Visual Effects Course and Class Descriptions

Visual effects classes are typically part of broader undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Read on to find out more about the classes that provide training in visual effects.

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Essential Information

Visual effects are used in movies, games, and television shows. Courses in visual effects are typically offered as part of an associate's, bachelor's, or master's degree program in animation, digital media, game design or film at 4-year colleges, universities and some art schools. Through didactic coursework, hands-on computer lab sessions and internships, students learn how to use digital effects software, design appropriate effects, and incorporate digital effects into filming. Courses are available in both digital effects, added during post-production, and dynamic effects, used during filming.

List of Classes

Continue reading for more information about visual effects classes.

Visual Effects in Cinematography Course

In a cinematography course, students learn how to create visual effects film. Students practice framing photos and finding unique shots. This visual effects course includes many technical aspects and is typically taken in several parts, the most basic of which is completed early in a program. Students often create their own short films as a final project.

Digital Course

A class in digital visual effects includes techniques for modeling and creating visual effects through technology. Students explore digital lighting and shading techniques with the goal of creating realistic-looking animated movies and games. Class projects may be completed using professional animation and film software. This class is usually completed at the beginning or middle of a degree program and may follow a class in general visual effects.

Dynamic Effects Course

Some visual effects are added at the end of production, during editing, but students taking a dynamic visual effects class practice effects that can be used during live performances or in movies as they're being filmed. Students learn to create effects with fire, cloth, explosions and smoke. Typically, this class is taken towards the end of the degree program. Emphasis is placed on creating realistic-looking effects that don't damage personal or private property.

Development Course

Students learn how to develop visual effects and choose effects that fit well with the characters or story. They look at the overall project and learn how to choose and design appropriate effects. Since students integrate their understanding of screen design, storytelling, cinematography and visual effect techniques when developing concepts, they may take this class near the end of a degree program.

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Popular Schools

  • School locations:
    • Online Learning

    Online Programs

    • Associate
        • Associate in Web Design Technology

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must live within close proximity to school locations
    • Must be graduated from high school by 2011
    School locations:
    • Online Learning
    • Florida (1 campus)
    • Minnesota (1)
    • Texas (1)
    • Washington (1)

    Online and Classroom-Based Programs

    • Bachelor
        • Bachelor of Science - Visual Communications - Graphic Design
        • Bachelor of Science - Web Design and Development
    • Associate
    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Web Design and Development

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • Must be 18 years of age or older
    School locations:
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    Distance Learning Programs

    • Non-Degree
        • Certificate - Undergraduate in Graphic Design

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  • Minimum eligibility requirements:
    • All degree applicants must have a Bachelors degree or higher
    • Post-Master's Certificate degree applicants must have a Masters degree or higher
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    Classroom-Based Programs

    • Master
        • MA in Communication

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Other Schools:

  • School locations:
    • California (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Southwestern College include:
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Associate
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Comparative Language Studies and Services
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
      • Journalism
  • School locations:
    • Michigan (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Ferris State University include:
      • Graduate: First Professional Degree, Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Communication Technology
      • English Composition
      • English Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
        • Graphic and Printing Equipment Operations
        • Prepress, Publishing, and Image Design
        • Printing Management
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • New York (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Rochester Institute of Technology include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Certificate, Coursework
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Associate, Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • American Sign Language - ASL
      • Communication Studies
      • Communication Technology
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
        • Computer Typography and Composition
        • Graphic and Printing Equipment Operations
        • Prepress, Publishing, and Image Design
        • Printing Management
      • Public Relations and Advertising
      • Publishing
  • School locations:
    • Texas (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Sam Houston State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, Master
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
      • Journalism
      • Public Relations and Advertising
  • School locations:
    • Tennessee (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at East Tennessee State University include:
      • Graduate: Doctorate, First Professional Degree, Master
      • Post Degree Certificate: Postbaccalaureate Certificate
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Studies
      • English Language and Literature
      • Foreign Language and Literature
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects
  • School locations:
    • Georgia (1 campus)
    Areas of study you may find at Savannah College of Art and Design include:
      • Graduate: Master
      • Non-Degree: Coursework
      • Undergraduate: Bachelor
    • Communications and Journalism
      • Communication Technology
      • Digital, Radio, and Television Communication
      • Graphic Communications
        • Animation, Video Graphics, and Special Effects

Popular Schools

    • Associate in Web Design Technology

    What year did you graduate from high school?

  • What is your highest level of education?

    • Certificate - Undergraduate in Graphic Design

    What is your highest level of education?

    • MA in Communication

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  • 5Southwestern College
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