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DEGREE REQUIREMENTS 

• Successful completion of 60 credits, including all required courses and the thesis project. Documentation of all thesis projects must be on file with the MFA Computer Arts Department to be eligible for degree conferral. 

• Participate in a public thesis presentation. 

• Students are required to maintain a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (B) in order to remain in good academic standing. 

• A matriculation of two academic years is required. Students must complete their degree within four years, unless given an official extension by the provost. 

NOTE: Departmental requirements are subject to change by the department chair if the chair deems that such change is warranted.

THE PROGRAM

The MFA program in computer art is multidisciplinary by nature. As technology and software evolve, new opportunities for creative self-expression emerge. Specific departmental course requirements are kept to a minimum and students meet with the departmental advisor to determine which classes are appropriate for their planned course of study. Students may concentrate their studies in animation, motion graphics and fine art, or pursue a multidisciplinary course of study. 

Individual progress is assessed each semester to determine a student’s readiness to proceed to the next level. Although most students earn their degrees in four semesters, some find it necessary or desirable to study for five or six semesters before completing the thesis process. Extended study in the program is determined on an individual basis and important considerations such as course work, visa extension and financial aid must be resolved before extended study can be approved.

The recommended course load is 15 credits per semester. All students must be registered for a minimum of 9 credits per semester in order to remain enrolled in the program. 


First-Year Requirements

Students must take all of the courses listed under Requirement A and at least two courses from Requirement B and two courses from Requirement C. Students may elect to take one of the courses from Requirement B in their third semester of study. 

Requirement A
HSG-5010  Computer Systems I                   
SDG-5010  Digital Art Seminar I                  
SDG-5015  Digital Art Seminar II                 

Requirement B
HSG-5011  Computer Systems II
HSG-5232  Programming for Animators
HSG-5266  Technical Direction
HSG-5343  Web Programming I
HSG-5344  Web Programming II
HSG-5592  App Design and Development
HSG-5611  Creative Programming for Artists I

HSG-5612  Creative Programming for Artists II 

Requirement C
SDG-5147  Animation Culture
SDG-5163  Video Art and Beyond
SDG-5441  Contemporary Voices
SDG-5452  New Media in Contemporary
SDG-5534  Theory, Criticism & History of Time-Based Media
SDG-5541  Ecstasy and Apocalypse
SDG-5562  New Media Theory

Second-Year Requirements

The thesis process begins in the second year and includes a number of requirements that must be completed by due dates set according to the expected date of graduation. Second-year students must register for all of the following courses: 

SCG-6950 Thesis I
SCG-6951 Thesis Research and Writing I
SCG-6955 Thesis II
SCG-6956 Thesis Research and Writing II

General Course Listing

STUDIO COURSES

SCG-5247
Narrative and Visual Storytelling
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will study the structural elements underlying animated entertainment, traditional and experimental narratives. Story structures will be analyzed to discover what content can be conveyed within 30 seconds, a few minutes or longer in art and entertainment. We will focus on the key elements of storytelling, including the development of concepts, such as the central dramatic question, inciting incident, idiosyncratic characters and spaces, conflicts and needs, mounting tension, reversals and resolution. Visual language will be addressed by gaining a familiarity with camera shots, movements, angles and placement. Through short assignments, students will develop original scripts, concept sketches, storyboards and animatics. The basics of previsualization will be covered. An examination of key works in the field is included. 

SCG-5258
Digital Storyboarding
Spring semester: 3 credits
The role of the art department, particularly in feature films, has expanded from being a front-end process to being actively involved throughout the production. This course will focus on honing the craft of visual development through creating concept art, storyboards, animatic production and previsualization. Using digital imaging and video, students will apply their creativity to the latest techniques in digital storyboarding. These techniques will be explored through short assignments and group critique. Screenings of key works that range from feature films and independent productions to commercials will provide a forum for discussion. 

