IM110 Foundations for Digital Art and Design

Course Description

This course will provide students with an overview of what to expect, and what’s expected of them throughout the 3D Animation certification program. We will discuss best practices for backing up work, organizing projects, as well as acceptable deliverable formats. We’ll explore traditional artistic concepts such as composition and color theory. This 3D Animation class will also introduce Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Students will develop a basic understanding of these essential applications, learn how they differ, and how their unique capabilities are leveraged at the professional level.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Understand how to navigate the PC interface, save, and organize work
  • Understand how to use their Wacom tablet and customize settings
  • Understand the difference between pixel and vector images
  • Demonstrate Photoshop brushes, layers, masks, and selection tools
  • Demonstrate Illustrator’s shapes, layers, pen, and selection tools
  • Develop a functional vocabulary of important artistic terminologies

IM120 Introduction to Autodesk Maya

Course Description

This course will provide students with an overview of what to expect, and what’s expected of them throughout the 3D Animation certification program. We will discuss best practices for backing up work, organizing projects, as well as acceptable deliverable formats. We’ll explore traditional artistic concepts such as composition and color theory. This 3D Animation class will also introduce Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator. Students will develop a basic understanding of these essential applications, learn how they differ, and how their unique capabilities are leveraged at the professional level.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • How to create, set, and organize Maya projects
  • How to navigate Maya’s user interface and menus
  • Understand Polygon objects, inputs, and their different components
  • Understand basic hierarchies
  • Understand basic shaders, their properties, and hypershade networks
  • Understand simple UV mapping techniques and the UV Editor
  • Understand Spotlights, Point lights, and Directional Lights
  • Understand common render settings, Hardware2.0 and the Software renderers

IM130 Introduction to Motion Graphics

Course Description

In this 3D Animation certificate module students will explore Adobe After Effects, and learn the real-world production techniques that are used to create music videos, title treatments and advertising. While broadening their design sensibilities, students will learn how to create AE compositions, set keyframes, and apply masks, effects, and transitions. We’ll expand upon previous Photoshop and Illustrator lessons to see how our static designs can come to life through motion graphics.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Create After Effects compositions and organize projects
  • Navigate After Effects user interface and menus
  • Adjust a layer’s transforms and set keyframes
  • Understand key principles of motion
  • Create animated masks, apply effects and transitions
  • Export media using the Render Queue
  • Understand basic video compression

IM140 Industrial Modeling

Course Description

As part of the 3D Animation certification, students will learn how to model mechanical objects for industrial design and prototyping projects. Using reference images and blueprints students will get their first peek at how to effectively and efficiently create 3D meshes that properly represent 2d concepts. Product design and 3D development will be discussed through a series of lectures and exercises with an emphasis on product modeling.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • How to set up Reference Planes and Reference Layers
  • Intermediate modeling tools such as split, append, merge, and mirror
  • How to create clean topology and poly-flow
  • How to utilize Smooth Mesh Preview
  • How to properly Combine and Extract meshes
  • How to utilize Duplicate with Transform and Duplicate Special
  • Customize Shelves and Hotkeys

IM150 Materials, Lighting and Rendering

Course Description

The models are built, now it is time to add the color, texture, and shine some light on the result. This 3D Animation class deals with the importance of proper lighting and materials to obtain the highest quality result from your work in a time efficient manner. Emphasis is put on Mental Ray lighting, 3-Point lighting systems, Image Based Lighting, and the study of how light effects surfaces. Students will learn how to set up and adjust shaders and light properties to create the desired effects, generate realistic shadows, and create a high quality render.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Understand how to create advanced Mental Ray Materials
  • Understand how to create seamless backdrops and studio sets
  • Understand Mental Ray lighting techniques, such as IBL and Final Gathering
  • Understand how to create render passes
  • Understand how to use the Use Background Shader
  • Understand how to composite render passes
  • Expand on previous Photoshop and After Effects lessons to enhance renders

IM160 Environment Design and Set Creation

Course Description

Whether designing the next great golf course or a video game dungeon, this 3D Animation class focuses on the challenges and obstacles for creating geometry to represent exterior environments. Site planning and navigation will be implemented into the technical pipeline. We’ll discuss the creation and placement of both natural and man-made elements such as terrain, foliage, vegetation, buildings, signs and roads. The many reasons and methods for creating virtual environments will be discussed as well, and their implications.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Understand how to use the Sculpt Geometry Tool
  • Understand how to create Seamless Textures from Photographs
  • Understand how to create Layered Textures and Shaders
  • Understand basic Zbrush Navigation, Sculpting and Painting
  • Understand how to use UV Master and Headus UV Layout
  • Understand how to create Bump, Normal, and Specular Maps
  • Understand how to create Alpha Cards

