View Full Version : Does anyone know about the MS program in animation from USC

09 September 2009, 05:49 AM
My daughter was considering looking at Masters programs in animation after getting a bachelors in digital arts,which is mostly web design with some motion. Although she wants a braod smattering of most animation techniques, her main focus is 3d.

I looked at USC for their masters program in animation in order to prescreen some schools for my daughter before she looks into them. I really wanted to like their program since they had a great reputation and had fabulous facilities. They also suposedly have fabulous industry connections with Zemeikis, Lucus and other notables teaching at USC.

Despite all this , frankly, the Masters programs seemed a bit thin to me in skill development. I didn't see many courses that specifically cover such 3d topics such as modeling. lighting, rigging, skinning, texturing etc. as you would see in a SCAD program or that of NYU.Both programs (UCLA and USC) seem to want to develop director types.Moreover, I really didn't like the reels that they showed, especially when compared to that of Ringling or Calarts,but I am not an artist who can really evaluate these things. I just get the feeling, maybe wrongly, that their program is great for those that have strong skills already and want to be independent filmmakers.

They did provide decent 2D training and some 3d work ,which I guess would be a plus.

Anyone familiar with their program or that of UCLA's program?Also, anyone familiar with the grad program at any of these: SCAD, School of Visual Arts in NY, NYU, or Academy of Art Univeristy in Sanfrancisco?

09 September 2009, 01:15 AM
Dear taxguy,

I am sorry you had an inaccurate perception of the USC graduate program in animation. Although the John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Arts is not a traditional “trade school”, we do make sure our students receive the necessary skills they need in order to create their own work and to compete in the industry.

Our students are not required to enter the program with strong skill sets. I think you would find our program to be comprehensive and challenging. In addition to 2D and 3D animation, our courses include rigging, modeling, lighting, texture, animation, visual effects, motion capture, stereoscopic, green screen live action integration, etc.

Our alumni are currently working at PIXAR Animation Studios, Dreamworks Studios, Rhythm & Hues, Sony Pictures Imageworks, and many other animation companies.

Please feel free to contact me for any additional information on our program,

Sheila M. Sofian

Department Chair, Associate Professor

John C. Hench Division of Animation and Digital Art

School of Cinematic Arts

University of Southern California

Tel 213-740-7595

09 September 2009, 02:43 AM
I'd look into SJSU's animation program. They do 3D animation but it's mainly traditional animation. I'm also told that it's an outstanding program. A plus would also be their partnership with DreamWorks Animation. I'd email the 2 advisors from the department for more information.

09 September 2009, 02:38 PM
Ms. Sofian notes that USC is not a trade school, but the school does provide the "necessary" skills. In what way is USC unlike that of a trade school when it comes to animation training? Why would a trade school for post grad work be an inferior way to go?

09 September 2009, 04:43 PM
Please note that in no way do I disparage “trade schools”. In fact, I think that may be the best choice for your daughter. The industry loves trade schools- they offer direct training for specific jobs.

USC offers a broader education. Trade schools do not require courses in Animation History, Storytelling for Animation, or Contemporary Topics in Animation and Digital Arts. Trade schools do not necessarily require you to make a complete film in order to graduate. The bottom line is that you do not need a Masters degree in order to work in the industry.

Best Regards,


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