5 Best Online Schools in Animation

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Before the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” cartoon bombshell Jessica Rabbit spoke the famous words “I’m not bad, I’m just drawn that way,” someone had to draw her. That someone likely went to animation school. From the times of Mickey Mouse to modern blockbusters, great animators have been in high demand for decades. With video games and 3-D technology only getting more popular, so are online animation schools. Here are a few of the best.

5 The Art Institute of Pittsburgh: Online Division

Fully accredited through the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, this online school offers classes in perspective, communication design, drawing and web design, and also offers hybrid courses for animators such as bath and kitchen design and multimedia and web illustration. You can check out some free online demo classes and course samples before you decide on a class, and ask about the school’s financial aid programs as well as their scholarships.

4 Westwood College School of Design

With all classes taught by industry professionals, Westwood College School of Design offers degree programs with concentrations in fields like animation, web design, game art, visual communications, and computer-aided design and architectural drafting. Animation students will learn how to create from conception to sale, and will leave with a complete portfolio of work to showcase their abilities to prospective employers. In one review conducted of current and former students, Westwood, which also has physical campuses in several states, received a perfect aggregate score of five out of five.

3 Full Sail University

With courses that focus on areas such as video games, creative writing for entertainment, mobile gaming, education media design and technology, entertainment business and public relations, Full Sail has turned out a number of aspiring animators as well-rounded artists who understand many aspects of the entertainment business world that they’re entering. A full career-development service and alumni association is there to guide you when you graduate. Full Sail has a physical campus in Florida. Of nearly 100 student reviews, nearly all of them ranked the school as an A or A+.

2 Animation Mentor

Animation Mentor: The Online School of Animation and VFX teaches VFX fundamentals, as well as providing students with lectures on demand. Students can take courses in character animation fundamentals, animal and creature animation production and animation characters. They also provide workshops such as their “Lighting Your Shot Workshop” and “Maya Workshop: Animation Basics.” Teacher-to-student ratios are strong, between 10 and 15 to one.

1 The Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University—the largest private school of art and design in the United States, according to U.S. News and World Report—offers undergraduate degrees, graduate degrees and individual classes. Potential students can check out sample classes and programs online for free. Grads have found careers as 2-D or 3-D animators, 3-D modelers, visual effects artists, storyboard artists, concept artists or character designers.

Andrew Lisa has been writing professionally since 2001. A graduate of Hofstra University, he was a section editor for "amNewYork", the most widely distributed paper in Manhattan. He was a nationally syndicated columnist with Gannett News Service, the largest news syndicate in the country, and works as a writer in Los Angeles.

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