ANIMATION PROGRAM

Course Descriptions

* Please note that course offerings and course descriptions are subject to change. Current Students: Please reference the relevant University Catalog to find the course listings and descriptions applicable to your cohort.

ANIMATION CORE

  • Story, Genre, and Structure

    A theoretical and practical introduction to the human phenomenon of storytelling, what stories are, their central role in culture from ancient times to the present day, and how storytellers seek and communicate meaning. Particular attention will be paid to the significance of story in the Judeo-Christian tradition and story’s role within the Christian faith.

    Students will generate numerous story ideas, and with the help of their classmates and the instructor will evaluate those ideas in terms of audience appeal, theme and meaning.

  • Media Survey

    This course introduces students to the diverse world of radio, television, news, cinema, internet, print and advertising. Students will learn how to critically experience such media and analyze its desired results. Students will also explore how media has developed and evolved through history and examine the current influences of media on society from a cultural, artistic and economic perspective. In addition, we will explore what the role of Christians in this new media environment can and should be, and how we can best utilize the opportunities available to us to become who we want to be.

  • Film Criticism and the Art of Visual Storytelling

    Exploration of the history of electronic game technology, game genres, major hardware gaming platforms, major software game engines, various game developers, game publisher, and the work of leading exponents of game/animation design to broaden students’ vision, understanding, and appreciation of game art & design evolution.

  • Media Law and Ethics

    The course examines the legal relationships in the motion picture and television industries, as well as the legal relationships between artists and their personal managers. It covers the key legal principles that are involved in most media productions. This includes with trade unions, licensing, intellectual property and contract issues. In addition, this course explores ethical challenges students are likely to encounter working in entertainment and guides them through the development of a personal code of ethics that is informed by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ.

  • Career Strategies (Film/Animation)

    In this course students identify their specialized interest and value within the media industry, and through the creation of a comprehensive career strategy, use specialized knowledge, skills and experience to prepare themselves to be hired by media companies and promote themselves within the media industry. The class will also look at the unique world of freelancing and give students the tools necessary to venture into self-employment.

  • Production Studio I

    This creative studio course is designed to help students produce their master-game prototype. At the end of this course, students are expected to complete the majority of their game production and to deliver Alpha version of their game.

  • Fundamentals of Art and Design

    Introduction to the elements and principles of design, composition design, color theory, color psychology, and basic typography. Practical guidance in color mixing and the visual impact of specific color combinations to support traditional and digital design work.

  • Drawing in Perspective

    Study of fundamental drawing techniques used to represent three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional plane and lay a strong foundation for all other drawing and design courses.

  • Writing and Pitching a Script: Animation

    This course will provide students with the basic understanding of character and story design for Animation. Students will be exposed to the principles of good story and character design, the elements that make for both interesting and commercially successful animated films, as well as practice brainstorming animation ideas. Students will conceive an original idea for an animated short film and create a pitch to sell the concept.

  • 3D Fundamentals

    Comprehensive introduction to the various components of 3D animation technology including modeling, animating, rendering, and lighting.

  • Production Studio II

    This final creative studio course is designed to help students finish their master-game prototype, test it and get it ready for publishing to the intended game platform.

  • Portfolio Review

    This comprehensive studio class will allow students to produce and polish their portfolio content. Several in-class progress milestones, qualitative portfolio reviews by the industry professional guest speakers, and peer critiques will enhance students' experience, and provide maximum guidance to improving the overall quality of students' artwork.

STORY ART & DIRECTING TRACK

  • Observational Drawing

    This class is designed to help students develop drawing skills by translating what students observe about three-dimensional objects into lines and shapes on a two dimensional medium, while incorporating surface textures and varying line qualities into object and environment design concepts.

     

  • Fundamentals of Story Development

    This course builds on student understanding of screen storytelling established in Story, Genre and Structure and Writing and Pitching a Script. Students will develop an original feature-length screen story from multiple ideas through idea evaluation and selection, character creation and development, story structure, treatment, pitch and beat sheet. At the end of the course, students will register their work with the WGA (a $20 fee). Students will consider more advanced screenwriting concepts presented in the text and will apply those principles to their developing stories.

  • Storyboarding

    This class focuses on applying industry-standard storyboarding and scripting techniques to Animation/Film production. Topics to be covered include the various purposes and formats of storyboards, the basic terminology and concepts used in storyboarding, and the application of storyboarding techniques to the creation of storyboards with or without a written script. Using Scripts, Sound Tracks, and Character Designs provided by the teacher, students create several Storyboards and presentation Animatics (movies of the Storyboard Panels that are timed to the Sound Tracks).

