Animation and Visual Effects

Bachelor of Science Degree: 186.0 quarter credits

About the Program

The animation & visual effects major provides students with the technological, story-telling and design skills to succeed as animators and visual effects artists in the highly competitive entertainment and design worlds.

Animation and visual effects are no longer used only when creating animation or big budget theatrical films. Today, these production techniques are widely used in feature films, medical research, engineering, television, web content, the performing arts, corporate communications and higher education. While an understanding of the multiple facets of digital media remains important to students' educational development, the depth and complexity of the field necessitates a rigorous course of study specifically focused on animation and visual effects.

To best prepare students for the demands of careers in these cutting-edge disciplines, they will pursue a foundation of design and technology, taking core courses in all aspects of digital media, completing a six month co-op and delving into rigorous coursework in many areas of specialization. Students will learn the underlying principles of animation, along with industry-standard software technology. The entire creative pipeline from storyboarding through modeling and animation is covered in depth, allowing students to experience all aspects of production.

 Additional Information

To find out more about this major, visit the Westphal College’s Animation & Visual Effects Major web page.

Degree Requirements 

General Education Requirements
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
COM 230Techniques of Speaking3.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: The Craft of Persuasion3.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Thematic Analysis Across Genres3.0
MATH 101Introduction to Analysis I4.0
PHYS 121Physical Science for Design I4.0
PHYS 122Physical Science for Design II4.0
UNIV A101The Drexel Experience2.0
Arts and Humanities elective3.0
History (HIST) elective3.0
Literature (ENGL) elective3.0
Social Science electives9.0
Free electives24.0
Art and Art History Requirements
ARTH 102History of Art II: High Renaissance to Modern3.0
ARTH 103History of Art: Early to Late Modern3.0
ARTH 300 [WI] History of Modern Design3.0
VSST 108Design I for Media3.0
VSST 109Design II for Media3.0
VSST 110Introductory Drawing3.0
VSST 111Figure Drawing I3.0
Media and Computer Science Requirements
FMVD 110Basic Shooting and Lighting3.0
FMVD 206Audio Production and Post3.0
VSCM 240Typography I3.0
SCRP 270 [WI] Screenwriting I3.0
Select one of the following Computer Science sequences:6.0
Computer Programming Option I
Special Topics in Computer Science ( Introduction to Programming with Media: Python )
Special Topics in Computer Science (Computer Programming Fundamentals)
Computer Programming Option II
Computer Programming I
Computer Programming II
Digital Media Core Requirements
ANIM 140Computer Graphics Imagery I3.0
ANIM 141Computer Graphic Imagery II3.0
ANIM 152Multimedia Timeline Design3.0
ANIM 211Animation I3.0
DIGM 100Digital Design Tools3.0
DIGM 105Overview of Digital Media3.0
DIGM 223Creative Concept Design3.0
DIGM 250Professional Practices3.0
DIGM 350 [WI] Digital Storytelling3.0
DIGM 451 [WI] Explorations in New Media3.0
DIGM 475 [WI] Seminar: The Future of Digital Media3.0
DIGM 492Senior Project in Digital Media I3.0
DIGM 493Senior Project in Digital Media II3.0
DIGM 494Senior Project in Digital Media III3.0
GMAP 260Overview of Computer Gaming3.0
WBDV 240Web Authoring I3.0
WBDV 241Vector Authoring I3.0
Animation Requirements
ANIM 212Animation II3.0
ANIM 215History of Animation3.0
ANIM 219Digital Compositing3.0
ANIM 247Organic Modeling3.0
ANIM 314Character Animation I3.0
ANIM 410Visual Effects3.0
ANIM 411Advanced Animation3.0
Animation Electives
Select two of the following:6.0
Advanced Lighting
Character Animation II
Immersive Animation
Spatial Data Capture
Technical Directing for Animation
Total Credits186.0

 

Writing-Intensive Course Requirements

In order to graduate, all students must pass three writing-intensive courses after their freshman year. Two writing-intensive courses must be in a student's major. The third can be in any discipline. Students are advised to take one writing-intensive class each year, beginning with the sophomore year, and to avoid “clustering” these courses near the end of their matriculation. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

A "WI" next to a course in this catalog may indicate that this course can fulfill a writing-intensive requirement. For the most up-to-date list of writing-intensive courses being offered, students should check the Writing Intensive Course List at the University Writing Center. Students scheduling their courses can also conduct a search for courses with the attribute "WI" to bring up a list of all writing-intensive courses available that term. Transfer students need to meet with an academic advisor to review the number of writing-intensive courses required to graduate.

