The words Disney and animation are frequently used in the same sentence to describe the best animated features. Walt Disney, a pioneer and innovator, created Mickey Mouse, an animation favorite. His imagination and positive outlook made him a modern hero. Disney's animated features included "Fantasia" and "Bambi." The California Institute of the Arts in California was founded and created by Walt Disney in the early 1960s. There are art schools whose students have found animation work at Disney Animators and there are the student programs at Walt Disney Animation Studios.

A Career in Animation

The animator draws storyboards, designs an animated environment and designs characters. An animator is an artist and needs artistic ability. They also need to be able to tell a story; they need theatrical ability. Animators portray characters' emotions, and they have to understand character development. Current computer generator technology requires technical skill and software knowledge. Animators work in teams and they must have the facility to work with other people.

The California Institute of the Arts

Walt Disney established the California Institute of Art in Valencia in 1961. It grants Bachelor of Fine Arts, the Master of Fine Arts and a Doctor of Musical Arts degrees. Students at CalArts work intensely in their fields. CalArts' school and degree programs include the School of Art, the School of Film/Video and the School of Theater, among others.

Other Art Schools

There are many art school programs, while not affiliated with Disney, that have fundamental art preparation that is necessary for Disney animators. The undergraduate program at the School of Visual Arts in New York offers degrees in animation, cartooning and many others. The bachelor's degree is four years and full time. The Rhode Island School of Design, founded in 1877, grants degrees in 29 fields, including film/animation/video. The school awards bachelor's and master's degrees. Rhode Island has galleries, exhibitions, a museum, a library and a nature lab.

Walt Disney Animation Studios

The Talent Development and Associate Programs at Disney Animation Studios give students a chance to work behind the scenes. The studios' two tracks take undergraduates and recent college graduates through the art of filmmaking and animation. Students work under a mentor at Disney's offices in Burbank, Calif. Disney's 10-week Art and Production Associate Program allows students to work closely with the Academy at Disney Animation. The Talent Associate Program is three to six months long and allows students to work on specific projects. Applications are due at various times of the year.