Overview

Emerging Media MFA – Animation and Visual Effects is a specialized program designed to emulate both the professional and independent studio environment, providing opportunities to assume an artistic leadership role. Principal emphasis is placed on narrative film structure and entrepreneurial aspects of animation as related to independent filmmaking, studio employment, and job creation.

Promo Reel 2019

Designed to prepare students for careers in animation, courses provide students an understanding of the collaborative function of a commercial studio during the first year production courses as well as the development of their unique style of independent filmmaking during preproduction and production of their thesis film over the course of the three year program. In addition, opportunities are available to co-direct a team of undergraduate character animation students, adding toward our canon of award-winning films. Labs and studios are equipped with industry-standard software and hardware. Faculty members have extensive professional, industry experience.

The program allows students to create their own animation and/or visual effects thesis. Students are encouraged to develop visual storytelling skills while using a variety of techniques, including traditional hand-drawn, stop-motion, 2D computer, and 3D computer animation.

Graduates are well qualified to enter the teaching and academic professions and have a competitive edge within the animation, visual effects, and simulation industries.

This Emerging Media MFA track builds upon the legacy of the BFA Character Animation track, where alumni are working for major animation and gaming companies such as Walt Disney Animation Studios, PIXAR Animation Studios, Blue-Sky Animation Studios, Weta Digital, Framestore, Lightbox, MPC, Titmouse, Netflix, Genius Brands, Reel FX, Nickelodeon Animation Studios, Blur Studios, Epic Games, Electronic Arts, Riot Games, Turtle Rock Studios, and Blizzard Entertainment or creating simulations for organizations including the U.S. Navy, NASA, DISTI, and Lockheed Martin.

View the Spring 2020 premiere films here!

 


Please Note

All Emerging Media BFA and MFA Animation programs have moved to UCF’s main campus as of Fall 2019. For more information, contact Cheryl.Briggs@ucf.edu.


Requirements

Applicants should have an undergraduate degree in animation, visual effects, emerging media, art, film, theater, computer science, graphic design, illustration, creative writing, mass communications, game design or related field and must demonstrate, through a portfolio of work and writing, that they are currently proficient in the area of animation. Applicants are expected to already know how to animate and/or create visual effects.

Application Materials

  • Transcript
  • Portfolio of artwork demonstrating life drawing, design, art, and animation abilities.
  • Original Animation/VFX Production concept demonstrated in a treatment with accompanying storyboards, character designs, and production designs for a 2-3 minute concept that could be developed into your thesis film. A treatment is written in short story format.
  • Statement of purpose
  • Three letters of recommendation
  • Résumé

Deadlines

January 15: priority and international deadline
May 1: deadline for admissions consideration


FAQ

Yes. This is a Master of Fine Arts degree so you are expected to know how to animate either characters or effects which should be demonstrated in your portfolio. Observational drawing should also be part of your portfolio.

A treatment is an idea for an animated short or visual effects film written in short-story format. Ideally your treatment will be developed into your thesis, so it should be written for a 1-3 minutes concept. Please understand that the committee reviews this portion as a potential thesis project. It could be already developed, but the quality should be consistent with a graduate level thesis.

PIXAR creates approximately 134 storyboard panels per one minute of film. We expect you to have at least 10-15 storyboard panels to accompany your treatment, but you can have as many as you need to visually depict the story.

Once you submit the application you can then upload the remaining documents. The portfolio and original animation/vfx production concept should be in a pdf document for upload when applying. You may include links to external sites such as Vimeo, YouTube, or a personal website.  The treatment, storyboard, and Visual Development can be either in the same pdf with the portfolio, or separate. Either way works. Please be sure that everything is labeled clearly for the committee.

The GRE is not required for the Emerging Media MFA – Animation & Visual Effects Track.

This track is a cohort that begins in Fall semester only.

This is a cohort program, meaning you take specific courses with your accepted cohort (class of students) throughout every Fall and Spring semester following a specific course sequencing. There is only one cohort per year. All of the students will have the same schedule, unless there is a specific need which can be adjusted on an individualized, faculty approved, adjusted change (such as taking a film course or a Directed Research course).

The Animation and Visual Effects track in the Emerging Media MFA program is a full-time three-year program (six full-time semesters excluding summers in most instances) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters. The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours including a thesis project. All courses must be approved by the Graduate Program Director. The thesis consists of producing a short film and thesis document.

If you submit everything by January 15th (priority deadline) as a full-time student, you will automatically be considered for any fellowships we will have available. If your portfolio is ranked in the top 2 of the applicants, you could receive a fellowship which consists of a full tuition waiver plus a $5,000 to $10,000 stipend. However, this would only be for the first year, and possibly the second year.

