3D animated filmmaking is a creative art based on the disciplines of compelling storytelling and convincing communication. This particular art form, and the industry standards that drive it, relies on conceptualization, writing and visual representations of ideas to guide the complicated processes of producing animated films and visual effects. This Certificate-level (18) credit hour program is designed to focus on the pre-production strategies and tactics of 3D animation required prior to actual animation production. These classes give students a design foundation and encourage creative leadership and critical thinking skills to innovate new stories, ideas and visual designs in the 3D animation realm.

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Students will learn about 3D animation through a series of courses in storytelling, filmmaking, cinematic structure, and storyboarding, and will study the fundamental principles of traditional and 3D Computer Animation, such as character development, environmental design, and scriptwriting, weaving these elements together to effectively pre-visualize an animated film. Students will use the industry standard methods, tools and software, such as Final Draft scriptwriting software, Adobe CS design software (Photoshop, Premier Pro, and more), Toon Boom Storyboard Pro, and Maya 3D. Industry professionals will mentor while giving instruction and insight into the tools and techniques that are needed to effectively communicate story and design concepts, both written and visually. Instructors will also provide valuable critique and collaborative feedback that is vital to the creative process. The most unique aspect of this program is that it specializes in the conceptual development and pre-production processes of 3D animation and filmmaking, 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)

Creative Visualization
AN 2310 (3 Credits)

The emphasis of this course is on developing imaginative concepts, using the language of film and animation through the storyboard process. Students illustrate animated story ideas, focusing on expressive character development, layout and set design. At the conclusion of this course, students will be capable of using the storyboard process to write animated story ideas, utilizing elements of composition, camera angles, continuity, character and motion dynamics.

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)

Introduction to Animated Storytelling
AN 1110 (3 Credits)

In this freshman-level class, students will receive an overview of how their animation studies relate to current industry practices for creating animated films, emphasizing how every phase of the creative process supports the storytelling function of a film. Students will learn to analyze animated and live action films, from television commercials, to three-minute shorts, to feature length movies, to understand how narrative content is delivered in different contexts. At the conclusion of this course, students will have completed assignments analyzing the visual form and narrative form of a variety of films, and projects demonstrating their ability to recognize and apply the basic components of visual storytelling in their own work.

( Credits)

Your Future
Your Future This program is designed for students seeking an artistic career in 3D animation, concentrated on the pre-production process that includes scriptwriting, storyboarding, art direction, digital pre-visualization, and directing. 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.
Possible Careers
  • Previsualization Artist
  • Pre-Production Support Artist
  • Production Director