BFA: Digital Animation

students' digital animation projects

Employing technical and creative skills in practical applications of digital animation

The Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Animation degree prepares students for a variety of animation and animation-related careers or graduate school by providing a thorough grounding in fundamental principles and techniques. This degree focuses on intensive work in digital animation supported by a program of general studies.

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  • Download Curriculum ChecksheetBFA Animation Checksheet thumbnail

    ANIM 3600: Foundation Animation 
    This course is an introduction to contemporary animation. Course content focuses on frame-to-frame animation as well as 2-dimensional rigged animation techniques. Students will create unique animations using industry standard time-based media computer applications.

    ART 3015: Electronic Illustration
    The focus of this course is the execution of quality illustrations. The blending of traditional and electronic images will be influenced and strengthened by the history of illustration. The illustrations will be adapted for print and web using advanced conceptual skills and digital techniques. The strong development of form and color and the elements and principles of design will be stressed.

    ART 3150: Figure Drawing
    Intensive study of the human figure; action, structure, volume, design and expressive potentialities from a variety of models, using a variety of media. Some portraiture.

    ART 3160: Painting I
    Painting with various media emphasizing organizational structure, technical considerations and abstract relationships.

    ART 4024: Motion Graphics
    This course provides the student with the foundations for motion graphics and digital video using current industry applications. The emphasis is on learning the history, theory, principles, and elements of motion graphic design and the process of motion graphic creation. A broad range of themes, concepts, digital animation, and current technologies are discussed.

    ANIM 3620: Storyboarding & Composition
    This course is an introduction to the use and creation of storyboards for animation. Students will interpret narratives including their own material into functional sequential art. Students will explore both traditional and digital media in the course.

    ANIM 3640: Character Development
    Students will apply their drawing skills and knowledge of the figure to create original characters designed for applied 2D animation techniques.

    ANIM 3650: Digital Animation Production I
    This course focuses on using industry standard digital animation production software. Students will explore the pipeline nature of the software and the many roles involved with a professional animation production.

    ANIM 3660: Digital Animation Production II
    This course is an advanced approach on understanding and operating industry standard digital animation production software. Students will focus on particular roles and tasks including 2D animation and compositing. Also, students will work in a team environment to create an animation short.

    ART 4255: Advanced Study of the Figure
    Detailed study of the human figure as a subject in art, including drawing and painting from the live model. Portraiture will be considered in addition to the structure and design potential of the figure. 

    ART 4035: Concept Art
    This course examines the unique considerations involved in the creation of concept art. Character and environment design will be explored. Traditional and digital mediums will be considered.

    ANIM 4630: 3D Animation Modeling
    This course introduces the student to the use of industry standard 3D computer graphic software. Practical application of the software will include creating environmental imagery, props, and characters.

    ANIM 4650: Digital Animation Studio
    Students will pursue selected topics in animation of an advanced nature, which may include independent student research.

    ANIM 4660: Senior Animation Reel
    This graduating senior capstone course focuses on the development of a student resume and professional animation reel showcasing work designed for the animation industry. There is also a research component for current job market demands & requirements, as well as graduate school options. The animation reel will demonstrate work that represents an individual style and a high level of conceptual abilities and professionalism.


  • It is important that students interested in applying to the Digital Animation concentration talk to the faculty advisors of the area. The office hours are posted on the Faculty Web Page.

    Sandee Chamberlain
    Assistant Professor of Art
    Office: TBD

    Upper-Level Portfolio Instructions

    These instructions are for students who have already been accepted to the BFA in DigitalAnimation. Students in the BFA in Digital Animation are required to submit a portfolio for review by the faculty after the completion of introductory coursework. This is a different portfolio from the one required for acceptance into the major. If you have not formally been accepted to the BFA, change your selection for Type of Portfolio to Entrance to the BFA or Entrance to the BS in Art Education as appropriate. 

    To submit your mid-level review portfolio for Digital Animation, upload the following:

    1. Three of your best drawings from ART 2150 Drawing II. Images should be uploaded asJPEGs with height and width pixel dimensions no smaller than 400 pixels and no larger than2000 pixels (images should approximately fill the screen at a sharp resolution but not be solarge to cause slower upload/download speed). The work should be photographed with goodlighting and cropped to the image. If work is not rectangular, please make the background gray, black, or white without distracting elements.
    2. Three of your best projects from ART 2550 Computer Applications in Art
    3. Three of your best animations from ANIM 3600 Foundation Animation
    4. Two of your best projects from ART 3015 Electronic Illustration 

    The portfolio review occurs once the student has enrolled in two of the following three classes:

    ANIM 3620: Storyboarding & Composition
    ANIM 3630: Environments for Animation
    ANIM 3640: Character Development


Facilities and Resources

  • VA 224 Design Studio
    View Facilities Hours

    • Hours vary depending on class assignments. Please contact studio coordinator for hours.
    • iMacs, Cintiqs, Epson scanners, and Ricoh Printers available

    Two iMac Computer Classrooms
    Each class room has twenty-two student workstations equipped with the following resources.

    • 21.5-inch iMac (i7 processor with 16 GB RAM)
    • Wacom 22HD Creative Pen Cintiq Display
    • 21.5 inch iMac lectern with projection screen capable of demonstrating use of software
    • Adobe Creative Cloud including all of the most recent versions of software (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Premiere Pro, Animate, After Effects, Dreamweaver, Bridge, Lightroom)
    • Maya and other software sometimes used for animation and illustration
    • One workroom with a photography studio and a mat-cutting and project assembly workspace

    Printers & Peripherals

    • Three Ricoh Color Laser Printers capable of printing on paper media up to 12 x 18 inches
    • Several Epson V500 scanners (8.5x11 in.)
    • Three Epson V700 scanners with transparency adapters (8.5x11 in.)
    • Three Epson Expression XL12,000 scanners (12.2x17.2 in.)
  • Our students are focused on very demanding coursework, and therefore, they are not available for any pro-bono commercial projects. If you have a budget for a project, please contact Assistant Professor Craig Brasco ( to present your concept. Please have a one-page project brief, a script, and a proposed budget prepared. 

    Please note: there are no guarantees that your project will be pursued by students. If a project is pursued, all contracts and paperwork for the project must originate from the student(s) only. This is nonnegotiable.


Rian Penrod's entry to the Giphy Film Fest, a national competition prompting artists to create a compelling audio/visual story in 18 seconds or less. Rian entered his submission under the animation category and was selected as a finalist. 

student artwork gallery