Graphic Design Associate’s Degree – Animation & Motion Graphics Specialization

As a graduate of the Graphic Design Associate's with specialization in Animation and Motion Graphics, you will gain the knowledge of intermediate theories of design, motion graphics, animation, project management and portfolio development. You will also create and combine multiple forms of media to generate animation and motion-based projects involving graphic, video and audio assets.

View courses and cost per credit for our Animation and Motion Graphics Associate's degree. Courses, course names and cost per credit may vary by location. Download your state specific catalog for more information.


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Animation and Motion Graphics Associate's Degree Course List

Major and Core Courses

Lower Division

Design Foundations

In this course students will learn the foundational principles and elements of art & design and explore them through digital design. Theory of each principle and element will be supported by hands-on exercises in which students will apply what they have learned. Examples from the history of art & design will be used to support and explain each new concept. Balance, value, repetition, unity & variety, contrast, dominance, scale, line, shape & form, depth, direction, texture, color, and value will be presented. This course will provide basic training and exploration in a variety of industry-standard design software. Emphasis will be placed on exploration of basic foundation principles through original compositional designs.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: NM105
Credits: 3

Drawing from Observation

Students in this course will develop and hone vision and drawing skills. The course will focus on drawing on paper from still life and life scenes observations. The course will progress from basic sketching and contour lines to gesture drawing and perspective drawing. Developing observation skills for line, form, light, shadow, and detail, will be emphasized. Techniques learned in this course will be utilized later in digital drawing and painting courses. Professionalism in critique of one's own work and that of others will be practiced.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: NM112
Credits: 3


This course focuses on the fundamentals of typography and introduces the students to aspects of type for display and text design. Students become familiar with the categories of type and a variety of font families. They also become proficient at choosing fonts to match a specific message. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM121
Credits: 3

Digital Illustration

In this course students will create illustrations with industry standard digital software. Concepts and themes developed into visual painted and drawn messages will be explored. Illustrations will be created for print and screen. The process of illustrating an idea or story, from thumbnails to sketching, color and style studies, color comprehensives, to final illustrations, will be presented.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations and Drawing for Observation

Course ID: NM140
Credits: 3

Color Theory

This course offers methods and exercises for the study of color theory using creative software. Exploring color on the computer holds the advantage of speedy experimentation with many color techniques and solutions, as well as immediate application to projects. The digital approach used in this course will give students knowledge and practice that is immediately relevant as the student moves from color study to color application.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM120
Credits: 3

Introduction to Animation

This course introduces students to the 12 basic principles as well as the processes of animation. Student will learn about research, pre-visualization, storyboarding, animatics, character model sheets, and other processes integral to accomplishing a final animated film. Sketches and source imagery are utilized to effectively communicate ideas for time-based media. Documentation techniques are employed to chart progress with character and scene development, as well as cameras and lighting. Students will be able to relate the 12 basic principles to examples from animation history while applying them through hands-on analog and digital projects.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM150
Credits: 3

Interactive Media

This course is a study of the integration of components used in multimedia applications using authoring software. Students use industry-standard software as well as skills developed in earlier coursework to produce interactive projects that incorporate graphics, sound, and interactive elements. Combining multimedia elements into HTML pages are explored. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Animation and Typography

Course ID: NM200
Credits: 3

Audio/Video Editing

Students learn the theory and processes of audio/video editing using non-linear editing software on the desktop. Exercises in production and post-production techniques will be applied for various delivery media. Students produce and edit a series of short videos for video, disk and Internet applications. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM130
Credits: 3

Print Design

This course utilizes techniques associated with designing computer graphics and multi-page and package design for both desktop publishing and digital distribution. Students will learn professional practices in proper file setup, saving and exporting, and delivery. Emphasis is on the exploration of combining illustration, images, and type in an effective manner while working toward industry-standard published files primarily in printed form.

