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Animation Classes San Diego

Unleash your creativity and master the art of animation with a diverse range of video animation classes in San Diego. Learn the fundamentals of animation techniques, software tools, and design principles, and bring your ideas to life with stunning visual effects.

2 classes in-person in San Diego have spots left, and 18 classes live online are available.

Motion Graphics Certificate

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Become a skilled Motion Graphics Designer and master the art of animating motion graphics, creating visual effects, and editing videos using industry-standard software like Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Cinema 4D Lite. Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your creative techniques and gain the skills needed to meet the growing demand for video professionals.

Monday, Mar 4th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (16 sessions)

$3,495

16 sessions

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After Effects Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Discover the secrets of creating captivating motion graphics and animations in this comprehensive course. Gain hands-on experience with real-world projects and learn from a leading instructor, as you delve into techniques like motion tracking and animating 3D layers. Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop recommended.

Tuesday, Mar 12th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Premiere Pro Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of professional video editing with Premiere Pro. Learn how to import, organize, and edit footage, enhance audio and video quality, add effects and titles, and much more. Take your video editing skills to the next level with this comprehensive course.

Wednesday, Apr 24th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Film Editing Techniques Masterclass

Pitch to Screen® Education

Enhance your editing skills with our instructor-led masterclass in Adobe Premiere Pro. Gain proficiency in essential tools, motion graphics, audio editing, color correction, and media exporting. Elevate your content creation and editing capabilities in just 3 hours.

Wednesday, Feb 21st, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

After Effects Advanced

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Take your After Effects skills to the next level with this advanced course at Noble Desktop. Master text and shape animations, learn video compositing techniques, and discover how to speed up your workflow with expressions. Enhance your motion graphics and compositing skills with hands-on projects in this immersive course.

Tuesday, Mar 5th, 6–9pm Eastern Time

 (6 sessions)

$975

6 sessions

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After Effects in a Day

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Learn how to create stunning animations, add music and sounds, and import files from Illustrator and Photoshop in this hands-on workshop at Noble Desktop. Perfect for beginners looking to master After Effects in just one day.

Cinema 4D in After Effects Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Unlock the power of 3D graphics in your After Effects projects with this immersive hands-on course. Learn to create and animate stunning 3D models, apply textures, and seamlessly integrate with After Effects using Cinema 4D Lite. Expand your skill set and take your motion projects to new heights.

Monday, Mar 25th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Video Editing Certificate

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing, audio editing, and motion graphics at a leading institution. Learn the creative techniques and workflow required to transform concepts into fully edited videos. Elevate your skills and stand out to potential clients or employers with a compelling video editing demo reel.

Monday, Mar 4th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (13 sessions)

$2,995

13 sessions

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Premiere Pro Advanced

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Take your Premiere Pro skills to the next level with this advanced training. Discover hidden features, create custom transitions and effects, and master editing for social media and broadcast. Enhance your videos with sound fx and ambient audio, and tackle action sequences like a pro.

Thursday, Mar 7th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$695

2 sessions

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Premiere Pro in a Day

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing in just one day with this intensive course from Noble Desktop. Unlock the full potential of Premiere Pro as you learn to create captivating videos for social media and other platforms. Say goodbye to complicated editing software and hello to professional-quality videos.

Monday, May 13th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

Adobe Premiere Pro 101 (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the ins and outs of Adobe Premiere Pro software in this comprehensive online course. Gain essential skills to efficiently craft your story with high-performance video production tools, collaborate with ease, and deliver professional-quality content across various platforms. Get ready to take your video editing skills to the next level.

Monday, Feb 26th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,295

3 sessions

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Adobe Premiere Pro 201 (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Master the art of video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro in this comprehensive online course. Learn the interface, tools, and production flow of this revolutionary software used in major motion pictures worldwide. Take your editing skills to the next level and gain precise control over every aspect of your production.

