13 Best Animation Schools in California

13 Best Animation Schools in California

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13 Best animation schools in California in full details is what we have for you today, in this article of the top best animation schools in California, we will provide you with links to the school websites as well as every down information required to gain a smooth access to the school to be mention below.

California is not only the home of the best national parks and picturesque beaches in the United States, but it is also the epicenter of animation schools. It’s difficult to choose just one animation school in California because there are so many.

To become a hot animator, though, you must have the best education and training. You must enroll in an animation degree program at one of California’s top animation colleges.

If you reside in California and have an interest in animation, you already know that California is the place to be. If you live elsewhere in the United States, though, you may need to travel to California to realize your dream of being a top animator.

In this post, we’ll tell you about the best institutions in California where you may get an animation degree to jumpstart your career. We’ll also show you the top and cheapest animation schools in California. But first, let’s talk about why animation is so important in California.


13 Best Animation Schools in California

1. Academy of Art University

Here is the first in our list of best animation schools in California. Associates (AA), Bachelor’s (BA), Master’s (MA), Master’s in Fine Art (MFA), and Certificate degrees are available.

The Academy of Art University, as its name suggests, is the place to go if you want to study art in college. This institution, which was founded in 1929, is one of California’s best animation schools. It is located in San Francisco, California, and has about 11,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students enrolled.

The Academy of Art contains a faculty specialized to animation, and also offers degrees in a range of art areas. This is the Animation and Visual Effects School. Except for a Ph.D., the Animation & Visual Effects program can be used to get any degree or qualification. They will train you to become the best storyboard artist, visual effect artist, or 2D/3D animator in this curriculum.

The Academy of Art University’s faculty includes award-winning professionals, which makes it even more appealing. Some of them were involved in the creation of animations such as The Lion King, The Little Mermaid, and Shriek. In addition, the Academy of Art University is the first animation and visual effects school that teaches in a studio production environment called StudioX.

As a result, it’s no wonder that this animation school in California is ranked among the Top 5 3D Motion Graphics Schools in the world by The Rookies.

Graduation Rate: 33%

Tuition: $26,147

Link To School Website

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2. University of Southern California

This is the second in our list of best animation schools in California. Bachelor’s (BA) and Master’s (MA) degrees in Fine Arts are available (MFA)

Another great university in California where you may get an animation degree is the University of Southern California, or USC. Since 1880, USC has offered over 45,000 students a variety of degree programs in a number of areas. The John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts, on the other hand, offers animation programs.

There are undergraduate and graduate animation programs at USC. You can major in Animation & Digit Arts and get a Bachelor of Arts or a Master of Fine Art in Animation & Digit Arts. If you study animation and digital arts at USC, you may be confident that you will become an expert.

This is because the degrees offered by this California animation school allow you to study classic character animation, 2-D and 3-D storytelling, performance capture, and experimental filmmaking.

You can also join graduates like Mahyar Abousaeedi at Pixar Animations by receiving instruction from skilled facility members at USC John C. Hench Division.

Tuition: $57,256

Graduation Rate: 91%

Link To School Website


3. Art Center College of Design

Art Center College of Design here is the third of best animation schools in California. ArtCenter College of Design was founded in 1930 as the Art Center School in Los Angeles. ArtCenter College now has two campuses in Pasadena, California: Hillside Campus and South Campus.

Undergraduate and postgraduate programs in art specialities, as well as interdisciplinary programs, are available at ArtCenter. ArtCentre has consistently ranked highly both globally and nationally since its beginnings. The Industrial Design and Media Design Practices Program at this California school was listed among the top 20 graduate schools in the US by U.S. News and World Report.

Meanwhile, the Animation program at ArtCenter is at its Entertainment Design phase. There are tracks in idea, animation, and game design available in this curriculum. Character animation, storyboarding, modeling, art direction, and lighting for 3D and 2D animation are all covered in the animation program.

This is a thorough program that will prepare you for a rewarding career in the entertainment industry.

Tuition: $21,408 per term

Graduation Rate: 67%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA)

Link To School Website


4. California Institute of the Arts

At the fourth best animation schools in California we have the California Institute of the Arts. CalArts, sometimes known as the California Institute of the Arts, is a private institution in Los Angeles, California.

The institution was founded in 1961 and currently provides Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs in art-related fields. CalArts serves about 1,500 students through its six schools, which include Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater.

CalArts’ board of directors at the time included Walt Disney, Lulu Von Hagen, and a number of other significant business figures. CalArts has maintained its position as California’s premier animation school due of this sentiment.

Meanwhile, animation programs are available at the CalArts School of Film and Video. CalArts offers three degrees: a BFA in Character Animation, a BFA in Experimental Animation, and an MFA in Experimental Animation.

