The Animation Program

The Animation Emphasis is located in the Cinema Department and is open to Cinema & Non-Cinema majors who pass the Portfolio Review. The Animation curriculum provides students with a foundation for developing short animated films from initial planning to production and post-production. 


Students work in a variety of techniques: hand drawn, stop-motion, 2D/3D computer and effects animation. Enrollment in ALL animation courses requires consent of instructor.  Admission to CINE 360 requires a Portfolio Review. Cinema majors must complete CINE 200 and 202 before the Portfolio Review.


Find out how to apply to SFSU here.

Portfolio Review

The Portfolio Review is held in the Fall Semester only, the day before classes begin, in FA 325, 10am to 12noon. Students must bring copies of transcripts and DARS reports to the review.

Portfolio Guidelines:
It is highly recommended that students take a Beginning Drawing and a Life Drawing class before the review. Portfolios should only include a student’s strongest work and be limited to 20 pages assembled in one book.

  • 4-6 samples of life drawings done from live subjects (not from photographic references)
  • 4-6 samples of rough and gesture style sketches of animals and humans in motion (not from photographic or cartoon references)
  • 2-4 samples of color and design work that may include drawing, painting, photography, 2D and or 3D design
  • 2 samples of recent personal work in any media
  • Up to 2 animation or film samples in DVD format are welcome.

Animation Emphasis Required Courses

(3 units each / 15 units total)

Cine 360 - Animation 1 (fall)  Intro to principles of animation & various techniques. Portfolio Review
Cine 362 - Animation 2 (spring)  Intro to sync-sound animation using various technologies
Cine 365 - Animation History (spring) OR Cine 465 - Contemporary Animation
Cine 466 - Animation 3 (fall) Develop a short animation project. Storyboard Required
Cine 468 - Adv Animation Workshop (spring) Completion of animation project started in Cine 466

Animation Emphasis Electives

For Cinema AND Non-Cinema Majors (3 units each)

Cine 361  Drawing for Animation (fall)  Take with Animation 1
Cine 364  Animation Pre-Production (spring) Story & visual development. Take with Animation 2
Cine 500  Character Animation (fall) Character development and acting studies
Cine 590  Animation Practicum (summer) Hands-on, pre-professional projects
Cine 660  Beginning 3D Computer Animation (spring)  Beginning course in 3D using Maya
Cine 661  Intermediate 3D Computer Animation (fall)  Intermediate course in 3D using Maya
Cine 662  Advanced 3D Computer Animation (spring) Advanced course in 3D using Maya

Cinema Electives in Advanced Production Pool

(3 units each) Prerequisite: Cine 310/316

Students must apply to take advanced production courses. Information is posted at the cinema department office and website.  Applications are due the semester before the course is offered.

Cine 423 Intro to Digital Filmmaking

Cine 526 Optical Printing

Cine 512 Sound for Film

Cine 551 2D Digital Animation

Cine 520 Projects in Post-Production Sound

Cine 561 Special Effects and Graphics Workshop

Cine 522 Projects in Film Editing

Cine 623 Explore Cinema as an On-Line Medium

Cine 523 Exploration in Interactive Cinema

Cine 651 Experimental Animation

Cine 525 Cinematography & Lighting

SFSU Cinema Animation Emphasis


The animation curriculum provides students with a foundation in the processes involved in developing animated films from initial planning through shooting and post-production. Students work in a variety of techniques, including cel, model, computer, and effects animation. Advanced animation study may emphasize either film animation or computer animation.


NOTE: Enrollment in all animation courses requires consent of instructor. Admission to CINE 360 is limited and requires a portfolio review. Another review is required for entry into advanced courses; students who wish to enroll in CINE 466 or CINE 660 must submit materials to the Undergraduate Selection Committee.

Required Courses Units
CINE 200 Introduction to Cinema Studies
(units do not count toward major)
CINE 202 Introduction to Filmmaking 3
Foundation Courses (listed above) 10
CINE 360 Animation I 3
CINE 362 Animation II 3
CINE 365
CINE 465
History of Animation
Contemporary Animation
CINE 466 Animation III 3
CINE 468 Advanced Animation Workshop 3
Units from Cinema electives on advisement 17
Total for major 45

NOTE: Animation students may substitute CINE 365 for either CINE 300 or CINE 302.


Sophomore Year Required Cinema Courses

(transfer students should take prior to fall semester)

Cine 200 Intro to Cinema Studies (3 units)
Cine 202 Intro to Filmmaking (3 units)

Junior Year Required Cinema and Animation Courses

*Cine 300 Film History 1 (3 units)
*Cine 302 Film History 2 (3 units)
Cine 310/316 Workshop in Film Production/Lab (4 units)
Cine 340/341 Critical Studies/Discussion Group (4 units)
Cine 360 Animation 1 (3 units) (fall) Portfolio Review
Cine 362 Animation 2 (3 units) (spring)
Cine 365 Animation History (3 units) (fall)
(*NOTE: Animation History, Cine 365, may substitute for one of the required film history courses)

Junior Year Electives

Cine 361 Drawing for Animation (3 units) (fall) Take with Animation 1
Cine 364 Animation Pre-Production (3 units) (spring) Take with Animation 2

Senior Year Required Animation Courses

Cine 466 Animation 3 (3 units) (fall) Storyboard Required
Cine 468 Advanced Animation Workshop (3 units) (spring)

Senior Year Electives

Cine 354 Short Format Screenwriting (3 units)
Cine 500 Character Animation (3 units) (fall)
Cine 590 Animation Practicum (3 units) (summer)
Cine 660 3D Computer Animation (3 units) (spring)
Cine 661 Intermediate 3D Computer Animation (3 units) (fall)
Cine 662 Advanced 3D Computer Animation (3 units) (spring)
Cine 690 Production Practice (3 units)
Cine 692 Internship (3 units)

Other Elective Courses

(Courses must be 300 level or higher for elective credit)
Most departments give their own majors enrollment priority; non-majors are usually welcome on a space-available basis. This is not a complete list; please see animation advisor for other possible electives.

ART 433 Figure Drawing (Prerequisite ART 231 or equivalent) (3 units)
DAI 427 Digital Media 1: 2D Motion Graphics for Digital Media (3 units)
DAI 575 Design Computer Graphics (Intro 3D Computer Motion Graphics) (3 units)
DAI 575 Design Of Virtual Worlds (Web 3D) (3 units)
THA 304 Focus on Acting (1 unit)
THA 451 Storytelling and Folk Literature (3 units)

Graduate Students

May Enroll in the Following Courses Upon Approval of Instructor

Cine 713 Animation Workshop (3-9 units)
Cine 813 Production Practice in Animation (3-9 units) Approved MFA cinema students


Required Materials for Animation Advising

  • A copy of your unofficial transcript (website)
  • Blue Advising Sheet (get from advisor)
  • DARS and ASE reports (website OR student one-stop)

Animation Advisor:
Martha Gorzycki
office: FA 335
tel: 338-1879