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.
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 pre-production junior-level course, students explore methods of developing individual stylistic approaches for designing original characters and environments, with a particular focus on how design supports the storytelling function of the animation. Students also develop a unified design approach to a production, and study how color can be used to help tell their stories. This course examines and incorporates ideas from the disciplines of architecture and interior design to further the student’s understanding of how to create believable virtual living spaces. 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. They will have created finished designs of characters and environments for their portfolios. Prerequisites: AN3D 2210 3D Computer Animation

3D Computer Fundamentals
AN3D 2210 (3 Credits)

This sophomore-level course introduces the student to the basic methodologies and techniques used in 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 will gain practical experience with the software user inter¬face, workflow pipeline, project management, and rendering. At the conclusion of the course, students will have completed numerous 3D modeling and animation exercises, demonstrating competencies in these introductory levels. Prerequisites: AN1230 Fundamentals of Animation

Creative Visualization
AN 2310 (3 Credits)

The emphasis of this course is on developing imaginative concepts, using the language of film and animation throughout 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. Prerequisites: AN 1110 Introduction to Animated Storytelling

Fundamentals of Animation
AN 1230(3 Credits)

This freshman-level animation course focuses on the basic principles of movement that form the foundation of all animation. Students analyze the 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 covered are various technical aspects of animation filmmaking, typical production workflows, and standard industry tools and terminology. At the conclusion of this course, students will have completed numerous animation assignments, a midpoint test, and a final project that will demonstrate their full understanding of basic animation principles. Prerequisites: none

Introduction to Animated Storytelling
AN 1110 (3 Credits)

In this freshman-level class, students will learn 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, ranging from television commercials
to three-minute shorts to feature length movies, studying how to deliver narrative content in different contexts. At the conclusion of this course, students will have completed assignments analyzing the visual and narrative forms of a variety of films, as well as projects demonstrating their ability to recognize and apply the basic components of visual storytelling in their own work. Prerequisites: none

Scriptwriting for Animation
AN 2350 (3 Credits)

This course is designed to give students an opportunity to experience another facet of animation pre-production: the script. Students develop a rough story idea including characters, settings, conflicts, and resolutions to develop a final, 22-minute script. Several smaller creative assignments build up to the final project. At the conclusion of the course, students will understand how to write a short script, have a body of creative pre-production suitable for animation development, and understand the aspects of storytelling that make a film memorable and successful. Prerequisites: AN 1110 Introduction to Animated Storytelling

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