Visual Effects (VFX) Track

In the VFX track, students will gain a solid foundation of both live action film making and animation techniques.  They will learn advanced tools, concepts and workflow related to visual effects and compositing for a variety of mediums related to the film industry.  Subject matter includes green screen, rotoscoping, 3D integration, motion tracking, set extension, post effects and color correction. 

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 Visual Effects (VFX) Track...

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DM 155 Production 1: Digital Media
(3 credits - Fall)

An introduction to digital filmmaking tools and production techniques. Students shoot moving images, record sound, manipulate images with industry standard software tools and practice non-linear editing techniques to tell stories. Students conceive and structure projects, organize source materials and export digital film elements in preparation for more complex projects in later courses. Students will earn credit working on upper level films and other multi-media projects.

DM 205 The Art of Editing
(3 credits - Spring)

The art of assembling images and sound to tell compelling stories for film and television will be explored in this course. Students further develop skills and vocabulary in editing with the latest industry software. Basic 2D motion graphics for video editors is introduced as students create titles, credits, compositing, animation of still images and graphic elements and basic colorization.
Prerequisite: DM 155

DM 338 Understanding Cinema
(3 credits - Spring)

Understanding Cinema provides students with a solid foundation for reading film as a powerful narrative storytelling medium through the lens of film history. This course focuses on film analysis and provides students with the tools and understanding they need to become perceptive viewers and consumers of narrative cinema by studying the evolution of film form. In addition, students will learn the language and conceptual framework of film, including space, time, cinematography, sound, lighting, editing, mise-en-scene, acting, form and narrative constructs. The weekly filmic texts offer examples from both the Hollywood motion picture industry and diverse independent and foreign cinemas from the last 120 years of filmmaking.
Prerequisite: DM 115

DM 395 Practicum in Digital Media Arts
(1 to 3 credits - Fall, Spring)

Practicum in some aspect of digital media arts designed to give student practical, directed experience.
Prerequisite: Consent

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

Choose 26 Credit Hours

In addition to the Animation Core and Visual Effects (VFX) Track required courses, you can select 26 credit hours from the following...

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DM 160 Production 2: Sound and Picture
(3 credits - Spring)

Proper voice recording, sound effects, microphone and Foley pit techniques along with field and studio lighting are addressed. This course further refines audio and digital media techniques both in the field and studio environment. Students will earn credit working on upper division films and other assigned multi-media projects.
Prerequisite: DM 155

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

CS 216 Software Development
(3 credits - Spring)

Advanced programming topics, including object oriented programming, graphical user interfaces, recursion, fundamental data structures, sorting and searching algorithms, sequential and random access file processing and external procedures.
Prerequisite: CS 111

DM 250 Production 3: Production Design in Film
(4 credits - Fall)

This course is the intersection of craft and story where the professional emphasis on production design is front and center using the fundamentals of sight, sound, and motion. Theoretical "real world" experiences are explored through a production process. The class moves from basics to fundamentals in significant ways with an in-depth investigation into the visual components of space, line and shape, color, tone, movement, and rhythm.
Prerequisite: DM 205

DM 255 Production 4: Cinematography
(4 credits - Spring)

Students develop storytelling skills through the planning and acquisition of visual and auditory elements of cinematic images and sound design. Students will earn credit working on upper level films and other assigned multi-media projects.
Prerequisite: DM 250

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

CS 325 Data Structures and Algorithms
(3 credits - Fall Odd Years)

Analysis of algorithms, advanced sorting and searching techniques, vectors, arrays, records, stacks, queues, deques, linked lists, trees and graphs are studied in this course.
Prerequisite: CS 216

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 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 386AUD Advanced Audio Techniques
(2 credits - Spring)

This course will focus on advanced sound design, as well as mixing and editing techniques.
Prerequisite: DM 445FP

DM 386POST Advanced Editing and Post-Production
(2 credits - Spring)

This course will focus on the art of editing along with color grading, compositing, and visual effects for professional film and television projects.
Prerequisite: DM 445FP

CS 386 Visual Programming
(3 credits - Spring Odd Years)

Event-driven programming using a visual programming language and interface. Topics include screen design and layout, common controls, graphics, design patterns, mobile development, and database integration.
Prerequisite: CS 216

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 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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