Sample Plan of Study

Term 1Credits
DIGM 100Digital Design Tools3.0
DIGM 105Overview of Digital Media3.0
ENGL 101Composition and Rhetoric I: Inquiry and Exploratory Research3.0
PHYS 121Physical Science for Design I4.0
UNIV A101The Drexel Experience1.0
VSST 110Introductory Drawing3.0
 Term Credits17.0
Term 2
ANIM 140Computer Graphics Imagery I3.0
ENGL 102Composition and Rhetoric II: The Craft of Persuasion3.0
FMVD 110Basic Shooting and Lighting3.0
PHYS 122Physical Science for Design II4.0
VSST 108Design I for Media3.0
UNIV A101The Drexel Experience1.0
 Term Credits17.0
Term 3
ANIM 141Computer Graphic Imagery II3.0
ANIM 152Multimedia Timeline Design3.0
CIVC 101Introduction to Civic Engagement1.0
ENGL 103Composition and Rhetoric III: Thematic Analysis Across Genres3.0
MATH 101Introduction to Analysis I4.0
VSST 109Design II for Media3.0
 Term Credits17.0
Term 4
ANIM 211Animation I3.0
DIGM 223Creative Concept Design3.0
GMAP 260Overview of Computer Gaming3.0
WBDV 240Web Authoring I3.0
Computer Science (CS) sequence course*3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 5
ANIM 212Animation II3.0
ANIM 215History of Animation3.0
ARTH 102History of Art II: High Renaissance to Modern3.0
COOP 101Career Management and Professional Development0.0
WBDV 241Vector Authoring I3.0
Computer Science (CS) sequence course*3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 6
ANIM 219Digital Compositing3.0
ARTH 103History of Art: Early to Late Modern3.0
FMVD 206Audio Production and Post3.0
SCRP 270 [WI] Screenwriting I3.0
VSCM 240Typography I3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 7
ANIM 247Organic Modeling3.0
COM 230Techniques of Speaking3.0
DIGM 250Professional Practices3.0
DIGM 350 [WI] Digital Storytelling3.0
VSST 111Figure Drawing I3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 8
ANIM 314Character Animation I3.0
ARTH 300 [WI] History of Modern Design3.0
DIGM 451 [WI] Explorations in New Media3.0
Free elective 3.0
Animation elective*3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 9
ANIM 410Visual Effects3.0
Social Science elective 3.0
Arts and Humanities elective 3.0
Animation elective*3.0
Free elective 3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 10
ANIM 411Advanced Animation3.0
DIGM 492Senior Project in Digital Media I3.0
Social Science elective 3.0
Arts and Humanities elective 3.0
Free elective3.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 11
DIGM 493Senior Project in Digital Media II3.0
Social Science elective 3.0
Free electives 9.0
 Term Credits15.0
Term 12
DIGM 494Senior Project in Digital Media III3.0
DIGM 475 [WI] Seminar: The Future of Digital Media3.0
Arts and Humanities elective 3.0
Free electives 6.0
 Term Credits15.0
Total Credit: 186.0

 

*

 See degree requirements.


Dual/Accelerated Degrees

The accelerated degree program enables academically qualified students to earn both their bachelor's degree and a master's degree in digital media — graduating sooner than they would in traditional programs.

Current Drexel animation and visual effects students may apply for the accelerated BS/MS degree through the Office of Graduate Studies after completing 90.0 credits, but no more than 120.0 credits. Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for further information.

The Animation and Visual Effects Minor requires the completion of eight courses (minimum 24 credits). The minor provides basic foundation in the technological, story-telling and design skills used by animators and visual effects artists in the highly competitive entertainment and design worlds, with the opportunity for individualized tailoring according to the student's interests.

Required Courses:
DIGM 100Digital Design Tools3.0
ANIM 140Computer Graphics Imagery I3.0
ANIM 141Computer Graphic Imagery II3.0
ANIM 152Multimedia Timeline Design3.0
ANIM 211Animation I3.0
Select three of the following:9.0
Animation II
History of Animation
Digital Compositing
Organic Modeling
Character Animation I
Character Animation II
Spatial Data Capture
Visual Effects
Technical Directing for Animation
Total Credits24.0

Facilities

Our facilities include more than 100 triple-boot MacPro and Boxx Technology workstations, a 16 camera Vicon motion capture studio, green screen room, a 2-ton motion platform theme park ride, FTIR multitouch displays, laser scanner, stereoscopic projector, eye tracker, fNIR and EEG brain interfaces, and 3D theater, recording studios, etc.  Students use professional software including Unreal, Unity3D, Maya, 3D Studio Max, Houdini, Massive, etc.

