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NMSU’s CMI animation and visual effects program among top 25 in U.S.

The “Animation Career Review” ranks New Mexico State University’s animation and visual effects program 22 among the country’s public animation schools and colleges for 2020. The Creative Media Institute program also ranks sixth among the top 10 animation schools in the Southwest.

Women smiling with animation on her shoulder
NMSU Creative Media Institute student, Adelina Gringle with “Laddi,” the animated character that she created. (Courtesy Photo)

“First and foremost, the CMI animation and visual effects faculty are the heart of that program, and the primary reason we received those rankings,” said Amy Lanasa, CMI department head in the College of Arts and Sciences. “They work tirelessly, teaching our amazing students the artistic, technical, and storytelling components of putting together animated films, which is no easy feat.”

Aspects of CMI’s animation curriculum highlighted by the review include: focus on the art, craft and business of storytelling as well as such as 2D animation, 3D animation, character design and development, digital illustration, drawing for animation, modeling, rigging for 3D animation, screenwriting, sets and environment, 2D and 3D production studio, visual effects and writing for animation.

Other program highlights include internships and study abroad opportunities, access to a state of the art digital projection screening room, post-production lab, animation lab as well as production space and free entry into the Las Cruces International Film Festival.

NMSU’s program offers a bachelor’s of creative media. CMI is a dynamic cross-disciplinary program that prepares students for the 21st century in digital filmmaking and animation and visual effects. Students in NMSU’s program study all aspects of digital filmmaking and digital arts, whether they are aspiring animators, directors, cinematographers, or writers.

“Our faculty have built a robust curriculum that prepares students not only for jobs in our industry, but that also transfer to other non-entertainment venues, making our alumni very employable in today’s workplace,” Lanasa said. “Our students are decathletes when they graduate, they can do anything. We are all grateful to see their work recognized in this manner, and we’re hopeful that we’ll be able to grow this program in the future.”

NMSU’s animation and visual effects program was one of 192 colleges considered for these rankings.

“Animation Career Review” has been publishing regional and national rankings since 2012, with an end goal to provide students and their parents with access to information about various programs. The methodology is based on academic and program support, including academic reputation, admission selectivity, depth of the program faculty, affordability, graduation rate, geographic location and employment data.

For a complete list of the Animation Career Review rankings and methodology, please visit For more information about NMSU’s Creative Media Institute, please visit