Texas A&M again ranked among nation's top animation schools

Tim McLaughlin

For the second consecutive year, Texas A&M was recognized as one of the nation’s top animation schools, placing [third] (http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/top-50-public-animation-schools-and-colleges-us-%E2%80%93-2016) among public institutions and [second] (http://www.animationcareerreview.com/articles/top-10-animation-schools-and-colleges-southwest-%E2%80%93-2016) in the Southwest in new lists created by Animation Career Review, an online career resource for aspiring animators, game designers and digital artists.

The 2016 lists were created after the review’s 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’s are part of a broader curriculum offered at the [Department of Visualization] (http://viz.arch.tamu.edu) 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.”

Digital animation is the centerpiece of the department’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.

In 2015, summer course students, working with guidance from artists at [Disney Animation Studios] (http://www.disneyanimation.com) , created three 30-second videos based on a “kite” theme.

Additional time-based work by visualization students will be displayed May 7 at 8:30 p.m. in the [Palace Theater] (https://www.google.com/maps/place/Palace+Theater/@30.6733894,-96.3751984,17z/data=!3m1!4b1!4m2!3m1!1s0x864681a2ff29b835:0x56d898f1d46c6f58) , 105 S. Main Street in downtown Bryan at Viz-a-GoGo 23, the annual showcase of work by graduate visualization students.

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] (http://www.pixar.com/) , [Blue Sky] (http://blueskystudios.com/) , [Walt Disney Animation Studios] (http://www.disneyanimation.com/) , [Industrial Light and Magic] (http://www.ilm.com/) , [Dreamworks Animation] (http://www.dreamworksanimation.com/) , [Electronic Arts] (http://www.ea.com/) , [Rhythm & Hues Studios] (http://www.rhythm.com/home/) , and [Reel FX] (http://www.reelfx.com/) .

posted April 12, 2016