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3D Modeling Animation Art and Design

If you’re looking for a job that’s never dull, a career in 3D Modeling Animation Art and Design is for you. 3D modelers and animators work on a huge range of projects from blockbuster movies and beloved TV shows to cult-classic video games and addictive mobile apps. But before you can jump into this exciting career, you’re going to need industry-recognized training.

The 3D Modeling Animation Art and Design program at CDI College focuses on providing graduates with a solid foundation in the technical and artistic skills needed to be successful in the game, animation, and CGI industries. Key to this is a genuine understanding of storytelling, game play, modeling, and animation techniques.

Students will first build their skill set in traditional artistic techniques like colour theory, design fundamentals, and life drawing and will apply this knowledge to the production and animation of characters, lighting, texturing, layout, and design. Students will be able to apply industry standard software tools and techniques to production processes as well. By the end of the program, students will have an industry-standard portfolio ready to show to potential employers.

Program Courses

MA606 - Portfolio II
The emphasis of this course is to prepare the student for graduation and final portfolio development. Time is spent developing a final demo reel to showcase the strengths and talents of each student in a branded visually appealing presentation. Students will have the option to develop a demo reel that focuses on their interests and skills within the 3D industry. Time will be spent focusing on content that showcases primary skills such as animation or modeling. There will also be an opportunity to plan and showcase secondary abilities to increase the potential opportunity of employment. Planning and production pipelines will be followed and deadlines will be achieved.
MA603 - Advanced Lighting and Texturing
This course builds upon the previously covered topics of lighting and textures. It takes the students beyond the basic light sources and shadows and explores lighting and texturing as an art. Students will learn advanced lighting and texturing skills and techniques and how to apply them to their final modeling and animation projects. Students will learn to select the appropriate light type for a particular situation as well as the correct material 2D and 3D textures. Topical coverage includes lighting colour and composition, Maya light types, high quality shadows and effects, raytracing, 3D textures and projections.
MA602 - Effects Animation
Students will explore the basics of digital effects animation and work with particles and effects tools with Maya. You will work with the digital tools to develop simple dynamic animations while considering effects elements to add life and atmosphere to their reels. Students will cover the basic forces and elements such as fire and water and discuss lighting mood and atmosphere created by these effects. Timing physics and design will be a key component to ensure that the effects developed in this class will have a natural look and are believable.
MA601 - Compositing & Editing
This course focuses on the video presentation aspects of the final demo reel. Students will work with compositing and editing tools to add the final touches to their presentations. The course will focus on small projects that will help the student understand the complexities and tools of compositing and editing and then students will create their final edit with the assistance of the portfolio and compositing and editing instructors.
MA505 - Portfolio I
This course is aimed at preparing the students’ transition to the professional world. The focus of this course is to prepare students for job interviews by helping them compile and defend a first draft of their portfolio. The portfolio will contain pieces produced by the students that demonstrate their skills in conceptualization, design, modeling and animation. This will be the first step in assisting students to identify a preferred skill set and to select distinguishing portfolio pieces that showcase this skill. This will then provide them with a focus for polishing their technique and developing a unique style. Feedback will come in the form of industry, instructor and peer critique.
MA504 - 3D Animation III
This course focuses on acting and intermediate animation techniques, students will improve on their skills from term one and push their timing, anticipation, follow through secondary action and cycles. Students will use live reference to enhance their animation. Time will be spent improving both technical and acting techniques to prepare the students for advanced animation and portfolio development.
MAA302 - Scripting
This course introduces the student to 3D scripting using Maya Embedded Language or MEL scripting. Students will learn the various features and functions of the language that will add advanced capabilities to the animations. Students will learn how to use the MEL scripting language and its capabilities to streamline and automate the character rigging process. The course will then explore the use of MEL scripting to create a character animation.
MA503 - Production and Rendering
This course explores production and rendering techniques for the purpose of showcasing models, textures and scenes in a professional manner. Production and rendering examines practical solutions challenges, such as night time lighting, indoor lighting, outdoor lighting and advanced rendering features available in mental ray for Maya. Students will make informed choices about which light rigs and rendering features make the most sense for their scenes.
