Texas A&M ranked with top animation schools in nation

2015 Animation Career Review rankings

Within weeks of gaining prominence among the world’s best game design schools, Texas A&M was ranked as one of the nation’s best animation schools, placing third among public institutions in a 2015 analysis conducted by Animation Career Review, an online career resource for aspiring animators, game designers and digital artists.

“It’s an honor to be recognized in this way,” said Tim McLaughlin, head of the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M, “though it is also a bit surprising given that game design and animation are derivatives of our curriculum rather than its defining structure.”

Texas A&M visualization programs focus on developing expertise in both art and science, producing graduates who achieve success in a wide range of visualization-related fields.

“Our curricula, at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, requires every student to be an aesthetically astute artist, have a robust competence in math and programming, and be fearless with technology,” said McLaughlin.

The ACR rankings also placed Texas A&M second in the Southwest and 11th nationally among the hundreds of animation programs they examined. Their analysis considered academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of the program and its faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, and geographic location.

The animation prowess of current visualization students will be showcased Friday and Saturday, May 8 and 9, at Viz-a-GoGo 22, the year-ending screening of course work and special projects that begins 8:30 p.m. at the Palace Theater, 105 S. Main St., in downtown Bryan, Texas.

Animation is one of the many areas of expertise bolstered by the broad foundational knowledge that comprises visualization education at Texas A&M. The undergraduate visualization degree focuses on the processes of creation, design and development of the visual experience, the master of science offering requires students to develop a strong focus area of advanced expertise, and the master of fine arts degree, one of only a few of its kind in the nation, provides technology-infused visual arts training.

Animation is the centerpiece of the Department of Visualization’s summer industry course, in which students create animated short films with guidance from industry pros using a workflow process similar to the kind used at professional studios.

Three videos created in summer 2013 with guidance from artists at Reel FX Animation Studios were screened at SIGGRAPH 2014, the globe’s premier computer graphics industry convention.  Videos created in summer 2014 in partnership with DreamWorks Animation have been submitted to SIGGRAPH 2015, to be held later this year.

Since its inception in 1989 the College of Architecture’s visualization program has provided Hollywood’s leading animation and special effects studios with a steady stream of highly trained computer graphics professionals. Visualization graduates, or “Vizzers” can be found among the creative talent at Pixar, Blue Sky, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks Animation, Electronic Arts, Rhythm & Hues Studios, and Reel FX.

posted May 4, 2015