Course Lists

Animation

AN 202 The Principles of Animation

Introduces the art of 2D hand drawn animation. In this course, students will become familiar with the principles of animation and learn how to create believable characters and gestures while developing a sense of observation, timing and motion.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 140

AN 203 3D Computer Animation I

Introduces students to the enormous creative capabilities of 3D animation software. From a basic understanding of the software’s operation, students learn to visualize, plan, and model in three-dimensional space as well as explore its animation capabilities. This powerful and sophisticated tool can be a great help to sculptors, designers, architects, and ceramic, wood, fiber, and installation artists to develop and enhance their studio concepts. This course encourages a recognition of the digital environment as a tool for advancing their creative direction, whether it be 2D or 3D. Emphasis is placed on concept, application/execution of materials taught in class, and personal direction.

Prerequisite: AN 202

AN 210 Otherworldly: Puppets & Sets

Students will research fictitious universes, world-building, and inner logic, while gaining hands-on experience creating functioning stop-motion animation puppets and sets.

AN 225 Stop-Motion Animation

In this hands-on animation course, students get the opportunity to explore a number of animation techniques such as painting on glass, sand animation, cut-out animation, and clay animation. According to their own level, new students learn how to develop a sense of motion and timing through direct manipulation under the camera and simple assignments. Experimentation is encouraged in order to develop a personal style.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 140

AN 245 Animation Pre-Production

Covers the steps that need to happen before the production of an animation film: concept, storytelling, design, character development, story-boarding, and layout.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 140

AN 255 Digital Tools for Animation

Students learn the tools and techniques required for project management, compositing, and post production for animation projects and pipelines.

Prerequisite: Earned credit or concurrent enrollment in FF 140

AN 260 Storyboarding for Animation

Learn how to create compelling storyboards as a visual storyteller.

AN 263 Sound Design for Animators

From Disney to Laika to Augenblick - Animation as a motion picture medium has lead to innumerable advancements in the craft of cinematic sound. In this studio course, students will explore the practice of sound and voice recording, sound design, Foley art, and mixing for the animated image. Students will be learning how animation benefits from well crafted sound and how sound can aid in telling a film's story. The course will focus on learning the tools of the trade including Pro Tools and Audition, in addition to the use of props, sound effects libraries, and the human voice. Also, students will be introduced to the history and theory of the art form and the ways in which it has evolved over time.

AN 268 Animated Music Video

Ever since video killed the radio star, the music video has been an expressive channel for innovative animation. Working closely with MICA faculty member Albert Birney, students will collaborate with local musicians to produce their own animated music videos.

Prerequisite: AN 202 and AN 255

AN 272 Animation in Unique Spaces

Domes, spheres, arches, and other unusual spaces are becoming a regular feature in animation, video, installation, and performance art. Through collaboration with science centers, museums, and visitor centers, students learn the appropriate techniques and tools to explore an extreme extension of their ideas outside the conventional screen.

Prerequisite: AN 255

AN 273 Animated Documentary

The Stoop Storytelling Series is a Baltimore-based live show and podcast that features “ordinary” people telling the extraordinary, true tales of their lives. Working with The Stoop hosts and MICA animation faculty, students will create animated documentaries from these intimate and surprising local stories. The final animated documentaries will be screened at The Senator Theater during The Stoop’s main stage show in April.

Prerequisite: AN 202 and AN 255

AN 275 2D Digital Techniques

Introduces students to contemporary 2D digital tools and techniques. Working with TV Animation Paint software and the Adobe Creative Suite, students will use computer assisted 2D animation pipelines to take an animation from rough tests to final output. Through small exercises, students will learn digital paint and texture engines, customization of brushes, digital lip sync workflows, and compositing.

Prerequisite: AN 202 and AN 255

AN 303 3D Computer Animation II

Taught from a sculptural perspective, this course enables students to experience in depth the sophisticated modeling, rendering, and animation capabilities of the 3D Studio Max program. As they develop greater understanding of the many potentials of this powerful tool (e.g., surface mapping, camera and lighting techniques, and key framer and video post editing functions for animation), students are encouraged to work towards their own personal goals and interests. These may relate directly to their current studio work or as independent research in digital imaging.

Prerequisite: AN 203

AN 305 Advanced 3D Open Studio

Allows students to further explore, both individually and as members of a collaborative team, applications of 3D modeling and animation. Emphasis is on, but not limited to, concept, animation, story-telling, independent film making, innovative uses of animation, and team-oriented projects. The course will include demonstrations of advanced techniques as well as occasional visits by guest artists.

Prerequisite: AN 203

AN 315 Astro-Animation

A collaborative 6 credit course (3 credits Animation/3 credits NSCI) exploring Astrophysics through Animation. Students will meet scientists from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to explore a concept of their choice associated with the Fermi Space Telescope to turn it into animation. The course will start with basic fundamentals of astrophysics and an overview of the phenomena chosen by the students. Those concepts will then be developed and translated into animation. The last 5 weeks will be spent on animation and different ways of projections. Students will be challenged to use their creative vision within a scientific constraint. Trip to NASA and to the Maryland Science Center will be part of the course. Topics include dark matter, cosmic rays, black holes and more.

Prerequisite: AN 202 or AN 255 Concurrent enrollment in NSCI 315 required, totaling 6 credits

AN 317 Virtual Reality for Artists

An introduction to the technology, methods and history of virtual and augmented reality through the lens of art making. Students will learn to build virtual worlds, gain an introduction to asset creation and become familiar with the tool-sets and workflows needed to make immersive experiences. Students do not need any previous digital experience to enroll in this course.