Thursday, Feb 29th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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Premiere Pro Bootcamp

NYC Career Centers - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing with Premiere Pro, the industry-standard tool of choice. From novice to advanced user, this hands-on bootcamp at NYC Career Centers will take you on a journey through the world of filmmaking and video editing, giving you the skills to create stunning projects.

Monday, Mar 4th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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After Effects Fundamentals

Training Connection @ Online

Master the powerful program Adobe After Effects and learn all the tools and skills needed for creating special effects and motion graphics in this hands-on course at Training Connection. Suitable for graphic and video professionals looking to enhance their editing and compositing abilities, this course offers both beginners and experienced users the opportunity to learn and practice through various projects and tricks. No prior experience with After Effects is required.

Monday, Feb 26th, 9am–4pm Pacific Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,495

3 sessions

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After Effects Bootcamp

Training Connection @ Online

Learn how to create stunning special effects and motion graphics in this comprehensive After Effects course at Training Connection. Perfect for graphic and video professionals looking to enhance their editing and compositing skills, this hands-on bootcamp covers everything from basic animation to advanced concepts like 3D and particle simulations. No prior experience with After Effects is required.

Monday, Feb 26th, 9am–4pm Pacific Time

 (5 sessions)

$1,995

5 sessions

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Adobe After Effects Level I (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the essentials of Adobe After Effects for motion graphics and visual effects with this introductory online course. Discover traditional After Effects workflow, basic animation techniques, keying, and 3D effects. Gain the skills needed to create compelling motion graphics and visual effects.

Monday, Mar 18th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,295

3 sessions

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Basic Fundamentals of CINEMA 4D (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the essential skills to create stunning 3D animations and models with Cinema 4D. This online course from Manhattan Edit Workshop is designed for VFX artists and editors looking to incorporate 3D objects into their video work. Gain a solid foundation in navigating the program, manipulating objects, working with textures and lights, and compositing models into video scenes.

Friday, Mar 1st, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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After Effects Advanced

NYC Career Centers - Virtually Online

Take your After Effects skills to new heights with this advanced course. Master text animations, create seamless transitions, and delve into the world of motion graphics. Elevate your projects from design to delivery.

Tuesday, Mar 5th, 6–9pm Eastern Time

 (6 sessions)

$975

6 sessions

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Adobe After Effects Level III (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Enhance your Adobe After Effects skills with an advanced class covering alphas, formatting, rendering, 3D features, Photoshop integration, Cinema 4D, particles, paint effects, color correction, and more. Perfect for producers, editors, and motion graphic artists looking to master the intricacies of After Effects.

Saturday, Mar 23rd, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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Adobe After Effects Level II (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Take your motion graphics skills to the next level with a two-day intermediate class at Manhattan Edit Workshop. Learn industry-standard practices for creating stunning visuals in Adobe After Effects. Enhance your movies with text, graphics, and effects and gain a high level of efficiency in your work.

Thursday, Mar 21st, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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Animation Classes in San Diego are rated 4.6 stars based on 1,305 verified reviews from purchasers.

Discover the Best Animation Classes in San Diego

The first words spoken by Mickey Mouse (and, surprisingly, not voiced by Walt Disney) waited until Mickey’s ninth cartoon short, The Karnival Kid, from 1929. And what are his famous first words? Believe it or not, it’s a pedestrian “hot dogs! hot dogs!.” as he makes the round of a carnival pushing a hot dog stand that sports a quartet of highly anthropomorphic frankfurters that bark, scratch, and move of their own volition. (As such, the cartoon gets very disturbing when Minnie goes to take a bite out of one of the hot dogs, although it does manage to escape before she can actually get her teeth into it.)

Animation is the process whereby a mouse with opposable thumbs and his hot dogs can be brought to life. Yes, the illusion of life was as yet a bit tenuous in 1929, but Mickey and the hot dogs nonetheless are seemingly endowed with souls (the Latin for soul being anima) thanks to an optical illusion that science hasn’t fully explained. The human eye can distinguish some 10 to 12 different images in the space of a second. If you go over that threshold, the brain jumps in and creates an illusion of continuity between the images. Thus if you make a series of drawings of Mickey Mouse, each one with him in a slightly different position, and then exhibit them at the rate of 12 drawings per second or above, Mickey will appear to come to life and move.

