• Animation and Visual Effects
Dodge College of Film & Media Arts

B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects

» Develop your core artistic skills and technical expertise

About the Program

The B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects offers students the opportunity to pursue studies in 2D or 3D animation or visual effects. The curriculum is carefully designed according to industry standards to help you develop your core artistic skills as well as your technical expertise. This hands-on program enables you to work with cutting-edge technology to realize your artistic visions.

The Program

The program is divided into two parts: the first two years are devoted to the fundamental artistic and technical skills that provide the foundation for your development as an animation or VFX artist. Your junior and senior years focus on your chosen area of specialization and the development and production of your senior thesis project.

Facilities and Resources

The program is housed in the state-of-the-art Digital Media Arts Center (DMAC) which gives you 24/7 access to an art studio, an animation lab with both traditional animation pegged drawing discs and digital Cintique tablets, a VFX lab with dual monitors and a 4K workflow, individual digital suites with specialized 3D and sound gear. These spaces feature the latest industry standard software such as Adobe Creative Suites, Maya, 3DS Max, and an Xsens motion capture suit and software.

Industry Exposure

You’ll stay connected with the industry through field trips to, and internships with, major gaming, VFX, and animation studios including Pixar, Dreamworks, Blizzard, and Blur. Major industry players and professionals such as Joyce Cox (The Jungle Book), Chris Buck (Frozen), Don Hahn (Lion King, Beauty and the Beast), Randy Cook (Lord of the Rings), Pete Docter (Inside Out), Rob Liefeld (Deadpool), and many more frequently visit campus. 

Your Film on the Silver Screen

Our animation and visual effects projects have played prestigious film festivals like Austin Film Festival, BendFilm Festival, Cinequest Film Festival, Cleveland International Film Festival, LA Shorts Film Fest, Melbourne International Animation Festival, Nashville Film Festival, New Orleans Film Festival, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Santa Barbara International Film Festival, and hundreds more. 

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+ - You'll Study

The curriculum is designed to help you develop your core artistic skills as well as your technical expertise.  You’ll learn timeless principles including:


  • motion
  • gesture
  • composition
  • color theory
  • character design
  • story structure
  • performance

Visual Effects

  • modeling
  • compositing
  • matte painting
  • motion capture
  • set extensions

+ - Learning Outcomes

In mastering the curriculum of the B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects, students will: 
  • Demonstrate a working knowledge of digital arts history, including past, current, and emerging work, that will provide context for appraising and supporting new creative work.
  • Exhibit a working knowledge of fundamental design principles in both still and motion-based art.
  • Exhibit a skilled application of animation principles in the design and production of time-based media.
  • Demonstrate proficiency with the tools and technology required for a chosen skill set of animation or visual effects.
  • Demonstrate an ability to apply fundamental story principles in both still imagery and time-based media.
  • Exhibit the ability to communicate and collaborate in creative production, and demonstrate the ability to manage, schedule, and produce a skilled Senior Thesis project.

+ - Degree Requirements

The B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects offers students the opportunity to develop the artistic and technical skills to create or enhance a story using the tools of the digital world, particularly as the media continue to evolve with an increased use of computer–animated characters, digital effects and compositing techniques combining motion capture, live action and animation.

Students pursuing a major in animation and visual effects may only use up to 3 credits of internship coursework to satisfy elective requirements within their majors.

Program Learning Outcomes and Educational Effectiveness Evaluation Plans for B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects.

Students pursuing the B.F.A. in Animation and Visual Effects are required to:

  • Earn an overall GPA of 2.000 for all required major courses.
  • Complete all courses in the major for a letter grade, except for independent internships.
  • Pass courses in the major with a "C–" or higher, except DA 202 and 249 which requires at least a "B–" in order to satisfy the major requirements.
  • Complete a minimum of 21 credits from upper division courses in the major.
  • Complete the senior thesis courses, DA 496, 497, 498.

core requirements (39 credits)

DA 109

Fundamental Graphics I for Animation and Visual Effects


DA 120

Introduction to Animation and Visual Effects


FTV 130C

Introduction to Visual Storytelling for Animation and Visual Effects


DA 202

3D Computer Graphics I


DA 206

Mechanics of Motion


DA 209

Fundamental Graphics II for Animation and Visual Effects


DA 247

History and Aesthetics of Animation and Visual Effects


DA 249

Storytelling in Animation and Visual Effects


DA 302

3D Computer Graphics II


DA 323

Color and Design: Principles and Practice


DA 496

Senior Thesis I: Concept Development


DA 497

Senior Thesis II: Pre–Production and Production I


DA 498

Senior Thesis III: Production II and Post–Production


area of study requirements (18 credits)

Students must complete all the requirements within one of the following areas of study



total credits



animation area of study (18 credits)

DA 256

Beginning Character Animation


DA 356

Intermediate Character Animation


DA 385

Character Design


DA 402

3D Computer Graphics III


DA 456

Advanced Character Animation





visual effects area of study (18 credits)

DA 242

2D Computer Graphics


DA 369

Visual Effects: Fundamental Techniques and Technologies


DA 379

Advanced Visual Effects Production and Workflow


DA 392

Advanced Pre–visualizations for Motion Pictures


DA 402

3D Computer Graphics III


DA 469

On-Set and Post-Production Visual Effects Supervision


recommended electives for all areas of study

DA 310

Animation and Visual Effects Industry Insiders



FP 133

Audio Techniques


FP 201

Actor–Director Workshop


CPSC 230

Computer Science I


FP 237

Cinematography I


CPSC 242

Introduction to the Game Industry


FP 333

Audio Design


FP 336

Production Design I


CPSC 340

Game Development


FP 481

Set Decoration


FP 486

Costume Design


+ - Careers in Animation and Visual Effects

Our wide range of state-of-the-art tools will help you prepare for career paths such as:

  • director
  • animator
  • modeler
  • lighter
  • compositor
  • rigger
  • editor
  • texture painter
  • visual effects supervisor
  • production designer

+ - Program FAQs

If you know what you’re doing, your time at Chapman will be incredibly rewarding. Here are some tips on software and technology, studying abroad, graduation and more, to help things go more smoothly.

»Animation and Visual Effects Program FAQs

Have you seen where you'll be working?

The Digital Media Arts Center provides students with access to the very latest technology so that you are well-prepared to work as professionals on Hollywood’s most technically sophisticated projects.

Digital Media Arts Center »

Did you know our animated films are award winning?

Daniel Drummond ’14 took home a Gold Medal from the 2015 Student Academy Awards, the most prestigious student film awards in the world.

Read more about 2015 Student Academy Award Winner, Daniel Drummond