     

  • Life Drawing I

    This class will help students to develop basic figure drawing skills. Students will study drawing a human body in various shapes and poses in order to create designs for animated characters.

  • Life Drawing II

    This class will help students develop advanced figure-drawing skills through various exercises drawing the human body in various shapes and explore into various texturing techniques, while generating diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps. This class will introduce students to industry standard animation software.

  • 2D Animation I

    Using the simplicity of basic 2D animation, students will become familiar with some of the basic Disney: 12 Principles of Animation.” Through lectures and projects, students will create several short animation projects that include: Key Pose Animation; Squash and Stretch; Anticipation; Staging; Arcs; and Action Timing. Whether 2D, CG, or stop motion animation, these principles are the backbone for all character animation projects.

  • Adaptation

    This course builds on the storytelling fundamentals learned in Story, Genre" and Structure, and Fundamentals of Story Development, with a focus on the principles and skills of adapting for the screen a story which originates in another medium, as well as adapting true stories for the screen. The student will consider the challenges inherent in adapting a story from another medium, and from true life, and will gain skills and experience by writing, developing, and/or pitching multiple stories of this type. The knowledge, skills, and experience gained in this course will serve aspiring screenwriters, as well as aspiring producers, directors, agents, managers, and executives who will involve themselves in the development of story material for the screen. Students will pitch their adaptations and will critique one another’s work in large and small groups, with instructor supervision and guidance. Considerable time will be required for students to write and develop stories outside of class. Students will read and respond to the required text.

  • Directing: Animation

    Using the simplicity of basic 2D animation, students will become familiar with some of the basic “Disney: 12 Principles of Animation.” Through lectures and projects, students will create several short animation projects that include: Key Pose Animation; Squash and Stretch; Anticipation; Staging; Arcs; and Action Timing. Whether 2D, CG, or stop motion animation, these principles are the backbone for all character animation projects.

  • Directing I

    Students learn to analyze and explore directorial approaches used in film and television, looking particularly at the creative use of cameras, sound, composition, and communication with those in front of and behind the camera. They explore, from a directorial perspective, the expressive potential of the image within and beyond the film. They learn methodologies, which stimulate visual creativity and positioning the image as the fundamental element of cinematic expression. They engage in exercises in the analysis of script and for the purpose of directing actors to obtain the best possible performance.

  • Cinematography

    This class expands on many of the skills learned in the Fundamentals of Production class. Students will learn intermediate camera and lighting techniques and how to use these specific tools to communicate a story visually.

     

    Specific emphasis will be on image composition, lens characteristics, codecs and formats, camera settings, specific lighting styles and instruments, and how the camera and lights complement and support the storytelling experience.

     

  • Advanced Cinematography

    Focusing primarily on the role of the cinematographer, you will learn how to visually communicate an idea through extensive use of the camera and lights.

     

    Areas of emphasis will include composition, camera techniques, camera placement and movement, lens characteristics, color, depth of field, lighting techniques, the qualities of light and color temperature.

  • Sound in Film

    You will review the fundamentals of sound and how they are applied in a media environment to help communicate a message.

     

    Students will learn the element of a film or video soundtrack and how to take the elements from production and combine with created sounds and effects to create a complete sound track. Students will mix, process, and enhance the soundtrack in post-production using a digital audio workstation.

     

3D ART

  • Observational Drawing

    This class is designed to help students develop drawing skills by translating what students observe about three-dimensional objects into lines and shapes on a two dimensional medium, while incorporating surface textures and varying line qualities into object and environment design concepts.

     

  • Life Drawing I

    This class will help students to develop basic figure drawing skills. Students will study drawing a human body in various shapes and poses in order to create designs for animated characters.

  • Life Drawing II

    This class will help students develop advanced figure-drawing skills through various exercises drawing the human body in various shapes and explore into various texturing techniques, while generating diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps. This class will introduce students to industry standard animation software.

  • Hard Surface Modeling I

    This class is designed to help students develop 3D modeling skills to produce low and high-poly hard surface models for animation and games. Students will learn to model using proper topology and be introduced to methods of speeding up workflow while creating props, buildings, and other hard surface objects.

     

  • Hard Surface Modeling II

    This class builds on the topics covered in Hard Surface Modeling I and introduces modeling with NURBS. Students will explore the pros and cons of working with NURBS and model several kinds of vehicles.