The BFA in Character Animation reinforces and improves your knowledge of the craft of character performance and animation narrative.

Experimental animation is for students who want to use their personal cinematic art-making to build academically hard, aesthetically advanced concepts and professional techniques.

Tuition: $50,850

Graduation Rate: 63%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) and Masters of Fine Art (MFA)

Link To School Website

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5. Gnomon School of Visual Effects

Gnomon School of Visual Effects is one ofbest animation schools in California for a bachelor’s degree. Since its inception in 1997 in Hollywood, California, the school has grown in scope and originality.

Originally established to meet the training demands of industry artists, this California private school has grown to include two and four-year programs in Entertainment Design and Digital Productions. Gnomon College is now known as the MIT of VFX, having been named one of the top 10 VFX schools in the world by the Hollywood Reporter in 2019 and topping multiple other industry-specific rankings.

So the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Productions from Gnomon isn’t simply about special effects. It is a full-time curriculum aimed at producing artists with a broad range of academic knowledge, basic arts, and production abilities. All facets of the 3D production pipeline in cinema, games, and visual effects will be covered.

You’ll study from trained faculty members and use industry applications like Maya and ZBrush to do this. You can also take electives to improve a specific talent while working on your BFA degree at this California animation school.

Gnomon also provides a two-year full-time curriculum in Digital Program that culminates with a certificate. Gnomon’s programs are available both on-campus and online, which is one of the benefits of studying there.

Tuition: $27,840

Graduation Rate: 100%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), and Certificate.

Link To School Website


6. Cogswell Polytechnical College

In San Jose, California, Cogswell Polytechnic Institution is an old private college. And the sixth in our list of best animation schools in California. It was founded in 1887 and now serves approximately 700 students with Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, and Master of Art degrees.

Despite its tiny size, Cogswell University has one of the greatest animation programs in California. Of course, with such a large student body, you can only expect the best care to help you excel academically.

As a result, Cogswell’s Department of Art & Animation offers the only animation degree offered by a private animation college: BA Digital Art and Animation. However, you can specialize in 3D modeling, 3D animation, entertainment design, or technical art with this degree. Studying animation at Cogswell will greatly assist you because you will receive input from industry contacts and gain all of the abilities that studios want.

After graduation, Cogswell graduates work at animation studios such as Activision Blizzard, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Disney, and Dream Works.

Tuition: $37,125

Graduation Rate: 81%

Degree Offering: Bachelors of Art (BA)

Link To School Website


7. California College of the Arts

This is the seventh best animation schools in California. California College of the Arts, or CCA, is another fantastic school in California that focuses on the arts. This animation college, which has two campuses in San Francisco and Oakland, first opened its doors in 1901 as a private educational institution.

Over 1,900 students are served by California College of the Arts’ two campuses, which offer 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate majors. These degrees, however, are limited to Arts, Fine Arts, and Architecture.

CCA only offers one animation degree program, the BFA Animation. The curriculum at this California animation school, on the other hand, takes a fine art approach to animation. You’ll learn sketching, sculpture, acting, and narrative in addition to studio work to develop your own film grammar, or the way you construct your frames, shots, scenes, and sequences.

Furthermore, CCA’s faculty consists of industry specialists. Artists who work on a variety of projects and are part of animation teams for firms such as Dreamworks, Pixar, and Tippett continue to teach animation students.

Tuition: $50,592

Graduation Rate: 62%

Degree Offering: Bachelor in Fine Art (BFA)

Link To School Website

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8. San Jose State University

Here is the top eighth in our list of best animation schools in California. San Jose State Institution, located in San Jose, California, is a significant public university. The university was founded in 1857 as the first of the California State University System’s campuses. This California public institution has approximately 32,000 students and provides the majority of Silicon Valley technology alumni.

Meanwhile, San Jose State University offers authorized graduate and undergraduate degrees through its nine colleges and seven specialty schools.

San Jose State University’s animation degree program is supported by its College of Humanities and Department of Design. The Animation/Illustration BFA degree prepares students for a rewarding career in the entertainment business. Color theory, design, perspective, and traditional and digital painting are all covered in this program.

You will learn the principles of both traditional and 3D animation, mechanics of motion, modeling, storyboarding, character design, and visual development to further prepare you for the industry.

Furthermore, the fact that this animation degree program includes a professional internship makes it one of the best in California. Before graduating and taking on interesting career positions, you can begin to familiarize yourself with the industry’s working environment.

Tuition: $7,852

Graduation Rate: 60%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA)

Link To School Website


9. LA Film School

The Los Angeles Film School, or simply LA Film School, is a prominent animation college in California that offers certified Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programs in the entertainment sector.

This Los Angeles film school has around 2,000 students and offers an animation bachelor’s degree program. and it is another big and best animation schools in California.

