Computer Animation, BFA

Computer Animation, BFA

Computer-based animation and imagery has transformed cinema, television and interactive gaming. As a Computer Animation major, you’ll gain technical skills in advanced computer-generated filmmaking and take electives in areas such as motion capture, character modeling and animation performance. In your final year, you’ll collaborate on a team project and develop your own solo short film. You can apply to enter the BFA program after earning 45 credit hours.

There’s a reason we’re consistently ranked among the top Animation schools in the Midwest and beyond. Employers want our grads. Columbia students set themselves apart by bringing a unique voice and aesthetic to their work.

The BFA in Computer Animation is a rigorous, highly structured curriculum that arms you with the technical skills and team-based collaboration to prepare you for immediate, successful entry into your chosen profession in the animation industry and beyond. You must apply to be accepted into the BFA program. Read submission guidelines and degree requirements for the BFA on the course catalog.

Many of our alumni work as professional animators, but the professional skills you’ll gain in this program translate to industries beyond just animation. Related fields of study include video game production, television production, cinema visual effects, toy design, product design, illustration and digital advertising, just to name a handful of potential career paths.

What to Expect Your First Year

You’ll take courses like History of Animation, a lecture-based theory class that provides a frame for your work, and you’ll also learn by making. In Intro to Computer Animation, you’re learning industry-standard software, Autodesk’s Maya, and building virtual environments. No matter which entry-level courses you take your first year, the end product is artwork to add to your portfolio.

What to Expect Your Last Year

As a senior, you’ll create two short films. You’ll work with a team to create a three- to six-minute animated film and individually to create a three-minute animated film.

During the two-semester team project, you’ll supervise and be supervised in roles ranging from director to editor to lighting supervisor. In the first semester, you’ll pitch ideas and collectively choose a single story. Then you’ll start getting your hands dirty with tasks like creating preproduction concept art and storyboards or building computer generated (CG) assets. You’ll continue to build and refine the film during the second semester and present it at Manifest, Columbia’s annual urban arts festival that celebrates and showcases the amazing work of our graduating students.

The solo project is similar in scope to the team project, except you’ll have three full semesters to complete your three-minute animated film. You’ll also serve as the producer, director, editor and every other role in between.

BFA vs. BA: What’s the Difference?

Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) programs feature more focused required coursework in the major. Bachelor of Arts (BA) programs feature a flexible curriculum that allows for exploration and the ability to tailor elective coursework beyond your major.

If you wish to pursue entry to the Computer Animation BFA program, you must first gain admission to Columbia College Chicago. If eligible, you will be evaluated individually by the Cinema Art and Science department sometime during your first or second year of enrollment.

Detailed Program Information

Download a Four-Year Plan

For More Degree Requirements and Transfer Plans, Visit the Catalog

Real-world Opportunities

What experience will I get outside the classroom?

Want a glimpse into life in the industry? Head out West. Animation Studios in LA is a 1-credit, January-session course for senior Animation students. In the mornings you’ll dive in with sessions covering professional standards and industry preparation. Afternoons you’ll tour local animation studios such as Nickelodeon, Warner Brothers, DreamWorks, Cartoon Network or Disney.

What are my internship options?

As an Animation student, you’ll have the chance to apply for noncredit or credit internships at studios like Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network and Disney Animation and postproduction effects companies like The Mill.


Ready to Apply?

We’re happy you’re thinking of joining our creative community. We work hard to make our application process as simple and fast as possible, but should you run into any concerns, we're here to help at any time.

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