Program Details

Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Animation

Offered By: College of Fine Arts and Production

BA Digital Design - Animation Degree

Earn Your Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Design - Animation

Digital design is an exciting field of study for students who wish to use their artistic abilities while learning marketable technical skills. Grand Canyon University’s Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Animation is a modern program that guides students in developing their technological knowledge and creative thinking skills. Offered by the College of Fine Arts and Production, the degree in animation provides a comprehensive framework for the next generation of multimedia artists.

Examine the interplay of light, color and texture in visual arts. Explore the technical capabilities and creative possibilities of motion graphics, typography, 2D animation and 3D modeling. GCU is known for our creative and welcoming community. Digital animation students are encouraged to collaborate with their peers via the Digital Design Club, which fosters the pre-professional development of visual communication.

Why Earn Your Online Animation BA Degree at GCU?

GCU is committed to improving accessibility and flexibility in higher education. Students pursuing a degree in animation may choose to enroll in courses on campus or online via our dynamic learning platform. Either option enables students to benefit from collaborative exchanges with their peers and fully qualified instructors. The degree in animation requires a total of 120 credits for graduation. Most online courses are seven weeks long.

The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Animation degree takes students through a progression of learning from basic skills to advanced knowledge. You will study the principles of drawing, color, typography and animation. Students explore advanced elements of storytelling and animation production while working through a hands-on curriculum. They also learn to become skilled communicators, ethical leaders, creative thinkers and efficient problem solvers.

Explore Coursework for the Digital Design Animation Bachelor’s Degree

The degree in animation combines theory and application to introduce students to real-world scenarios. Throughout the program, students acquire a number of core competencies in digital design, including the anatomy of figure drawing, concepts of production management, layout techniques for animation and digital painting tools. Some of the courses in this degree program include:

  • 3D Animation and the Mechanics of Motion
  • Designing with Motion Graphics
  • 3D Visual Effects and Lighting
  • Short Film Production
  • Business for the Design Professional

The program includes the Advanced Design Practicum, during which students develop their own professional portfolios. Students demonstrate their ability to provide reality-based, customer-driven digital design solutions.

To complete the coursework for the bachelor of arts in digital design - animation degree, students are required to have a working laptop and an active subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud.

Find a Career in Digital Design & Animation

Job candidates with a BA degree in animation are prepared to pursue careers in a variety of outlets that require technical expertise combined with a creative flair. Skilled animators are in demand in the television, film and gaming industries. Other possible avenues for employment include architectural visualization, new product development and technical simulations for the manufacturing and medical fields. Some jobs that may be related to a digital animation degree include the following:

  • Graphic designer or illustrator
  • Game asset designer or artist
  • Art director
  • Web animator
  • Animator

Many individuals with this degree pursue work in the advertising and marketing industry. Advertisers often require custom animations to showcase their products or services.

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TOTAL PROGRAM CREDITS & COURSE LENGTH:
Total Program Credits: 120
Campus: 15 weeks
Online: 7 weeks [More Info]
TRANSFER CREDITS:
Up to 90 credits, only 84 can be lower division
PROGRAM TUITION RATE:
Campus: $8,250 per semester [More Info]
Online: $470 per credit [More Info]

Course List

The programs offered at Grand Canyon University may vary by content and course length. You are currently viewing the program version available in Arizona. For information about specific course content, credit length and VA approval in your state, please contact a counselor at 1-855-GCU-LOPE or click here to request more information.
General Education Requirements:
34-40 credits
Major:
80 credits
Open Elective Credits:
0-6 credits
Total Degree Requirements:
120 credits

General Education Requirements

General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University’s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.

Requirements

Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community.

Course Options

  • UNV-103, University Success: 4
  • UNV-303, University Success: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.

Course Options

  • ENG-105, English Composition I: 4
  • UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4
  • ENG-106, English Composition II: 4
  • COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/CWV-301.

Course Options

  • CWV-101, Christian Worldview: 4
  • CWV-301, Christian Worldview: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.

Course Options

  • MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4

Requirements

Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.). If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.

Course Options

  • PSY-102, General Psychology: 4
  • INT-244, World Religions: 4
  • SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4

Program Core Courses

Course Description

This survey course introduces majors to theoretical foundations of the visual arts and cultures. Modes of cultural production are explored—including art, photography, film, and design—with focus on influential artists, critics, and theoreticians. Students begin to identify, form, and critically support their own visual interests and opinions in relation to the diverse and changing nature of contemporary culture. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Course Description

Drawing, sketching, conceptualization for clients, and preparing storyboards are essential communication skills in a visual world. This introductory drawing course teaches students about rendering spatial relationships, perspective, light, shadow, texture, and forms. This foundational course includes still life, gesture, and perspective drawing as well as lectures, critiques, and discussions. This course does not require that students have an art background. All types of aspiring artists will benefit from the fundamental and techniques taught in this class. Students will provide drawing supplies and paper along with a portfolio to carry them.

Course Description

This course is an introduction to the basic elements of design and processes of visual communication using graphic tools standard in the industry. The focus is on mastering pixel, vector, and layout tools to demonstrate two-dimensional graphics, images, symbols, color theory, typography, and composition. Technology requirement: Students are responsible for providing their own laptop that is capable of running the Adobe Creative Cloud. Verify required technical specifications in the University Policy Handbook available on www.gcu.edu.

Course Description

This course teaches students the anatomy of figure drawing for animation and character modeling. Developed skill sets transfer to figure drawing of any organic being, whether human or animal. Class time consists of demonstrations, lectures, critiques, and drawing exercises using a variety of media and subject matter. Student will provide drawing supplies and paper, along with a portfolio to carry them. A supply list will be provided at the start of the course.

