Special Effects Schools and Colleges in the U.S.
Special effects can be categorized as visual arts or as practical on-set filmed events. Effects can be created in the camera, optically or digitally on computers. Here are some factors to consider when choosing a special effects school.
How to Select a Special Effects School
A special effects instructional program helps students prepare for careers working in television, in film and in other visual media. Most schools offering special effects programs concentrate on the animation aspect of the process. Special visual effects are often part of an art major and can be listed as animation, computer arts, digital arts or media arts, among others.
Schools specifically dedicated to practical on-set special effects such as gunshots, squibs, air cannons, explosions and car crashes are few and are usually highly specialized as part of the film industry. The special effects related to dangerous on-set activities are often taught at small private for-profit schools by veterans of the industry. Stuntmen can learn about explosives, being lit on fire, specialty driving, gunshot wounds and a variety of techniques in specialized programs that are generally short.
Most visual effects seen today are created on computers, rather than optically. These incorporate 3D spatial relationships as well as 2D photographic content. Schools should offer the latest software, such as Maya, After Effects, Nuke and 3D Studio Max. Students who are proficient on these platforms have easier times transitioning into a professional visual effects career.
Some schools offer students online galleries to show their works. An impressive portfolio can be valuable when applying for jobs after graduation and can attract job opportunities while still in school.
A 1-2 year certificate program can be found at many community colleges. Students are immersed in computer graphics principles, including 2D, 3D and digital imaging and other aspects of the art. A certificate can be useful for an entry-level position as a video artist.
Associate's Degree Programs
Also found at many 2-year community colleges are associate's degree programs in the visual arts. Classes are divided between the required general education classes and the selection of computer graphics course work. Students learn character development, modeling, writing and storyboarding scenes.
Bachelor's Degree Programs
A Bachelor of Art or a Bachelor of Fine Art with a focus on animation is widely offered as well. Graphic arts, video editing, photography, drawing, storyboarding, compositing, texture and lighting all come into play. Visual art techniques can apply to print and Web design as well as to more complex live action video and animation. Bachelor programs require a core liberal arts curriculum in addition to immersion in the major, and may also require a thesis.
Related to Special Effects College
- Recently Updated
Special effects make-up training programs provide students with the skills and knowledge needed to make actors appear...
Special effects animators are more than mere cartoonists. Among the myriad of other applications of their work, they...
Learn how to become a special effects animation artist. Research the job description and the education requirements...
Special effects artists create mechanical, optical and computer generated illusions for movies, television shows and...
- Top Ranked School for Special Effects and Animation Training - Torrance, CA
- Top Ranked School for Special Effects and Animation - San Bernardino, CA
- Special Effects Technician: Occupational Outlook and Career Summary
- Top Ranked Master's in Public Administration Degree - Atlanta, GA
- Nevada (NV): Colleges and Universities
- Top School for a Degree in Animation and Video Graphics - Anaheim, CA
- Top School for a Criminal Justice Degree - Kansas City, MO
- Master of Fine Arts (MFA): Special Effects Animation Degree Overview
- Top Schools for Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
- Top Ranked Computer Information Systems Management Degree Programs - Denver, CO
- Top Ranked Criminal Justice Degree Program - Indianapolis, IN
- Top Healthcare Administration Degrees - Phoenix, AZ