School of Animation & Visual Effects

Gain the skills you need for an exciting career in this vibrant and growing industry from our School of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX). Aspiring visual effects artists, 2D and 3D animators, and storyboard artists come to the Academy to learn from industry professionals in the heart of the animation industry.

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What We Teach

We are the only Animation & VFX school that teaches in a studio production environment: Studio X—our highly-collaborative, in-house, student powered production studio that works on real projects with real clients. A quick search on, shows Studio X students are credited for their work on movies like Fruitvale Station, Beasts of the Southern Wild, and many other hit films.

3D Animation / Learn 3D animation skills to become a character animator.
3D Modeling / Gain 3D modeling skills to do modeling.
Stop Motion / Stop motion animation creates the illusion of movement.
Visual Effects / Master visual effects from concept to post-production.
2D Animation & Stop Motion / 2D animation and stop motion for games, TV, film and web.
Storyboarding / Storyboarding outlines the flow of a film or video game.

Animation & Visual Effects: Tools for the Working World

At Academy of Art University’s School of Animation & Visual Effects (VFX), you can gain the job-ready skills that give you a competitive edge to stand out in an industry that thrives on creativity and collaboration. In this video, students and faculty discuss all the amazing opportunities they enjoy as students in the program.

Start Your Career Now

Your dream is within reach. Follow your heart and get started on the career of your dreams.

Student Academy Awards Winner

Alyce Tzue’s 3D animated short film Soar amassed awards as it flew through the festival circuit. Tzue, a 2014 MFA graduate of the Academy’s School of Animation & Visual Effects, developed the film as her thesis project. Soar‘s accolades so far include first place, Student Animation, Palm Springs International ShortFest; BAFTA Award finalist; first place in Animation, Short Films, at the USA Film Festival…and the 2015 Gold Medal Student Academy Award, presented to Tzue by Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios Chief Creative Officer John Lasseter, who won the same award in 1979 and 1980.

What Sets Us Apart

The Academy Difference

Not all animation universities offer the integrative approach provided at the Academy of Art University. We know that film making is a social art form. The work students do in Studio X forces them to collaborate with people from all over the world. They learn that collaborative work is a responsibility; that each person is important to the process. It pushes them to go out of their comfort zone, and they really blossom. It takes a massive group of people—and people power—to make a film. Studio X improves people skills by requiring students to collaborate. And the outcomes—award winning films and games—speak for themselves.


Our faculty makes the difference. They are animation and visual effects industry veterans who help bridge the needs of the industry with the curriculum and experience our students get.

Student Work

Seongwon Hwang
Ryan Tran
Luiza Travitzki
Jihyun Kim
George Ambartsoumian: 3D Animation
Eunsol Park: 3D Animation
Hovelyn Penas: VFX Compositing Animation
Ji Hye Kim: VFX Compositing

Alumni Success

Jan Philip Cramer: The Rise of a Legendary Career

The professional career of Jan Philip Cramer is the stuff of legend. Since he earned his BFA from the School of Animation & VFX at Academy of Art University in 2004, he’s contributed to an impressive list of credits which include some of the highest-profile—and highest-grossing—feature films ever made. More importantly, beyond the money and fame, Cramer has created some of the greatest animation work in history. See for yourself in this video.

Featured Alumni


Grad Stories at Cosa VFX

Cosa VFX and our Animation & Visual Effects grads seem to go together like coffee and cream! Learn more about the projects our grads have worked on at this leading animation agency.

Careers in Animation & Visual Effects

As one of the top art and design schools in the country, Academy of Art University’s animation school graduates have a range of opportunities to choose from. Our facilities, faculty, and hands-on learning approach are designed to provide you with the tools you need to succeed as a professional in the animation and visual effects industry.


Your career starts here.
Take the first step.
Or call 415-274-2222 to request more information about this program.
2D Animator
A 2D animator is concerned with creating 2D images by either hand drawing each frame or digitally manipulating flat media for games, television, the web, or feature films.
3D Animator
A 3D animator is concerned with the movement in computer graphic imagery including characters, inanimate objects such as robots or cars, or cameras for television, feature films, or games.
Character Animator
A character animator in traditional, 3D, or stop motion is concerned with the performance on screen. An understanding of timing, movement, of humans and animals, and acting is essential to bringing characters to life.
Modelers digitally build objects in a 3D environment, including cartoon and realistic characters, animals, plants, buildings, and cars. Models are built so that they can be moved, painted, and lit properly.
The producer realizes the director's creative vision by building a strong crew of collaborators. The producer champions creative, maintains the financials and schedule, influences tech innovation, and oversees the administrative process.
Stop Motion Artist
Good with your hands? With frame-by-frame manipulation, a stop motion artist creates a performance using posable puppets, props, and sets. Their work can be seen on television, film, and advertising.
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Learn Online

Attending one of the best animation schools isn’t limited to on-campus learning. Our revolutionary online courses provide the same rigorous education that we offer on campus with greater flexibility. Study on your own time, at your own pace. Combine online and on-site classes

Find Out More

Animation colleges are the perfect place to start your career in animation.

There are many different types of animation, each with its unique set of skills and techniques. At animation schools like the Academy of Art University, you will learn about the different styles of animation and how to use them to create your own animated films.

The best colleges for animation will teach you how to create compelling movements that engage the viewer.  As one of the top animation schools in the nation, our faculty are experts in this field and can leverage their expertise to help you develop the skills you need to succeed. Our animation school’s curriculum for studying the arts of animation is designed to give you a solid foundation in the art of animation. You’ll get in-depth training on character design, storyboarding, and the principles of animation. You’ll also gain experience using industry-standard software like Autodesk Maya and Adobe After Effects.

If you are interested in pursuing an animation career, attending our animation university can be the start of an incredible journey.

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