In new rankings released by College Magazine, an online career resource for students, Texas A&M was recognized as the nation’s best public animation school, funneling top-notch graduates into the highly competitive film and television industry, as well as a myriad of civil engineering firms and design agencies who seek the most talented animators, game designers and digital artists.
The 2018 lists, in which Texas A&M ranked eighth among public and private schools combined, reflect an analysis of schools’ academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth and breadth of programs and its faculty, value as it relates to tuition and indebtedness, and geographic location.
Animation studies at Texas A&M are part of a broader curriculum offered at the Department of Visualization that produces graduates who prepare for success in a wide range of visualization-related fields by developing artistic and technical expertise.
“Animating for screen-based entertainment is a fundamentally important way to learn about timing, the role of the camera, and other aspects of visual storytelling,” said Tim McLaughlin, head of the department.
The emergence of interactive, immersive and mobile media are providing new challenges and opportunities for digital animators, he said.
“Our faculty are exploring these new avenues through their own art and research and are applying their findings to the department’s curriculum,” said McLaughlin. “We want students to be prepared for their first job, but more importantly, we want them prepared to embrace and lead change in the field five to ten years from now.”
Graduate visualization students have the unique opportunity of learning about the fast-growing fields of digital animation and virtual reality in the department’s summer industry course, in which participants create animated short films and virtual reality games with guidance from industry pros using a workflow process similar to the kind used at professional studios.
In 2018 rankings published by Animation Career Review, Texas A&M’s undergraduate visualization program ranked second nationally among bachelor of science programs, third among master of science and master of arts programs and 18th overall, among public and private schools.
The university’s undergraduate visualization degree focuses on the processes of creation, design and development of the visual experience, the Master of Science in Visualization requires students to develop advanced expertise in a specific focus area, and the Master of Fine Arts in Visualization, one of only a few of its kind in the nation, provides technology-infused visual arts training.
The Department of Visualization is regularly recognized by the industry for student excellence. It has been previously lauded as an elite video game design school by The Princeton Review and ranked as a top illustration school by The Art Career Project.
Visualization graduates, or “Vizzers,” can be found working as creative talent for Hollywood’s leading animation and special effects studios including Pixar, Blue Sky, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Industrial Light and Magic, Dreamworks Animation, Rhythm & Hues Studios and Reel FX.
The work of the Department of Visualization’s students, faculty and alumni can be found online.