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Major in Animation

Article by Rachelle Wiggins

“God, the greatest of creators…made us in his image. When we create, it pleases God, because He sees us reflecting his image. He sees us “imaging” him to the rest of the world. God loves to see his image shine throughout the world.”  ~Steven Altrogge

               When you think back over your life, what are the stories that inspired your curiosity, made your laugh or cry or lifted your imagination beyond the every day? Whether it was the heroic bravery of “Robin Hood,” the self-sacrificing love seen in “Beauty and the Beast” or the humorous family bonds depicted in “Despicable Me”—somewhere in your heart is a tale that came alive in a unique way and left a lifelong impression. 

               Animation has been defined as “the art of making inanimate objects appear to move.” Others have simply called it: imagination coming to life. Pursuing a degree in the field of animation involves the exploration of computer software used to create animation, graphics, and special effects for a multitude of mediums including TV, film, computer and video games.

               There are a number of desirable skills and traits needed for someone interested in choosing this college major. While it is true that most animation programs now place a strong emphasis on computer animation, requiring students to be technologically competent and able to keep up with ever changing computer programs within the field, students with strong artistic abilities are still strongly preferred. Yes, the technical aspects are important, but the physical aspects of animation such as sketching and drawing remain at the foundation of this degree.  Therefore creativity, a keen eye for visual detail and a knack for strong storytelling go hand-in-hand with this major.  Other notable traits include the ability to give and receive constructive criticism, ingenuity and being a team player.

Once immersed in your major you can expect your time will likely be divided between regular classroom hours, studio experience and hands-on work in the computer lab.  Often a four-year degree may culminate with a senior project. You may be challenged with the production of an original animated film or the creation of a digital portfolio. Much of the program up until that point may revolve around learning technical aspects of animation such as sound design, texture and lighting, layout and background design, digital imagining and studio technique. Some of the other courses you might expect in this major include:

  • Drawing
  • History of Animation
  • Storyboarding
  • 2-D and 3-D Animation
  • Advanced Modeling

The continued demand for good animation and visual effects makes animation a marketable field in the future. The projected growth rate for related jobs in the next decade is around 8%, which is just above the national average for all occupations.  Possible Related Careers include:

  • Animator
  • Illustrator
  • Game Designer
  • Animation Scripter
  • Art Director
  • Theater/Film/TV Technician
  • Flash/Web Animator
  • Graphic Designer/Web Designer 

Walt Disney once said, “I would rather entertain and hope that people learned something than educate people and hope they were entertained.” If you’re ready to let your light shine brightly in this world by using the creative and artistic skills God has given you, then maybe choosing a career in animation is the next right step in that journey! 

 

 

A future in Graphic Design

By Amber Gragert

Graphic design is communication through design and is the art of creating a visual design with image or text that suggests ideas and stirs up emotions or experiences. Every time you open your web browser you are instantly welcomed into the world of graphic art and design. Everything from emoji and widgets to book covers and college brochures falls under the influence of graphic design - and what an interesting and vast world it is.

As a graphic design major, students learn to communicate through visual media by way of print and computer graphics. Most graphic designers use computer software to create and design their images. Though they will use different mediums in order to accomplish their task - whether it be electronic, film, or print. This is why, as with any other art major, it is important for graphic design artists to not focus solely on computer generated design, but also be proficient in other art forms as well as it is the foundational experience on which students build upon. Knowing shapes and forms in life make all the difference when creating life-like images with seemingly real dimension on a screen or print.

Coursework for this major include: figure drawing, 2-dimensional design, e-dimensional design, color theory, and art history. Along with technical drawing, web design, computer aided design, graphic design, desktop publishing, and multimedia applications. Further still, students may take courses in digital imaging, marketing, CAD, interactive media, and animation. Exciting, right? There are so many fascinating topics to cover and new techniques to discover and learn in order to communicate with the world through visual media.

Careers for graphic design majors are diverse and include some such as: advertising director or coordinator, book designer, creative director, design manager or director, film and video editor, graphic artist, multimedia artist, and website designer. All are hugely creative and serve as a way to effectively communicate any given idea, emotion, or concept to the public. A more unknown or realized career is an email marketing designer. You know all those flashy junk emails you get? There's a graphic designer somewhere that worked with one or more writers, marketing managers, and an interface specialist to create those email graphics and layout to grab your attention and convey and effectively communicate that company's messages, information, and goal to you. How about the book jacket of one of the novels you just finished while completing your summer reading list? That has a graphic designer's handiwork all over it. Or just take a look at your smart phone for career inspiration, because there are hours of labor that go into designing functional web content on mobile devices. Experience with programming language is more than useful for students looking to enter that realm of graphic design.

The demand is high for graphic designers and the need continues to grow due to the digital age and the push from advertisers, publishers, and computer design firms. In fact, doubling majors in marketing or business would make graduates dramatically more marketable in their career aspirations. There is quite a bit of overlap with graphic design and marketing in business - and knowing both realms and how they fit together makes for easier hires. Other helpful characteristics and skills would be: A creative thinker, task and detail oriented, ability to work well with others, coordinate projects, interest in learning new concepts and research, and of course computer comprehension. If you have these skills and are looking to further them and make a career out of them, then throwing your hat in the ring as a graphic design major is the right choice for you.