Growing up watching Disney movies, I always dreamed of making little kids feel the way I felt watching stories like Cinderella and Hercules. Even though my dream of becoming an animation artist for Disney is not completely discarded yet, I still get extremely jealous and excited at the same time whenever my friend Luis tells me about the classes he’s taking and the projects he has to complete.

Picture of an animation he made for my friend Chely, who's like weirdly obsessed with pandas

Picture of an animation he made for my friend Chely, who’s weirdly obsessed with pandas.

Luis Ruiz is majoring in Technological Interactive Engineering in Digital Animation at Universidad del Valle de México (University of the Valley of Mexico) in Chiapas, México. If you like art and technology and love the graphics and special effects you see on TV or on the Internet, studying animation or a related major is a great option.

Animation artists today work both with hand drawings and computer programs. Just think about the old movies you saw growing up, like The Jungle Book, Snow White, or even about those cool early Mickey Mouse animated films like Steamboat Willie. Now think about all the awesome movies intended for kids nowadays, like Toy Story 3 and Monsters University. Animation has surely come a long way, and with all the technology available today (and the technology that is sure to come in the next few years), things are about to get really awesome in the animation world.

Even if you’re not interested in the movie world, there are still a ton of industries where animation technologies are required. Video games, cartoons, TV shows, and TV commercials are just a few of the fields you can explore. Luis tells me he picked this career path because he likes drawing, animation, and movies. This major gives him the opportunity to work with all of his favorite things. He hopes to work in movies one day. He really enjoys his classes because they challenge him to be creative when making stories, drawings and animations. His coolest project so far is a 7-second Iron Man animation. To do this, he had to put together 168 drawings. Here’s the link for the AWESOME animation!

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Sulley by Luis!

In his first semester, Luis had to take Vector Animation, Graphical Project Planning, Introduction to Computer Systems, Introduction to Engineering in Animation, and Matrix Algebra. Even though every college program is different, this gives you an idea of what courses you will have to take if you decide to pursue this area. They’re not all fun art classes, but they give him the tools he needs to be an animator. He thinks the most complicated course he’s going to encounter is Videogame Programming.

As an animator, you’ll have to learn how to use a wide array of computer programs, such as Adobe Flash. Computer programming is also an important component of an animation program, and you’ll have to learn a programming language like C++. Luis even has to use programs you might have never heard of; Unity and UDK, for example, are both programs used for videogame programming.

If you love drawing and have an affinity for computers, animation is definitely a major you should consider!

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the author

Clarissa Gallardo is a sophomore at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. Originally from Panama City, Panama (only place in the world where you can see the sun rise in the Pacific and set on the Atlantic!), she is majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Mathematics and Ballet. A member of the Honors Program and dancer at heart, you can find her studying at the library, scrolling through her Tumblr feed , dancing, or reading. Clarissa has a really bad case of wanderlust and is obsessed with white chocolate mochas, The Big Bang Theory, and Doctor Reid from Criminal Minds. You can follow her on Twitter and on Tumblr.

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