Digital Arts

digital_arts_2

This track allows students to focus in the ways in which technology can assist in the creation and display of artistic expression.

FALL 2021 Course Descriptions

Course options WITH computational/digital focus:

CDT 30410 3D Digital Production for Animation and Video Games (FTT 30416) taught by Jeff Spoonhower
Interested in pursuing a career in feature animation, special effects, or video games? This class will be your first step in learning the tools and techniques of 3D digital content creation for the entertainment industry. Students will learn the basics of modeling, texturing, animation, lighting, and rendering using the industry-standard program, Autodesk Maya. Through video tutorials and production lessons, students will get hands-on, practical experience in the major areas of digital content creation in Maya. Students will also learn foundational principles of animation and 3D design through weekly lectures, screenings of feature animated films, and interactive play-throughs of modern console video games.

CDT 30421 The Animation Course taught by Jeff Spoonhower
Animation is everywhere. In feature films, video games, visual effects sequences, live-action shows, Saturday morning cartoons, documentaries, television ads, mobile phone apps, websites, movie trailers, title sequences, social media content, roadside billboards, art installations, and more - we are surrounded by animation and it permeates our visually-oriented world. Now more than ever, it is important to understand what animation is, its origins, the multitude of forms it can take, how it represents diverse cultures and ideas, and of course - how to create it. We will learn the history of the art form from the late 19th century to present; different techniques used in its creation, including hand-drawn, experimental, stop-motion, and computer-generated; and how it represents a variety of global cultural perspectives. We will approach these topics critically, and then apply what we learn towards animation production projects using Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, and After Effects. Through critical reading assignments, video essays, film screenings, and hands-on production assignments, we will gain a holistic understanding and appreciation of animation as an art form as well as practical skills that can be applied to a variety of higher level courses and creative careers. This is a hybrid critical studies and production course, and as such, we will "learn by doing" in both lecture and lab settings.

CDT 31410 VCD 1: Fundamentals of Design taught by various faculty in the Department of Art, Art History, and Design
MATERIALS FEE. Fundamentals of Design is a gateway course for Visual Communication Design that introduces students to basic design elements like color, form, composition and typography. This course explores and helps develop an understanding of the delicate balance between these design elements and how they have been skillfully used over time to create some of the most persuasive images and enduring messages. The course is an exercise in deconstruction and reconstruction of visual images using design elements as tools. Through assignments, students will work digitally to explore color, form, composition, texture and typography; first individually and then in conjunction with other elements. Initial assignments will be short and will focus on the understanding of a singular element. As the course progresses, students will be expected to use experiences from these short assignments and use them as building block for more complex projects. Above all, the course builds a vigorous foundation that allows students to acquire visual skillsets that serve as a firm foundation for advanced level courses in Visual Communication Design.

CDT 31420 Photography 1 (ARST 20401) taught by Martina Lopez and other staff instructors in AAHD
MATERIALS FEE. This course is an introduction to the tools, materials, and processes of black and white photography. Lectures and demonstrations expose students to both traditional and contemporary practices in photography. Critiques of ongoing work encourage students to begin discovering and developing their individual strengths and interests in the medium. A 35mm camera with manual shutter speed and "F" stop is needed.

CDT 37410 Tech Dev in Digital Arts taught by Charles Crowell or one of the other CDT faculty
This course is intended to be used only for special projects that are approved in advance by the department. Special requirements and arrangement must be made to take this course.

Course options WITHOUT computational/digital focus:

CDT 40405 Critical Digital Studies taught by Ranjodh Dhaliwal
This class introduces students to the many forms in which critical thought has been applied to digital computational systems. Literary critics have long argued that computers are inscription machines (think about reading or writing on disks!), and we shall take a look at the long tradition of literary scholarship trying to understand and think about computation. Thinking critically about these new media technologies, however, is a multidisciplinary undertaking, and we shall also dive into some other variants of media technology studies. To understand these other stories and histories of digitality, we will reach out to approaches that question the role of race, class, and gender in how digital systems have been envisioned, developed, used, and abused. Some hands-on media archaeology will be accompanied by readings that are a mix of science fiction, e-lit, and critical theory.

