GIVING LIFE TO ILLUSION
Our award-winning animation program will help you successfully create the illusion of movement, dimension and emotions using classical, experimental and computer animation. One technique is never favored over another. Instead, we encourage you to think and act freely by exploring novel techniques and new solutions.
Seniors spend a year of structured studio time producing a significant personal work, which will demonstrate their mastery of the medium, strengthen their portfolio and build confidence in their artistic and technical capabilities.
“One of the biggest bonuses to our animation department is the wide range of projects that are possible and encouraged...”Elizabeth Davis
Associate Professor & Chair
Tom Lewis is chair of photography, filmmaking, animation and interactive arts. He taught photography and new media at KCAI in 2001 and 2003 and joined the Foundation faculty in 2005, becoming director of the School of the Foundation Year for 2012-2013. He joined the KCAI faculty after having taught at the University of Washington School of Art, Seattle. While there, he also served as an assistant to Rod Slemmons at Crux Photographic Restoration and he assisted Michael Van Horn, curator for “After Art – Rethinking 150 Years of Photography,” at the Joseph and Elaine Monson Collection. He was co-founder and manager of CORE 317, an alternative space in Denver, and completed an internship at the International Center of Photography in New York. Lewis studied at KCAI on a Presidential Merit Scholarship and went on to earn a B.F.A. degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an M.F.A. degree from the University of Washington, where he held the Jane and David Davis Fellowship and Parnasuss Endowment. His range of expertise includes photography; photographic restoration, stabilization, research and exhibition; installation; archiving; printing; processing; and cataloging.
John Baker joined KCAI in 2010 and teaches interactive arts and animation. Previously, he was an animator with MK12, a Kansas City-based motion graphics firm, where he was responsible for generating concepts for clients from storyboards to final animation. He also worked as editor and data manager on national and international film and video productions. Baker was responsible for shooting footage, including short films, and he handled filming and processing green-screen footage, rotoscope work and various visual effects. Before that he was an animator with Video Post Productions in Kansas City, where he worked in 2-D and 3-D animation for national and international clients. He has worked on numerous production projects for many well-known national brands.
Program Head of animation & Assistant Professor
Christiane Cegavske is best known for her feature-length animated film, “Blood Tea and Red String,” completed in 2005. She is currently working on her second animated feature film, “Seed in the Sand.” In addition to being an independent filmmaker, painter, poet and doll maker, she has been a lead animator and sculptor working on projects for The Oxygen Network, VH1, and the Disney Channel, among others. She also created animated dream sequences for Asia Argento’s “The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things” and a music video for Mark Growden’s song “Coyote.”
Doug Hudson has been producing and directing independently since the late 80’s. In 2004, he authored the full curriculum and founded the animation department for The Kansas City Art Institute. He went on to chair the department for nine years while teaching full time until stepping down in 2013. Currently, he divides his course-load between mentoring seniors and teaching the most comprehensive history of animation curriculum in the region.
Over the years, his best students have gone on to show their work internationally and earn many honors and distinctions, including a Student Academy Award in 2010, a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Graduate Arts Award in 2014 and USC Annenberg Fellowships in 2016 and 2017. The majority of his students find work in the industry and/or establish themselves independently. Additionally, many have gone on to receive graduates degrees at a wide range of schools, including Cal Arts, USC and UCLA.
As a director, Doug remains fully committed to the independent and experimental traditions of film and animation. His work passes through a range of technical approaches and uses exploratory abstraction and allegorical narrative as a means to craft unique viewer experiences.
At Warner Brothers Online in Los Angeles, he animated for the DC Comics series Gotham Girls and Lobo in addition to being a member of the first team of animators to produce original Looney Tunes shorts for the web (2000-2001).
He earned a BFA in Animation in 1997 from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia (under the mentorship of Sheila Sofian, David Fain and Peter Rose), and a MFA in Experimental Animation in 2000 from the California Institute of the Arts (under the mentorship of Jules Engel, William Moritz, Suzan Pitt, Maureen Selwood and Raimund Krumme).
A passion for classical music and painting led Ismael to a career in animation where he could combine both crafts. After an international career in animation in Norway, Thailand and the UK, he joins KCAI as Assistant Professor of Animation. He most recently was an animator and software designer in Norway. His teaching experience includes Adjunct Professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore; Animation Instructor at CalArts Partnership, Los Angeles; Assistant Teacher at Lister Community School, London; and Animation Instructor at Chiang Mai University, Thailand. He has a BA in digital animation from Thames Valley University, London, a postgraduate diploma in character animation from Central Saint Martins School of Arts and Design, London and a MFA in Experimental Animation from California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles.
Eva Louise Hall
Eva Louise Hall has been teaching with the Kansas City Art Institute since 2014. She is an animator and performance artist, producing multi-media animation installation, puppetry and projection work both locally and internationally for theater and film.
Once you declare your major, animation students take the following core courses as they progress from sophomore to senior year. For additional electives and liberal arts courses, download the complete course catalog.
- Principles of Animation
- Digital Methods
- History of Animation
- Visual Communication
- Explorations in Animation
- Ideas in Motion
- Intro to 3D
- Intermediate 3D
- Professional Practice I & II
- Senior Studio I
- Senior Studio II
- Professional Practice
View Samples of Our Work
Like What You See?
For additional examples of student-produced work that displays a wider range of styles, technique and subject matter, browse our expanded photo gallery.
Professional practice is a compulsory component of the KCAI program in which students benefit enormously from insights provided by world-renowned visiting artists, scholars and professionals.
Current software applications being used include Adobe Creative Suite, Maya and Dragonframe.
Recommended systems/tools: 15” MacBook Pro with retina display (minimum) or PC w/Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Phenom II processor with Windows 8 or 8.1 and 64-bit support. Recommended add-ons: carrying case, min. 1TB external hard drive, mini display to VGA adapter and damage/theft insurance.
Jobs + Internships
KCAI animation majors have worked or interned for the following studios and institutions: Disney, DreamWorks, Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Shadow Machine Films, Bill Plympton Studio, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Bazillion Pictures, T2, MK12, Intake Studios, Encyclopedia Pictura, Dream Studio, Fuzzy Duck Design, Titmouse Inc., Panda Panther, Grasshorse and Threehouse Studio.
Many artists visit the animation studios each year to share their knowledge and inspiration with KCAI students. Here are a few that have recently stopped by:
Martin Marquet, Joshua Mosley, Matthias Lechner, Environmental Art Dir./Disney, and Alexis Gordon (in partnership with the Spencer Art Musuem).