Wednesday, October 4, 2023
No menu items!
HomeArticlesBest Animation Schools In California
- Advertisement -

Best Animation Schools In California

- Advertisement -

Best Animation Schools In California. California is not just the only American city with the most beautiful national parks and beaches, but it is also the centre of animation schools. It is difficult to choose one animation school in California because there are so many of them. To develop into a hot animator, you must have the ideal education and training, nevertheless. One of California’s top animation schools is where you must enrol in a degree programme in animation.

If you’re enthusiastic about animation and reside in California, you already know that the Golden State is where your dreams are realised. If you reside elsewhere in the country, you might need to relocate quickly to California in order to fulfil your ambition of being a renowned animator. In this article therefore, we’ll outline the top California institutions where you may major in animation and launch your career. Also, we’ll rank California’s finest animation schools from least expensive to most expensive. Let’s first talk about the necessity of studying animation in California.

Why Choose California to Learn Animation?

California is the best state in the union to learn animation. The majority of established animators and multimedia artists in the States are located in California. As a result, you may always find innovative students travelling to California. Up to 70 institutions in California now offer animation programmes as a result.

Apart from the large number of animation schools in California, the state also appears to be the centre of the animation business. After completing your studies at one of the best animation schools we’ll be listing, the question “what next?” nearly never arises. Also, even while you pursue your animation degree, you will be drawn into the business.

California is home to numerous major corporations, including 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney, DreamWorks, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Pixar Animation, and many more. This lively metropolis is teeming with animation schools, from San Francisco to Long Beach through Los Angeles, Burbank, Oakland, and Long Beach.

What makes the remuneration of animators in California more fascinating is that it is satisfying. Below is the typical yearly wage for animators depending on location and animation businesses in California, as reported by Glassdoor:

  • $84,882 – Los Angeles
  • $84,145 – San Jose
  • $83,741 – San Francisco
  • $130,611 – Dreamworks
  • $111,185 – Pixar

What are you still holding out for? See the colleges and universities where you may earn the greatest degrees and animation programmes in California by continuing on to the next section.

A List of Best Animation Schools in California

Below are a list of 13 best animation schools in california.

1. The Academy of Art University

The Academy of Art University is the place to attend if you’re considering studying art in college, just as the name suggests. The premier animation school in California is this institution, which was founded in 1929. It is situated in San Francisco, California, and enrols more than 11,000 students, both undergraduate and graduate.

The Academy features a faculty devoted to animation even though it grants degrees in many different areas of the arts. The School of Animation & Visual Effects is located here. With the exception of a Ph.D., you can use the Animation & Visual Effects curriculum towards any degree or credential. You will be prepared in this curriculum to excel as a storyboard artist, visual effects artist, or 2D or 3D animator. The Academy of Art University’s faculty includes experts who have won awards, which makes it even more alluring. Several of them were engaged in the creation of animated films including Shriek, The Little Mermaid, and The Lion King.

Moreover, StudioX, a studio production environment, is solely used for instruction at the Academy of Art University’s Animation & VFX programme. It should come as no surprise that this California animation school is ranked among the top 5 3D motion graphics schools globally in The Rookies 2018 list.

  • Degree Offering: Associates (AA), Bachelor’s (BA), Master’s (MA), Master’s in Fine Art (MFA), and Certificate
  • Tuition: $26,147
  • Graduation Rate: 33%

2. University of Southern California

Another great school in California where you may get an animation degree is the University of Southern California, or USC. Since its founding in 1880, USC has provided more than 45,000 students with a range of degree programmes in numerous academic fields. But, it does provide animation programmes through its John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts. Both the undergraduate and graduate levels of USC offer animation programmes.

You can choose to major in animation and digital arts and get a bachelor’s or master’s degree in fine art. You may be confident that if you study animation and digital arts at USC, you will become an expert.