IM170 Intermediate 3D Motion Graphics

Course Description

To work toward the completion of their 3D Animation certificate students will gain a greater understanding of designing with motion in mind. Working with more advanced tools and features in Adobe After Effects, students will take the car they’ve rendered out of Maya into After Effects to create an animated advertisement package. Students will design a cohesive three-Part Motion Graphics series with: Web Banner, Magazine Ad, and Bumper.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Design a Cohesive 3-Part Advertisement for their Cars
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the Principles of Design
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the Principles of Typography
  • Gain a deeper understanding of the Principles of Motion Graphics
  • Learn to create 3D Layers and Particles in After Effects
  • Learn to create complex After Effects Compositions, Effects, and Animations
  • Refine their Motion Graphics and Design Sensibilities

IM180 Introduction to Character Rigging and Animation

Course Description

Before animation can begin, a model must be properly prepared. This course introduces the concepts of character rigging and the importance it plays in animation. Students will work toward the completion of their 3D Animation certificate by learning how to ready a model for animation by creating an internal skeletal structure and apply that to their 3D mesh. Students will also learn how to apply skin weighting and blendshapes in preparation for animation. Emphasis is placed on creating functional rigs for animations, consisting of complex deformation with a simple control setup to pose and apply motion to 3D models.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Create a Ball Rig and Ball Bounce Animation
  • Learn to adjust curves in the Graph Editor
  • Learn to create Joint Hierarchies and Controls for Animation
  • Learn to create Connections, Constraints, and Set Driven Keys
  • Create Ball Guy Rig with IK Legs, and Proper Skin Weights
  • Create a Walk Cycle, Run Cycle, Hill Walk, and Jump

IM190 Intermediate Animation

Course Description

In this 3D Animation class students explore a series of exercises designed to develop a better sense of timing, action, balance, body language and character animation. Topics such as line of action, emotion, exaggeration and realistic movement will be discussed. Students will create a series of short animations such as a walk cycles, run cycles, and pose to pose actions that demonstrate clean and clear character motion.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Gain a Deeper Understanding of the Principles of Animation
  • Explore a Full-Body Bipedal Rig
  • Create a Walk Cycle
  • Create a Run Cycle
  • Create a Pose to Pose Action Animation
  • Create a Lip-Sync Animation using the Aardman Rig

IM200 Interior Modeling

Course Description

This 3D Animation class concentrates on set design and interior architecture. Students will use reference materials to create models of an interior space and the elements with in it to scale. Hands-on demonstrations, exercises and lectures on modeling techniques using NURBS and SubDivision Surfaces with emphasis on clean geometry will help the students gain a greater understanding of the set creation process. The student models will later be used in creating realistic lighting.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Create Floorplans for their interior space
  • Learn to change Units of Measurement to create models to the correct scale
  • Learn common NURBS modeling techniques
  • Learn to create nCloth simulations
  • Learn efficient workflows for complex sets
  • Create textures from photographs
  • Learn to create displacement maps

IM210 Advanced Materials, Lighting and Rendering

Course Description

Setting up a realistic lighting system for interiors is made easier with Maya’s Mental Ray render engine. This 3D Animation certificate module will be exploring different methods and techniques for creating light properties through mental ray such as, Global Illumination, Final Gather, Caustics Irradiance Particles, and Importons. Students will also work with the built in Mental Ray materials to create elements such as glass and metal. Render quality, presentation and optimization will be discussed and practiced.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Learn to leverage Mental Ray’s Indirect Lighting techniques
  • Understand Mental Ray Lights
  • Understand Mental Ray’s Production Shaders
  • Create Displacement Maps
  • Gain a deeper understanding of Render Passes
  • Gain a deeper understanding of Compositing Techniques

IM220 Character Design and Storyboarding

Course Description

For the 3D Animation certificate students will learn what gives a character appeal. This course will explore some of the most iconic characters in Film, Animation, and Games. We’ll also cover the art of story telling, with thorough Pre-Production and Planning. Creating storyboards and animatics that will help students have a better understanding of how to pre-visualize a story, ensuring that all pieces work well before production begins.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Understand what makes a Memorable Character
  • Design Multiple Iterations of Character Concepts
  • Give and Receive Feedback on Character Designs with the Class
  • Create Texture Reference Sheets Detailing the Vision for the Character’s Textures
  • Name their Character and Write a Simple Back Story
  • Write a Scenario, with Dialogue for the Character
  • Storyboard their Character’s Scenario

IM230 Character Modeling

Course Description

This 3D Animation class introduces the concepts needed to create organic characters in Pixologic ZBrush. Students will learn about Human Anatomy and Essential Sculpting Techniques. We’ll explore many new tools and procedures in Zbrush, with an emphasis on building believable forms first, and then adding clothing, accessories and other details that add to the characters appeal and quality.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Learn Essential Sculpting Techniques
  • Learn Human Anatomy
  • Learn how to create ZSphere Armatures
  • Learn to use The Transpose Tools
  • Learn to use Transpose Masking
  • Gain a Deeper understanding of the many brushes that Zbrush has to offer
  • Learn to use Dynamesh
  • Learn to Extract new Subtools
  • Learn MicroMesh

