Illustration series by Jorge Mendez for Animation/Illustration Capstone.
The animation and illustration program integrates both disciplines in a unified curriculum
where students participate in intro and intermediate courses for each area utilizing
analog and digital media, a combined 3D modeling & animation class, advanced directed
projects and a capstone illustrated series or senior independent animation. The program
focuses on drawing skills, concept development, experimentation, mixed media processes,
narrative storytelling, historical research, and critical thinking. While students
may choose to concentrate in either of the two disciplines during their senior year,
often students consider the possibilities that each field contributes to the other
and incorporate both in their final work. In addition to the department’s foundation
area and their core curriculum, students are required to take a course in life drawing,
figure modeling, drawing/painting, and photography. It is the philosophy of the program
that experimentation with various media and collaboration with other program areas
within the visual arts and new media department through electives encourages a unique
The Rockefeller Arts Center provides individual studio spaces for intermediate and
senior illustration students and individual stop motion projects. The animation/illustration
and media arts areas share a 900-sq. ft. computer lab in McEwen Hall comprised of
21 Mac Pros, 3 scanners, 2 inkjet printers, 1 laser printer, 2 animation stands, and
3 HD video decks. All computers are equipped with Intuos Wacom tablets, the Adobe
production suite, Cinema 4D, Final Cut Pro, Corel Painter, and several copies of Zbrush.
The lab is fully updated on a triennial cycle with student access 7 days per week.
Animation still by Lindsay Holmes
for Introduction to Animation.
Internships, study abroad and freelance experiences are strongly encouraged for all
students in the program. Previous internships have occurred through Marvel Entertainment
in NYC, Animotion in Syracuse, IBC Digital, and Squeaky Wheel Media Center in Buffalo.
Freelance opportunities arise during the semester where students have provided 3D
models, illustrations or animation work for local businesses. Each student in the
capstone class is required to submit work to at least one professional competition
or animation/film festival such as the annual Society of Illustrators Student Competition,
3x3 Magazine, 3D Total’s Digital Art Competition, Communication Arts, the Finger Lakes
Film Festival, the SoDak Animation Festival, the SUNYwide Film Festival, and the Ottawa
Animation Festival. The capstone course also strives to prepare students for life
beyond the undergraduate level through graduate school review and application process,
professional practices and promotional materials. Several students have consequently
continued on to prestigious graduate programs, established themselves as freelance
or independent artists, or pursue work in publishing or the animation industry.