A/I Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How do I apply for the Animation/Illustration Program?
A: Please click here for complete information on SJSU Admissions.
Q: Is there a portfolio review for admission?
A: At this time, there is no portfolio review for admission.
Q: What do you teach in your program?
A: Our courses focus on training our students for employment in the screen arts; film, television, gaming, and internet based entertainment in one of four disciplines; animation (2D & 3D), concept art, 3D modeling, and storyboarding.
Q: Can I study to do children’s books or comic books?
A: Although our students graduate with the skills to go into children’s books and comic
books, there is no direct focus on those disciplines. All of our students are required
to study drawing, painting, 2D & 3D animation, and modeling before deciding on an
area of focus.
A: No, because students can generally only take two A/I courses per semester, they should spread out their GE classes and electives over the five years, so they always have enough units to remain a full-time student (for insurance and student loans).
Q: What should I take in Junior/Community College to prepare? What classes transfer from my Junior/Community College?
A: Any drawing, painting, animation, CG classes are good preparation for transferring to SJSU, though they are not transferrable for credit. Currently there are very few classes (Acting and Art History) that are transferrable to the SJSU A/I Program. Lists are available here.
Q: How much do art supplies cost?
A: Aside from computers and software, first semester class supplies can range between $400 - $600. Our program works with an art supplier so that class supply packets are available for purchase during the first week of classes. These supplies are sold for much lower rates compared to retail prices. Typically, supply costs become significantly lower after the first two semesters.
Q: What type of computer will I need?
A: Our students use both PCs and Macs; go with what you are most comfortable. Laptops are a necessity, as many students are required to work in class. Computers should be fast enough to run the minimum system requirements for Maya and Photoshop.
Q: What computer programs will I need?
A: Required programs vary with classes. Standard ones include but are not limited to Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. The Adobe Suite is available at reduced rates through the university and this year, Adobe permitted students to download a version of the Adobe Suite for free.
Q: Do I need to pass a portfolio review to enter as a Freshman/Transfer student?
A: Currently, no.
Q: How long does it take to get through the program?
A: Currently, for students entering in the fall semester, the SJSU A/I Program takes five years to complete.
Q: Why does it take so long to get through the program?
A: Because of the intense course content, after the first semester, students generally cannot successfully take more than two A/I classes per semester. Therefore, they need to be spread out over five years.
A: The program allows for four areas of concentration: story, visual development, 3-D modeling, and animation.
Q: When do I choose my concentration?
A: Students typically choose their concentration in their third, fourth or fifth year.
Q: Does that mean that I have to try all areas before making up my mind?
A: All students are required to take courses that use skills in story, visual development, 3-D modeling and animation.
Q: Can I opt to only focus on one type of class; animation, visual development, storyboarding, or modeling?
A: No, all of our students are required to take the same beginning classes in drawing, painting, animation, and modeling. Towards their junior year, they begin to focus in one of the four disciplines.
Q: Can I have a concentration in just 2-D animation?
A: No, all A/I students learn skills in both 2-D and 3-D animation.
Q: Is it possible to complete the A/I program without using 3-D digital technology?
A: No, all A/I students must learn 3-D computer skills.
Q: Is it possible to complete the A/I program without taking traditional drawing classes?
A: No, all A/I students must learn to draw proficiently using traditional methods.
A. Currently, students are required to pass a review before registering for upper-division classes requiring drawing proficiency. Students that pass the review must then pass a sketchbook assignment over the winter or summer break after being accepted.
Q. When do I apply for the Review?
A. Students typically apply for the review after the fourth or fifth semester of taking A/I classes.
Q. What kind of work should I submit for the Review?
A. Selected work from all of your previous A/I courses. Complete details on how to apply
for the Review are available here and will be discussed in your classes.
Q: What happens if I do not pass the portfolio review?
A: A high percentage of students do pass the review but those who do not will schedule a meeting with an A/I advisor to discuss what alternative course of study best suits their skills.
A. SJSU A/I graduates find employment in games, feature film, and television.
SJSU A/I graduates have screen credits on more than 80 major motion pictures including Artificial Intelligence (A.I.), Atlantis, Avatar, Brave, Beowulf, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Bewitched, Bringing Out the Dead, A Bug’s Life, Cars, Cars 2, Clash of the Titans, Cloverfield, Curious George, Drag Me to Hell, Dreamcatcher, The Emperor’s New Groove, Eight Crazy Nights, Eragon, Finding Nemo, Flag of Our Fathers, The Frog and the Princess, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Hellboy, Home on the Range, Horton Hears a Who, How to Train Your Dragon, The Hulk, Ice Age, Ice Age III, The Incredibles, Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull, Iron Giant, Iron Man, The Island, Joseph: King of Dreams, Magnolia, Mission To Mars, The Mummy, The Mummy Returns, Osmosis Jones, Lemony Snickett: A series of Unfortunate Events, Madagascar I, Madagascar II, Madagasgar III, Men in Black II, Mirror, Mirror, Mission Impossible III, Monsters, Inc., Peabody and Sherman (forthcoming), Peter Pan, Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Poseidon, Punch Drunk Love, Rango, Ratatouille, Salt, Shrek II, Shrek III, Shrek Forever After, Signs, The Simpsons, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, Space Cowboys, The Spiderwick Chronicles, Star Wars Episode I, Star Wars Episode II, Star Wars Episode III, Terminator III, The Tale of Despereaux, The Tigger Movie, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, The Twlight Saga: New Moon, Toy Story, Toy Story II, Toy Story III, The Twilight Saga: New Moon, Up, Van Hellsing, Wall-E, War of the Worlds, Where the Wild Things Are.
A: For all general information about the Animation/ Illustration Program please contact
Art Building 120
A/I advisor contact information is available here.