Develop your core artistic and technical skills while learning timeless principles with a B.F.A. in Digital Arts.
Develop your core artistic and technical skills while learning timeless principles with a B.F.A. in Digital Arts.

»B.F.A. in Digital Arts

When you see video game hero Wreck-it Ralph smash a 64-bit building, watch a lesson on HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON, or notice that an eight-foot tall AVATAR looks suspiciously like Sigourney Weaver, you know you’re enjoying the work of a DIGITAL ARTIST.  

DIGITAL ARTS is everything you see on screen that is NOT shot with a camera; everything from animation to visual effects, motion graphics, video games, digital illustration, and web graphics are included in this exciting, innovative art form.  With 80% of worldwide box office earned by animated or visual effects films, Digital Arts is without a doubt the career of the future.

In the Digital Arts program at Dodge College, we prepare you to thrive as an artist no matter how the technology evolves - and it changes every day!  We focus on the fundamentals of drawing, color, and design—and that’s just to get you started. The curriculum is designed to help you develop your core artistic skills as well as your technical expertise. You’ll learn the timeless principles of motion, gesture, composition, color theory, story structure, performance, and sound design.

You’ll also appreciate our fully-networked computer labs and 34 individual editing suites where you can access software including Maya, the Autodesk and Adobe Creative Suite products, Avid MCSoft, MOJO, and ProTools, as well as mixing rooms, a professional foley stage, a motion capture stage, and a powerful render farm. And, because our program is located in one of the country’s top film schools, you’ll have endless opportunities to partner with students producing live action films who need your VFX expertise.

But the true magic comes from interacting with a faculty led by Oscar®-nominated animation director and computer graphics pioneer Bill Kroyer and regular visits from the world’s top directors, designers, and visual effects artists who have worked on films such as Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and WALL-E, as well as connections and trips to Dreamworks, PIXAR, Nickelodeon, Rhythm & Hues, SONY Imageworks, Activision/Blizzard, and Disney.

You’ll have the chance to develop, design, and produce your own projects as well as contribute animation or visual effects to those of your fellow students. And you’ll create a short film, reel, portfolio, or senior project to showcase your artistry and technical skills to the industry on your way to a successful and satisfying career in Digital Arts.

+-Is Digital Arts Right for You?

Digital Arts includes 2D animation, 3D animation, video game imagery, design, and all kinds of visual effects.  Which of these might be right for you as an area of study – or potential career?

For starters, think of two skills suggested in the title Digital Arts.

Arts means just that – the arts.  We expect and require you to have artistic ability.  We’ll be looking for that in the reel or portfolio we require you to submit.  We don’t expect you to be Leonardo da Vinci at 17, but we must see some evidence of talent, effort, and taste in your samples.

Digital suggests work done using computer technology.  Although we do a lot of traditional artwork in certain areas of DA, inevitably a comfort and skill with computers is a necessity.  If you have trouble with software, DA might be a difficult field for you.

We often have students applying to Digital Arts because they “love watching animation” or are great at playing video games.  Watching or playing media is very different from creating media.

No matter how talented you are, it takes hard work to improve your skills, learn new tools, and keep up with the ever-evolving technology.  You must be a self-starter, a problem solver, and should enjoy collaborating with and supporting your peers. 

We won’t expect you to choose a career focus until your Junior year.  Until then, you’ll be taught the fundamental artistic and technical skills that will be the foundation of whatever you do in digital arts.  You will be required to show mastery of these fundamentals, or you will not advance.

Remember, it’s the artist who creates art, not the computer. 

+-You'll Study

The curriculum is designed to help you develop your core artistic skills as well as your technical expertise.  You’ll learn the timeless principles of motion, gesture, composition, color theory, story structure, performance, and sound design.

You’ll use a wide range of state-of-the-art tools to help prepare you for such career paths as director, animator, modeler, lighter, compositor, rigger, editor, texture painter, visual effects supervisor, or production designer.

