Animation begins with a simple drawing on a piece of paper, adding movement and motion with just slight variations. If you can animate in that medium, there are no boundaries to your creative potential. The goal of UNCSA’s Undergraduate Animation program is to develop your technical animation skills to support, not lead, the creative process of animation. Storytelling is the primary focus of the program, and animation just the method used to tell the story.
Building the creative foundation for filmmaking is the focus of your first year in the Animation program. Courses on cinema studies, cinematography, direction, screenwriting, production, sound design and picture editing are required for all students. At the end of the first year, your portfolio will be reviewed for acceptance into the Animation program. As part of your degree, you also will take liberal arts courses.
Once accepted into the Animation program, your classes will become more advanced in the technical skills animation requires. Drawing will be emphasized as an integral skill, helping you improve your storytelling capabilities. You will use industry-standard software and learn the fundamentals of animation, like perspective, character design, backgrounds, props, composition and lighting, but always with an emphasis on the story. Classes will consist of lectures, workshops and individual projects, adding to your portfolio as you progress through the program.
Animation courses will become progressively more challenging, placing greater expectations and more demanding requirements on you. Storyboarding courses will further hone your skills in drawing, at the same time developing your creative vision for character development and composition. In your third year, you will go through the development, pre-production, production and post-production stages of a three-minute animation project. You will begin work on the development and pre-production phases of your fourth-year animation project. In addition to these animation-specific courses, you take liberal-arts classes and electives in cinema studies or the choice to undertake an independent study or a professional internship.
Your fourth-year, five-minute thesis animation project will require a clear understanding and mastery of story, character and craft. You will be individually mentored throughout the process, and receive extensive peer collaboration. Other courses this year will include advanced computer animation, history of animation, and electives in film or cinema studies, an independent study or a professional internship.
Graduates from our Animation program are following their dreams in the industry with internships at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Stargate Studios, for example, and careers with companies like Cartoon Network and Prologue Pictures. A recent Animation graduate was honored with a 2015 Emmy Award Nomination for his work on the title sequence for “American Horror Story.”
Films by alumni of the University of North Carolina School of the Arts will open and close RiverRun International Film Festival, scheduled for April 19-29. Several short films by students and alumni also will be shown.