SCG-5386
3D Modeling and Animation
Fall semester: 3 credits
The technical concepts of creating computer-generated 3D imagery will be the focus of this course. We will also examine the application of the aesthetic concepts of traditional animation to creative 3D animation. Geometric construction, surface texturing, scene illumination and cameras will be covered. Techniques such as squash-and-stretch, anticipation, follow-through, overlapping action, arcs of motion, exaggeration, staging and appeal will be explored. Assignments integrate technical and aesthetic information into short, creative 3D animation projects. 

SCG-5401
Advanced 3D Techniques
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course will demonstrate advanced 3D techniques in animation, texturing, lighting and rendering. Students will explore aesthetic concepts that establish mood, environment, time of day and color through the use of light. Conveying character will be emphasized through acting and movement. Short assignments will focus on developing animated characters and their imaginary worlds. The use of the production pipeline and development of a professional workflow will be introduced. 

SCG-5422
Advanced Modeling and Rigging Concepts
Spring semester: 3 credits
Creating distinct animated characters is one of the most challenging aspects of modern cinema. This course will explore how to create 3D characters from design to modeling and setup through the development of a character pipeline. Considerations in character design will be covered from art direction, visual references, concept art, the maquette and 3D modeling to rigging techniques. Professional criticism to enhance creativity when working in a collaborative environment will be emphasized. By the end of the course, students will have created both a character they can easily animate and a document to illustrate their creative choices made throughout the character development process. 

SCG-5427
Character Animation
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course provides students with a workshop setting in which to deepen their understanding of professional practice and solve complex animation problems. It will focus on techniques such as forward and inverse kinematics, lip-sync and facial expressions, model deformation (morphing), animating lights and camera movement, and rotoscoping. Acting techniques will be practiced so that students can better understand how to convey fluidity of movement and expression of emotion in animated characters. The course will be divided into lectures, demonstrations, tutorials, in-class exercises and critiques. 

SCG-5471
Dynamics and Particle Systems
Fall semester: 3 credits
Particles and dynamics will be used in this course to explore a variety of special effects families, including: explosions, chemical reactions, flocking animals, complex morphing, meteorological phenomena, glows, magical effects, dust and tornadoes. The effects will be built from scratch and then we will identify, refine and control the most essential aesthetic parameters. Topics will include: particles, fields, goals, collision detection, the instancer, springs, paint effects, hard and soft bodies, deformer interaction, shader networks, glows, software and hardware render compositing, and lighting. Students will develop a strong foundation in MEL (Maya Embedded Language). 

SCG-5489
Digital Matte Painting
One semester: 3 credits
Matte painting has been used since the dawn of motion pictures, and continues to be an important component of making movies: spanning Georges Méliès’s pioneering 1902 film, A Trip to the Moon, to James Cameron’s groundbreaking 3D spectacle, Avatar. While matte paintings were once created on location using large sheets of glass, the digital revolution has extended its use and versatility by combining traditional painting skills with cutting-edge technology. Beyond the technical challenges of creating photorealistic landscapes and interiors, matte paintings have an essential role in capturing the filmmaker’s vision, and remain the most cost-effective way to create panoramic shots without building expensive sets. Additionally, how to best research image banks and libraries will be discussed. Students will explore the principles of matte painting through assignments and exercises. 

SCG-5532
Compositing
One semester: 3 credits
This course will survey a range of aesthetic issues, practical techniques and software applications used for digital compositing. The role of compositing in feature film and television commercial production will be examined in depth through practical examples. Students will be assigned short projects that reflect the ideas and techniques discussed in class and will present their creative work for critique.

SCG-5561
Video Production: From Concept to Completion
Fall semester: 3 credits
The focus of this course will address professional video production workflow methods in order to tell compelling cinematic stories. Through demonstrations, assignments and discussions, we will investigate setting up a video shoot, cinematography, camera functionality, lighting, color correction, audio recording and editing. All of these techniques will be examined in terms of how they relate to creating an engaging narrative. Assignments will concentrate on aesthetic and technical issues and how to troubleshoot throughout the production process. 