SPRING 2021 Course Descriptions

Course options WITH computational/digital focus:

CDT 30405 Experiments in Narrative (ARST 30110) taught by Evan Hume
This course will explore the narrative potential of photographic media as well as the role of sequencing in the creative process. Projects will use both still photography and video as vehicles for storytelling and conceptual expression. Students will gain competency in image and video editing software and techniques while taking inspiration from cinema, video art, and photography. A combination of production, critique, and readings will advance student understandings of narrative structure and experimental approaches to time-based media.

CDT 30420 Sound and Music Design for Digital Media (FTT 30420) taught by Jeff Spoonhower
Sound and music design for digital media is an often overlooked art form that is critical to the effective telling of a story. Writer-director George Lucas famously said that “sound is 50 percent of the movie-going experience.” Director Danny Boyle mentioned in an interview that “the truth is, for me, it’s obvious that 70, 80 percent of a movie is sound. You don’t realize it because you can’t see it.” At its root, sonic design creates mood and setting - it engages the audience on a primal, emotional level, in ways that imagery alone can not achieve. A cleanly recorded and creatively edited sound effects track can immerse an audience in a fictional world. Music, whether used sparingly or in grandiose fashion, can enhance or subvert the visual component of a film or video game to create cinematic magic. Through feature film screenings, video game play-through sessions, and hands-on production assignments using Adobe Audition CC, students will learn how to direct the emotions of an audience through creative recording, mixing, and editing of sound effects and music.

CDT 31420 Photography 1 (ARST 20401) taught by Martina Lopez and other staff instructors in AAHD
MATERIALS FEE. This course is an introduction to the tools, materials, and processes of black and white photography. Lectures and demonstrations expose students to both traditional and contemporary practices in photography. Critiques of ongoing work encourage students to begin discovering and developing their individual strengths and interests in the medium. A 35mm camera with manual shutter speed and "F" stop is needed.

CDT 31425 Photography II: Digital Workshop (ARST 30405) taught by Marina Lopez and other staff instructors in AAHD
MATERIALS FEE. This is a level II course in the photography sequence and builds upon the experiences gained in Photography I. Digital constructions, Photoshop software techniques, studio lighting and time-based projects are explored. Presentations, assignments and critiques promote visual and technical skill building, helping students continue defining their creative interest and technical expertise. A digital SLR with manual focus and exposure controls is required; or, students may check out departmental cameras to complete assignments A portable hard drive compatible with the Apple OS platform is required for storing personal files. Course is taught on the Apple OS platform.

CDT 40420 Advanced 3D Digital Production (FTT 40416) taught by Jeff Spoonhower
You have learned the basics of 3D digital production in Maya, and your insatiable thirst for digital content creation can not be quenched. Welcome to the next level - Advanced 3D Digital Production! In this class, you will move beyond the fundamentals of 3D production and tackle advanced concepts such as complex object and character creation, digital sculpting, keyframe and motion-captured character animation, and more. You will create a portfolio of high-quality 3D assets which you can use for graduate school and job applications. You will dig deeper into the Maya toolset as well as learn new programs such as Mudbox. Students will be treated as professional 3D artists, and expectations for timely, quality final deliverables will be high.

CDT 40430 Technological Concepts in Visual FX (CSE 40655) taught by Ramzi Bualuan
This class seeks to introduce students to some basic concepts of computer-generated imagery as it is used in the field of visual effects, and to delve into some of the technical underpinnings of the field. While some focus will rely on artistic critique and evaluation, most of the emphasis of the class will be placed on understanding fundamental concepts of 3D modeling, texturing, lighting, rendering, and compositing. Those who excel in the visual effects industry are those who have both a strong aesthetic sense coupled with a solid understanding of what the software being used is doing "under the hood." This class, therefore, will seek to stress both aspects of the industry. From a methodology standpoint, the class will consist of lectures, several projects that will be worked on both in-class and out of class, an on-site photo shoot, and extensive open discussion. The nature of the material combined with the fact that this is the first execution of the class will mean that a significant degree of flexibility will need to be incorporated into the class structure.
 


Colors 2 and Colors 3 images licensed under Creative Commons. Artist: Ferdi Riziyanto