Course Description

During this course students will apply the concepts of production management, including structuring and preparing electronic files through production for a variety of mediums. Technology requirement: Students are responsible for providing their own laptop that is capable of running the Adobe Creative Cloud. Verify required technical specifications in the University Policy Handbook available on www.gcu.edu.

Course Description

Students develop perspective and layout techniques for creating depth illusion as applied to principles of 3D modeling and animation. This course emphasizes the study of story, size relationships, values, lines, vanishing points, lighting, path direction, camera placements, and composition. Students also explore drawing media. Prerequisites: DDN-105. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, a graphics tablet, Audacity sound editing software, and additional supplies as defined during the course.

Course Description

This course introduces the principles of animation, bringing objects to life using established principles of squash and stretch, key framing, and basic timing techniques. Vector-based design tools are used to create moving design. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Prerequisites: DDN-110. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Course Description

This course explores fundamentals and traditions for designing with type, as well as corporate design with an emphasis on typography with integration of vector designs and photography into promotional pieces. Students propose and create solutions for visual problems with type. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Technology requirement: Students are responsible for providing their own laptop that is capable of running the Adobe Creative Cloud. Verify required technical specifications in the University Policy Handbook available on www.gcu.edu. Prerequisite: DDN-110.

Course Description

This course focuses on 3D modeling using a variety of media and processes. Students demonstrate three-dimensional concepts, theories, and application while creating products and package designs; photography and 3D model integration; and beginning character designs. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.

Course Description

This course introduces students to sculpture in various mediums, both traditional and nontraditional; provides practical and theoretical exploration of form, surface, mass, gravity, and structure; includes reading and writing assignments; and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Students will provide their own sculpture tools. A supply list will be posted prior to the start of class.

Course Description

This course is a study of the tools used to convert two-dimensional hand drawings, photos, and other references into three-dimensional elements. Students employ the terminology, tools, and topology of animation and game industries while modeling polygons, NURBS, and SubDs. Students explore texturing methods, camera setups, lighting techniques, and rendering options. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student work. Prerequisites: DDN-330. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.

Course Description

In this course, the principles of animation are explored in greater depth as they apply to 3D. Students learn about the production cycle of animation while planning models for future animation. Kinematics, rigging, and facial animation processes are explored as students demonstrate walk cycles, express emotions, and synchronize sound to animations. Students also create short animations and integrate basic sound and video compositing software. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments. Prerequisites: DDN-220 and DDN-330.

Course Description

This course is an advanced study in digital painting tools to support animation projects. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, external drive for back-ups, mouse and/or graphics tablet for input.

Course Description

During this course students will create animated graphics in a variety of mediums to meet client business needs. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud, external drive for back-ups, mouse and/or graphics tablet for input.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on the history of visual arts, graphic design, and animation; genres of design; and the influence of artists, graphic artists, and animators through the ages. Emphasis is placed on the history of and current developments in the digital and information age. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Course Description

In this course, students plan and visualize a special effects project by creating a shot-by-shot storyboard, building environmental sets and props, applying appropriate lighting and special effects, and rendering the solution. Sets are modeled with realistic texturing, lighting design, visual effects, and rendering solutions demonstrated. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website. Prerequisite: DDN-360.

Course Description

This writing intensive course focuses on the essential business skills necessary for the design practice and professional. Business development, legal issues, project management, finances, human resources, and other management issues are explored as they relate to the design profession. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.

Course Description

In this course students are introduced to every aspect of the short-film production pipeline, from pre-production when the story and characters are developed to the final lighting, rendering, visual and sound effects, music, titles, and ending credits in post-production. Students prepare a production plan for their own animated short film and create production quality scripts and storyboards. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud and Maya software. Maya software is available as a free student download from the Autodesk website. Check system requirements to run those programs at https://knowledge.autodesk.com/support/maya/troubleshooting/caas/sfdcarticles/sfdcarticles/System-requirements-for-Autodesk-Maya.html. Prerequisite: DDN-365.

Course Description

In this advanced design course, students incorporate their personal style into the development of a portfolio. Professional design projects for a variety of campus and studio-based projects provide opportunities for students to fine-tune solutions for customer-driven, reality-based design problems. Students propose design solutions, practicing their communication and presentation skills while exploring career opportunities. The ethics of business practice is incorporated into studio projects. Technology requirement: Students are responsible for providing their own laptop that is capable of running the Adobe Creative Cloud. Verify required technical specifications in the University Policy Handbook available on www.gcu.edu. Prerequisite: Senior standing.

Course Description

This is a highly aesthetic and technical course in which students bring all design skills together, including pre-production, graphic design, modeling, animation, audio production, texturing, and rendering. Students must demonstrate composition, timing, and editing while producing a short, time-based project. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website. Prerequisite: DDN-412.

Program Locations


GCU Campus Student


Join Grand Canyon University’s vibrant and growing campus community, with daytime classes designed for traditional students. Immerse yourself in a full undergraduate experience, complete with curriculum designed within the context of our Christian worldview.

GCU Online Student


Pursue a next-generation education with an online degree from Grand Canyon University. Earn your degree with convenience and flexibility with online courses that let you study anytime, anywhere.

GCU Evening Student


Grand Canyon University’s evening programs cater to the demands of working professionals who prefer an in-person learning environment. Our night classes meet just once per week and offer the interaction and discussion of a typical college classroom.

* Please note that this list may contain programs that are not presently offered as program availability may vary depending on class size, enrollment and other contributing factors. If you are interested in a program listed herein please first contact your University Counselor for the most current information regarding availability of the program.

Program Domains

On-campus program disclosures (4 years) Online and Evening program disclosures (4 years)

* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.

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