     

  • Organic Modeling I

    In this class, students will explore various techniques for modeling and sculpting organic assets using Maya and ZBrush. Students will produce low and high-poly animals and humans for animation and games. In addition, complementary techniques such as box modeling, edge loop modeling, UV layout, and texturing will be explored.

  • Organic Modeling II

    This class will build on the topics of Character Modeling. Students will explore further in ZBrush’s Dynamesh and other functions and sculpt several high res character models. Students will also make use of displacement and normal maps to transfer their high res details to lower res, production-ready models. Additional topics covered will include texture painting, rendering, anatomy, retopology, and texture maps.

     

  • Environment Design I

    This class is designed to provide students with several opportunities to explore and research into environments and complementary object designs of various art styles, to promote the development of students’ individual art style.

  • Environment Design II: Gaming

    This class will provide students with the opportunity to develop fully interactive game environment inside a game engine. Students will use basic first-person game controller to navigate inside an interactive game environment in order to validate their designs.

  • Drawing on Location

    This class is designed to provide students with the opportunity to further their drawing skills. Students will draw architectural structures, landscape and people on location from direct observation.

  • Character Rigging: Animation

    Creating skeletal structures for humanoid characters. Mastery of a wide range of rigging techniques such as reversed foot lock, wrist control, spline IK, facial controls, and weight painting.

  • Introduction to Texturing and UV

    This class will introduce students to preparing both hard surface and organic models for texturing using various methods of UV unwrapping. Students will create texture maps from scratch using cameras and Photoshop. Students will also be exposed to texture painting techniques in Mudbox.

  • Texturing and Lighting I: Animation

    This class revolves around creation and application of realistic and stylized textures and light schemes to produce depth and meaning in 3D computer generated scenes. Students will explore into various texturing techniques, while generating diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps.

  • Texturing and Lighting II: Animation

    Students will continue developing realistic and stylized texture and light schemes to produce depth and meaning in interactive 3D scenes. Students will explore into various advanced PBR texturing and lighting techniques, while generating texture assets for interactive objects and environments.

ANIMATION TRACK

  • Observational Drawing

    This class is designed to help students develop drawing skills by translating what students observe about three-dimensional objects into lines and shapes on a two dimensional medium, while incorporating surface textures and varying line qualities into object and environment design concepts.

     

  • Introduction to Acting

    This class is designed to provide students with several opportunities to explore and research into environments and complementary object designs of various art styles, to promote the development of students’ individual art style.

     

  • Storyboarding

    This class focuses on applying industry-standard storyboarding and scripting techniques to Animation/Film production. Topics to be covered include the various purposes and formats of storyboards, the basic terminology and concepts used in storyboarding, and the application of storyboarding techniques to the creation of storyboards with or without a written script. Using Scripts, Sound Tracks, and Character Designs provided by the teacher, students create several Storyboards and presentation Animatics (movies of the Storyboard Panels that are timed to the Sound Tracks).

     

  • Life Drawing I

    This class will help students to develop basic figure drawing skills. Students will study drawing a human body in various shapes and poses in order to create designs for animated characters.

  • Life Drawing II

    This class will help students develop advanced figure-drawing skills through various exercises drawing the human body in various shapes and explore into various texturing techniques, while generating diffuse, specular, bump, and normal maps. This class will introduce students to industry standard animation software.

  • 2D Animation I

    Using the simplicity of basic 2D animation, students will become familiar with some of the basic Disney: 12 Principles of Animation.” Through lectures and projects, students will create several short animation projects that include: Key Pose Animation; Squash and Stretch; Anticipation; Staging; Arcs; and Action Timing. Whether 2D, CG, or stop motion animation, these principles are the backbone for all character animation projects.

  • 2D Animation II

    This class expands on the “12-Principles.” Through a combination of lecture and lab, the class will produce two (2) short 30-second animated Pencil Test movies (no color) using a soundtrack provided from the teacher. Each movie project will include creating Thumbnail Storyboards, drawing Key Poses, preparing Exposure Sheets, creating in-betweens, and compositing a final Quicktime Movie

  • 3D Animation I

    This class is designed to provide students with the opportunity to study principles of traditional animation, and incorporate those principles into computer animation. Students will produce several cyclical and performance based animations.

  • 3D Animation II

    Advanced study in character animation that revolves around 3D CGI character performance.