The Bachelor’s degree in animation offered by LA Film School is a Bachelor of Science in Visual Effects. This animation course will teach you how to generate visual effects in movies and how to make them dynamic. If you’ve ever wondered how animation studios make effects like explosions and spaceships, LA Film School is the place to go if you want to satiate your curiosity and become a VFX master.

Also, the LA school’s ties to the film industry have made it a household name among California art students. Studying animation at the Los Angeles school will provide you with unrivaled access to Hollywood and put you on the path to a rewarding profession.

Tuition: Domestic – $75,000, International – $82,500

Graduation Rate: 82%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Science (BS)

Link To School Website


10. Loyola Marymount University

Here is the top tenth of all best animation schools in California. Loyola Marymount University, or LMU, is a historic institution in California that has experienced multiple name changes since its founding in 1865. It is a Los Angeles-based private non-profit college affiliated with the Jesuit Roman Catholic faith.

LMU, like many Roman Catholic colleges, is focused on excellence, as seen by its rankings. In 2020, it was recognized as the 64th best college by U.S. News & World Report.

LMU not only offers comprehensive undergraduate and graduate degrees, but it also has one of the greatest animation programs in California. If you study Animation at LMU, you will benefit from the college’s tiny student population.

In courses such as visual effects, stop-motion, experimental animation, 2D and 3D, and game design, the small class sizes will stimulate high student-faculty engagement. You will also be prepared to take on leadership roles in the entertainment sector as a result of this curriculum.

Furthermore, you own whatever you create throughout your stay at Loyola Marymount University’s animation program. Before being sold to Cartoon Network, Johnny Bravo was the thesis film of an LMU alumnus. You, too, may study at LMU and create classic animation.

Tuition: $49,550

Graduation Rate: 77%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Art (BA)

Link To School Website


11. California State University-Long Beach

Another top best animation schools in California is the California State University-Long Beach.

CSULB is one of the 23 universities that make up the California State University System. With nearly 63,000 students, this public institution in Long Beach, California is one of the largest in the state.

The college comprises eight (8) academic colleges, including the College of Arts, and admits the most graduate students in the CSU system and California.

CSULB also houses the largest publicly supported art school west of the Mississippi. As a result, it has some of the greatest art programs in the state.

Meanwhile, CSULB’s School of Art provides an Illustration/Animation BFA and MFA/MA degree program. The Bachelor’s curriculum emphasizes on observational sketching, and you will graduate prepared to work in the entertainment sector.

Visual journalism, storyboarding for cinema and television, and all facets of editorial art and gallery exhibition have all produced alumni from CSULB. The Master’s program is designed to help you develop your own creative vision.

Tuition: $3,417.00 per semester

Graduation Rate: 86%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), Masters of Fine Art/Art (MFA/MA)

Link To School Website


12. SAE Expression College

SAE Expression College is the second to last in our list of best animation schools in California. The Ex’pression College for Digital Arts was once known as SAE Expression College.

This is a for-profit, private institution with campuses in Emeryville and San Jose. While the school was founded in 1988 as the Ex’pression Centre for New Media, it is now one of California’s top animation schools.

Animation, audio, cinema, gaming, and creative media are all offered at SAE Expression College, which is a pure arts college.

Its animation school provides a Bachelor of Applied Science in Animation and Visual Effects degree program. The foundations of visual effects, such as 3D modeling, motion studies, character rigging, and animation body mechanics, are covered in this class.

The program at this California animation school is unique in that it only takes 32 months to complete. After this time, you can apply for jobs as a 3D Modeler, CG Artist, Technical Director, Character Artist, 3D Artist, and other related positions.

Tuition: $85,000

Graduation Rate: 47%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Applied Science (BS)

Link To School Website


13. Otis College of Art and Design

This concludes our list of best animation schools in California. Otis College of Art & Design is a Los Angeles-based private art school. The school, which was founded in 1918, offers undergraduate, graduate, and extension degrees, as well as k-12 and Pre-College, Summer Residency, and Travel Study programs.

Students can major in Architecture/Landscape/Interiors, Communication Arts, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, and Toy Design through the undergraduate programs. While major selections are plentiful, Otis undergraduates can delve deeper into art specialities through minors.

Meanwhile, OTIS provides an animation curriculum as part of its Digital Media major, which awards graduates a Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA). You’ll learn how to tell compelling tales through digital media while focusing on Animation, Game and Entertainment Design, or Motion Design in this program.

You will be as qualified as other OTIS alumni who work at Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, ILM, and Nickelodeon when you complete this degree program.

You can also study Otis’ Character Design for Animation and Cartooning if you have an idea for a cartoon. You’ll learn how to design believable, engaging characters with human features for cartoons and animation while earning a diploma through this program.

Tuition: $45,200

Graduation Rate: 63%

Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), and Certificate

Link To School Website


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