This is due to the fact that the degrees from this California animation school enable you to explore all facets of art in motion, such as traditional character animation, narrative in 2-D and 3-D, performance capture, and experimental filmmaking. Additionally, you may join alumni like Mahyar Abousaeedi in working at Pixar Animations by receiving instruction from competent facility members at USC John C. Hench Division.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor’s (BA), Master’s in Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Tuition: $57,256
  • Graduation Rate: 91%

3. The Art Center College of Design

The Art Center School, forerunner to Art Center College of Design, was founded in Los Angeles in 1930. The Hillside Campus and South Campus of Art Center College are its two campuses, which are both located in Pasadena, California. Undergraduate, graduate, and interdisciplinary programmes in art are all offered at ArtCenter. From its beginning, Art Centre has maintained a respectable national and international ranking. The Industrial Design and Media Design Practices Program at this Californian university was named one of the top 20 graduate programmes in the US by U.S. News & World Report.

Animation is a part of Art Center’s Entertainment Design curriculum. There are tracks in idea, animation, and game design offered by this school. You will learn character animation, storyboarding, modelling, art direction, and lighting for both 3D and 2D animation in the animation programme. You will be well-prepared for a fulfilling career in the entertainment sector; thanks to this extensive programme.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA)
  • Tuition: $21,408 per term
  • Graduation Rate: 67%

4. The California Institute of the Arts

A private institution in Los Angeles, California is known as the California Institute of the Arts, or CalArts. The institution was founded in 1961 and provides Bachelor’s, Master’s, and Ph.D. degree programmes in fields related to art. Almost 1,500 students are served by CalArts’ six schools, including Art, Critical Studies, Dance, Film/Video, Music, and Theater. Walt Disney, Lulu Von Hagen, and a number of other well-known businesspeople were on the board of directors of CalArts when it was first established. This belief has kept CalArts at the forefront of California’s animation institutions.

CalArts School of Film/Video provides various animation school programmes in the meanwhile. At CalArts, you can earn a BFA in Experimental Animation, a BFA in Character Animation, or an MFA in Experimental Animation. Your knowledge of the craft of character performance and narrative in animation is strengthened, and your abilities are upgraded, with the BFA in Character Animation. Students who want to develop academically challenging, artistically forward-thinking thoughts and professional techniques in their own cinematic art-making might consider experimental animation.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) and Masters of Fine Art (MFA)
  • Tuition: $50,850
  • Graduation Rate: 63%

5. The Gnomon School of Visual Effects

One of the top universities in California for animation school bachelor’s degrees is Gnomon School of Visual Effects. The school opened its doors in Hollywood, California, in 1997, and since then it has grown in size and creativity. Originally founded to meet the training requirements of working artists, this private school in California has now grown to include two- and four-year programmes in Entertainment Design and Digital Productions.

Gnomon College has become the MIT of VFX after receiving a 2019 Hollywood Reporter award for being among the top 10 VFX schools globally and taking first place in various other industry-specific rankings. Hence, more than simply special effects are involved in Gnomon’s Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Productions. It is a full-time programme with the goal of producing artists with general academic understanding, production abilities, and a solid background in the arts.

You will gain knowledge of every facet of the 3D production process used in games, visual effects, and movies. You will study from certified faculty members and use industry applications like Maya and ZBrush to do this. Also, while working on your BA in animation school at this California school, you can enrol in electives to improve a specific ability. Moreover, Gnomon provides a full-time, two-year curriculum in digital programming that culminates in a certificate. Gnomon’s programmes are wonderful since they are offered both on-campus and online.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), and Certificate.
  • Tuition: $27,840
  • Graduation Rate: 100%

6. The Cogswell Polytechnical College

An established private university in San Jose, California is called Cogswell Polytechnic College. Almost 700 students can choose from the Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, or Master of Art programmes it started offering in 1887. Despite being a tiny university, Cogswell has one of California’s top degree programmes in animation. With its student body, it stands to reason that you would receive the greatest care possible to help you thrive academically.

The only animation school degree offered by a private institution is the BA in Digital Art and Animation from Cogswell’s Department of Art & Animation. Yet with this degree, you may specialise in technical art, entertainment design, 3D modelling, or 3D animation. You will gain a lot from studying animation in Cogswell since you will get access to industry connections and master all the skills that companies are looking for. Also, after graduating from Cogswell, its alumni find employment with animation studios including Activision Blizzard, Pixar, Cartoon Network, Disney, and Dream Works.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelors of Art (BA)
  • Tuition: $37,125
  • Graduation Rate: 81%

7. California College of the Arts

CCA is another another outstanding institution in California with a focus on the arts. This animation college has two campuses—San Francisco and Oakland—and started operating as a private educational institution in 1901. Around 1,900 students can choose from 22 undergraduate and 13 graduate programmes at California College of the Arts thanks to these campuses. Unfortunately, only the fine arts, architecture, and arts are included by these degrees.

