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School of Animation & Visual Effects

MFA Program Learning Outcomes

The MFA in Animation and Visual Effects focuses on storytelling with an emphasis on technical acuity and emotional response. Graduate students are grounded in strong traditional skills that are then translated into the depth and dimension facilitated by technology. The program educates students in all aspects of animation and visual effects film processes from concept to post production while fostering skills mastery, creativity, problem solving, and professionalism.

During Directed Study, the production phase of Final Projects, real world skills such as process, communication, collaboration, and time management are practiced to ensure graduates meet or surpass the needs of the industry. Each graduate student’s Final Project is evaluated by a committee of professionals for consideration in film festivals and exhibition during the Spring Show.

MFA graduates of the School of Animation & Visual Effects 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 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 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.
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