Back in 1929, those drawings had to be painstakingly created by hand with pencil and paper and then just as painstakingly transferred into ink on cels, which were then photographed onto regular 24-frames-per-second motion picture film, two frames per drawing. This was (allowing for the advent of color) how animated cartoons and movies would be made for the next seventy-five years. Not until 1991, with Beauty and the Beast, did the House of the Mouse begin using computers to assist with the animating duties, although only four years after that did upstart studio Pixar forever change animation with the release of Toy Story, the first fully “3D” computer animated feature.

Since then, animation has shifted entirely to the computer, and specialized software, tablets, and styli have replaced pencils, paper, pens, ink, and paint. Being an animator nearly a century after Mickey Mouse’s first cartoons requires a great deal of specialized computer knowledge, so much so that many animators today hold four-year college degrees in computer animation. There is considerable science behind the computer-generated imagery (CGI) that has not only replaced hand animation but also much of the special effects work in nominally live-action motion pictures. Whereas an elaborate series of full-size sets and models had to be built—and destroyed—by MGM to recreate the earthquake in San Francisco (1936), today’s special effects artists can whip all manner of mayhem with a few mouse clicks.

As computer-generated graphics have evolved, less complex software options have appeared on the market, some of which place animation within the grasp of ordinary mortals who lack computer animation degrees. Using programs such as Adobe After Effects, you can create animation for social media and other commercial purposes. The software isn’t powerful enough to make a state-of-the-art animated motion picture, but you very likely could recreate The Karnival Kid using After Effects, assuming you’re up to capturing the weirdness of Mickey’s singing hot dogs and Clarabelle the Cow floating through the air and making faces into the camera.

Best Animation Classes & Schools in San Diego

Although the Animation Mecca of the United States is only a highly unpleasant three-plus hour drive from downtown San Diego, you don’t need to drive to Hollywood every day to learn how to create motion graphics using a computer. You can remain in San Diego and have a wide variety of study options at your fingertips, thanks to the marvels of the internet and a whole portfolio of available live online classes. These bring the learning to a convenient location of your choice over a teleconferencing platform such as Zoom, and include real-time interaction with an instructor who teaches live, just as in a brick-and-mortar classroom.

Based out of New York City, where it also offers in-person classes, Noble Desktop is an online IT school that provides a Motion Graphics Certificate program for those interested in acquiring in-depth knowledge of how to create motion graphics and edit them into a finished product using After Effects, Cinema 4D Lite and PremierePro. Also included in the course is time and guidance for developing the demo reel that you can show to prospective employers after you’ve finished your education. The program runs for 17 sessions, and tuition includes 1-to-1 mentoring sessions with established career professionals, as well as a free retake option. Note that the component modules of the certificate program, including the Motion Graphics & Video Editing Portfolio Development module, may be taken individually as well.

A further New York-based option for learning motion graphics using After Effects is Manhattan Edit Workshop, a school that began by teaching the mechanics of video editing, but subsequently branched out to become, among other things, an Adobe Authorized Training Center. The school teaches an Adobe After Effects Level 1 course that, in the space of three days, teaches students the theory of motion graphics, keyframes, layers, masks, animating text, and the essentials of rendering and output. Manhattan Edit Workshop also teaches Level 2 and Level 3 classes for those interested in deeper dives into the After Effects pool.

If waking up in time for a six o’clock class on the West Coast (since that’s what nine a.m. classes in New York amount to) isn’t an appealing prospect, Digital Workshop Center in Fort Collins offers a more timezone-friendly option. The school, which specializes in training non-traditional students (including those who haven’t been to school for a while), teaches a Video Design certificate program that offers instruction in both PremierePro and After Effects. You can also choose to devote four weekday mornings and your existing knowledge of Photoshop to Adobe After Effects For Beginners (Level 1), an introduction to motion graphics software that will have you creating simple animation suitable for social media and beyond. There is a follow-up class, Adobe After Effects Advanced (Level 2), that goes into greater depth with the software’s functionality, including such useful functions as the Roto Brush Tool, the Puppet Tool, and the 3D Camera Tracker. Should you chance to be in the neighborhood, the class may also be taken at Digital Workshop Center’s school in Fort Collins, Colorado.