Prerequisite: Typography

Course ID: NM210
Credits: 3

User Experience Design

This course expands on student's knowledge of interactive design learned in earlier course work, exploring interactive design from the perspective of user experience. Metaphors for graphic interfaces and icon design are studied through industry product examples, student practice exercises and projects. Organizing, scoping, planning, design, prototype models, and creating, working and aesthetic interactive experiences of complex informational content through rich multimedia experiences are covered. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-standard design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM222
Credits: 3

Digital Photography

Building upon skills already accomplished in earlier course work, students will advance their skills, aesthetic, and technique in digital image making. Professional artist's sample work will be viewed, analyzed, deconstructed, and discussed in terms of concept, message, technique, and approach. A variety of techniques for digital image-based art making will be demonstrated, explored, and practiced. Images will be combined with typographic and written messages. Image output for print, screen, and broadcast will be presented. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Color Theory

Course ID: NM230
Credits: 3

Career Development

This course is designed to study the personal and professional characteristics necessary for obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. The student will assemble a complete job-seeking portfolio including his/her resume and references, letters of application and appreciation, documentation of work and educational history, and demonstration of skills through examples of student work. The course includes an in-depth study of self-marketing approaches, job interviewing techniques and professionalism as well as participation in a mock interview.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: E242
Credits: 2

Motion Graphics

Moving graphic 2D animation is the primary focus of this course. Students will composite video, digital images, motion graphics, vector and pixel graphics, titles, and kinetic typography into cohesive motion graphics pieces. Narrative and non-narrative form will be explored. Projects include: kinetic logo design, animated PSAs, broadcast titling, and advertising spots. Students will assemble a demo reel of motion work. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Audio/Video Editing

Course ID: NM241
Credits: 3

Digital Media Project

This course is a culmination of a student's accumulated knowledge in narrative and non-narrative digital film creation. Students will produce a proposed film idea from concept to final presentation. Brainstorming, story writing, casting, storyboarding, animatic, character creation, animation, audio and video recording and production, camera techniques, digital capturing/rendering, non-linear editing, post production, titling, compositing, and final output will be evaluated in the final piece. The course will culminate in a screening of final student films.

Prerequisite: Motion Graphics

Course ID: NM251
Credits: 3

Portfolio Development

In this course, students create an industry-quality portfolio consisting of enhanced and updated projects from previous classes as well as newly created projects. Students will create a final portfolio/demo reel using a consistent theme and targeting an intended market based on what career path they are pursuing. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: User Experience Design

Course ID: NM261
Credits: 3

Choose a Specialization

Web & Interactive Design

Fundamentals of Web Design

This course is an introduction to the World Wide Web and the design and development of web sites. It provides a foundation in the planning, designing, and production of web pages through the creation of HTML and CSS using industry-standard web development software. Key components of the course include web design principles, the planning and management of content and structure, optimized image production, web typography and usability.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM132
Credits: 3

User-Centered Web Design

This course builds upon the fundamentals of web development with a focus on user-centered design. Expanding upon basic HTML and style sheets, the student is introduced to best practices, interface design, and the development of flexible, multi-use sites. Usability and accessibility are also explored in greater depth, using advanced web development tools. Needs of the visitor will be examined, including detecting and responding to the visitor's browser, as well as utilizing the advanced media capabilities of HTML5 and CSS.

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Web Design and User Experience Design

Course ID: NM160
Credits: 3

Introduction to Web Scripting

This course introduces the advanced interaction capabilities enabled through the use of client-side scripting languages. Students are introduced to basic logic and programming concepts, with a focus on Javascript and AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML). Enhancement of usability and function are explored and emphasized, with attention on collecting and validating user information and interacting with the site visitor.

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Web Design

Course ID: NM170
Credits: 3

Scripting for Web Servers

This course delves deeper into the power of web development through server-side programming. Building upon Introduction to Web Scripting, the student will explore and interact with server-side databases and collect and manipulate data using general PHP scripting language. Students will create dynamic content for web pages to perform simple calculations, collect visitor information, and interact with basic databases.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Web Scripting

Course ID: NM281
Credits: 3

Mobile Web Design

This course focuses on current trends in web usage, specifically on the expansion of mobile platforms from laptops to tablets and smartphones. Emphasis is placed on responsive design: creating cross-platform web sites that provide equal and optimal usability across a wide range of devices, screen sizes, and resolutions. Various web tools and techniques are utilized to provide a fluid and flexible experience for the web visitor.

