Character Animation is a highly competitive track in the Emerging Media BFA degree program. The Character Animation track allows students to integrate multiple domains of art, storytelling and technology into their body of work. A successful portfolio review is required for admission into the program.
The program is designed to:
- Provide a solid foundation in techniques and theory
- Provide a broad understanding of related disciplines including arts, humanities, and technology
- Provide extended experience in working in multidisciplinary teams on realistic problems
The Character Animation track is a two-year, full-time series of consecutive semesters designed to prepare a cohort of students for careers such as animators, story artists, visual development artists, lighting artists, technical artists, effects artists, modelers, riggers, or texture artists in the animation industry by emulating the professional production studio. Students learn all aspects of the production process, from story creation to film completion, while working as part of a team. Students learn the tools and industry practices for computer-generated animated filmmaking as well as the ins and outs of teamwork with opportunities for leadership amongst their peers and mentorship from the faculty.
Experimental Animation and Graphic Design are other portfolio based tracks in the Emerging Media BFA program.
View the Spring 2022 premiere films here!
- APPLY and be accepted to UCF.
- COMPLETE prerequisite courses. (Interested students are recommended to contact SVAD advising as early as possible to ensure that they are progressing through the prerequisite courses in a timely manner and to keep documented and detailed records of all information received.)
- PASS mandatory portfolio review. (Character Animation is a highly competitive, limited access program and students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all program coursework. Students are encouraged to simultaneously apply for studio art and/or graphic design portfolio. Students intending to pursue Character Animation (as well as Experimental Animation or Graphic Design) will be enrolled in the Emerging Media Pending BFA program until they have successfully completed the portfolio review.)
I am a direct connect student. Do I automatically get in?
No. You are only guaranteed admission to UCF. You are not guaranteed admission into the Emerging Media Character Animation track.
Do the pre-requisite courses listed on the UCF site need to all be completed before applying to the program?
No BUT you must have completed, or be enrolled in, all prerequisites when applying in February or your portfolio will not be reviewed. Upon completing prerequisites, students apply for Character Animation Portfolio in the Spring semester prior to the Fall semester in which they would like to start.
How many students pass the portfolio review and advance into the Character Animation program each year?
Character Animation is a highly competitive, limited access program. Acceptance is limited to 30 students each cohort. Students are encouraged to simultaneously apply for Studio Art Portfolio and/or Graphic Design Portfolio for additional options.
In the event a student is not accepted into the program, what kind of feedback is provided as to why the student was not selected?
Just as in any type of application, whether it be for entry into a program, exhibition, film festival, job, etc. there will always be competitors. Unfortunately, we have only space for 30. A committee of 4 faculty evaluate all of the applications.
If a student is not selected it means that their application did not rank with the top 30 of that year’s applicants. This means that 30 other applicants submitted a stronger combination of their academics, writing skills, and portfolios. This does not necessarily mean that the application or your portfolio did not suit the program. However, we have only space for 30.
Is the student notified of the mistakes/areas of improvement for each art piece submitted in the portfolio (so the student knows what areas need to be improved for the next submission)?
Can I start in Spring or Summer semester?
This track is a cohort that begins in Fall semester only.
What is a Cohort?
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.
What is the duration of the program?
This track is part of a four-year BFA degree. The first two years of the degree are spent as an Emerging Media Pending major, taking Gen Ed and Prereq courses. Students must be accepted to UCF before applying. Students then apply apply after getting accepted to UCF and once you completing, or enrolling in, all prerequisites.
Once accepted, the Character Animation track in the Emerging Media BFA program is a full-time two-year program (four full-time semesters excluding summers in most instances) and students must progress through the program by taking required classes in particular semesters.
More information about prereqs and course sequencing can be found in the catalog here:
Other program information can be found here:
How do I apply?
APPLY and be accepted to UCF.
COMPLETE prerequisite courses. (Interested students are recommended to contact SVAD advising as early as possible to ensure that they are progressing through the prerequisite courses in a timely manner and to keep documented and detailed records of all information received.)
PASS mandatory portfolio review. (Character Animation is a highly competitive, limited access program and students must maintain a GPA of 3.0 in all program coursework. Students are encouraged to simultaneously apply for studio art and/or graphic design portfolio. Students intending to pursue Character Animation (as well as Experimental Animation or Graphic Design) will be enrolled in the Emerging Media Pending BFA program until they have successfully completed the portfolio review.)