MA501 - Character Modeling IV
In this advanced character modeling class students will develop high poly models working between both Maya and Zbrush. Digital sculpting and texturing will be a key focus of this class. Students will learn the interface and tools in Zbrush while designing and modeling their own characters. By the end of this course students will have an understanding of the industry approach to develop character models and begin to assess if this is the creative direction they would like to explore for their portfolios.
MA305 - Texture and Lighting
This course is an introductory level course in texturing and lighting. Students will be introduced to the use of various Adobe Photoshop painting and editing tools and techniques, in conjunction with the Autodesk Maya UV and material toolset to create a wide variety of textures, ranging from basic surfaces such as wood and fabric to photo-realistic textures based on photographs to techniques used for texturing game and film environments. Students will also become familiar with working with the hypershade and shader networks to develop aesthetically pleasing textures. The UV texture editor and its tools will be a key component to the development of material in texturing and lighting.
MA404 - 3D Animation II
This course focuses on acting and intermediate animation techniques, students will improve on their skills from term one and push their timing, anticipation, follow through secondary action and cycles. Students will use live reference to enhance their animation. Time will be spent improving both technical and acting techniques to prepare the students for advanced animation and portfolio development. Students will have time to explore professional animation samples and apply this knowledge to their animation sequences.
MA401 - Character Modeling III
This course explores more advanced designs and human anatomy in the development of male and female character models. Students will work with the available tools to add realism to these designs. Time is spent developing low poly models that are well built and dynamic. Students will work with pre-designed characters and real life reference material to ensure that the models are to proportion and have proper anatomy.
GA30C - Sculpture
This course teaches introductory sculpture for modelers and animators. In this course, students will transfer their knowledge of anatomy, drawing of anatomical features, and character design in developing a 3 dimensional sculpture. This course explores the materials, tools and industry production techniques used in producing sculptures called maquettes. The end result will be a finished painted maquette of their own design.
MA302 - Environmental Modeling III
This advanced studio course explores the design and development of 3D environmental modeling and design. Students will work with a predeveloped concept and follow the required specifications and concept to develop professional environments and then translate their research into producing dynamic environments. Students will also learn to consider staging, atmosphere and environmental mood to enhance the professional look of the environment. Topical coverage includes effective advanced environment design, composition, matte painting (fundamentals) action and strategies for creating a professional demo presentation. The final goal of this course is to explore environmental demo reel options.
MA405 - Rigging
This course explores the advanced process of preparing the setup of a character model for advanced animation of characters. The course will take the students through the steps of character modeling and animation with a focus on the rigging of the characters. Students will learn how to prepare and setup character rigs, bind structures to geometry and work with meshes and armature. Students will learn to rig facial expressions and lip movement as well as rigging and animating armature. Topical coverage includes joint orientation and preparing skeletons, rigs, inverse kinematics, facial rigging, armature, binding structures to geometry and meshes.
MA304 - 3D Animation I
This course will explore the basic techniques of 3D animation. Using industry standard software students will take their first steps to animating a basic character. Using a hands-on approach, students will learn the techniques of basic animation. Topical coverage includes animation software tools and functions, key framing, modifiers, basic morphing techniques and linear and non-linear animation.
MA303 - Character Modeling II
The key focus of this course is being able to think like a character modeler. Simple characters will be lit, unwrapped and textured to ensure that existing designs are accurately presented. Professional design methods will be followed. Assignments and designs will be predetermined to ensure efficiency and the understanding of the techniques and process.
GA40A - Life Drawing III
This course builds on the material delivered in Life Drawing II and continues strengthening the student’s knowledge of the human form. The student will work with life drawing samples and reference material to add appeal and strengthen their own personal style. Time will be spent both in class and during the students own time researching and developing these techniques. Props, drapery and clothing will be introduced to the students.
MA301 - Environmental Modeling II
