Academy of Art University Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation & Special Effects

The Academy of Art University was established in 1929. Located in San Francisco, the school welcomes approximately 16,000 students who are enrolled in over 30 different programs.The Academy of Art University offers certificate, Associate’s degree, Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree programs.

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Special Effects program is one of the finest in the United States. Students who are accepted get the benefit of using state of the art equipment and software, as well as being taught by instructors from leading companies in the industry, such as Industrial Light and Magic and Pixar.


Students enrolled in the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Animation and Special Effects program take courses in the following subjects to satisfy the requirements for their degree:

  • 3D Character Animation
  • 3D Modeling and Animation
  • Advanced Animal Drawing
  • Advanced Animatics
  • Advanced Rigging
  • Advanced Texturing & Lighting
  • Animation Assisting
  • Armature Machine Mold Making
  • Careers in Animation & VFX
  • Character Development in Animation
  • Character Design & Drawing for Cartoons
  • Computer Animation Production
  • Creature Construction/ Anatomy
  • Digital Ink and Paint
  • Experimental Animation
  • Fundamentals of Texturing & Lighting
  • Hard Surface Modeling
  • Head Sculpting & Facial Expression
  • History and Technology of VFX and Computer Animation
  • History of Animation
  • Intro to Animal Drawing and Anatomy
  • Introduction to Animation
  • Introduction to Computer Graphics for Animation
  • Introduction to Effects Animation
  • Introduction to Rigging
  • Introduction to Vector Based 2D Animation
  • Layout Design for Animation
  • Lighting for VFX
  • Maquette Sculpting
  • Matchmoving
  • Matte Painting
  • Nonlinear Computer Editing
  • Organic Modeling
  • Particle Effects
  • Photo/Storyboarding
  • Preproduction Principles
  • Puppet Making for Stop Motion
  • Rotoscoping
  • Scripting
  • Stop Motion Animation
  • Storyboarding: Camera Language & Animatics
  • Storyboarding: Drawing for Cartoons
  • Storyboarding: Drawing for Feature Animation
  • Stop Motion Set Design & Fabrication
  • VFX: Cinematography
  • VFX 3: Node-Based Compositing
  • Visual Effects 1 – Principles of Digital Compositing

How to Apply to the Academy of Art University

Application forms are available with the school’s catalogue or may be downloaded from the school’s website. Once the form has been completed, the prospective student can forward it, along with the application fee, to the University. The application fee requirement is waived for applicants who are members of the Armed Forces, either on active duty or in the Reserves.

Prospective Academy of Art University students can submit their application materials year-round. The school offers Fall, Spring and Summer semesters. Interested individuals are encouraged to apply early for consideration, and the University accepts applications up to two years before classes start.


Learn More: Rasmussen University – Degree in Digital Design and Animation