Last week, the 2014 Animation School Rankings were published and out of 50 schools, UCF was ranked as the No. 3 animation school program in the south and No. 10 nationally.
“Our student films are getting screened and winning awards…”
“Our student films are getting screened and winning awards at more animation and film festivals and our alumni are working at such great places such as Framestore, Reel FX, Disney Feature Animation, and Blizzard Entertainment,” Cheryl Cabrera, assistant professor of digital media, said.
Ahead of UCF, the Savannah College of Art and Design was ranked No. 1 and the Ringling School of Art and Design was No. 2. Both of these schools are privately funded and their animation programs made use of the latest computers and equipment available in the industry.
Last year, UCF’s School of Visual Arts and Animation (SVAD) received desks donated by Disney Feature Animation – the same desks used to create Lilo & Stitch, Mulan and Pocahontas.
The nine schools that ranked above UCF have had programs that have been around for years, well before the conception of SVAD. The SVAD was created in 2011 year after the merger of the former Art and Digital Media Departments.
“The schools ranked around UCF, nationally, have tremendously solid reputations, so being included among such reputable schools is certainly a mark of quality,” Brad Prescott, the founder of Animation Career Review, said.
Students are even becoming recognized for working on such video games as Diablo III and movies like the latest in the Amazing Spiderman series.
Some of the projects students have been working on this year include Celestial and Yours, Mime and Ours.
“The faculty works really close together and we provide guidance tools for students, so all the projects we work on are collaborative,” Jo Anne Adams, digital media instructor for UCF, said. She directed the animated film, Ember, which was a finalist at the Florida Film Festival in 2013.
Last year’s rankings were different in that the Animation Career Review combined animation and gaming into one ranking list.
This year, judges incorporated school surveys as part of the evaluation process and reached out to roughly 200 animation programs to find out what the best criteria would be for ranking schools.
Students may not be aware that UCF has a separate building in Downtown Orlando, which houses SVAD classes at the Center for Emerging Media (CEM.) UCF is also home to the increasingly popular graduate program, a burgeoning example of the Florida Interactive Academy (FIEA.)
“I think it is great that our ranking has improved so much in only a year. I believe that over the next few years our ranking will continue to improve,” Cabrera said.
Next year promises to see UCF striving to achieve an even higher ranking, both on the state-wide and national scale, as long as students continue to invest time and energy re-imagining stories as animated features.
For more information, visit animationcareerreview.com for a list of the top 15 schools for 2014.
Published in Central Florida Future.