The popularity of video games grows each day, and this makes the video game industry a very viable option for individuals who have an interest in providing the artwork and animation for a video game developer. The following five schools are a great option for those who wish to get the proper training to break into the gaming industry.
1.) The Art Institutes – With multiple campuses across the U.S. and Canada and an online program, The Art Institutes Video Game Art and Design program is a great choice for aspiring video game artists and animators who wish to attend school without temporarily relocating. While attending the degree program, students will create a reel that they can use to get into the video game industry. Graduates usually land entry-level positions as level designers, game testers, modelers, character animators and game designers. In addition to the Video Game Art and Design bachelor’s program, The Art Institutes also offers a Character Animation for Games certificate program.
2.) Full Sail University – Full Sail’s Game Art bachelor’s program is available at their Orlando, Fla. campus and through their online school. Popular gaming magazine Electronic Gaming Monthly recently named Full Sail as one of the top gaming schools in the world. The Game Art program places an emphasis on art creation, collaborative development, modeling and creating a demo reel. Graduates of Full Sail currently have a 75 percent initial employment rate within the industry of their choice, and those who graduate with a Game Art degree are likely to become character designers, modelers, game designers and character animators.
3.) Academy of Art University – With six different locations in the U.S., the Academy of Art University’s School of Game Design offers two different degree programs: a Game Design Bachelor’s Degree and a Game Design Master’s Degree. Both programs place an emphasis on game art, effects animation, 3D modeling and every other aspect of designing a video game. Graduates with an interest in art and animation have gone on to work in the gaming industry as concept artists, lead animators, visual effects animators, art directors and 3D modelers for highly regarded companies such as Lucas Arts and Electronic Arts.
4.) DigiPen – Located in Redmond, Wash., the DigiPen Institute of Technology places a core focus on video game development. Students from each of the school’s available degree program combine their skill levels on an annual basis to create 2D and 3D video games. Individuals with an interest in art will be able to obtain a Bachelor of Fine Arts in the Digital Art and Animation program. Students will gain extensive hands-on experience with 2D and 3D animation, creating storyboards and utilizing modern studio processes. Graduates of DigiPen have broken into the industry as texture artists, character animators, effects animators, cinematic animators and storyboard artists.
5.) Academy of Interactive Entertainment – Founded in Australia, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment opened a campus in Seattle in 2010. As one of the oldest existing video game art programs, the campuses in Australia and Seattle offer a two-year Advanced Diploma of Video Game Design Specializing in Art. Students will have 13 areas of study during the program, including an introduction to character animation, rigging and animation, concept art and a final animation project. At the end of their second year, students will have the opportunity to present a reel of their work plus a completed game level to multiple development studios at the school’s annual Industry Day. Graduates have found work as character animators, concept artists, modelers and texture artists.