If you’re looking for a shorter class in After Effects, you may wish to consider After Effects in a Day from NYC Career Centers. The class will have you up at 7:00 a.m., it’s true, but six hours later, you’ll be conversant with the essential functions of After Effects and be able to create your very own motion graphics and animated logos.

A very different possibility for learning to create motion graphics is on offer from Future Media Concepts, another New York-based school that offers, in addition to training in Adobe programs such as After Effects, a Motion 101 -- An Introduction to Motion 5. Motion 5 is the motion graphics complement to Final Cut Pro X, Apple’s answer to Adobe’s Premiere Pro. The class meets for three all-day weekday sessions and teaches students to create titles, effects, and transitions using different but comparably powerful software.

San Diego Industries That Use Animation

Newspaper editor Horace Greeley may or may not have said, “Go west, young man”—a piece of advice that it would be hard to give anyone in San Diego. The advice a San Diego newspaper editor might give someone seeking to make a career in animation would be instead, “Go north, young man” – north meaning up the I-5 and to Los Angeles, where so much of the entertainment industry is centered. Certainly, if you are intent on making a career in the cinematic uses of animation, that is advice to follow, although that’s also not to say that an animator won’t be able to find work in America’s Finest City.

San Diego is home to a number of animation studios that work mainly to create commercial animation and motion graphics, most especially for social media, where a zippy visual presence is essential if a product is to make its point. Animation has many uses today, and, as such, studios have sprung up all over the country, the country’s fifth most populous county being no exception. Animators in these studios work either directly with clients seeking to bring some visual zing to their brand or with advertising agencies that have the zing part down, but lack the ken to turn it into something visual. No, it’s not making motion pictures or blowing up some latter-day Death Star, but it’s work designing motion graphics that can be both creative and satisfying.

Animation Jobs & Salaries in San Diego

Category 27-1014.00 in the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reckoning of job descriptions is assigned to both animators and special effects artists, a reflection of the role CGI plays in the creation of special effects that were once the province of set builders and people who knew how to blow things up safely. O*net Online, a further government database designed primarily to assist job seekers, divides the BLS category into more specific job titles. Those include 2D animator, 3D animator, as well as such professional monikers as digital artist and graphic artist.

Elsewhere on the BLS database, 2022 figures for the San Diego/Carlsbad area reveal that 460 people were employed there in category 27-1014.00 jobs. That doesn’t seem a particularly large number, but it does make for a healthy location quotient of 1.27. The gist of that is that you’re more likely to find a job in animation in San Diego than the national average (which is a location quotient of 1.) Far worse places for employment in animation exist (Miami has a location quotient of 0.31, for example), although you’ll have difficulty ignoring the 9.71 location quotient for animators in that megalopolis up the coast. The mean salary for animators in the San Diego/Carlsbad area is $115,500 per annum, which stacks up well compared to the national median wage for animators, which weighs in at $99,000. The figure also stacks up well against the $69,000 average salary for all San Diegans.

You’ll have to judge those healthy salary numbers by the very substantial cost of living in San Diego, which is estimated to be 44% higher than the national average, not least of all because the cost of housing is a gargantuan 123% higher than that national average (with numbers like that, having groceries cost 12% more than the national average seems trivial.) Petco Park, a site worth seeing even if you’re not a baseball fan, even has the third most expensive hot dogs in MLB: Padres fans play $7.75, although some stations at the stadium do offer free chili and cheese sauces to put on it. That’s quite a bit more than Mickey Mouse was charging for his anthropomorphic hot dogs back in 1929.

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