More information can be found at Drexel RePlay Lab's Facilities page.

Courses

ANIM 140 Computer Graphics Imagery I 3.0 Credits

Students learn to represent 3D objects and spaces in 2D media using a variety of drawing and computer graphic techniques. This course lays important foundations for subsequent courses in 3D computer modeling and animation.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 100 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 141 Computer Graphic Imagery II 3.0 Credits

This course will introduce students to the principles and techniques of 3D virtual scene building for animation, visualization and game development.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 110 [Min Grade: D] or ANIM 140 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 152 Multimedia Timeline Design 3.0 Credits

Introduces basic design concepts and tools to create time based 2D and 3D multimedia. Addresses issues from pre-production planning, through, post-production and delivery; emphasis on time-based multimedia.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 100 [Min Grade: D] and VSST 110 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 211 Animation I 3.0 Credits

Explores computer animation with an introduction to concepts of 3D animation. Includes narrative structure, storyboarding, and development. Emphasizes aesthetic, technical and conceptual issues. Requires students to create shorty animations in tiemline based software.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 141 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 141 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 212 Animation II 3.0 Credits

Builds on topics introduced in ANIM 211 Animation I, incorporating advanced animation techniques such as inverse kinematics and dynamics. Requires students to propose, design, and produce a short animation.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 211 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 211 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 215 History of Animation 3.0 Credits

Students learn the pre-cursors to modern animation and the evolution of the art since the beginning of the 20th century. Concepts in both 2D and 3D animation will be covered.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

ANIM 219 Digital Compositing 3.0 Credits

Examines digital compositing possibilities through the manipulation and recombination of acquired and produced digital imagery, including 3D models/animations, and video.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 211 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 211 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 247 Organic Modeling 3.0 Credits

This course will be an intensive exploration of organic modeling. Students will learn the best approaches to modeling organic forms and why these approaches are relevant. There will be considerable emphasis on anatomical forms.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 141 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 141 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 248 Advanced Lighting 3.0 Credits

Students will learn to integrate production-oriented lighting techniques into animation. Techniques utilizing both point-based and raytraced global illumination will be covered, and how to optimize pipelines for animation. Basic shader development will also be covered.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 141 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 141 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 314 Character Animation I 3.0 Credits

Examines issues and processed of 3D character development. Addresses various modes of 3D data wrangling for highly detailed, articulated character controls.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 212 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 212 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 315 Character Animation II 3.0 Credits

Covers advanced techniques of inverse and forward kinematics, full-character skeletal setup, development of animation, and puppeteer controls. Explores levels of reality, and world interatction within scope of character.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 314 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 314 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 321 Immersive Animation 3.0 Credits

Students will explore and experiment with non-planar multi-perspective projection to develop a unique and powerful immersive animation experience. Focus will be on the production of animations for both irregular architectural surfaces and conventional projection environments such as fulldome.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman
Prerequisites: ANIM 212 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 212 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 388 Spatial Data Capture 3.0 Credits

Students learn about the tools available to integrate components from the physical environment into computer animations and games. Aspects covered will be 3D scanning, motion capture and imaging techniques.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: DIGM 212 [Min Grade: D] or ANIM 212 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 399 Independent Project in Animation 0.5-12.0 Credits

Supervised planning and execution of a project in the area of Animation.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

ANIM 410 Visual Effects 3.0 Credits

Students learn to create detailed visual effects, and the best methods to integrate them into live-action plates. Drawing on existing compositing and animation knowledge, students will work in groups to prodce short visual effects sequences.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if classification is Junior or Senior.
Prerequisites: (ANIM 219 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 302 [Min Grade: D]) and (ANIM 212 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 212 [Min Grade: D])

ANIM 411 Advanced Animation 3.0 Credits

This course explores a wide range of visual effects assets, both practical and synthetic. Projects focus on the creation of a comprehensive short animation.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Restrictions: Can enroll if classification is Junior or Senior.
Prerequisites: ANIM 410 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 302 [Min Grade: D] or ANIM 219 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 435 Technical Directing for Animation 3.0 Credits

Students learn the necessary toolsets for technical direction of animated films and visual effects. The topics covered include Pythos scripting, pipeline development and integration and creation of custom shaders to streamline production processes.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Not repeatable for credit
Prerequisites: ANIM 219 [Min Grade: D] or DIGM 302 [Min Grade: D]

ANIM 465 Special Topics in Animation 3.0 Credits

Addresses current topics in Animation. May be repeated for credit if topics vary.

