Game Art & Design

Game developers are always competing to captivate audience with the latest and greatest in graphics, performance, and more. Find out how our Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design program can help you develop the skills you need to get your start in the gaming field.

Enhance your Game Art & Design skills

In this program, you can:

  • Sharpen skills in design fundamentals, then move on to developing skills in game design, scriptwriting, storyboarding, and character design
  • Examine the video game programming, production, artistic concepts, and game play strategies that led to games enjoyed by people around the world
  • Learn how to use professional-grade technology to produce your own games and game levels, culminating in a portfolio of your work
  • Receive guidance from instructors with industry knowledge and practical experience

Career opportunities

As a graduate, you could pursue entry-level Game Art & Design opportunities within education, game development, and software companies—including these positions:

  • 2D Conceptual Artist
  • Storyboard Artist
  • 3D Character Builder
  • 3D Object Modeler
  • Interactivity Designer
  • Background Artist
  • Game Play Tester

Our Career Services team can support you in preparing for and finding the career opportunity that’s right for you. Learn more here.

Learn More Read Gainful Employment Information

The Art Institute student portfolios

Our students, alumni, and faculty are invited to join The Art Institute Portfolio Gallery — an exclusive network — to gain broader exposure for your work, connect with fellow students and alumni, and make it easier for potential clients, recruiters, and creative enthusiasts to find your work.

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Course listing

The courses in the Bachelor’s in Game Art & Design are designed to prepare you to pursue a career in your chosen field. All of our courses are built to engage and challenge you through text, video, animation, chat, and more, while also helping you learn relevant industry knowledge and skills.

View course listing

Faculty overview

The faculty members at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division are devoted to empowering you for your future career. Their guidance and mentorship can help you to focus your creative energy and vision toward the skills that matter most in your field—and, as an online student, you’ll be in constant contact with your instructors via email, video, phone, and even chat.

Ms. Deborah Baxtrom

Ms. Baxtrom received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Columbia University in New York. She works as a screenwriter in Los Angeles and has two scripts being produced through J. Todd Harris's production company. She also runs her own company, Screenplay Search, which holds three annual screenplay contests and provides script analysis services. She has also worked as an entertainment writer, as well as working as a script doctor and story analyst for several production companies and agencies. She has written and produced two award-winning short films and won several scriptwriting awards. Before working for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh – Online Division, Ms. Baxtrom taught for Springfield College.

Ms. Nina Stanley

Nina earned her BFA and MA in Painting and Drawing with an emphasis on the Human Figure from California State University, Fullerton. Before finishing her graduate degree, she began working in the fledgling video game industry, starting with a small NES developer in Buena Park, CA. Upon finishing her graduate degree, with an exhibit of mythological painting and a thesis entitled "Video Games and Myth - the Reinterpretation of the Hero's Journey through Popular Culture," she spent several years working as an artist at such companies as Electronic Arts, Capcom, and 3DO in California, moving to New York to work with Vicarious Visions (a subsidiary of Activision) and the independent studio 1st Playable. Still constantly in pursuit of her personal art, in 2004 she founded the Upstate Artists Guild (UAG), which achieved 501(c)3 status in 2006 to increase the awareness and accessibility of all forms of artistic expression in the local community. A die hard figurative artist, she has run life drawing groups for well over a decade, and still maintains a private studio and an active teaching and exhibition schedule as well as teaching for local colleges and running workshops for the UAG. Last year she accepted a full time position for The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, where she has been happily employing her digital as well as traditional art skills in the formation of the next generation of multimedia and game design artists.

Mr. Tim Decker

Mr. Decker holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College and has taught computer imaging, animation, and game development for the last twelve years. Before accepting a full time position in the Bachelor of Science in Game Art and Design program at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division, he taught web and game development at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York, and animation and digital imaging at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, Tennessee. His current research revolves around the areas of game history, game play, and game theory. With that experience, he has developed a unique understanding of how to introduce students to the complexities of game development.

Ms. Heather Chandler

Ms. Chandler holds a BA in Art History from Vanderbilt University and an MA in Critical Studies from the USC School of Cinematic Arts. She has been a full time faculty member with The Art Institute – Online Division since 2008. She assists with the Exit Portfolio Review and managed a special project where students completed an entry for the 2010 Independent Games Festival hosted at the Game Developer's Conference.  She is also a member of the Faculty Development committee.