Are there any scholarships for freshman Emerging Media students?
Is it acceptable to submit older pieces of art? For example, I have a painting I did in 2016?
We suggest you submit your very best work. If that is something from a painting you did in 2016, then yes, by all means please submit that piece. Realize that whenever your portfolio is reviewed you are judged by the worse piece submitted. Keep that in mind when choosing your submissions.
Should the pieces submitted for the Character Animation portfolio review come from exclusively class work or can use personal work?
The portfolio pieces can come from both classwork and from personal work.
How important is the art portfolio to getting into the program?
The application is evaluated with 30% of the total score going to writing skills, 20% towards academics and 50% towards the Portfolio: Student portfolios are submitted and evaluated as part of the review to enter the Character Animation track in the Emerging Media BFA. The review committee looks for professionalism, artistic skills, creativity, and presentation. We are especially interested in seeing life drawings, perspective drawings of environments, and observational drawings. A strong portfolio includes foundation and graphic skills, effective use of 2-D & 3-D form and composition, and additive and subtractive color theory. In addition, portfolios should demonstrate an aesthetic awareness and effective use of chosen mediums and tools.
What technology (hardware/software) is available to students in the computer labs?
All courses are located on Main Campus and Research park, so you will need to attend orientation on Main Campus.
Junior Computer Lab (VAB 221): 30 2017 iMac computers, OS X Yosemite and 13" Cintiqs, 70" Television monitor with blu-ray player
Junior 2D Animation Lab (VAB 221-A): 4 traditional animation lighted disc desks and a down shooter donated from Disney Feature Animation after the Florida studio closed in Orlando.
Senior Computer Lab (OTC 500 134): 30 PC workstations with nVidia GTX1070 cards, dual monitor/22" Cintiq, dual 70" 4K Television monitors with blu-ray player, Renderfarm
Software: Adobe CC, Maya, Nuke, Houdini, Substance, Mari, Modo, ZBrush, Toon Boom Harmony, TVPaint, Stop Motion Pro
Can you tell me what type of jobs this program can set me up for? Specifically the animation track?
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
Which animation studios have a relationship with UCF for internships and job placement?
We have ongoing relationships with all Disney studios (Feature, PIXAR) and Dreamworks, as well as any studio where our alumni work. This track is for students specifically interested in a fast-paced and competitive career in Computer Animation. Specifically, they must be willing to work as a member of a team in an intense production-oriented environment and be able to communicate their ideas and thoughts clearly. They must be willing to work nights and weekends outside of class. They must be problem solvers who are self-motivated and love to learn. Please note that coursework is never enough for a reel and portfolio. They must always work on additional projects in order to fully flesh out their reel and portfolio. Many class pieces are exercises and assignments. Studios want to see how they apply that work to their own work. We recommend weekends, summers, and breaks to keep working towards those pieces.
Where do I apply?
APPLY to UCF here:
Apply to the Character Animation Portfolio review after completing, or enrolling in, all prerequisites here:
There is a dropdown menu under : Start an Application.
You will see: Character Animation Track (Current Students)
The information for applying to the Character Animation track can be found at:
How does UCF maintain ties to the animation industry when it is 2,500 miles away from Burbank?
Our alumni, students. and faculty form the Character Animation family here at UCF. It is a true gem of a program in the largest University in the country. We are ranked #2 in the US for Public Universities all because of the hard work of our faculty, students, and alumni.
Our standards are set high, and the students raise the bar every year.
What percent of animation graduates find jobs in the industry within a year of graduation?
There is no data available for 10% of our graduates. The below numbers are for the remaining 90% of our 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% pursue a graduate degree after graduation
How long is the program?
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.
Is it possible to tour the facilities?
While there are no formal internship programs or requirements, Character Animation has a full senior year of coursework that is experiential learning. The students come to class as if it were at a job or internship. They are working on the final cohort film on teams of 12-15 students under the direct supervision of the faculty, and ends in April with a premiere screening of student films. Animation students have received internship credit at companies such as DreamWorks Animation, Universal Creative, Lockheed Martin, Limitless Solutions, and Rockwell Collins to name a few.