Top Online Game Art and Design Schools
Game artists and designers develop visual effects that are vital in video games and multimedia experiences. Related careers include game software developers, animators and multimedia artists found in entertainment, computer software publishing and other industries. The video gaming industry uses sophisticated techniques that build on animation and software development as well artistry. And as reported in U.S. News & World Report, the applications for these skills extend beyond traditional video games, from educational simulations for medical training to business simulators that explore urban politics.
Aspiring gaming design professionals hone both their artistic and their technical skills to bring games to life. Designers come up with ideas, collaborate with their teams, and bring to life the images in their imagination, using high-tech computer programs or traditional techniques like storyboarding. The gaming industry relies on specialized training in the design of interior spaces, levels and worlds.
Game art and design schools offer a variety of certificates and degrees, from associate to graduate level studies. As of March 2012, The Princeton Review ranked undergraduate programs and created a list of the top video game design schools, which included the following schools in the top 5:
1. University of Southern California (Los Angeles, CA)
2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Cambridge, MA)
3. University of Utah (Salt Lake City, UT)
4. DigiPen Institute of Technology (Redmond, WA)
5. The Art Institute of Vancouver (Vancouver, BC)
Both online schools and brick-and-mortar colleges offer a range of certificate and degree options (associate, bachelor’s and graduate) in game art and design or digital design and animation.
Game software developers
Developers use their computer programming skills to create the machine instructions that make the magic of video games happen. Developers may produce software code themselves or they may provide design guidelines as well as guidance for programmers who write the necessary code. Developers study a broad range of programming languages, some of which are designed for game platforms, and the principles of user interface design.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics does not offer salary information specifically for game software developers, but data is available for computer programmers and software developers, applications. According to the BLS, software developers, applications earned a national median salary of $89,280 in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012) and computer programmers earned a median national salary of $72,630 in 2011 (BLS.gov, 2012).
Employment for software developers in general is projected to grow much faster than the average for all U.S. occupations, with the occupation expanding by up to 30 percent between 2010 and 2020 nationally (BLS.gov, 2012).
Multimedia artists and animators
Multimedia artists and animators design special effects and visual images for industries like computer games, entertainment and advertising. Strong technical skills are in demand for multimedia artists and animators, and these individuals typically hold a bachelor's degree in computer graphics, art or a similar field (BLS.gov, 2012). Training may include computer programming, 2D and 3D models, color theory and fine arts classes like painting, drawing and sculpture.
Employment for these creative professionals is projected to increase by up to 8 percent nationally between 2010 and 2020 (BLS.gov, 2012), according to the BLS. U.S. earnings for multimedia artists and animators in 2011 reached a median annual wage of $68,060, with salaries ranging from $34,800 for the lowest 10 percent to $109,370 for the highest 10 percent, according to the BLS (BLS.gov, 2012)
Learn more about online game design schools through SchoolsGalore.com
Aspiring designers can browse through the available programs, request further information from schools, compare different course descriptions and decide on the online game design schools for their needs. Information on design schools may also be available from groups like the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. Prospective students should check that their school has been accredited by professional accrediting organizations that are approved by the US Department of Education, the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, or both.
The Princeton Review (Top Video Game Design Press Release, 2012)
U.S. News & World Report (College Students Find 'Serious' Video Games Educational, Fun; 2012)