  • Character Rigging: Animation

    Creating skeletal structures for humanoid characters. Mastery of a wide range of rigging techniques such as reversed foot lock, wrist control, spline IK, facial controls, and weight painting.

general education

Theology

  • Christian Experience I (Fundamentals of Catholicism)

    This course examines foundational beliefs of the Catholic faith:  divine revelation and its sources, the role of faith, the Incarnation, Christ’s work of redemption, beliefs about Mary and the communion of saints, the nature and mission of the Church, and more. Focus is placed on connecting your faith to the study of theology and in developing a personal relationship with Christ.

  • Christian Experience II (Sacred Scripture and Sacraments)

    In this course students will examine Divine Revelation, concentrating specifically on God’s Revelation of His Love and Truth in Sacred Scripture.  Attention will be paid to the Covenants of the Old Testament and how these lead to the fulfillment of those Covenants in the person and mission and Paschal Mystery of Jesus Christ.

  • Christian Experience III (Mission and Morality)

    This course offers students an in-depth study of the sacraments, liturgy, spirituality and prayer. The course examines the challenges of developing an interior life, focusing on the nature and difficulties of prayer. In addition, students analyze the Church’s liturgical life, with a focus on the seven sacraments by studying the Catechism and spiritual masters.

  • Christian Experience IV (Theology of the Body)

    In this course, students will come to appreciate their own lived experience of God’s design for human life.  Students will examine the moral imperatives that result from their own bodily existence and how these honor the dignity of those around them and guide them in their own loving service to others in the pursuit of their vocations.

Philosophy

  • Philosophy of Man

    After providing an overview of the basic principles of the Philosophy of Nature, this course examines the nature of the human being, beginning from the Epic of Gilgamesh, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas, the Renaissance via Blaise Pascal, and concluding in the modern period in Nietzsche, Freud and T. S. Eliot.

  • Philosophy of Nature

    This course is a detailed study in the various understandings of nature, beginning from the mythology of the Enuma Elish as a primitive attempt at grasping the world, to the classical understanding found in Aristotle’s Physics and 141 Parts of Animals and their Medieval development in Thomas Aquinas’s The Principles of Nature, to foundational texts in modern natural sciences such as those of Descartes, Galileo and Newton, to discussions of evolution found in Darwin, and finally to near contemporary physicists such as Heisenberg. The contrast between the classical stress on substantial form and formal causality and the modern method of material causality and mathematical law will be brought to the forefront, as will the emphasis on technology as a mastery of nature in modern science and the question of teleology, whether nature acts for a purpose.

  • Philosophy of God

    This is a course in the various understandings of metaphysics, or the nature of being as being, beginning from Plato’s Timaeus, continuing through the Classical period by means of Aristotle, and the Middle Ages in St. Thomas Aquinas. The course continues by covering several related questions, beginning with Natural Theology (discussing the traditional proofs for the existence of God, the Divine Attributes that can be understood using reason alone, the analogy of being, and the act of creation), continuing with the “problem of evil” and the question of free will

  • Logic

    Students learn about the basic structures of sound reasoning, focusing largely on classic Aristotelian logic. The course serves to help students think and argue with clarity as well as to effectively analyze arguments of others.  The course includes a careful analysis of the operations of the intellect, i.e., understanding, judgment, and reasoning, focusing on their products, i.e., term, proposition, and syllogism.

Humanities

  • Cultural Foundations I

    As this course engages apparently timeless literary works from the classical tradition, it situates them within specific historical contexts.  This approach enables students to better appreciate the enduring power of story even as they recognize the complex relationship art to its surrounding culture.  Masterworks of pagan antiquity (Homer and/or Virgil) give way to key texts of early Christendom (Augustine, Beowulf, and others) in order to further illuminate the impact of Christian theology and anthropology on artists and thinkers in myriad disciplines.

  • Cultural Foundations II

    This course tracks the development in European art and thought during the transition from the High Middle Ages to the Renaissance.  Special attention is paid at the outset to the tensions arising from, surrounding, and even bringing about this epochal shift, especially as evidenced in Dante’s Divine Comedy.  When the course later shifts its focus to texts produced by Shakespeare and other authors in Renaissance England, students find these tensions now located in increasingly realistic and complex human figures and dramas.  Through these explorations students come to see the distinctive groundwork being laid for what will later be recognized as the modern period.

  • Cultural Foundations III

    This third course in our Cultural Foundations series tracks the rise of modernity against the backdrop of various 18th and 19th century upheavals.  In order to best appreciate the dynamism and complexity of this period, students will immerse themselves in the literary form most characteristic of the 19th century: the novel.  By applying order to an increasingly dissonant world, the great novels of the European tradition illuminate daily life amidst revolutionary change in a uniquely personal way, and they capture in their progress both the subtlest movements of human consciousness and the most profound transformations of human hearts.

