Animation & Game Art - Maine College of Art
Explore The Intersection image

Explore The Intersection

Of Art, Media, & Technology.

Combine image

Combine

Forms of Art That You're Passionate About.

Animation & Game Art

Animation and Game Art (AG) majors at MECA develop a robust studio practice through the production of works across a range of traditional and emerging media. Core animation principles and the fundamentals of cinematic storytelling are outlined and explored so that students learn the language and nuance of animated storytelling. The tools and technologies of contemporary animation and game art production are introduced allowing students to to develop expertise in industry-standard workflows.

The program is designed on the premise that in order to effectively tell a story, animators must understand screenwriting, character development, cinematic structure, narrative and composition, and be able to effectively convey the emotions and motivations of a character by mastering skills in drawing, modeling, timing, and gesture. Animation and Game Art majors may explore widely or dig deeply into one of the many aspects of animation and game art. Students will study historical and contemporary animation, game art, film, art, and storytelling to gain extensive skills in handmade and digital production methods. The program’s dual emphasis on developing both individual exploration and collaborative practices prepares graduates for lifelong personal and professional creative practice. Internships and Professional Studio Courses prepare students to competitively enter the professional marketplace.

Outcomes

  • Formal

    Students will develop the ability to appropriately apply 2D and 3D compositional strategies to animation and game projects and will acquire a deep understanding of the twelve principles of animation: squash and stretch, anticipation, weight, arcs, timing, easing, overlapping motion, staging, straight ahead versus pose to pose, exaggeration, solid drawing, and appeal. They will cultivate an in-depth knowledge of the application of cinematic principles to animation, and competency in cinematography techniques, including camera distance, motion, angle, focal length, parallax motion and lighting, as well as in special effects and compositing. They will master editing techniques such as cuts, dissolves, match shots and jump cuts, and will learn how to make sophisticated color choices and palettes in services to composition and meaning. They will master the ability to translate scripts in order to create storyboards, animatics and teasers. Students will develop a trained eye for seeing the nuance of motion in character animation.

  • Conceptual

    Students will cultivate skills in storytelling and in the development of the personal concepts that drive their work. Upon completion of the program, they will have the ability to tell compelling visual stories, which is the overarching goal of animation and game art. They will be capable of creating work at all phases of the animation/game design process, from conceptualization to planning to pre-production, production and post-production processes. They will develop the ability to work independently and collaboratively in the classroom community in support of developing processes and work by which one cultivates sound studio and professional practices. They will be able to supply a range of conceptual approaches to a game or story, apply and explore key concepts in character development (such as shape, color, exaggerated characteristics, personality flaws, backstory, dress and props), and encode and decode the significance of choices of symbols, objects and environments in games and animation projects. As students gain experience programming games, they will acquire a sophisticated understanding of how art and logic mutually inform and modify the experience of interaction. An understanding of acting as a fundamental component of creating moving characters will inform their work. Students will master a strong critical vocabulary for the assessment of all aspects of animation and game art.

  • Technical

    As a technical discipline, animation and game art requires knowledge and abilities in both traditional and developing technologies, from drawing to motion graphics. Students will hone their ability to draw on paper and digitally for planning, design and production. They will develop the ability to sculpt in analog and digital environments, and will develop a broad range of software proficiency in 2D, 3D and stop motion animation (including Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects, Maya, Toon Boom, Dragon Frame, and Audition). They will learn 2D and 3D game art and development, and related software such as Stencyl and Unity 3D. Exploration of established and emerging platforms for games and animation (Mobile, Arcade, VR, AR) will help expand their skills. They will master animation shortcuts (for example, cycles, camera moves and holds) in service to efficient production. Students will master the techniques of modeling, texturing, rigging and animating 3D characters; they will also develop proficiency in visual effects and compositing for animation and games. Students who complete the program will be able to create 2D and 3D game art using industry-standard production techniques.

  • Professional

    Students will develop an online portfolio that displays standard production skills and highlights their areas of interest and of particular excellence; they will complete the program with a resume and professional reel. Every graduating student is required to show their work in the BFA Thesis Show; moreover, all MECA students can exhibit their work in organized College exhibitions and on their own (after getting approval for space) during all four years of their MECA experience. As a major, students will learn to effectively collaborate on team productions; they will also be able to work independently. They will hone the communication skills required to competently critique work in various stages of production, from pre- through post-production, and will also demonstrate competency in written communication in the form of self-evaluations that address research, development processes, historical precedents and contemporary practice. Students develop proficiency in using online resources and communities as learning and problem-solving systems. Through its Artists at Work program, the College has a large national network that allows students to take advantage of internship opportunities with artists, illustrators, animators and game artists.

