An example of layered texturing in one of Half-Life 2: Episode 2′s 3D skyboxes, a technique used to give Valve’s maps a sense of broader depth and scale.
RE: Animation courses! I'm in the UK and have just finished my first year at UCA (University of Creative Arts) in Surrey. We learned 2D and 3D basic techniques in a range of mediums (TVPaint, Maya, traditional hand drawn and after effects). In year 2 we get to choose whether to specialise in either 2D or 3D advanced digital techniques (so 2D we get taught about after effects and 3D learn rigging ect). There are also facilities to specialise in stop motion! I'm happy to answer any questions :)