  • World History and Culture

    At the highest level, the course looks at how nations and regions across the world are navigating the tumultuous currents of globalization.

  • College Writing I *

    This course will emphasize the use of correct grammar, usage, spelling, punctuation, and mechanics. Students will be required to apply these skills to writing assignments.

  • Culture Making and Aesthetics *

    This course examines how media and business shape the attitudes, practices and beliefs of individuals and groups, and develops in students a rich understanding of the subtle and powerful cultural currents swirling around them, so that they can make valuable contributions to the development of future cultures. Students will consider critically how media and business shape them, learning to recognize the attitudes, assumptions, arguments and ideas promoted by media and business enterprises and products. They will develop a full, thoughtful and practical understanding of what cultures are and how they grow, and of the university’s mission to impact culture for Christ. They will gain an understanding of how Christians are perceived by the cultures around them, and appreciate how one gains the privilege of participation in the shaping of cultures. Finally, students will learn to articulate what of value they have to offer the cultures around them, and how they hope to make that contribution over the course of their lives and careers.

  • College Writing II

    This course will build on the skills learned in College Writing I.

* Must take one of these two courses

Science and Mathematics

  • Decisions Based on Data (Math)

    This course is a review of basic mathematical skills, with a focus on those needed to review and understand business statistics and information. The course focuses on real life application of the concepts learned.

     

    Students will also be introduced to basic financial literacy concepts such as budgeting and planning for large purchases that require a loan. The course is also designed to help students learn how to interpret quantitative information and other data in order to make decisions.

  • Natural Science

    This course explores the scientific method and reasoning. A special emphasis is placed on the design found in nature and environmental science.

Business

  • Entrepreneurial Thinking

    In today’s world there is a need for strategic thinking and business vision based on a different paradigm. Competition is not only between products and services, but also between business models. Students will learn about innovation-driven business strategies and methodologies to develop business designs to successfully compete in the new economy.

  • Introduction to Marketing

    This course focuses on introducing the idea of “entrepreneurial marketing” and is aimed at students who plan to start a new venture or take a job as a marketing professional pursuing an innovative marketing approach. Students will study a full spectrum of marketing strategies and tactics that are especially suitable for entrepreneurial firms aiming for high growth and innovation yet faced by limited resources and uncertain industry dynamics.

     

    Students will work in teams on marketing plans for their own venture or for other high profile entrepreneurs or executives. The focus of this course is on hands-on experiences and practical application of marketing concepts.

  • Business Planning

    In this class students get a “big picture” look at the ingredients of a start-up firm and the process of creating one. The class details those ingredients, discusses the stories (good & bad) of people who have done it, and learn the process by going through it with a team. Students learn the business planning process, how to craft a compelling and clear business story, and acquire inquisitiveness as to how the world of business really works.

     

    The class deliverable is a complete Business Plan created by student teams along with a presentation of the plan.

  • Negotiation Skills

    This course teaches students to meet and resolve objections and conflicts that result from written and oral proposals and pitches. Emphasis is on resolving customer obstacles before addressing your own. Topics covered include: Wants vs. Needs; Win-Win Strategies; Best Alternatives to Agreement; Schedule vs. Quality vs. Cost; Progress vs. Perfection. The class progresses through carefully structured, progressively more complex negotiation exercises. Students learn how external and internal negotiation has become a way of life for effective managers in a constantly changing business environment.

  • Social Media Marketing

    This course will prepare you to act both strategically and tactically –utilizing social media tools like blogs, microblogs (Twitter), vodcasts, video, and networking sites to engage with your audience and sell your products and services. You will discover how to use analytic tools to gauge the effectiveness of your campaigns and communicate meaningfully with your audience. In this class, we will divide into small groups. Each group will build their own blog, as well as two accompanying social media accounts (Twitter & Facebook) for their chosen “business,” and we will analyze their implementation & progress.

  • Leadership and Management

    This course gives an in-depth understanding of the differences between – and similarities of – leadership and management. The course focuses on the major traits of leaders and managers, and augments these with examples of great historic leaders, including George Custer and Jesus Christ.

     

    The course also studies the leadership traits of Abraham Lincoln, and looks at how these can be applied in business to improve management techniques.

  • Business Communications

    This course will teach students how to write and speak effectively in business and other communication.

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