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Bachelor of Visual Effects & Motion Graphics: Degree Overview

Research bachelor's degree programs in visual effects and motion graphics. Get information on requirements, courses, and career prospects to make an informed decision about your education.

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Essential Information

Students who enroll in motion media or visual effects degree programs learn techniques to create special effects and animations with computers. Graduates of these programs typically have knowledge of advanced software, such as Maya and Adobe After Effects, and design techniques used to create the 'magic' behind animations, video games and visual effects in movies. They might work as multimedia artists or continue their education through a master's degree program in a related field.

Education Prerequisites

To enroll in an undergraduate program, students generally need a high school diploma or its equivalent. Artistic ability, demonstrated through a portfolio or the completion of high-school arts courses, may also be required. Most programs require students to complete general studies or foundational coursework prior to enrolling in degree-specific courses.

Course Topics

Course names may differ between educational institutions, but students learn similar skills. To earn a degree in special effects and animation expect to take the following courses:

  • Drawing
  • Color theory
  • Typography
  • Storyboard creation
  • Video production
  • Digital lighting
  • Motion media design
  • 3-D animation
  • Compositing
  • Visual effects programming

Popular Career Options

With a BA in motion media or visual effects, graduates can pursue production-oriented careers in the motion picture, television, or video game industry. Career options may include:

  • Visual effects artist
  • Motion media designer
  • Concept artist
  • Digital compositor
  • 3-D modeler

Employment Outlook and Salary Information

Multimedia artists and animators earned an annual median salary of $61,370 in 2012, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported. From 2012-2022, slower than average growth of 6% was predicted by the BLS for this field.

Continuing Education Information

Students can continue to develop artistic and technical mastery by enrolling in Masters of Fine Arts degree programs in motion media design, animation and visual effects, or related areas. These programs are generally terminal degrees and can provide the educational background required for post-secondary teaching positions in the visual arts or digital arts. Alternatively, students may seek out apprenticeships, continuing their educations under the tutelage of experienced professionals.

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Popular Schools

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be a high school graduate or have completed GED
    School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Bachelor
        • BFA in Commercial Photography (Online)
        • BFA - Fine Art
        • BFA in Art Education
        • BFA in Undeclared

    What is your highest level of education?

  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Illinois (1 campus)
    • Nevada (1)

    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Visual Communications: Video and Animation Production
        • Bachelor of Fine Arts - Audio Production

    What is your highest level of education?

Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Miami include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Film and Cinema Studies
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Syracuse University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate, Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at New York University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate
      • Post Degree Certificate: First Professional Certificate, Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Florida State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Dance
      • Design and Applied Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
  • School locations:
    • Rhode Island (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Rhode Island include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
  • School locations:
    • Florida (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at University of Central Florida include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Post Master's Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Visual and Performing Arts
      • Drama and Theatre Arts
      • Fine Arts and Studio Art
      • Musical Arts
      • Photography, Film, and Video
        • Cinematography and Film Production
        • Photography

Popular Schools

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Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics