University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Animation

Dynamic by definition, animation is artwork in motion.  Grounded in the rigorous academics of traditional fine arts, animation is a discipline that demands sharp critical thinking, continual attention to developments in technology, and boundless creativity. A Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in animation from UMass Amherst is an excellent springboard for up-and-coming animators and motion graphics artists, who go on to highly successful careers in the video and film industry or as independent artists.

After completing first-year Foundations courses, students choosing to pursue an education in animation begin with the stop-motion fundamentals.  To fashion characters and sets, students make use of foundational skills in drawing and sculpture, and learn to move fluidly between traditional and digital processes. Equally important is the semester spent exploring media motion graphics, where students envision and create 2D images in 3D space using digital techniques, such as green screen, compositing and editing.

Third-year students engage in an intensive year of computer animation, building skills in all aspects of creative design and production while honing their individual styles and interests, and have the option to take courses within the Department of Computer Science. As preparation for students entering the work world, advanced animation courses cover written and oral presentation skills, grant writing, and research.

UMass animators are a supportive community, both during the college years and after graduation. Alumni have won countless national and international awards for their art and been employed on such projects as the Harry Potter and Star Wars films, for Jim Henson and Nickelodeon, and at renowned production companies like Lucasfilm.

All BFA students complete a senior thesis project in their final year, combining a cohesive exhibition or screening of work, a significant piece of writing, and an oral defense, all directed by a faculty committee.  Faculty also provide support to students wishing to engage in practicums and internships, both inside and outside the university.