If you prove to be a candidate for Graduate Teaching, you could be awarded the assistantship for your 2nd and/or 3rd year which consists of a full tuition waiver and stipend as well. Our faculty rarely assign Teaching Assistantships during the first year. Due to the technical nature of our undergraduate courses, we try to get to know our MFA students and their abilities before we can confidently assign courses for them to teach.

The 1st year Graduate lab is equipped with 8 MacPro Workstations and 5 Alienware Workstations, each with dual articulating monitor arms, 22HD Cintiq and 27" 4K Monitors

MacPro Workstation specs:

  • OS: macOS Sierra
  • Processor: 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
  • RAM: 32GB (4X8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • Hard Drive: 1 TB PCIe-based SSD
  • Graphics Card: Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Alienware Workstation specs:

  • OS: Windows 10 Enterprise 
  • Processor: Intel(R) Core(TM) i7-4790K CPU @ 4.0GHz  4.00 GHz
  • RAM: 16GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 RDIM M ECC
  • Hard Drive: PCIe Boot Drive : SAMSUNG SSD PM851 2.5 7mm 256GB
  • 1 TB 3.5 Serial-ATA 5,400 RPM WDC WD10JPVX-75JC3T0
  • Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 960

Software:

  • Adobe CC
  • Autodesk Entertainment Suite
  • The Foundry's NukeX
  • Side Effects Houdini
  • ToonBoom Harmony
  • TVPaint
  • Stop Motion Pro
  • Pixelogic ZBrush
  • 3D-Coat
  • GarageBand
  • Microsoft Office

2nd and 3rd year MFA students are assigned to a graduate research space. Each space is equipped with 2 workstations, based on preference of the students, a retrofitted Disney Animation Desk which can hold a 22" Cintiq or an Animation Disk, and 2 Herman Miller Sayl Chairs.

MacPro Workstation specs:

  • OS: macOS Sierra
  • Processor: 3.5GHz 6-core with 12MB of L3 cache
  • RAM: 32GB (4X8GB) of 1866MHz DDR3 ECC
  • Hard Drive: 1 TB PCIe-based SSD
  • Graphics Card: Dual AMD FirePro D500 GPUs with 3GB of GDDR5 VRAM each

Dell Workstation specs:

  • OS: Window 10 Pro for workstations
  • Processor: 4-core Intel Xeon Processor E5-1630 v4 (4C, 3.7GHz, 4.0GHz Turbo, 2400MHz, 10MB, 140W)
  • RAM: 64GB (4X16GB) of 2400MHz DDR4 RDIM M ECC
  • Hard Drive: PCIe Boot Drive : Dell Ultra-Speed Drive Quad 1 X 512GB NVMe PCIe M.2 Solid State Drive X 16 C SSD X           16 C ard (boot) C40
  • 1 TB 3.5 Serial-ATA 7,200 RPM
  • Graphics Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 Ti SC Black Edition GAMING, 11GB GDDR5X

Our MFA program is very new. 1st Cohort began Fall of 2017 and graduated Spring 2020, so we do not have much data on graduates as of yet.

Below is the information for our undergraduate Character Animation students. This program began the 16th year of graduates in Fall 2020:

Job placement rate:

There is no data available for 10% of our graduates. The below numbers are for the remaining 90% of our character animation program alumni.
30% are employed in the animation industry within 6 months from graduation
85% are employed in the animation industry within 3 years from graduation
15% pursued a graduate degree after graduation

The Animation and Visual Effects track in the Emerging Media MFA program is a full-time three-year program (six full-time semesters excluding summers in most instances) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters. The program requires a minimum of 60 credit hours including a thesis project. All courses must be approved by the Graduate Program Director. The thesis consists of producing a short film and thesis document.

This depends on space, quality of the student’s portfolio, and plan of study, however, it is not advised or desirable by the faculty since you become disjointed from your Cohort. University requires that all Graduate students complete their degree within 7 years.

Acceptance is limited to 10 students. Priority deadline is January 15 for Fall 2021. Currently the acceptance rate is 50%, however, once the Cohort is full applicants must wait until the next academic year.


FAQ International

International deadline is January 15th for Fall 2020 (you will automatically be considered for any assistantships or fellowships available when you apply by this deadline).

No, this program is not STEM.

Tuition and Fees can be found here:

The course descriptions can be found in the catalog here:

Yes, the application requirements can be found in the graduate catalog here:

Your portfolio, treatment, and storyboards are what will determine your placement. Your portfolio should show your life drawing proficiencies as well as animation abilities so that the committee can determine if you have the skills required for pursuing your MFA.

OPT / CPT information can be found here:

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Contact

Cheryl Briggs
Campus Location: OTC5189
Cheryl.Briggs@ucf.edu
Phone: 407-235-3611
UCF Catalog
Program Flyer