Animation Art & Design & Foundation for Design: Coursework Overview

Students interested in design, graphic design and animation art can take a variety of coursework in these areas of study. Most foundational courses may be taken as part of a full certificate or degree program.

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Essential Information

Foundational animation and design courses are often available through certificate or associate's degree programs. Some programs including animation art and design courses include those in visual art and design, digital media, motion graphics, web design and animation. Such programs typically incorporate studio work into the classes, so that students learn to use professional software for making animations and digital art. Students may also complete a professional portfolio of design work.

Here is an outline of common foundational animation and design concepts:

  • Basics of visual arts
  • 2-D & 3-D design
  • Drawing skills
  • Perspective exploration
  • Character modeling
  • Video technology
  • Animation

This foundational coursework can help students prepare to transfer to a 4-year degree program in areas like fine arts, graphic design, media arts and animation. Students may also find entry-level work as animators, special effects artists or visual artists.

List of Common Courses

Introduction to Design Course

This is a basic course focused on the design process and provides students with a general vocabulary of visual arts and design. Core elements important in 2-D art are presented, such as color, form, line, shape, space and texture. Factors that influence current design work, including cultural, technological and historical influences, are evaluated.

Drawing Course

This course provides an introduction to the basic drawing skills needed to capture 2-D perspective, including the ability to relay a sense of space and objects in relationship to the space around them. Students learn to use observational drawing techniques, such as composition, shape and line.

Technology and Design Course

Students in this course gain an introduction to computer-based technology used by designers and visual artists. Common 2-D, 3-D and popular graphics packages may be explored to demonstrate the creative options available in design creation and manipulation. The use of techniques to transform perspective is explored, including modeling, positioning and manipulating objects using camera techniques, as well as changing the elements of color, shading and texture. Students evaluate how conceptual space can be altered by electronic means, and the computer is looked at as both a tool and medium of design work.

Motion in Design Course

This course provides a basic understanding of, as well as the tools for, creating moving images in non-print media. Basic motion principles are presented, including timing, repetition, pacing, composition, editing and resolution. Digital design tools and the use of cameras in creating motion graphics are discussed. Hands-on lab work is generally part of the curriculum, and commonly used commercial software may be introduced.

Animation Course

This course introduces students to the principles of drawn animation, which includes an evaluation of both character development and motion. Character development consists of elements like creating emotion and physical attributes, as well as creation of believable characters. Simple and complex motion is explored, including manipulating timing and movement as it relates to animating objects and characters. Modeling, as well as motion capture methods and techniques, are presented.

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