Set your inner visions in motion at KCAI’s award-winning Animation department. Explore advanced tools and approaches, unpack the medium’s expansive history, and see where you fit into it.
Other pages in this section:Animation
A Future in Motion
Animation is the illusion of motion and storytelling frame by frame.
Starting with classical, experimental, and analog techniques and then advancing through contemporary 2D & 3D digital/hybrid industry standards, you’ll be exposed to the full range of approaches without any one taking precedence over another.
Instead, we lead our students to carve their own path through our unique mentor-based studio-instruction model. While creating, learning, and collaborating alongside peers and dedicated faculty, our approach allows students to accumulate and master the necessary skills while receiving personal support from professionals and world-class visiting artists.
Our department produces animators who define rather than recite, lead instead of follow, and go on to enjoy fully sustainable creative careers.
Ready to get moving? It’s time to develop your own signature style and discover how to become a professional animator.
Ranked in the Top 10 Animation Schools in the Midwest by Animation Career Review
Classes + Course Requirements
The animation curriculum features a special sequence of courses that, frame-by-frame, encourages organic synergies to develop as students gain the skills and habits necessary to succeed in the animation industry.
Your journey begins in Foundation where you will explore different techniques and skills and find new passions that you didn't know you had.
- Principles of Animation
- Digital Methods
- History of Animation
- Visual Communication
- Contemporary Animation History
- Explorations in Animation
- Ideas in Motion
- Senior Studio I
- Senior Studio II
- Professional Practice
“KCAI showed me every step of the process and gave me the confidence to pursue my dreams. Being able to adapt as a filmmaker and artist has been my greatest strength in my career.”
Tony Jones Studios of Animation and Illustration
Immerse yourself in the art of animation in our newly-renovated, three-story animation building that features dedicated studios for every student. This tech-savvy environment has multi-media walls and high-tech lighting to darken the space for presentations. Collaborate with one another, using a variety of essential creative tools all within your reach.
- Adobe Creative Suite
- Cinema 4D
- Dedicated Stop-motion Studios
- Edlekrone Motion Control Systems
- Traditional Animation Lightbox Lab
- Digital Pencil Testers
- Sound Mastering Studio
- Oculus Rift S
- Rokoko Smartsuits
Career Paths + Career Outcomes
KCAI Animation graduates work in small houses and major studios as 2, 3D, and stop-motion Animators, Visual Effects Designers, Directors, Editors, Storyboard Artists, Character Designers, Production Artists, Video Game Developers, Independent Freelances, Teachers, and scholars. Recent Employers include Nickelodeon, Netflix, Walt Disney Company, Titmouse, Apple, Google, Fox, and Sony.
KCAI's Professional Practice Center will help you prepare for your career after college by providing you with professional development programs, employment, and internship opportunities, and one-on-one career advising.
A year-long production
Seniors devote their entire year to fully producing a project from concept, creation, and critique to final delivery. Building on their entire undergraduate knowledge base each student puts their skills and experiences to the test and produces the unique centerpiece of their portfolio.
Frame by Frame Festival
Anticipation builds all year for our annual student animation festival — currently in its 18th year. Students from across the department submit finished work to be juried and screened at the end of our spring semester. Our beloved festival is a must-see event and is always enthusiastically attended by our local arts community.
Hands On Experience
Develop your skills and build your portfolio when you intern as an animator at regional and national companies like Pixar and Disney. You'll work alongside and build relationships with some of the best animators in the business.