GIVING LIFE TO ILLUSION
The Animation major in KCAI’s Department of Converging Media provides students with the quality education, technical expertise and career skills necessary to realize their artistic visions and to succeed upon graduation. Animation students receive intensive instruction in classical, experimental and computer animation, but one solution is never emphasized over another. Instead, our approach is based on creative exploration and self-direction supported by faculty advisors, mentorships and guided research.
The Animation major features technologically integrated classrooms and studios. The Department of Converging Media also houses Filmmaking, Interactive Arts and Photography, Animation students work in environments and curriculum designed to facilitate creativity and cross-disciplinary approaches to image-making. Students are encouraged to take electives in the other three majors to develop their understanding of how Animation relates to each.
The sequential classes emphasize the creative process by combining aspects of animation principles, concept modeling, production methods, history, theory and technique into each project.
Courses within the major have planned synergies that will develop over three years the essential skills necessary for students to identify and solve problems in physical, virtual, cognitive and cultural contexts.
“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 the Department of Converging Media including Photography, Filmmaking, Animation and Interactive Arts. He taught photography and new media at KCAI in 2001 through 2003 and joined the Foundation faculty in 2005, becoming Director of the School of the Foundation Year in 2012-2013 before moving to the Chairs position in the Department of Converging Media in 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. Tom is interested in the intersection of early lens based drawing and the materiality of photography. He works in both photography and large-scale graphite drawings. His work has been exhibited at the Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, among others and is represented in a number of private collections.
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.
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.”
Associate Professor and Program Head of Animation
Doug Hudson has been producing and directing animation since the late 80s, teaching since 2000.
Most notably, he designed and founded the animation department for The Kansas City Art Institute in 2004. Hudson chaired the department until stepping down in 2013. In addition to a very distinct approach to animation education, Doug teaches the only comprehensive year-long animation history curriculum offered in the Midwest. Currently, he teaches full time, serves in the role of Program Head and produces independently.
Past graduates work throughout the industry and have earned many honors and distinctions over the years, 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. Additionally, many have gone on to earn graduate degrees from top colleges, including Cal Arts, USC and UCLA.
As a director, Doug is fully committed to exalting the independent spirit of experimental film and animation. To that end, he works in a variety of styles, using abstraction and allegory to frame viewer experience. Currently, he’s working on a stop-motion film about an unusual parade that may or may not go on forever (starring over 1000 vintage toys).
At Warner Brothers Online in Los Angeles (2000-2001), he animated for the DC Comics series, ‘Gotham Girls’ and ‘Lobo’ and was a member of the first team of animators to produce original ‘Looney Tunes’ shorts for the web. Additionally, he has taught throughout Southern California and provided educational consulting services across the US.
John Berry is an Animator, Illustrator and Graphic Designer, currently living and working in Kansas City, MO. He received a B.F.A. in animation in 2012 from the Kansas City Art Institute. Since graduation, he has worked as an animator, concept artist, and currently a graphic designer. He has also been a teacher in KCAI’s Continuing Education department as an animation instructor since 2014. In the classroom, he provides his students with a fundamental understanding of the animation process and then encourages them to experiment and explore the medium independently. He believes that it is important for students to maintain their individuality while developing a successful studio practice of their own.
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
- 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, Cinema 4D 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: Digital Domain, Nickelodeon, Hallmark, Shadow Machine Films, Bill Plympton Studio, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 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).