College/Department: Antoinette Westphal College of Media Arts & Design
Repeat Status: Can be repeated multiple times for credit
Restrictions: Cannot enroll if classification is Freshman

Cinema and Television Faculty

Ian N. Abrams, BA (Duke University) Program Director, Screenwriting and Playwriting Program. Associate Professor. Movies, film, TV, screenwriting, Hollywood.
Ted Artz, BFA (Tyler School of Art, Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media.
John Avarese, BS (Drexel University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Composer, film and video scores, mixing and sound design.
David Culver, AS (Graham Junior College) Manager of the Paul F. Harron Studios/DUTV. Associate Teaching Professor. Film and video.
David Deneen, BFA (Philadelphia College of Art). Associate Teaching Professor. Film & video.
Paul Diefenbach, PhD (University of Pennsylvania) Associate Program Director, Game Art & Production. Assistant Professor. Game development, real-time rendering.
Jeremy Fernsler, BA (Pennsylvania State University ). Assistant Teaching Professor. Digital effects artist; compositor and animator for the feature film visual effects industry.
Troy Finamore, MS (Drexel University) Associate Program Director, Interactive Digital Media. Assistant Teaching Professor. Advertising, design and interactivity.
Bruce Graham, BA (Indiana University of Pennsylvania). Associate Teaching Professor. Playwright.
Gerard M. Hooper, MFA (Temple University). Associate Teaching Professor. Film and video; European and non-western cinema.
D. B. Jones, PhD (Stanford University) Dean, Pennoni Honors College. Professor. Film and video; cinema studies.
Nick Jushchyshyn, MFA (Academy of Art University) Associate Program Director, Animation and Visual Effects. Visual effects, digital media and animation.
Matt Kaufhold, MA (University of North Carolina). Associate Teaching Professor. Screenwriting.
Karin P. Kelly, MFA (New York University) Program Director, Film and Video. Associate Professor. Film and video; filmmaker and author.
Yvonne D. Leach, MFA (Temple University) Department Head, Cinema and Television Studies. Associate Professor. Television studies.
David Mauriello, BA (Lafayette College). Assistant Professor. 3D modeling and animation.
Jocelyn Motter, MFA (American Film Institute). Assistant Teaching Professor. Editing.
Glen Muschio, PhD (Temple University). Associate Professor. Digital media, society, communication.
Lise Raven, MFA (New York University). Assistant Professor. Filmmaker.
Philip W. Salas, BS (Temple University). Assistant Teaching Professor. Utilization of advanced set top box data to measure fragmented viewing behavior. Impact of new television distribution technologies on traditional broadcasters and multichannel program providers.
David A. Schwartz, BA (Rider University). Associate Teaching Professor. Steadicam operator; cameraman.
Andrew Susskind, BA (Harvard University) Program Director of TV Production & Media Management. Associate Teaching Professor. Independent television producer and director.
Albert S. Tedesco, MA (University of Pennsylvania) Director of the Paul F. Harron Graduate Program in Television Management. Associate Teaching Professor. Impact of digital media on broadcast television; broadcasters' response to the challenge of new media; management of publicly and privately held communications companies.
Jervis Thompson, BS (Drexel University). Associate Teaching Professor. Digital media, interactive multimedia.
Christine Vachon Visiting Professor. Independent film production.
Michael Wagner, PhD (Vienna University of Technology) Program Director, Digital Media. Associate Professor. Educational use of digital media and computer games.
Gregory S. Wolmart, MFA (University of Pennsylvania). Assistant Professor. Cinema studies; film history.
Jichen Zhu, PhD (Georgia Institute of Technology). Assistant Professor. Developing humanistic and interpretive framework of computational technology, particularly artificial intelligence (AI), and constructing AI-based cultural artifacts; interactive storytelling, games and software studies.

Interdepartmental Faculty

Lawrence Epstein, MBA (Cornell University) Interim Department Head, Arts & Entertainment Enterprise. Associate Teaching Professor.
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