Namely, CCA only provides the BFA Animation school degree programme in animation. The curriculum at this California animation school, however, takes a fine art approach to animation. Together with studio work, you’ll study acting, narrative, sketching, and sculpture to hone your own style of film grammar—the way you construct your frames, shots, scenes, and sequences.

Also, the faculty of CCA is made up of business professionals. Animation students are trained by still-visiting artists who work on a variety of projects and are a member of animation teams for businesses like Dreamwork, Pixar, and Tippett.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor in Fine Art (BFA)
  • Tuition: $50,592
  • Graduation Rate: 62%

8. San Jose State University

Large public institution San Jose State University is located in San Jose, California. As the first campus of the California State University System, the university opened its doors in 1857. More than 32,000 students attend this public institution in California, which also provides the majority of graduates working in Silicon Valley technology. San Jose State University, meanwhile, provides its students with authorised graduate and undergraduate degrees through its nine colleges and seven specialised schools.

San Jose State University’s animation school degree programme is supported by its College of Humanities and School of Design. The BA in Animation/Illustration degree equips students with the skills necessary for a rewarding career in the entertainment sector. You will study colour theory, design, perspective, traditional painting, and digital painting in this curriculum.

You will learn the fundamentals of both 2D and 3D animation, as well as modelling, storyboarding, character design, and visual development, to better prepare you for the field. A professional internship option makes this animation school degree programme one of the best in California as well. Before you graduate and get the chance to work in fascinating positions, you may start to become used to the workplace here.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA)
  • Tuition: $7,852
  • Graduation Rate: 60%

9. LA Film School

A premier animation school in California, the Los Angeles Film School, or LA Film School for short, provides certified Associate’s and Bachelor’s degree programmes that are primarily related to the entertainment sector. This Los Angeles film school, which has more than 2,000 students, provides a bachelor’s degree programme in animation. Yet, the bachelor’s degree in animation offered by LA Film School is a bachelor of science in visual effects.

This animation course teaches you how to create dynamic visual effects for movies. Hence, LA Film School is the place to quench your curiosity and become an expert in visual effects if you’ve ever been astounded by how animation studios produce effects like explosions, spaceships, etc. Also, the LA school’s ties to the film business are what put it on the lips of Californian art students. You will have unmatched access to Hollywood and be put on the path to a rewarding profession by studying animation school at the LA school.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Science (BS)
  • Tuition:
    • Domestic – $75,000
    • International – $82,500
  • Graduation Rate: 82%

10. Loyola Marymount University

The name Loyola Marymount University, or LMU, has changed many times since the institution’s founding in 1865. It is an old university in California. It is a private, nonprofit institution having ties to the Jesuit Roman Catholic movement in Los Angeles. LMU is committed to quality, as is the culture of many Roman Catholic institutions, and its rankings reflect this. It was listed as the 64th best College in 2020 by U.S. News & World Report. LMU provides one of California’s premier animation school programmes in addition to full undergraduate and graduate degrees.

You will gain from LMU’s tiny student body if you study animation there. High levels of student-faculty engagement in coursework related to visual effects, stop-motion, experimental animation, 2D and 3D, and game design will be encouraged by the small class sizes. Also, this programme will prepare you for leadership positions in the entertainment sector. Furthermore, at Loyola Marymount University, you are the exclusive owner of whatever work you make while attending the animation programme. Before being purchased by Cartoon Network, Johnny Bravo was an LMU alumnus’ thesis film. You can learn to create such timeless animation school at LMU.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Art (BA)
  • Tuition: $49,550
  • Graduation Rate: 77%

11. California State University-Long Beach

One of the 23 California State University System institutions is California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). With more than 63,000 students, this Long Beach, California, public institution boasts a sizable student body. The institution admits the most graduate students within the CSU system and the state of California. It contains eight academic colleges, including the College of Arts. The largest publicly financed art school west of the Mississippi is also located at CSULB. Its art programmes are among the best in the state as a result.