FAQs

  • What are some of the career paths for someone who majors in Animation & Game Art?

    Many of our students find work in the animation and gaming fields. A fair number have started successful companies in the fields of smart phone apps, documentary film, web design, and rich media. Some work as graphic designers, or as artists launching their own recording and digital art projects.

  • How do you prepare your students for the real world?

    Students learn to write an artist statement, professional resume, cover letter, and artist bio. Students learn to seek out and research opportunities in the field through the use of the internet, professional organizations, publications, and periodicals. Students create a portfolio of work targeted to their specific interests in the world of digital media. Students learn how to use social media and evolving web technologies effectively in the promotion and distribution of their work. Students have an awareness of the transferability and versatility of their education into the related fields of digital media, motion design, web design, art direction, and the ability to explore ideas outside the discipline, including teaching.

  • What are some examples of what your alums are doing?

    Stop Motion Puppet Fabricator, Product Designer, Lead Environmental Artist, Art Director & Game Artist, Animation Instructor, Indy Animation Filmmaker, Feature Film Character Animator, 3D Game Art Generalist, App Designer, Chief Creative Officer, Project Manager of a Game Company, Interaction Developer, Live Event and Video Producer, and Artist Assistant.

  • What are the prerequisites to major in Animation & Game Art?

    Students take two or more the following studio electives before entering the Major: Animation (AG 101), Cinematic Storytelling (AG 120), Character Design (AG 199), 3D Modeling & Animation (AG 245)

  • Will I be able to incorporate other media or interests with my work as a Animation & Game Art major?

    You will be required to take a range of courses from other areas that match your specific area of interest. Students often take courses in Photography, Graphic Design, Illustration, Sculpture, and Painting.

Program

Preparation (1st & 2nd Year) 3-6 Elective Courses
Animation 1 (AG 101)
Cinematic Storytelling (AG 120)
Character Design (AG 199)
3D Modeling & Animation (AG 245)
2D Character Animation (AG 201)
Digital Filmmaking (AG 230)
2D Game Design (AG 250)
Stop Motion and FX (AG 304)
3D Rigging and Animation (AG 303/403)
Intermediate Game & Concept Art (AG 326)
Advanced 3D Game Art (AG 400)

Junior Year (3rd Year)
Fall Semester:
Major Production Studio 1 (AG 321)
Animation and Game Art Concepts and History (AG 351)
Major Studio Elective (AG)

Spring Semester:
Major Production Studio 2 (AG 322)
Collaborative Productions (AG 352)
Major Studio Elective (AG)

Senior Year (4th Year)
Fall Semester:
Capstone Pre-production (AG 421)
Professional Studio (SEM 451)
Majors Studio Elective (AG)

Spring Semester:
Capstone Production (AG 422)
Majors Studio Elective (AG)

Workspace & Tools

 

Enjoy access to a wealth of departmental and college resources:

  • Cintiq Drawing Stations
  • VR Workstations
  • Audio Production and Mastering Studios
  • 3D printing and laser engraving in the FabLab
  • Digital SLRs, video cameras, and audio gear
  • Stop Motion Animation Workstations
  • Data projectors and lighting equipment
  • Fully Equipped Computer Instruction Labs with Industry-standard programs, including Autodesk’s MAYA and Mudbox, Stencyl and Unity Game Engines, Dragon Stop Motion, ToonBoom Harmony, and Adobe CC Premium Suite, (including Animate, After Effects, Audition, Illustrator, Photoshop, and Muse)

View Courses

What do our alumni do?

Statistics from the 2015 Strategic National Arts Alumni project (SNAAP)

Did you know?

55% is the national average for arts alumni that work as professional artists.

45% is the national average for arts alumni that are self employed, independent contractors, or freelance workers.

63

Work as professional artists

23

Work as graphic designers, illustrators, or art directors

16

Founded a business

23

Work as craft artists

38

Work as fine artists

29

Work as art teachers

17

Pursued an MFA after graduation

47

Are self-employed, independent contractors or freelance workers

91

Make art in their personal time

View More
View Less