What Will I Learn in Special Effects Classes?

Get an overview of topics covered in classes for both visual and physical special effects. Learn about online and campus-based degree programs that include special effects classes. Schools offering Animation degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Types of Special Effects Classes Can I Take?

Special effects are visual tricks that help tell a story in films, theatre, and video games. Classes in special effects typically focus on either visual or physical effects. Visual effects involve the manipulation and creation of on-screen images and are sometimes called optical or photographic effects. Physical effects tend to involve props, makeup, prosthetics, and animatronics. Descriptions of some of the classes you can find in special effects are provided below.

Graphic Design

In a graphic design course, you can learn about the principles of typographic design and illustration. The instructor may cover topics such as how to solve visual problems, experimental print projects, how to use design applications, and the relationships between content, meaning, form, and function.

Motion Graphics

Students in motion graphics courses learn advanced skills in digital artwork techniques. Animation, visual effects for multiple entertainment medias, and techniques used to adjust color and other image settings are topics that may be covered in this course.

Prosthetics for Film and Television

Prosthetics classes teach students how to create makeup effects using prosthetics such as silicone and latex. Students typically work in a lab setting with different materials and tools to practice the techniques used to bring fantastic characters to life.

Clothing Design

Clothing design students generally learn how to create costumes to properly interpret character. Topics of learning might include pattern alternation, specialty fabrics, hand and machine sewing, and embellishment techniques.

3D Design

In three-dimensional design courses, students learn the principles used in character sculpting and construction. Students may learn about modeling, lighting, texture, and character posing. They may also create animations and virtual environments.

How Can I Learn About Special Effects?

Special effects classes are offered at trade schools and at the undergraduate/graduate level by community colleges, art and design schools, and colleges and universities. Production design programs are available as Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) and Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degrees. Digital arts classes are common in a BFA in Computer Arts & Design or a BFA in Graphic Design. Other degree programs include an Associate of Arts, BFA, or MFA in Animation and Visual Effects; courses can also be found in film and television production programs.

What Special Effects Skills Can I Learn Online?

You can take online classes to develop visual effects skills, such as computer graphics, visual effects technology, animation, modelling and painting for visual effects, lighting, digital sculpting, Photoshop, and others. To study special effects classes online, you'll need a computer with high-speed Internet access and the ability to participate in video demonstrations and interactive technology. You might also need game development and animation software programs that enable you to perform keying and compositing functions, such as Autodesk Maya or FXhome.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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  • Full Sail University

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  • Independence University

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  • Southern New Hampshire University

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  • Maryville University

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  • Grand Canyon University

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  • New England College

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  • CDI College

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    • Anywhere: Anjou, Laval, Longueuil, Montreal, Point Claire
  • Colorado Christian University

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