Chicago Computer Animation Schools

by Damian McKnight, Contributing Writer
Chicago Computer Animation Schools
The Chicago Metropolitan Area is the most urban area in Illinois and area students interested in studying in the field of Computer Animation have many local schools and degree programs to choose from. Students live and study in an area rich with internship and job opportunities, obtaining such entry-level positions as:
  • Texture Artists
  • Web Animators
  • Simulation Artists
  • 3D Modelers
  • Forensic Animators
There are many different courses offered via online schools, universities and specialized art and animation schools that will prepare a student for a career in the dynamic fields of video game design, visual effects, and animation.

Background

Computer Animation is commonly known as the art of creating moving images through the use of computers and is generally regarded as a sub field of computer graphics, visual effects, and animation. A computer-animated film commonly refers to feature films that have been computer-enhanced to appear three dimensional on a movie screen. While traditional 2D animated films are now done primarily with the help of computers, the technique to render realistic 3D computer graphics (CG), or 3D Computer-generated imagery (CGI), is unique to using computers.

Visual effects (Visual F/X or VFX)often involve the integration of live-action footage and computer generated imagery (CGI) in order to create environments which look realistic. Most often creating these environments would be dangerous, costly, or simply impossible to capture on film. Visual F/X have become increasingly common in big-budget films, and have also recently become accessible to amateur filmmakers with the introduction of affordable animation and compositing software. CGI short films have been produced as independent animation since 1976, though the popularity of computer animation (especially in the field of special effects) skyrocketed during the modern era of U.S. animation. The first completely computer-generated television series was ReBoot, and the first completely computer-generated animated movie was Pixar's Toy Story.

The recent success of James Cameron's blockbuster film Avatar has again elevated the status of computer animation and visual effects to an entirely new level. With the aid of computers, Cameron has showed us that it is now truly possible to visually recreate the unimaginable depths of the human imagination.

Computer Animation Degree Programs

Chicago area computer animation degree programs train students to work in film animation or specifically in the digital field with computer animation and visual effects. The top computer animation schools offer a variety of 2-D and 3-D animation courses, which allow students to find work as an illustrator in many different types of media.

Computer animation school graduates can choose to focus on classical animation, film animation, digital animation, or specialize in a specific area of computer animation. Some arts and animation programs are offered online and these courses can be a great option for students that are self-motivated and are able to manage their time and make course work a priority in their lives.

While in school, your goal: to build a compelling digital portfolio that shows exactly how skilled you have become in storytelling and in bringing your characters to life.

Career

Growth in the multimedia industry has been brisk in recent years as more and more people are playing video games and watching computer animated films. Meanwhile the Internet, cable television, and other emerging media continue to drive demand for multimedia entertainment. Most animators start out as assistants on their way towards a successful career in computer animation. It may seem unimportant, but this beginning role in a company gives students a new, refreshed perspective on learning the necessary skills of that particular company. Other entry-level positions may include digital artist, special effects artist, texture mapper, or storyboard artist.

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