A 3D Graphics & Animation student at a work station in CU Denver's Digital Animation Center.
A 3D Graphics & Animation student working on a design in the Digital Animation Center.

CU Denver’s Guide to 3D Graphics and Animation Jobs

November 13, 2023

If you dream of bringing characters to life, creating breathtaking visual effects, or designing immersive virtual worlds, there’s a pathway to combine your interests with animation jobs. The world of animation is dynamic and ever evolving and offers endless opportunities for people with a knack for storytelling through visuals. 

As 3D graphics technology advances and computational processing power continues to improve, animation jobs are projected to grow in the coming years and the median pay is more than $98,000 a year. CU Denver’s 3D Graphics & Animation program is nurturing the next generation of visionaries in the field. Are you ready to turn your passion into a career? 

CU Denver’s 3D Graphics & Animation Program 

The 3D Graphics & Animation program, nestled within the College of Arts & Media, is a top-ranked and tech-enabled creative powerhouse, that helps students excel in the fields of animation, visual effects, game art, and digital storytelling.  

A 3D Graphics & Animation student works on a design in the Digital Animation Center.
A 3D Graphics & Animation student works in the Digital Animation Center, which has views of downtown Denver and the Front Range.

CU Denver’s program offers a Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Digital Animation, and provides a comprehensive curriculum that covers animation techniques, character design, 3D modeling, and storytelling. Learners complete a capstone project that brings all of these skills together. Students also have access to advanced courses in visual effects, motion graphics, and interactive media. 

What Sets CU Denver’s 3D Graphics & Animation Program Apart? 

High-Tech Facilities: The program provides students with innovative tech and resources, including the Digital Animation Center (DAC). The DAC exposes students to industry software like Maya, ZBrush, Houdini, and Toon Boom Harmony. Program Director Jeremy Brown said that the program is developing minors like Virtual Production, and Game Art and Design to stay on top of industry tech trends. “[In the DAC], we have around 100 workstations accessible to students at just about all hours of the day,” Brown said. “The machines that we have for students are way more powerful than I was ever given in industry.” 

Expert Faculty: Faculty members bring years of high-level professional experience into the classroom. CU Denver’s 3D Graphics & Animation faculty have experience at Sony Pictures, LucasFilms LTD, Paramount Studios, Warner Bros., and even NASA. These experts add valuable industry insights directly into classrooms.  

Future-Facing Curriculum: Students are instructed through a multi-faceted lens of 3D digital content creation in film, entertainment, medicine, and science. Coursework covers arts aesthetics, critical thinking, and soft skills in tandem with highly technical and challenging digital 3D animation and graphics coursework.  

One thing that I think really makes us stand out is that, yes, we teach the hard skills, but often we push the focus to soft skills: the ‘why’ behind everything, the social techniques beyond the intricacies of whatever particular software we’re using.  

—Jeremy Brown, Program Director, 3D Graphics & Animation 

Where Do Graduates Find Animation Jobs? 

CU Denver graduates for the 3D Graphics & Animation program embark on diverse career paths. Students have found animation jobs in entertainment, film, television, gaming, medicine, and science. Our students have landed jobs or internships at acclaimed studios like Lucas Arts, Pixar, and Sony. These opportunities shape their professional journeys by fostering exceptional skill development and creating industry connections. 

We’re starting to really see that the skills that we teach our students become applicable to lots of different industries. In particular, the gaming industry is huge. We have many students who take their 3D animation skills and go on to have jobs in the gaming, defense, textile industries, and beyond!  

—Jeremy Brown, Program Director, 3D Graphics & Animation 

This degree offers many options for career paths. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics lists median pay for animation jobs at $98,950 per year. The entry-level degree is typically a Bachelor’s. Growth in this industry is predicted to outpace average job growth across the country. There are as many as 9,400 new job openings per year in this industry.  

Common animation jobs for graduates of 3D Graphics & Animation programs are: 

Jeremy Brown, Senior Instructor, 3D Graphics & Animation 

3D Animation and Graphics Program Director and Professor, Jeremy Brown.

Jeremy Brown is a Senior Instructor and Program Director of the Digital Animation Center at CU Denver. Brown is also a professional visual effects artist with more than 10 years of experience as a digital compositor and 3D artist. Jeremy has worked on numerous feature films and nationally televised commercials. He brings his industry experience into the classroom to connect art, craft, theory, and practice. He is also interested in visual and new media studies, specifically in the areas of real-time graphics, artificial intelligence, and virtual/augmented reality. 


Contact us to learn about program costs, how to apply, and when you can start the 3D Graphics & Animation program.