3D Animation - Character Animation is a technical art based on the mastery of state-of-the-art 3D computer graphic software combined with more traditional artistic disciplines. This particular art form, and the industry standards that drive it, relies heavily on a wide array of tools, methods and procedures that are always evolving and constantly in demand among studios and industry professionals. Those certified in 3D Animation - Character Animation are able to produce and manage the many complicated creative tasks associated with creating animated films. This Certificate-level (18) credit hour program is designed to focus on the main technical and artistic roles required in 3D Animation careers.
Students will use the industry standard methods, tools, and Maya 3D software, with industry professionals at the helm, providing instruction and insight into the tools and techniques of animation and storytelling. Instructors will also act as mentors, providing valuable critique and collaborative feedback that is vital to the creative process.
Character Animation covers the performance and actual animation role of the 3D animation production, giving students an understanding of the tools, techniques that are in involved in the animating of characters and effects.Students will learn about 3D animation through a series of courses ranging from the fundamental disciplines and principles of animation to technically minded endeavors, such as character rigging.
The most unique aspect of this program is that it specializes in the core aspects of 3D animation production, giving an area of specialization from each certificate, while also providing practical knowledge and insights into the high-tech digital aspects that drive the animation and visual effects industry.
3D Character + Production Design
AN3D 3330 (3 Credits)

In this course, students explore methods of developing individual stylistic approaches for designing organic assets with a particular focus on how design supports the storytelling function of the production. Developing a unified design approach to a production, and studying how color can be used to help tell the story, are also studied and practiced in this class. Upon completion of this course, students will have a greater practical knowledge of the key role design plays in an animated production, and how this integrates with the narrative content of the film. Students will also learn the techniques used in 3d programs and digital sculpting programs to create high quality organic models. By the conclusion of the course students will have created finished 2d designs of organic assets for their portfolios as well as 3d models derived from those designs.

3D Computer Fundamentals
AN3D 1210 (3 Credits)

This freshman-level course introduces the student to the basic methodologies and techniques used for the creation of 3D computer animation. Modeling, materials and textures, lighting, camera, and animation are all studied and practiced at the introductory level. The student gains practical experience with the software user interface, workflow pipeline, project management, and rendering. At the conclusion of the course, students have completed numerous 3D modeling and animation exercises, demonstrating competencies in these introductory levels. (Formerly AN3D 2210)

3D Computer Animation Motion Studies
AN3D 3230 (3 Credits)

Students learn how to animate and analyze 3D movement as a means of expressing weight, gravity, dynamics and choreography of human and animal motions, as well as the influence of physical laws upon them. Studies include key framing, inbetweening, creative phrasing and timing, and use of the many tools available in a 3D environment. Upon completion of this course, students will have gained practical knowledge of the technical requirements necessary to produce believable character animation. In addition, they will have gained valuable insight in terms of creative thinking and how to impart personality, expression, and emotion into a 3D character. (Formerly AN 3720)

Advanced 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies
AN3D 4250 (3 Credits)

This senior-level animation course is a continuation of 3D Computer Animation Motion Studies. Students further develop their skills, insights, and knowledge of character animation through more advanced assignments. Studies will involve animal movement such as advanced bipedal walks, runs and other forms of locomotion. Quadruped motion will be covered, as well as avian flight. Students gain insights into the relationship between storytelling and character animation, with emphasis placed on acting and performance, combining lip-sync dialog with characters in a specific activity or conflict. Students may be directed to environmental motion studies such as wind, water, fire, and smoke. At the conclusion of this course, students have completed a series of animation exercises, which are presented as a collection of finished animation tests.

Advanced Character Creation Methods
AN3D 4270 (3 Credits)

Senior students assimilate their traditional abilities and character animation skills into the third dimension. They are exposed to advanced 3D computer character animation methodology, including advanced modeling, UV mapping, rigging and advanced animation controls such as scripting and expressions. This is considered a Technical Director level class and is very advanced. Upon completion of this course, students understand the workflow of character setup, and have the skills and methodology to develop a functional and clean model with the appropriate control feature rig for any production. (Formerly AN 4440)

Fundamentals of Animation
AN 1230(3 Credits)

This freshman-level animation course focuses on gaining an understanding of the basic principles of movement, which form the foundation of all animation. Students analyze motions of people and objects, and learn to translate that knowledge into animation. Motion attributes such as gravity, weight, spacing and timing are studied, in order to create animation that is believable and that expresses mood and personality through a character’s individualized movement. Also discussed are various technical aspects of animation filmmaking, typical production workflows, and standard industry terms and tools. At the conclusion of this course, students will have completed numerous animation assignments, an inbetweening test and a final project that will demonstrate their fullest understanding of basic animation principles. (Formerly AN 2230)

Your Future
This program is designed for students seeking an artistic career in 3D animation. It’s also well-suited to professionals of all levels in the animation creative, design, business aspects of the industry seeking to enhance, broaden, and strengthen an existing skill-set, particularly in the areas of concept and story development as it relates to character animation.
Possible Careers
  • Character Animator
  • Animation Modeler
  • Animation Rigger