Among her most exciting projects, Ms. Chandler was a producer on the Ghost Recon franchise for Ubisoft and has served in a production capacity on a variety of commercial games since 1996.  She has published several books and articles on game development, including The Game Production Handbook, 2nd Edition and The Game Localization Handbook.  She is also the editor on a series of books on game development that will be published by Jones Bartlett.

Game Art & Design degree requirements

Students entering the Game Art & Design program must demonstrate the following competencies:

  • Have a final high school CGPA of 2.5 or higher or hold a General Education Development certificate (GED) with the numeric score equivalent to at least a 2.5 GPA under previous GED equivalencies or at a minimal score of 500 under current GED equivalencies with no single test below a 410 score.
  • Meet the standard Art Institute admission criteria.
  • Exhibit competent drawing and design skills by submission of specified portfolio criteria. Drawing and design skills will be assessed using department standards.

As a prerequisite for admission to The Art Institute of Pittsburgh — Online Division, students must be a high school graduate with a minimum, cumulative, final high school CGPA of 2.5 or higher, or hold a General Education Development (GED) Certificate, or associate's degree or higher. Students must exhibit competent drawing and design skills by submission of specified portfolio criteria. Drawing and design skills will be assessed using department standards and will determine placement in drawing courses.

Online orientation

Before you start your first course, you’re encouraged to complete an online orientation that introduces you to different features of the online classroom and prepares you for your role as an active learner in our online classes.

Classroom demo

See the online classroom in action.

Software requirements

  • Adobe Acrobat Professional (Version 10 or higher)
  • Adobe After Effects (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Adobe Flash Professional (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Adobe Illustrator (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Adobe InDesign (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Adobe Photoshop (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Adobe Premiere Pro (Version CS6 or higher)
  • Apple Quicktime (Version 7 or higher)
  • Audacity 2.0.3
  • Autodesk 3ds Max
  • Unreal UDK
  • Microsoft Office Professional (Version 2010 or higher) or Microsoft Office University 365
  • Norton Antivirus (Version 10.2 or higher)
  • Windows Media Player (Version 12 or higher)

Minimum technology requirements

  • PC: Users should have systems with the following specifications: Intel Core®2 Duo or AMD Phenom® II processor with 64-bit support, Windows 7 Professional with SP 1 (64-bit), 4GB RAM, 30 GB available hard disk space recommended, 1280x900 display with 16-bit color, 1 GB VRAM, OpenGL 2.0–capable system, Sound card compatible with ASIO protocol or Microsoft WDM//MME, Direct3D 11 technology, Direct3D 10, or OpenGL-capable graphics card, Stereo Sound Card, Speakers and/or Headset, Internet Speed : DSL or Cable Internet highly recommended and Video Card (minimum specs): Nvidia 400-series (or better) or ATI Radeon 5000-series (or better) video card.
  • Mac: Dual Boot Required Users should have systems with the following specifications: Apple® Mac® Pro 4.1 or later; MacBook® Pro 5.1 or later; iMac® 8.1 or later or *Mac OS X v. 10.7 or higher, 4GB RAM, 30GB available hard disk space recommended, 1280x1024 display with 16-bit color, 512MB VRAM, OpenGL 2.0–capable system. Dual boot requirements: Boot Camp (comes with mac OS X), Windows 7 (64-bit required if running OS X 10.7) and Additional 20 GB HD Space required for Windows Partition. Mac users must have a minimum of OS 10.7 in order to run Adobe Creative Cloud. Additional notes about installing Windows via Boot Camp if students do not have it already set up: Students will need to purchase: Windows 7: Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate (Boot Camp 4 or 5) See Windows 7 requirements -or- Windows 8: Windows 8, Windows 8 Pro (Boot Camp 5 only) See Windows 8 requirements Helpful link:

Important Note: “Virtual machines” are not supported by The Art Institute of Pittsburgh - Online Division for the Game Art & Design program.

Web browser requirements

Windows Users: The two latest releases of Microsoft Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome are supported.

Mac Users: The two latest releases of Apple Safari, Mozilla Firefox, or Google Chrome are supported.

Hardware requirements

  • Color Inkjet Printer
  • Color Flatbed Scanner
  • Digital Camera
  • Mouse

Purchase hardware and software

Visit Journey Ed, America's leading seller of hardware and software to students. Select from a wide variety of software programs and purchase all of your required software online - at a student discount.


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