+-Learning Outcomes

In mastering the curriculum of the B.F.A. in Digital Arts, students will: 

  1. Students will demonstrate an ability to appraise the quality, value, and efficacy of digital arts projects and processes using a familiarity with past, current, and emerging work.
  2. Students will demonstrate an interdisciplinary acquisition of the artistic and technical skills used in the digital arts for the realization of creative concepts and ideas.
  3. Students will create and produce digital arts projects that reflect individual vision, taste, and talents developed through personalized education.

+-Degree Requirements

Core Requirements (39 credits)

DA 109

Fundamental Graphics I for Digital Arts

DA 120

Introduction to Digital Arts

FTV 130

Introduction to Visual Storytelling

DA 202

3-D Computer Graphics I

DA 206

Mechanics of Motion

DA 209

Fundamental Graphics II for Digital Arts

DA 247

History and Aesthetics of Digital Arts

DA 249

Storytelling in Digital Arts

DA 255

Color Theory

DA 302

3-D Computer Graphics II

DA 496

Senior Thesis I: Concept Development

DA 497

Senior Thesis II: Pre-Production and Production I

DA 498

Senior Thesis III: Production II and Post-Production


Area of Study Requirements
(18 credits)
Students must complete all the requirements within one of the following areas of study:

Animation Area of Study
(18 credits)

DA 256

Beginning Character Animation

DA 356

Intermediate Character Animation

DA 385

Character Design

DA 402

3-D Computer Graphics III

DA 456

Advanced Character Animation Elective

Visual Effects Area of Study (18 credits)

DA 242

2D Computer Graphics

DA 369

Elements of Visual Effects I

DA 379

Elements of Visual Effects II

DA 392

Advanced Pre-visualization for Motion Pictures

DA 402

3-D Computer Graphics III

DA 469

Visual Effects Production

Art Direction Area of Study (18 credits)

DA 242

2D Computer Graphics

DA 322

Design Theory

DA 339

Digital Illustration

DA 355

Production Design for Animation and Visual Effects

DA 385

Character Design Elective

Electives

ART 132

Visualization - Perspective and Rendering

FP 133

Audio Techniques

FP 201

Actor-Director Workshop

CPSC 230

Computer Science I

FP 237

Cinematography I

FP 333

Audio Design

ART 336

Illustration

FP 336

Production Design I

CPSC 340

Game Development

SW 387

Short Script Workshop

FTV 441

Visual Perception and Expression

FP 481

Set Decoration

FP 486

Costume Design


FTV 249

Storytelling in Digital Arts

FTV 256

Beginning Character Animation

FTV 356

Intermediate Character Animation

FTV 385

Character Design

FTV 402

3-D Computer Graphics III

FTV 456

Advanced Character Animation

 

Elective

Visual Effects area of study (21 credits)

FTV 242

2D Computer Graphics

FTV 249

Storytelling in Digital Arts

FTV 369

Elements of Visual Effects

FTV 392

Advanced Pre-visualization for Motion Pictures

FTV 402

3-D Computer Graphics III

FTV 469

Visual Effects Production

 

Elective

Art Direction area of study (21 credits)

FTV 242

2D Computer Graphics

FTV 322

Design Theory

FTV 339

Digital Illustration

FTV 355

Production Design for Animation and Visual Effects

FTV 385

Character Design

FTV 402

3D Computer Graphics III

 

Elective

electives

ART 132

Visualization - Perspective and Rendering

FTV 133

Audio Techniques

FTV 201

Actor-Director Workshop

CPSC 230

Computer Science I

FTV 237

Cinematography I

FTV 333

Audio Design

ART 336

Illustration

FTV 336

Production Design I

CPSC 340

Game Development

FTV 387

Short Script Workshop

FTV 441

Visual Perception and Expression

FTV 481

Set Decoration

FTV 486

Costume Design

+-Careers in Digital Arts

Our wide range of state-of-the-art tools will help you prepare for career paths such as:

  • director
  • animator
  • modeler
  • lighter
  • compositor
  • rigger
  • editor
  • texture painter
  • visual effects supervisor
  • production designer
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