This course explores the design and development of 3D environmental modeling. Students will learn how to observe real world environments and then translate their observations into producing interior and exterior environments. Students will also learn to consider staging and environmental mood into the design and structure of the environment. Topical coverage includes effective environment design, interior environments, exterior environments, creating illusions of depth, matte painting (fundamentals) camera action and displacement prop, effects and strategies for creating mood and atmosphere.
GA20B - Storyboarding
This course introduces students to concept of storyboarding for modelers and animators. Students will learn how to create clear, concise storyboards. Students will explore the elements that contribute to the final production of industry standard storyboards, including everything from a 30 second commercial, a television show, computer games and feature films. Topics will include concept and production boards, thumbnail sketches, the role of character design, character staging, model sheets, art direction, background (layout) design and camera positioning.
GA20E - Character Design
This course explores the design and production of characters for the animation and video game industry. Students will learn the principles of good character design, from research to final detailing, while focusing on character development, style and personality. Students will apply principles and techniques of design and anatomy to achieve the expressive, well-developed, appealing characters. By the end of this course, students should be able to work with a variety of styles, archetypes and body structures to construct their characters.
GA20A - Life Drawing II
This course is dedicated in large part to the drawing and representation of the skeletal structure and musculature of the human body. Students will learn the anatomical names of the skeletal elements, landmarks and muscle groups. Students will learn how to draw the structures of the human skeleton and then add the surface muscle groups and features appropriate to the skeletal sub-structure. The course will also explore the differences in the portrayal of male and female musculoskeletal features. Students will also be introduced to the drawing of animal forms and basic animal surface coverings.
MA201 - Maya I
This is an intensive introduction to the complexities of working in a 3D application. The first portion of the class will focus primarily on the tools in Maya with navigation and the interface as a key element. Students will learn through simple and intermediate projects how to work in 3D. Time will then be spent introducing modeling in both nurbs and polygons. Students will then cover simple unwrapping procedures while understanding the complexities of UVs. Basic lighting tools will be covered to ensure that the projects developed in this term can be presented in a professional manner.
CM10B - Drawing I
This class will cover the fundamentals of drawing including the key concept of perspective. The students will work in both traditional and digital mediums to enhance their drawing and communication skills. Students will not only learn how to develop aesthetically pleasing drawings from a construction approach but will also learn the key aspect of drawing as a communication and development tool.
GA10D - 2D Animation
In this course students will be learning the basic principles of animation. Students will participate in several practical projects designed to illustrate the fundamental processes of animation. The course will explore the traditional techniques of animation and how they apply in the modern world of CG animations. The course will explore the different types of animation including stop-motion, visual effects, traditional animation and CG.
CM10C - Photoshop I
This course introduces the students to the popular image-editing software Adobe Photoshop. The main objective of this course is to teach the student graphical image production using Adobe Photoshop. Through this hands-on course, the student will learn the fundamentals of design, as well as advanced features and tips, to prepare images for the web and print. By the end of this course, the student will be able to create and enhance sophisticated images using Adobe Photoshop’s tools and features. They will learn how to correct and modify print as well as web images using various techniques and organizational tools. They will also learn how to apply special effects to original and composite images.
CM10A - Life Drawing I
This course is an introductory level course that prepares the student to draw anatomically correct structures of the human body. Students will learn to draw the human figure in correct anatomic detail based on the observation of live models. This course will emphasize the anatomically correct proportions of the human body and the accurate portrayal of muscles and other landmarks by applying various techniques of shading and lighting, views and perspective. Topical coverage includes the basic shapes comprising the figure, anatomic positioning and parts, human proportions, drawing of various anatomic parts, light source and shading.
CM10D - Colour & Design
The purpose of this course is to introduce the students to the fundamental principles of design and color theory, such as layout, composition, and balance as well as the theories of color and how to use color creatively. These concepts will be presented in theory as well as reinforced through specific practical exercises and activities that will serve to demonstrate how each of the concepts is integrated into good design. Topical coverage includes terminology of design, composition, negative space, colour systems and theory, colour and light, tone, hue, saturation and value of colour, and human element of colour.