Prerequisite: User-Centered Web Design

Course ID: NM290
Credits: 3

Animation & Motion Graphics

Figure Drawing

Basics of structure and anatomy of the human figure will be introduced with a strong emphasis on gesture and the drawing of actions and kinetics. Students will explore drawing a stationary human figure as well as figures moving while dressed in flowing costumes and figures performing basic movements. The development of visual acuity and professionalism in criticism of artwork will play a key role in the course.

Prerequisite: Digital Illustration

Corequisite Digital Illustration

Course ID: NM100
Credits: 3

3D Modeling

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of 3-dimensional modeling. Students learn basic modeling techniques, texture, lighting, and environmental effects, to create forms based on observed objects, as well as student's original concepts. Basic constructs are covered such as: primitive objects, polygon modeling, nurbs, booleans, extrusions, lofting, revolving/lathing, software interface navigation, model exporting and rendering. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-standard 3D design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM114
Credits: 3

3D Lighting, Texturing & Rendering

Expanding upon prior experience with 3D modeling and animation, students will take a deeper look into the specifics of lighting, texturing, and rendering. Advanced texturing techniques and methods, in combination with best practices for lighting various model scenarios, will be explored and then further refined through examining output from multiple renderers.

Prerequisite: 3D Modeling

Course ID: NM123
Credits: 3

3D Animation

Building upon knowledge of 3D modeling and rendering and 3D animation from earlier coursework, this course will focus on advancing 3D animation skills, techniques, and proficiencies towards creating an animated digital short film. Emphasis on refining application of the 12 animation principles, life-like animation, forward and inverse kinematics, scene staging, and camera work. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-standard 3D design software.

Prerequisite: 3D Lighting, Texturing and Rendering

Course ID: NM142
Credits: 3

Character Modeling

This course is designed to refine skills in 3D character creation and effects. During this course students will explore advanced 3D modeling and animation theory and principles that focus on character animation as it applies to the gaming environment. Specifically, these principles and theories are applied to the context of interactive narratives and video games. Students will engage in the study of character posing and rigging for games, advanced animation, and morphing, blending, and similar techniques to create more expressive characters. This course will further prepare a student for industry certification in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Prerequisite: Figure Drawing and 3D Lighting, Texturing and Rendering

Course ID: NM270
Credits: 3

General Education Courses

Lower Division

English Composition (Required Course)

English Composition

This course is designed to guide students in understanding the writing process and developing their ability to write and express ideas in an organized, unified, and coherent manner. Students will produce college-level writing that reflects awareness of rhetorical strategies, writing purpose, student voice, and appropriate grammar, punctuation, and usage skills. Through reading, writing, discussion, research, and collaboration, students will practice effective writing and apply course concepts.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G124
Credits: 4

Communication (Select 1 Course)

English Composition 2

This course builds on students' understanding of the writing process through an exploration of various writing strategies and research. Students will analyze readings and apply critical reading and writing skills. This course will develop argumentative writing and application of research.

Prerequisite: English Composition

Course ID: G126A
Credits: 4

Introduction to Communication

The course will introduce students to basic models and theories of the communication process. Students will learn about a variety of elements involved in communication. They will also explore how factors such as race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and gender influence communication. Students will focus on developing an awareness of the effects of various types of communication on themselves and others. They will also develop practical skills for improving their ability to communicate in personal, social and professional contexts. Specific topics will include perception, self-concept, verbal and nonverbal communication, effective listening and communicating in culturally diverse settings.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G141
Credits: 4

