M.A. On Campus

Visual Development

Academy of Art University

24 months
1191 USD/credit 35730 USD/year
1137 USD/credit 34110 USD/year
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


The Visual Development program of Academy of Art University provides a dynamic education in the art of scene setting.


The Visual Development program of Academy of Art University provides professional development with advanced coursework in still life painting, figure drawing, character design, concept painting, layout design for animation, and other core skills of professional visual developers.

Program Learning Outcomes

Graduate students will meet the following student performance criteria:

Artistic Ability

  • Demonstrate strong drawing and compositional skills
  • Create value studies that demonstrate an understanding of lighting, composition, and space

Research and Critical Thinking

  • Apply visual research to design solutions

Visual Development

  • Apply color and design elements consistent with the overall look of the film
  • Design elements to support the narrative
  • Demonstrate continuity in visual storytelling

Presentation Skills

  • Create visually compelling, professional-quality presentation materials
  • Pitch ideas clearly and professionally

Professional Readiness

  • Produce a cohesive portfolio tailored to reflect career goals.


Academy of Art University offers some of the best training and hands-on experience to help accelerate your career. We pride ourselves in doing an exceptional job preparing you to excel as a future visual development artist. Our degree programs are designed to equip aspiring artists and designers with a comprehensive toolbox of marketable skills that lead to success in the visual development industry.

Art Director

The job of the art director is to oversee and unify the visual look of a project. You'll control the overall look of the project, and make creative decisions based on mood, style, and target audience.

Character Designer

As a character and creature designer, you'll help create the standard appearance for a character including poses and gestures.

Concept Artist

Collaborate with creative and art directors to generate images that clarify their vision and create visual representations of the ideas that will be realized in films, animated movies, comics, and video games.

Matte Painter

As a matte painter, you'll create paintings to be used in photography and special effects to combine disparate elements into a single final image.

Production Artist

Working with art directors and designers, production artists are responsible for creating assets across various marking initiates in keeping with the visual style of the product.

Vector Artist

Using standard tools, a vector artist recreates images for high-resolution output for billboards, printing, and 3D modeling.

Programme Structure

Courses include:
  • Figurative Concepts
  • Color Theory
  • History of Visual Development
  • Head Drawing
  • Clothed Figure Drawing
  • Perspective for Characters & Environment

Key information


  • Full-time
    • 24 months

Start dates & application deadlines


60 alternative credits


On Campus

Academic requirements

We are not aware of any academic requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • College transcripts must show the classes/subjects, grades, credits and number of hours completed for each class
  • Applicants and sponsors must complete the Affidavit of Support Form
  • An art portfolio in your chosen discipline is required with detailed descriptions for all international graduate school applicants
  • An official bank letter (from student. family/parents/sponsor) must show a minimum balance of $42,000 USD or equivalent
  • We do not require TOEFL or IELTS scores and do not have a minimum score requirement
  • Photocopy of your valid passport
  • Photocopy of your 1-20, 1-94, or other visa document
  • If your transcripts are not in English. they must be translated and notarized

Tuition Fee

To alway see correct tuition fees
  • International

    35730 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 1191 USD per credit during 24 months.
  • National

    34110 USD/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 1137 USD per credit during 24 months.

Living costs for San Francisco

2206 - 4119 USD /month
Living costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Due for update

Updated over a year ago

Check the official programme website for potential updates.

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Visual Development
Academy of Art University


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