Animation Track

Explore a diverse range of courses designed to hone your skills in character animation, storytelling, and motion graphics. Whether you dream of crafting stories or pushing the boundaries of digital artistry, our program will help you unleash your creativity in the world.

Core Courses

In addition to the standard Animation Core of DM105, DM110, DM170, DM178, DM425, DM445AN, DM446AN, and DM453, the following courses are required for the Animation Track...

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DM 150 Digital Drawing and Painting
(2 credits - Fall)

This class introduces students to creative exploration using 2D digital drawing, painting and illustration applications, tools and techniques for animation students.
Prerequisites: Declared major in animation; or AR 111, 241I, 241ID, and 241P

DM 203 Storyboard and Concept
(4 credits - Fall)

Storyboard and Concept Design are central to the art form and industry of animation. Many of these processes cross over into comics, graphic novels, game design and even live-action filmmaking. In this class, we will explore the principles of designing strong characters and telling rich stories through the lens of an animation camera. By the end of the semester, each student will have a sketchbook full of story ideas and at least one fully developed concept that could serve as the basis for a short animated film.
Prerequisite: DM 150

DM 210 Principles of Character Animation
(3 credits - Fall)

This course serves as an in-depth continuation exploring character animation methods as briefly introduced in DM 110. Students will develop an advanced understanding of the 12 principles of animation with an emphasis placed on: arcs, staging, timing, easing in and out, as well as secondary action and overlapping. Students will choose to study these concepts in either 3D character animation or 2D character animation depending on their interests and skill level as it relates to the production workflow.
Prerequisite: DM 110

DM 370 Junior Animation Studio I
(4 credits - Fall)

This course is designed to bring together both design and production skills that students have learned in previous courses. Students will work in a collaborative studio-like environment participating in small-groups focused on a variety of extremely short productions. Students will be exposed to design practices, production methods and workflow. Students will use the artist/client relationship to design, implement and deliver projects on time on a limited budget.
Prerequisites: One course from DM 278, 312, or 334

DM 388 Advanced Production Studio
(4 credits - Fall)

The class as a whole will contribute to an ongoing film production, implementing standards, practices and workflow all used in the animation industry. This course builds on the students' previous experience in the animation program, utilizing their personal strengths and accomplished skill sets. While the media will rotate depending on available content, student skill sets and instructor availability, all students will be placed into roles that best reflect their accomplishments in the program thus far.
This course is repeatable.
Prerequisite: One course from DM 278, 312, or 334

Choose 24 Credit Hours

In addition to the Animation Core and Animation Track required courses, you can select 24 credit hours from the following...

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DM 278 3D Computer Graphics II
(4 credits - Fall)

This class focuses on advanced 3D design and modeling and techniques as well as mid-level animation and rigging techniques. By studying good character design, students will design and model their own characters. Students will also spend some time with animation assignments geared toward gaining a deeper understanding of the animation workflow in Maya. This class will give students the skill set to begin developing portfolio projects as well as the skills needed for the more advance 3D classes.
Prerequisite: DM 178

AR 311 Figure Drawing
(3 credits - Spring Odd Years)

An introduction to drawing the human figure using a variety of media. Study of the human skeletal and muscular structure is included to assist in applying the basic principles of composition, proportion and perspective in representing the human form. Concentration on developing habits of critical observation.
Prerequisite: AR 111

DM 312 Stop Motion Animation
(4 credits - Spring)

This course is designed to expose students to stop motion animation in a variety of forms. Students will participate in weekly assignments to develop an advanced sense of timing and character. Students will also be exposed to the craft of stop motion animation by learning basic camera, lighting and rigging techniques. Students will also design and fabricate a mid-level fully articulate stop motion puppet.
Prerequisite: DM 210

DM 330 Introduction to Screenwriting
(3 credits - Fall)

This course is designed to help students discover and develop their storytelling gifts and an authentic voice. Students learn techniques specific to writing and conceptualizing original material for the screen. Writing skills, specific storytelling forms and industry norms in professional concept development and screenwriting are developed.
Prerequisite: DM 155

DM 334 2D Animation I
(4 credits - Spring)

This course is an immersion into the 2D digital studio using one of the industry's most powerful production tools. By combining the principles of traditionally drawn animation with the tools of digital technology, this course hopes to broaden students' understanding of 2D animation while systematically exploring the different aspects of the 2D animation production pipeline and its practiced workflows. Although the focus is not purely on technology and software, a solid understanding of the digital tools will be required to meet the creative challenges of the course.
Prerequisite: DM 210

DM 378 3D Computer Graphics III
(4 credits - Spring)

This class focuses on color theory, lighting theory, 3D lighting techniques, developing individual 3D rendering styles, 3D space composition and aesthetics. This includes working on 3D environments, advanced lighting techniques and non-photo-realistic rendering. Over the course of the semester, students will work on designing their own 3D environments, as well as work on creating an individual visual voice within the 3D computer graphics medium. The concepts covered in this class apply to all mediums, not just 3D CG. Techniques developed in this class will be applied to the Junior Studio and Senior Project coursework.
Prerequisite: DM 278

DM 382 Visual Development
(4 credits - Spring)

This course builds on the students' experience in DM203 Storyboard and Concept and DM150 Digital Drawing and Painting. Students put into practice many of the basic design techniques they have learned in previous classes through the development of focused projects. Projects will concentrate on personal illustration style, as well as conforming to a predetermined style in the context of a hypothetical studio environment. The projects developed in this course will serve as both portfolio pieces and possible properties for the Advanced Production class.
Prerequisite: DM 203

DM 389 Advanced Digital Studio
(2 credits - Fall, Spring)

The Advanced Digital Studio offers advanced exploration in 3D graphics, stop motion, drawn animation and motion graphics. This course is designed for advanced students who have chosen to pursue a particular aspect of digital media beyond the limitations of the established course offerings with further guidance and instruction from faculty. For students to enroll in this class, they must first propose a particular line of pursuit and a strategy to accomplish it.
This course is repeatable.
Prerequisite: One course from DM 278, 312, 334, or 432

DM 432 Advanced Motion Graphics for Animators
(4 credits - Fall)

This course will build on many of the basic concepts taught in the DM 170 introduction course. Animation students will learn advanced tools, concepts and workflow that will complement their work in other forms of digital animation, including, but not limited to, 3D Graphics, Tra-digital and Stop-motion animation. Other aspects of this course include applying formal elements of design and motion, advanced digital puppetry, compositing Maya render layers, post effects and color correction.
Prerequisite: DM 170

DM 478 3D Computer Graphics IV
(4 credits - Fall)

This class will focus on advanced character performance techniques. Students will choose from one of three animated media (3D character, stop motion puppet or 2D drawn animation) to apply concepts learned in class to create short believable character sketches. In addition, classical theater acting principles will be analyzed and implemented to enhance animated performances.
Prerequisite: One course from DM 278, 312, or 334

DM 495 Internship in Digital Media Arts
(2 to 4 credits - Fall, Spring, Summer)

A capstone opportunity for advanced real-world work off campus in digital media arts. The digital media arts internship is a supervised field study with outside businesses or organizations with departments in animation or live-action. Students will complete projects for the organizations and fulfill reflection paper or portfolio requirements as assigned by the DMA faculty.
Prerequisites: Junior or senior standing and consent

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