Academy of Art University Empowers Art and Design Students with Cutting Edge Integrated Technologies


Contemporary art and design students need more than creative vision and collaborative settings. They need cutting edge technology to ensure that they are poised to succeed in an ever increasingly competitive job market, no matter their focus.

That’s why Academy of Art University embeds the latest technology equipment, software, and standards into each curriculum it designs. Taught by practitioner faculty who are active in their field, these courses and degree programs help students prepare their hard and soft skills for what it’s like to work in the real world daily.

Hands On Education for In-Person and Online Academy of Art University Students

The first thing to distinguish is that students from all backgrounds and all locations get access to the best technology solutions as part of their education. Whether studying at Academy of Art University headquarters in San Francisco or logging in from anywhere in the world, students are equipped to succeed.

This was evidenced firsthand when the COVID-19 pandemic struck. As most institutions struggled and scrambled to shift learning online, Academy of Art University students already had access to and familiarity with the University’s proprietary learning management system (LMS) for coursework access. What’s more, the platform was already optimized for hybrid and distance learners with access to remote labs and a combination of asynchronous and synchronous learning.

Online students have access to the same resources that campus students receive including mentorship, demonstrations, classroom lectures, and workshops. Academy of Art University has perfected the art of hands-on learning for real-world career prep no matter what a student’s location may be. From Communications and Media to Fashion and Graphic Design, Academy of Art University is using technology not just to connect with students, but to also connect students with concepts and career opportunities. Students will find the same technology in the classroom or online as they will in the professional world.

Video Production from Anywhere with the School of Animation’s rLab

Academy of Art University’s School of Animation and Visual Effects provides every student with access to the high-tech software that they’ll need to learn and succeed in their chosen field. This often includes the same applications that are used today in the industry, as taught and guided by active faculty.

Added flexibility for this access comes in the form of rLab, or Remote Lab, where students can log on and use licensed, often expensive software, without paying for a subscription themselves. The software and the powerful machines needed to run them is actually hosted on campus by Academy of Art University. All the student needs is an internet connection to log in and access a workstation to get their assignments going.

Included in the coursework fees, access to rLab opens a world of possibility for students looking to build their portfolio of work on their terms and timing. Students can access rLab at any time, day or night, and create animations, designs, and effects for review by their classmates and faculty advisors. Workloads usually delayed by processing are expedited through the School’s Render Farm, which cuts down processing from weeks to just days without tying up the student’s own computer resources at home.

Industrial Design Virtual Reality Work Stations from Academy of Art University

Technology also fuels the learning and outcomes for students in the School of Industrial Design, where conceptualizing and rendering take center stage on some truly massive projects. While students can access hands on metal and wood shop facilities, where they plan for these efforts starts on the computer.

Students are encouraged to make use of the 3D printing lab to tinker with different forms and physicality on a more manageable scale before diving into a full-size project. Maker Bots and other hardware bring ideas to life in ways never before possible but very representative of how companies form new concepts in professional environments.

Another means for visualization is the VR Room, which is equipped with virtual reality workstations that bring student concepts to life in a full scale, immersive experience. Students are able to see their ideas and adapt or swap concepts to see what works best for their creative and functional needs. Adjustments are available from core structures right down to colorways and material finishes to help students render their vision within a realistic context.

Fashioning Patterns with Technology in the School of Fashion Design

Wondering what the pros use to pattern their designs? Students in the School of Fashion find out first hand in Academy of Art University’s high-tech 3D Pattern Making Lab. The same software used by the top fashion brands is available to students under the guidance of expert practitioner faculty.

Students can take their fashion ideas from flat paper to powerful design and learn how to bring them to life for a full-scale production line. The School of Fashion also boasts access to critical and commonly used hardware including plotters and digitizers that are used by brands across the globe. Additional resources include a Studio and Gallery built entirely online for peer and faculty review of student work and collaborative spaces for sharing work and chatting about course and industry topics.

Stations, Stages, and Broadcasts Through Collaborative Comms Hubs

The School of Fashion is not the only one with access to collaborative online spaces. All remote degree programs offer students a collective space to connect with colleagues and classmates and create a true sense of community. This is seen in large part in Academy of Art University’s Online Communications and Media Technology degree programs.

Students in these programs are able to work 100% remotely while providing their work for input and markup by their peers and their instructors. Assignments, grading, and coursework are powered by Academy of Art University’s core LMS system, which reduces student requirements down to a personal computer and a strong internet connection.

Digital studios pave the way for students to learn what it’s like to work in and with station, stage, and broadcast technologies that are in use currently in the industry. These hands-on opportunities prepare students for professional roles right out of school including hyper-focused software for tasks such as audio processing and sound editing.

Academy of Art University has a storied history of providing industry-based curriculum learning to artists, designers and creatives. Students can choose from more than 120 accredited degree options, all taught by instructors who are experienced professionals in a course of study. Academy coursework is a hands-on experience that combines a solid foundation of core skills with the freedom for students to express themselves creatively. To learn more about the associate, bachelor’s, master’s, and certificate programs available, visit https://www.academyart.edu/academics/