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Digital Arts Degrees

The complete guide on what you’ll learn, job prospects, university programs, and saving time and money.
on January 25, 2021

Why We Love It

  • $70,300
    Potential Avg. Salary*
  • Growing Demand
    Job Outlook

* Salary & growth data is based on the recent Bureau of Labor and Statistics data published at https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes271014.htm for 27-1014 Multimedia artists and animators 11/2021. Based on national data, not school-specific information. Conditions in your area may vary.

With a bachelor of arts in digital arts, you’ll gain the education necessary to thrive in the diverse industry of digital entertainment. Graduates of digital arts programs work in a variety of careers as animators, video game designers, and digital artists. You’ll study how to use computer programs to develop short films, images, movies, videos, and games that are both aesthetically pleasing and entertaining.

What is a Degree in Digital Arts?

A bachelor of arts degree in digital arts allows you to focus on refining your artistic ability using modern technology programs instead of traditional fine arts mediums. Students study the art of drawing using animation programs, photography using photo editing programs, and storytelling using programming tools that create film and game characters, scenery, and items that are both aesthetically pleasing and entertaining. Students learn to use a variety of programs to create artwork for public consumption.

Programs usually include the option to specialize in a specific digital arts medium. You may be able to focus your studies on visual design for video games, imaging and using image editing programs, or interactive multimedia for creating 2D and 3D animated films. Graduates of digital arts programs may find work creating movies for companies like Pixar and Disney, or for game developers like Microsoft or Nintendo. Some also self-publish their works and earn ad revenue from sites like YouTube.

Recommended Schools

What Courses Would I Take For a Major in Digital Arts?

  • Digital Imaging
  • Augmented Reality
  • 3D Animation
  • Animation Principles and Techniques
  • Interactive Art
  • Digital Character Animation
  • Collaborative Digital Art
  • Story and Concept Development

What Jobs Can You Get with a Degree in Digital Arts?

Animated films are a staple of the entertainment industry, and movie studios are producing more films than ever before. Additionally, video games are increasingly popular, and new technologies like virtual and augmented reality are expected to take off and surge in popularity. This increased demand for entertainment created with digital technologies is expected to increase demand for talented digital artists in the coming decade.

How Long does it take?

A bachelors in Digital Arts will have a typical length of 4 years in a full time schedule. That said, there are many ways to speed up the timeframe by either taking more units via online coursework, community college, or taking free classes at OnlineDegree.com that could transfer to universities in the US.

Online Digital Arts Degree

Online digital art programs are attractive and popular choice for college students. They are offered by various universities. The cost of these programs is usually lower than science or engineering programs in the same universities. Programs usually include around 120 credit hours. Some programs are also project-oriented. Students are required to complete various tasks or projects as assessment for the courses.

What Can You Do With a Digital Arts Degree?

Digital Arts refers to the use of digital technology to make artistic work. This trend has started in the 1970s with some initial resistance from the community. Currently, digital art is used in developing different artistic work as paintings, sculptures and music. This technology is extensively used in advertisement and film-making industry by using visual effects which includes in many cases building the complete scene around the characters. Digital art can be a digital modification of a conventional work or it can be purely made using computers as the case with fractals or algorithmic art. Digital art provided access to more people to make their contribution due to the availability of the tools. It has also expanded the range of creativity to new fields.

What does a digital arts student learn?

Students in digital arts degree programs study courses related to arts, literature and history of art, and computer design. This integration of arts and computer knowledge gives the advantage compared to students who are specialized in computer design or arts only. The following list shows examples for courses commonly taught in digital arts programs:

  1. Image manipulation: this is probably the first type of digital art introduced where images or photos are edited using computer software. Image manipulation became recently very popular as people are using edited images very commonly on the social media.
  2. Computer graphics and 3D Modeling: it refers to the design of virtual 3D structures or sculptures. Models can then be used in animation movies, photos or it can be printed as 3D structures using 3D printing. Computer graphics includes also recording the motion of these structures.
  3. Interactivity: it refers to developing interactive shows or artistic items
  4. Drawing: this course introduces the tools and programs available for digital drawing in addition to introducing the general principles and technique for drawing.
  5. Audio production: the use of computer programs to add audio effects or develop digital music.
  6. Web design: the course focuses on the design and aesthetic aspects of a website with less focus on the functionalities of the website. Students will learn more about the most appropriate organization and the color combinations of a website.

Now I have the digital arts degree…where can I work after graduating?

Digital artists are currently needed in a wide variety of jobs involved in the production of films, video games, advertisement or music production. The following lists shows examples for career options for digital art graduates:

  1. Mutlimedia artist or animator: production of multimedia materials and animations including cartoons. These can be intended for display alone or as illustrations on other movies or materials.
  2. Architect: all architect designers are currently using computer programs for development of new designs
  3. Drafter: the role of the drafter is to prepare detailed designs or plans for equipment, infrastructure, electronics or buildings. The job requires artistic skills in addition to engineering knowledge related to the objects to be drawn.
  4. Graphic designer: the job of the graphic designer is to draw 3D structure using computer programs which can be used for illustrations or to produce movies as Toy Story or Ice Age.
  5. Game designer: it is one of the most advanced jobs for digital artists. Developers of video games design interactive objects in addition to designing the audio and video of the game. Some game designers also have knowledge in psychology in order to develop games that are more appealing to the users.
  6. Jewelry designer: this art is getting more popular recently with some new designers achieving great popularity.
  7. Costume designer: new software has replaced the use of conventional tools for costume design. Programs are also available to test the new designs on virtual models. This shift towards digital designs is also supported by the growth in ecommerce including websites as amazon and eBay.

Should I choose a digital art degree?

If you have artistic talents and you are passionate or skilled when using a computer then you should consider studying digital arts. These programs combine the knowledge in computer technologies with art basics, trends and principals. The program will help you develop the following skills:

  • Technical skills:
    1. Knowledge in computer design programs as Adobe Photoshop, Indesign or Dreamweaver.
    2. Some designers will also have knowledge in web or application design.
    3. Marketing skills are also useful for the career as most of the value of the arts is based on the perception by the audience.
  • The appropriate use of colors and colors combinations
  • Maintaining updated knowledge with the recent trends in arts.

Recommended Schools

Best Jobs for Digital Arts Degrees

A bachelor’s degree in digital arts prepares you for a variety of careers in the entertainment industry. Graduates of digital arts programs may go on to work for major animation companies like Pixar or Disney, for major video game companies like Nintendo and Microsoft, or for a variety of businesses that use images and videos to market their products and services online.

How to save time and money

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About the Author
Grant founded OnlineDegree.com with a purpose-driven mission: make college accessible and affordable for everyone. After graduating college with an overwhelming amount of debt, he was determined to change how students embark on their education. He's a frequent speaker and author in higher education, and has been featured in Forbes, Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, American Express, AOL, MSN, Thrive Global, Reader's Digest, Inside Higher Ed, Evolllution, EducationDive, and nearly 100 radio shows and podcasts.

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