Besides football and research, Ohio State now excels in another field.
OSU is ranked No. 2, behind University of California, Los Angeles, as the top public university to study animation, according to the Animation Career Review website.
The Animation Career Review was formed in 2011 with the goal of becoming an authority reference website for aspiring animators and game-design professionals, according to its founder, Brad Prescott. The website receives an average of 225,000 unique visitors per month.
Prescott said in response to requests from students and parents visiting the site, Animation Career Review implemented a ranking system to help students choose a program that best fulfills their career goals.
“Frankly, I was even shocked at how many students and parents didn’t realize that there were often rock-solid programs in their own backyard, or within a few hundred miles,” Prescott said in an email.
The ranking was based on academic reputation, selectivity of admissions, depth and breadth of the curriculum, tuition value, geographic location and cost of living.
The Animation Career Review’s website notes that geographic location makes a distinctive impact on its ranking decision. Prescott said that after speaking with professionals in the industry, students who attend schools in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orlando, New York and other cities have advantages in terms of networking and internship opportunities, and ultimately full-time employment.
With this in mind, Department of Art professor Ken Rinaldo said it is an honor for OSU to be so close in rank to a university like UCLA.
“It’s a sign that we are doing the right thing, and that we are on track as a program,” Rinaldo said.
By declaring the art and technology major, students are offered courses that focus on digital image manipulation, 3-D modeling, video art and computer animation. Rinaldo teaches undergraduate computer animation, which focuses on the basic concepts and aesthetics of 3-D computer animation.
Rinaldo said the faculty within the art and technology program keep in close contact with recent alumni, and he said he was encouraged by their high acceptance rate into graduate programs and full-time positions in the field.
“We are focused on helping our students build a body of work for their portfolios,” Rinaldo said. “A lot of our students move forward in the industry, so for that we are gratified.”
Audrey Jewell, a third-year in art and technology, said students have opportunities to produce collaborative works outside the classroom in the Animation Club. She also has found part-time work in creating and displaying animations on the scoreboards at the Schottenstein Center in the video services department.
Jewell said the program has not only made her familiar with rendering software that professionals use, but she has also learned the business side of the field by creating proposals and budgets.
“These experiences are more on par with how animated films are made in the real world,” she said. “(It) has given me invaluable lessons on leadership.”