & Environment
    Major / 3 Units

Semester 3

  • ANM 670: Preproduction
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 687: 3D Character Animation 2
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 703: Visual Effects for Animation
    Major / 3 Units
  • GLA 617: Mythology for the Modern World
    Graduate Liberal Arts / 3 Units

Semester 4

  • ANM 620: Advanced Character Animation
    Elective / 3 Units
  • ANM 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • ANM 801: Group Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 5

  • ANM: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • ANM 699: MS: Special Topics
    Elective / 3 Units
  • ANM 800: Directed Study
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Semester 6

  • ANM 770: Final Portfolio Preparation
    Major / 3 Units
  • ANM 891: Animation: Thesis Completion
    Directed Studies / 3 Units
  • ANM 900: Internship
    Directed Studies / 3 Units

Unit Requirements

Degree Requirements

MFA Animation & Visual Effects Degree Requirements

  • Successful completion of the Final Thesis Project
  • Minimum grade of C in all required 63 units
  • Minimum 2.0 cumulative GPA and the following Academic Study requirements:
    • 1 Art Historical Awareness & Aesthetic course
    • 1 Cross-Cultural Understanding course
Academy of Art University / Academy of Art University

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

MFA Thesis Project

  • Present an original thesis concept worthy of the MFA degree
  • Demonstrate the feasibility of the thesis project
  • Produce a professional-standard project, with topical content for the industry, showcasing a technical and artistic ability

Technical Skills

  • Demonstrate facility with animation technology and software

Presentation Skills

  • Clearly discuss work and workflow process with a review committee, using industry terminology
  • Effectively pitch ideas to the review committee
  • Create visually compelling, professional-quality presentation materials

Preproduction Skills (Project Development)

  • Execute projects that demonstrate attention to research, analytical thinking, detail, flexibility in problem-solving, and revision

Collaboration

  • Collaborate effectively to produce creative projects

Professional Readiness

  • Present a comprehensive demo reel/portfolio demonstrating professional-level achievement of specialty skills
  • Demonstrate accountability for planning complex projects, prioritizing tasks, and meeting project milestones
  • Document project workflow

Specialty Skills: Traditional Animation

  • Demonstrate strong drawing skills and facility with anatomy, proportion, figure, animals, perspective, color and design, and composition
  • Develop visual stories that support comedic or dramatic situations
  • Stage stories through effective camera placement choices
  • Draw convincing characters, layouts, storyboards, and animatics
  • Apply the principles of animation to create animated movement and performances

Specialty Skills: Storyboarding

  • Demonstrate strong drawing skills and facility with composition, and color and design
  • Create value studies that set the mood for each scene, applying an understanding of the light source
  • Demonstrate continuity in visual storytelling through effective camera placement choices

Specialty Skills: 3D Animation

  • Apply the major principles of animation
  • Create pieces that showcase expression and emotion
  • Stage stories through effective camera placement choices

Specialty Skills: Modeling

  • Convincingly model forms in 3-dimensions that demonstrate a thorough understanding of anatomy and sculptural form
  • Display a range of modeling skill sets including hard surfaces and organic
  • Create textures that will be applied to the surface of models
  • Produce industry-standard turnarounds and wireframes

Specialty Skills: Visual Effects

  • Design digital effects that meet the needs of the imagery
  • Create believable images by combining elements from different sources
  • Compose shots for narrative power

Academy of Art University Learning Outcomes

Graduates of the Academy of Art University will demonstrate the ability to:

  1. Produce a body of work suitable for seeking professional opportunities in their chosen field of art and design.
  2. Solve creative problems within their field of art and design, including research and synthesis of technical, aesthetic, and conceptual knowledge.
  3. Communicate their ideas professionally and connect with their intended audience using visual, oral, and written presentation skills relevant to their field.
  4. Execute technical, aesthetic, and conceptual decisions based on an understanding of art and design principles.
  5. Evaluate work in their field, including their own work, using professional terminology.
  6. Recognize the influence of major cultural and aesthetic trends, both historical and contemporary, on art and design products.
  7. Learn the professional skills and behaviors necessary to compete in the global marketplace for art and design.

Last updated Mar 2020

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About the School

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university i ... Read More

For nearly 90 years, artists and designers have called Academy of Art University their home. Founded in San Francisco and family owned since 1929, it is the largest private art and design university in the nation. Read less
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