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Best Visual Effects (VFX) Colleges in the US

Today, we will be focusing on the best visual effects colleges in the United States. This article will break down 10 of the best visual effects schools in the United States for prospective visual effects wanting to take that pivotal step that so many VFX have taken before them.

The step towards becoming a master in the career. Avoid reading this article halfway if you are willing to know about the best school to apply to.

For many Visual effects, receiving a formal education in the career is the pivotal step that turns their passion into an employable skill and disciplined craft.

VFX is also termed as Computer Generated Imagery (CGI), where special visual effects are created using VFX software. The field of Visual Effects is growing at a fast pace and has a huge scope in the film industry.

When you enter a formal visual effects training with creative learning, the VFX course can help you find the structured learning environment you will need to push your craft to the next level.

You will also find a social environment whereby they can build life-long relationships with those passionate about similar career pursuits.

And when you leave, you’ll have the kind of credentials that open so many doors for careers in VFX. It is no wonder, then, that so many of the world’s top VFX have formal education at VFX institutions.

Here are the best VFX Colleges in the United States

  • Columbia College Hollywood
  • Academy of Art University
  • University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts
  • School of Visual Arts
  • California Institute of the Arts
  • Rhode Island School of Design
  • Lesley University
  • Ringling College of Art & Design
  • Savannah College of Art and Design
  • Gnomon School of Visual Effects

1. Columbia College Hollywood

The impressive list of faculty at Columbia College Hollywood have collaborated as editors, sound professionals, and cinematographers on over 150 motion pictures, over 2,500 hours of television, and over 200 films featured in global festivals.

Students attending Columbia College Hollywood can pursue a BFA in Visual Effects, focusing specifically on animation, compositing, or digital modeling.

The animation focus includes courses on advanced creature and dialogue design – students also have the opportunity to work with a highly complex, computer-operated puppet rig!

Compositing is the art of combining live-action film footage with digital characters, environments, or objects.

To do this, students gain familiarity with green screens, miniature models, CGI, and painted environments.

Those interested in digital modeling specialize in making organic, living creatures and environments, as well as inorganic surfaces and mechanical objects.

2. Academy of Art University

The School of Animation and Visual Effects at the Academy of Art Institute is highly regarded – it was ranked 2nd in Top Animation Master’s Programs in America, #12 in Top Animation BFA Programs in America, and 13th in Top Private Animation Schools in America by Animation magazine.

Furthermore, it received a 3rd ranking as the Top VFX School in America for three consecutive years by The Rookies.

Their facilities – including Studio X and the rLAB– are a major component of the Academy’s appeal.

Students in Studio X collaborate in-house on student-led projects that involve real-life clients. For example, alum Alyce Tzue recently developed a 3D animated short film – Soar – that won first place in Student Animation at the Student Academy Awards.

The Remote Lab (rLAB) enables students to transform their laptops or desktop computers into workstations equipped with top-of-the-line VFX software.

In addition to this, students can earn an AA, BFA, MA, MFA, or certification in Animation & Visual Effects. For the BFA, students choose a primary area of emphasis among the following topics: VFX, 3D modeling, 3D animation, 2D animation and stop motion, or storyboarding. Classes at the Academy are hands-on.

3. University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

From Shonda Rhimes to John Singleton, University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts is home to alumni and faculty who have earned Golden Globes, Emmys, Oscars, Pulitzers, and NAACP Leadership Awards; in fact, the school was recently named the 1st Film School by The Hollywood Reporter.

A recent Disney original documentary film – Sophie & The Baron – was directed and edited by two University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts alumni who collaborated with the highly esteemed photographer, Baron Wolman.

The project is currently shortlisted for the 2022 Academy Award for Documentary Short Subject.

The two VFX programs that students can enroll in at University of Southern California include: the John C. Hench Division of Animation & Digital Arts and the Interactive Media & Games Division.

The BFA in Animation and Digital Arts commences with an exploration into the history of animation and the fundamentals of design.

4. School of Visual Arts

Classes at the School of Visual Arts are taught by over 60 working professionals from companies like Pixar, Disney, and Dreamworks.

Classes take place in innovative computer labs using software and hardware found in up-to-date animation and VFX studios – students can also access this technology off-campus on their own devices!

The School of Visual Arts’s Sound Studio includes a mixing room and recording booth with exceptional acoustic quality.

In the Production Studio, students can film real or digital actors in a MOCAP suit, which can record the movements of a human actor or object, upload them to a computer drive, and apply them to a 3D character!

Students at the School of Visual Arts can obtain a BFA in Computer Art, Computer Animation, and Visual Effects.

Outside of learning skills required to be successful in entertainment-related fields, students in this program also gain experience with performing simulations, aiding in forensic investigations, and completing medical procedures.


We are glad you read this article to this point and we believe your expectations at the beginning of the article were not cut short.

Were you able to identify the school you believe will be suitable for your study? You can send your response using the comment box.

Last Updated on December 31, 2022 by Admin

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