Oral Communication

This course will present students with a broad understanding of communication in a variety of contexts. Students will learn the processes and strategies of oral communication by exploring speech anxiety, audience analysis, and organizational speech patterns. Students will research, use supporting materials, and use effective language to develop and present a narrative, informative and persuasive speech.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G227
Credits: 4

Math/Natural Sciences (Select 2 courses, Math required)

Structure and Function of the Human Body

This course provides a working knowledge of the structure and function of the human body. A general introduction to cells and tissues is followed by study of the anatomy and physiology of the skeletal and muscular systems. The student is introduced to the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine systems.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G150
Credits: 4

Scientific Literacy

In this course students will explore the role that science plays in the world. Students will survey different natural sciences such as: biology, health sciences, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology; as well as analyze specific case studies from these fields. Throughout the course students will develop their scientific reasoning skills. They will learn about the scientific method as well as how to detect common fallacies and misuses of science.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G152
Credits: 4

General Education Mathematics

This course introduces students to topics from modern mathematics that are relevant to everyday life and not typically covered in the standard college math sequence. Students will be exposed to a variety of mathematical tools from diverse branches of mathematics. They will utilize these tools to solve interesting real-world problems. Topics may include, but are not limited to, game theory, graph theory, the mathematics of growth, applications of geometry, probability, and statistics.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G180
Credits: 4

Introduction to Human Biology

Students will explore fundamental concepts of human biology. They will examine cell structure and function, body systems, and biochemistry. They will also learn basic concepts of genetics and evolution. Students will explore the relationship of human populations and the ecosystem. Students will complete laboratory exercise coordinated with course content.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G215
Credits: 4

College Algebra

This course provides students with the skills to achieve mastery of algebraic terminology and applications including, but not limited to, real number operations, variables, polynomials, integer exponents, graphs, factoring, quadratic equations, and word problems.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G233
Credits: 4

Introduction to Astronomy

Examines astronomical phenomena and concepts, including the solar system, stars and galaxies, planetary motions, atoms and radiation, and the origin and evolution of the universe.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G239
Credits: 4

Introduction to Geology

Examines basic geologic principles from a physical or historical perspective. Includes such topics as the formation of rocks and minerals; internal and external processes modifying the earth's surface and phenomena; and the evolutionary history of the earth, including its life forms, oceans and atmosphere.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G245
Credits: 4

Humanities (Required Course*, Select 1 additional course)

Art Appreciation

Students will examine the historical, social, and technological factors that contribute to understanding the function and meaning of art in this course. Using a global and thematic approach, students will be introduced to the basic elements of art, while learning about a full range of media used to make art, and the fundamental concepts of art criticism. Western and non-Western art is represented, with a strong emphasis on a global perspective in relation to culture, communication, politics, and economics.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G147*
Credits: 4


This course investigates human creative achievement. It is designed to increase the student's understanding and appreciation of cultural literacy and the pursuit of humanitarian goals. Representative disciplines may include art, music, literature, architecture, drama, and philosophy.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G125
Credits: 4

Film Appreciation

Students will study different elements, forms, techniques and styles of film and will learn a critical approach to film and the motion picture industry. Students will critique films and filmmakers through various approaches and assessments that demonstrate analysis, interpretation, and evaluation skills as well as fostering a deeper appreciation and understanding of film as an art form.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G145
Credits: 4

Creative Writing

This course will develop the student's talents in creative writing. Various forms of writing will be studied, such as short stories, novels, poems, plays and non-fiction. Works by students and others will be critiqued. Students will also develop editorial skills so that each writer may revise and improve his/her work. Students will compose a minimum of 6000 words over the course of the program.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G201
Credits: 4

Introduction to Critical Thinking

A study of the rules of valid judging and reasoning, both inductive and deductive, in a traditional, language-centered context rather than a symbolic context. Logical analysis of both formal and informal fallacies and of the consistency and logical consequences of a given set of statements. Logical analysis is applied to concrete problems dealing with our knowledge of reality.