The School of Art at CSULB, meantime, provides a BFA and MFA/MA programme in illustration/animation school. Drawing from observation is a major component of the bachelor’s curriculum, and upon graduation, you will be qualified to work in the entertainment sector. CSULB graduates have established careers in editorial art, storyboarding for cinema and television, visual journalism, and all other facets of editorial art. In the master’s programme, the emphasis is on developing your own unique creative vision.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA), Masters of Fine Art/Art (MFA/MA)
  • Tuition: $3,417.00 per semester
  • Graduation Rate: 86%

12. SAE Expression College

The Ex’pression College for Digital Arts is what SAE Expression College was formerly known as. There are campuses for this for-profit, private institution in Emeryville and San Jose, California. The Ex’pression Centre for New Media, where the school was founded in 1988, is one of the best places in California to earn a degree in animation. A institution dedicated to the arts, SAE Expression College provides courses in creative media, audio, cinema, and animation.

A Bachelor of Applied Science in Animation & Visual Effects is offered by its animation school. This course focuses on the fundamentals of visual effects, including character rigging, motion studies, 3D modelling, and animation body mechanics. The programme at this California animation school is unique in that it may be finished in just 32 months. You can become eligible for jobs as a 3D modeller, CG artist, technical director, character artist, 3D artist, etc. after this time.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Applied Science (BS)
  • Tuition: $85,000
  • Graduation Rate: 47%

13. Otis College of Art and Design

Private art school Otis College of Art & Design is located in Los Angeles, California. Since its founding in 1918, the institution has provided undergraduate, graduate, extension, k-12, and pre-college education, as well as summer residency and travel study programmes. Students can major in Architecture/Landscape/Interior Design, Communication Arts, Digital Media, Fashion Design, Fine Arts, Product Design, and Toy Design through undergraduate programmes. While Otis undergraduates have several major possibilities, there are even additional minors available so they may go further into their chosen areas of art.

A Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) is awarded to graduates of OTIS’ animation programme, which is part of the school’s Digital Media major. You will develop your ability to use digital media to produce engaging tales while focusing on animation school, game and entertainment design, or motion design in this programme. You will be equally qualified after completing this degree programme as other OTIS alumni employed by organisations like Pixar, Disney, DreamWorks, ILM, and Nickelodeon. You may also enrol in Otis’ Character Design for Animation and Cartooning if you have a concept for a cartoon. You may get a diploma through this programme while learning how to make human-like, compelling figures for cartoons and animation.

  • Degree Offering: Bachelor of Fine Art (BFA) and Certificate
  • Tuition: $45,200
  • Graduation Rate: 63%


Studying animation in California is a fantastic experience. In addition to having some of the best animation schools, the state also has the highest concentration of animation businesses. The finest animation school colleges in California (many of which we’ve already reviewed) can provide you the kind of degree that animation firms are seeking for. Hence, enrolling in your favourite animation degree programme at one of these California universities can just give you the boost you need to start a terrific and lucrative career. We anticipate that this page will help you make a choice about your programme.

FAQs on Best Animation Schools In California

What is the best animation school in California?

California Institute of the Arts Valencia.
University of Southern California Los Angeles.
University of California, Los Angeles Los Angeles.
Gnomon School of Visual Effects Hollywood.
ArtCenter College of Design Pasadena.
Academy of Art University San Francisco.

Is animation a good career in USA?

Yes, animation is a good major for many undergraduate students. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job outlook for artists and animators is set to grow at 4% over the next 10 years, as fast as the average for all occupations.

How much money do animators make in California?

The average Entry Level Animator salary in Los Angeles, CA is $69,403 as of January 26, 2023, but the range typically falls between $58,803 and $82,103.

How much do 3D animators make in California?

The average 3D Animator I salary in Los Angeles, CA is $69,400 as of January 26, 2023, but the range typically falls between $58,800 and $82,100.

Recommended for you:

- Advertisement -

Be the First to hear about new Scholarships. Set a Reminder now. Never miss an Opportunity.

- Advertisement -

Most Popular