Success in Motion Cutting-edge animation program earns international acclaim

By Hannah Brewster

Only in its seventh year, one of Oklahoma Christian University’s youngest academic programs is attracting attention both domestically and internationally.

OC’s gaming and animation program once again landed on a global list of the best undergraduate game design programs, earning a No. 31 ranking from Princeton Review and PC Gamer.

OC is the highest-ranked Oklahoma university and ranks above institutions such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University.

Schools were chosen based on a survey of 150 domestic and international universities offering game design degree programs.

The survey gathered data on each institution’s game design academic opportunities, lab facilities, starting salaries for graduates, and graduate career achievements.

Oklahoma Christian also was recognized as one of the top 10 universities in the southwest by Animation Career Review.

Since its start, OC’s gaming and animation program has grown from 15 to 85 students.

“We have all the latest technology a lot of schools aren’t even doing yet ... Our students come out with a broad understanding of what it truly takes to make art.” Jeff Price

Recent graduates are now active in successful careers ranging from movie production and architectural visualization to design education.

Junior Daniel Lawrence said he’s dreamed of being part of OC’s gaming and animation program since high school.

After dedicating a few years to serving his country after high school graduation, Daniel was finally able to make his dream come true.

“I came from the military as a police officer, and I originally wanted to come here back in 2010 for their gaming and animation program, but went off to the military,” Lawrence said. “I’ve wanted it since I graduated high school.”

Fellow classmate, freshman Parker Cannefax, said he knew he wanted to study gaming and animation at OC when he noticed its top rankings and reviews compared to other universities.

Parker said gaming and animation at OC offers an array of programs for students to learn, unlike other institutions.

“They really stress keeping a wide range of programs in your pocket to use for anything, and it really helps,” Parker said. “Each program is better in its own way.”

OC gaming and animation students develop skills such as texturing, unwrapping, animating, 3D modeling, and game level design during their time in the program.

Also, with OC’s new Advanced Visualization Lab, students are exposed to advanced technology such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and motion tracking.

“We have really great facilities for students to come and work,” Art and Design chair Jeff Price said. “We have all the latest technology a lot of schools aren’t even doing yet. Our students learn programs to enhance their artwork and creativity, which allows them to incorporate artistry, technology, and creativity.”

Not only do advanced facilities help gaming and animation students cultivate their skills, but according to Parker, these developments allow students from different departments to grow as well.

“It opens up the field for people with different skills,” Parker said. “For instance, if an actor wanted to be a model, they could come into the lab, put on a suit, and do their thing.”

Daniel said exposure to OC’s technological advancements gives students tools to put them ahead of students at competing universities.

“It’s mind-blowing,” Daniel said. “There are four companies right now that would hire anybody who knows this program – just in Oklahoma City. The capabilities we can get from this just opens the job market up so much.”

Price said OC’s gaming and animation program offers a unique perspective to provide students the skills they need to develop successful careers.

“We focus on the whole artist,” Price said. “It isn’t just a tech program. We look at innovation, traditional media and traditional technique, and weave them together. Our students come out with a broad understanding of what it truly takes to make art.”