Prerequisite: English Composition

Course ID: G224
Credits: 4

Introduction to Literature

This course offers an introduction to the most common literary genres: fiction, poetry, drama, and literary non-fiction. Students will study the basic elements of each genre, learn how to compare genres, become familiar with sample texts that illustrate the particularities of each genre, and practice the skills of analyzing and writing about literary texts. Reading and analysis of texts will include a variety of literary forms and periods. Students will engage in approaches to determine literary meaning, form, and value.

Prerequisite: none [English Composition recommended]

Course ID: G230
Credits: 4

Conversational Spanish

This course focuses on common words and phrases students need to develop a working vocabulary which will enable them to communicate with Spanish-speaking individuals in their personal and professional lives. Although oral communication is stressed, included is an overview of Spanish grammar, phonetic pronunciation and Hispanic culture.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G238
Credits: 4

Social Sciences (Select 2 Courses)

Principles of Economics

Introduction to national income theories, price theories and behavior of the firm under varying economic conditions. Includes the economic roles of business, government and households; economic fluctuations and growth; money and banking; and international economics.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G123
Credits: 4

Introduction to Sociology

This course introduces students to basic sociology terms and concepts. Students will understand how to apply sociological concepts and theories and analyze the structure and relationships of social institutions and the process of social change. Students will explore a variety of topics of sociological interest, including socialization, social inequality, social movements, and the impact of technology and social change on society.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G142
Credits: 4

Human Geography

This course will introduce students to the systematic study of patterns and processes that have shaped human understanding, use, and alteration of Earth's surface. Students will employ spatial concepts and landscape analysis to examine human social organization and its environmental consequences.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G146
Credits: 4

General Psychology

This course will provide students with a general understanding of basic methodologies, concepts, theories, and practices in contemporary psychology. Areas of investigation may include the goals and research methodologies of psychology, the science of the brain, theories of human development and intelligence, concepts of motivation and emotions, the science of sensation and perceptions, and the current practices pertaining to psychological disorders, therapies, and treatments.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G148
Credits: 4

Technology and Society

Students will examine the relationships, benefits, historical significance, and effects technology has on society. This course will investigate the local, national and global impact of technology on both individual and global cultures. This course introduces students to basic diversity and technology terms and concepts. Students will examine the influences that emerging technologies have on diversity awareness, the digital divide, and intercultural knowledge.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G149
Credits: 4

Understanding Cultures

This course is a comparative study of societies and cultures around the world and the cultures within the United States, focusing on the effects of ethnicity and race on African Americans, Latino, Asian American and Native Americans living in the United States. Topics include family, marriage, power, religion, values, inequality, social organization, language, social stratification, economic processes, conflicts and cultural and social change over time. Examples will be drawn from Africa, South America, North America, Asia and the Pacific Islands.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G200
Credits: 4


In this course, students will learn the fundamentals of macroeconomics, which deals with the economy as a whole. An overview of the American economy will be explored through a study of basic supply and demand analysis and a review of fiscal and monetary policy to phases of the business cycle. Unemployment, inflation, GDP, and policy decisions which affect the American economy at home and abroad will be covered.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G203
Credits: 4


Students will be introduced to the field of microeconomics in this course, including theories of production, determination of prices, and distribution of income in regulated and unregulated industries. Other topics may include industrial relations, monopolies, and comparative economic systems.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G204
Credits: 4

American/U.S. National Government

This course presents the development and evolution of the American national government with emphasis on the structures and processes of our representative democracy, including its ties to culture, politics and policies, political parties, and state and local governments.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G242
Credits: 4

United States History: 1900 to the Present

This course provides an overview of the history of the United States during the 20th century up until the present day. The political, social, and economic aspects of this time will be explored amid a variety of human cultures, values, and perspectives within the United States.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G270
Credits: 4

Total AA Degree Credits

General Education Credits: 32

Major and Core Credits: 44

Specialization Credits: 15

Total AA Degree Credits: 91

* Credit totals do not include Foundation Courses.  Students must either demonstrate mastery of the subject matter in Foundation Courses through a Rasmussen College entrance placement exam or by successful completion of Foundation Courses.

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