Concurrent enrollment in IA 317 required, totaling 6 credits

AN 334 Virtual to Real:Rapid Prototyp

Explores the expressive potential and technical underpinnings of the computer rapid prototyping processes such as 3D printing and laser cutting that are transforming the way artists create objects and think about what is "real." Students begin by producing virtual objects using software such as SolidWorks, and then proceed to realize the objects in the physical world using one or more rapid prototyping systems. Students produce items ranging from pose-able action figures to models of utilitarian objects such as furniture or articulated sculptural forms that can be used in kinetic artworks.

Prerequisite: AN 203

AN 340 Stop-Motion Open Studio

If you've always dreamed of making that special animation film, this is your chance. This course is open to any student from any level with an animation project they want to develop under the guidance of the instructor. No formal animation training necessary.

Prerequisite: AN 225

AN 350 Animation Production

Students will collaborate on the production of a short animation film and thus get a chance to go through the different steps of producing an animated film up to the final copy. The project will be selected from the AN 345 Pre-Production course. This course is open to 2D and 3D animators with preference to 2D animators.

Pre: AN 202 or AN 203

AN 363 2D Character Animation

Introduces students to the process of creating effective animated characters. Students learn to articulate a character's persona and embody that persona in appropriate movements and gestures by producing a series of short animations that explore a character's temperament, behavior, expression, timing, balance, mood, and attitude. Students also experiment with acting techniques that will help them create memorable animations that engage and excite audiences.

Prerequisite: AN 202

AN 364 3D Character Animation

Designed to give animators insight into the method of 3D character animation based on the classical principles of 2D animation. The course focuses on the development and movement of 3D characters within a narrative structure. Narratives are provided in order to explore and develop visual acting, staging, physical weight, and emotion in 3D space. The fundamentals of 3D character modeling, rigging, and texturing to achieve believable movement are taught using 3DStudio Max by Autodesk. The concepts and techniques discussed throughout the course transcend the specifics of any software application. Students acquire 3D character theory and knowledge that can be deployed in any 3D character platform environment.

Prerequisite: AN 203

AN 365 3D Character AN: Performance

Bring CG characters to life! This course focuses on the movement of CG characters to create compelling storytelling and performance. Special attention will be given to applying the techniques of traditional character animation to this contemporary medium. The course use pre-made rigs to demonstrate believable, expressive movement, as well as convey personality, emotion, and a character's thought process. In addition, the course develops student's understanding of facial anatomy, lipsync, gestures, current and classic film performances, and focus on the importance of the animator as actor. Prior experience and a basic working knowledge of Autodesk Maya software is required.

Prerequisite: AN 203

AN 366 3D Character Rigging

Focuses on the design and construction of CG characters to further create compelling films. This course explores the anatomy of the figure in developing convincing realistic models to more stylized forms, and investigate character designs translating from 2D conception through 3D production. Discussions of the silhouette, posture, and intention, will coincide with mesh topology and modeling techniques. Developed models will then be textured and brought through the facial and body rigging process resulting in CG characters that are ready to create believable movement. Prior experience and a working knowledge of Autodesk Maya software is required.

Prerequisites: AN 303 and AN 365

AN 380 Junior Animation Seminar

Provides an opportunity for students to research specific animation career options in depth while learning to present themselves and their work more effectively. Students also begin planning for their senior thesis projects in this class.

Animation Majors at the Junior level only

AN 385 Prof Practice for Animators I

Focuses on preparing students for their professional life and for navigating the animation world after school. Topics will cover animation opportunities in various fields; portfolio preparation; online presence; intellectual property; applying to festivals, and more. Visiting speakers will be part of the curriculum.

AN 399 Special Projects in Animation

Special projects courses are developed to cover emerging issues or specialized content not offered as part of the core Animation curriculum. These courses, typically not offered continuously in the department, provide students and faculty the opportunity to explore new content and course formats.

Prerequisite: AN 202, AN 245, or AN 255, or permission of instructor

AN 455 Advanced Digital Tools

An advanced course in animation post-production for students who successfully completed AN 255, Digital Tools. Topics covered will include compositing and editing in Adobe After Effects and Premiere; creating viable soundtracks; and exporting animation for various venues and platforms.

Prerequisite: AN 202 or AN 203

AN 485 Prof Practice for Animators

Focuses on preparing students for their professional life and for navigating the animation world after graduating. Topics include animation opportunities in various fields; portfolio preparation; online presence; intellectual property; applying to festivals, and more. Visiting speakers will be part of the curriculum.

Prerequisite: AN 385

AN 498 Animation Senior Thesis I

During senior thesis, students develop and produce a senior project that reflects the creative skills and technical expertise acquired over the past three years. This thesis serves as the basis of the student's professional portfolio. Each successfully completed animation is screened in Falvey Hall as part of the campus-wide Commencement Exhibition. Students also plan installations to showcase their work as part of that exhibition. This first semester is spent designing and developing individual projects. Once projects are approved, students complete and document the pre-production and early production phase of their senior project.

Animation Majors at the Senior level only

AN 499 Animation Senior Thesis II

During the second semester of the year-long senior thesis class, students complete and document the production and post-production phase of their senior project and put together their installation for the Commencement Exhibition. Additionally, students prepare promotional materials, including an artist statement, a resume, a portfolio for the web and/or a demo reel for future employers. Students present their work to faculty, guests, and peers. All senior projects are exhibited at MICA Commencement Exhibition.

Senior Animation majors only