IM240 Character Texturing

Course Description

In this 3D Animation class students will learn to create detailed textures for their characters, through painting, and Spotlight in Pixologic ZBrush. Students will also learn how to retoplogize characters in order to transfer high resolution details onto lower poly meshes, ideal for the production pipeline. We’ll then create UVs using UV Master and generate texture maps which conform to the 3D model. Textures can then be enhanced in Photoshop before being reapplied to the mesh in Maya.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Understand painting techniques to create realistic skin and fabric
  • Understand how to use Spotlight
  • Understand how to Retopologize and project detail in ZBrush
  • Understand how to use UV Master
  • Understand how to generate Bump, Normal, Specular, and Displacement Maps
  • Understand how to create realistic Eyes, Teeth and Hair

IM250 Advanced Rigging Techniques

Course Description

In this 3D Animation class students will build a unique rig that fits their character’s concept and provides it the necessary range of motion. Students will continue to study anatomy for realistic results, and animation principles to provide cartoonier features as needed. Advanced skeletal systems such as stretchy chains and IK/FK Switches will be created. Students will also create Advanced Facial Rigs and a UI using MEL Scripting, Corrective Blendshapes and Secondary Motion Controls.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Gain a deeper understanding of Joint Chains, Hierarchies, and Animation Controls
  • Learn to Create Custom Controls for complex areas such as Hands and Feet
  • Create IK/FK Switches
  • Paint Skin Weights from Head to Toe
  • Create an Advanced Facial Rig and UI using MEL Scripting
  • Create Corrective Blendshapes
  • Create Eye Controls with Dilation
  • Create secondary controls for Hair, Cloth, etc, as needed

IM260 Advanced Character Animation

Course Description

Students will dig deeper into the animation process and apply lessons from previous courses to create personality and believable performances. Various tools will be used to allow the character to speak and show emotion. Students will become acquainted with methods of facial animation and lip-syncing and apply what they have learned during their 3D Animation certification about imparting personality into characters. Students will learn more animation tools and techniques, such as Maya’s animation layers and the trax editor.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Shoot Video Reference for their Character’s Performance
  • Create and Blend Animation Cycles Using the Trax Editor
  • Create Animatics
  • Learn to effectively Animate to the Camera and rely on the Storyboard for guidance
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the Principles of Animation to create attractive performances

IM270 Advanced Animation

Course Description

Students will begin making final touches to their animations to make their characters more polished. In this 3D Animation class students will also learn more about visual effects. Lectures will focus on making the flow of their characters tighter and more polished, and introducing students to different types of effects such as Fluid Effects, nDynamics, and DDM.

IM280 Advanced Rendering and Post Production

Course Description

Expanding on the lessons from previous 3D Animation certificate classes, students will begin to gain a greater understanding of Maya’s dynamics systems. They will work with rigid and soft bodies to get more interesting dynamic effects for when characters interact with objects. They will also begin breaking up their scene into Render Layers so that they could more effectively render out their animated shorts. Gaining an understanding of the best methods to extract parts of the scene so that it can be placed in After Effects for compositing.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Explore Maya’s Particle and Dynamic Systems to Enhance their Character’s Performance
  • Create Realistic and Dynamic Lighting using Mental Ray
  • Create Render Passes
  • Composite Render Passes and Enhance Renders in After Effects

IM290 Animation and Motion Graphics Final Project

Course Description

Utilizing the skills from the previous courses students will prepare for their final project in this multi-week course. The final project of the 3D Animation certification will be geared to each student’s goals and interests relating to the course objectives. Students will choose and present their project goals for approval and begin production. Focus areas include: Modeling, Texturing, Technical Art, Effects, Motion Graphics, Multimedia and Animation. Students will complete their final project deliverable for critique at the end of the course.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Select an Area of Focus
  • Create a Proposal for their Final Project
  • Working under the Supervision of their Instructor to expand their knowledge of the topic
  • Give and Receive feedback from Classmates throughout the course

PD400 Critical Skills Review

Course Description

This course provides the opportunity for students to refine and review foundation-level topics in preparation for the advanced applied 3D Animation classes that follow. Students will also work with their instructor to propose and commit to a long-term extracurricular project, focusing on a subject of personal interest. Personal projects will be presented during the Portfolio course at the end of the program.

Learning Outcomes/Topics

  • Modeling
  • UVs
  • Texturing
  • Lighting
  • Rigging
  • Animation
  • Rendering
  • Compositing
  • Motion Graphics