SCG-5573
Video Projects
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course will include demonstrations and exercises in project development, production and editing, as well as ongoing class critique. It is designed to provide students with facile control of moving-image content, craft, film language and techniques. We will explore these elements in light of emerging practices through different styles, current trends and technology. Students will produce short video and mixed-media projects that will be presented for group critique. Lecture topics include directing, storytelling, the creative use of lenses, cinematography, and editing philosophies. 

SCG-5641
Motion Graphics I
Fall semester: 3 credits
Graphics that move, but how? This foundation course will explore the tools and production pipeline within Adobe After Effects and related Creative Cloud applications. Students will be encouraged to investigate trends and software while producing creative work with a focus on art direction. Independent motion graphics projects, as well as television commercials, will be discussed throughout the course as examples of current techniques and what is creatively possible. Assignments will also provide a catalyst for group critique. 

SCG-5642
Motion Graphics II
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course is intended to go beyond the basics of motion graphics and assist students in refining their personal style. Advanced techniques relating to combining 2D and 3D animation, live action and stop motion will be explored in depth. Course work will be complemented by guest lecturers and workshops given by industry professionals. Students will complete the course with a reel that showcases both their creativity and knowledge of the software. 

SCG-5673
Sound Workshop I
One semester: 3 credits
This course will explore the many forms of sound creation and what can be done with them. There will be an equal emphasis on sonic and compositional aspects, including form and structure, texture, and the technical concepts of understanding and using recording equipment and software. Emphasis will be placed on “outside the box” thinking regarding the possibilities of sound creation. Class time will be divided among lecture, discussions and practical/technical exercises. Topics will include the physics of sound, hearing vs. listening, psychoacoustics, the history of sound art and concepts in sound art composition. Practical projects will involve creating sound art compositions using Avid Pro Tools and exploring the deep connection between sound and imagery. 

SCG-5674
Sound Workshop II
Fall semester: 3 credits
Intended for students who want to expand their ability to compose within the medium of sound, this course will focus on the conceptual and technical contexts for the composition of computer-based music. Coursework will consist of individual creative projects, in-class project presentations and discussion. The first half of the semester will explore the advanced use of Avid Pro Tools for music composition using MIDI sequencing and sampling with virtual instruments and various types of MIDI controllers and surround-sound mixing. The second half focuses on interactive sound possibilities for installation and performance applications utilizing Ableton Live, Max for Live, sensor technologies and Arduino, and will culminate in a final project of each student’s own design. 

SCG-5727
Exploring Still and Moving Imagery
Spring semester: 3 credits
The practice and theory of still and motion-based imagery will be explored in this course. The theoretical function of montage will be investigated by examining how digital production tools and techniques have impacted the creation and perception of still and temporal imagery. Through the study of the history of montage and selected theoretical readings, students will place their personal practice within the broader context of digital art and culture, and translate their ideas into action through short assignments. Class time is divided between critical discussions and studio projects. 

SCG-5736
New Forms in Media
Spring semester: 3 credits
Sixty years ago, video was only seen on television. Today, the electronic moving image is also experienced via the Internet, as live performances, and within sculptures and installations on various digital platforms. This studio course will investigate how to create media art. Lens-based image acquisition with various types of video cameras (surveillance, action cameras, UHD) will be explored, as will cameras that capture RGB and depth in three dimensions. Interactive and performance video forms and their technologies will also be examined through the many ways that media art can be displayed, such as multichannel environments and projection mapping. Emerging media art distribution platforms will be covered. Students will complete a project in at least two of the following mediums: Internet, installation, visual performance, interactive video, sculpture, hybrid forms. 

SCG-5752
Stereoscopic 3D
Spring semester: 3 credits
Stereoscopic 3D, which provides separate images for each eye, has been part of imaging since the dawn of photography. Working with stereo imagery has become increasingly valuable in entertainment, and the arts and sciences. It also offers a window into visual perception and the opportunity to re-examine many of the techniques and issues confronted in conventional image work. This course will cover the diverse methods and artistic possibilities for producing and displaying stereo imagery. Students will produce several stereoscopic projects that explore their own artwork using video, still images or animation. 

SCG-5759
3D for Fine Artists
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course aims to introduce different 3D techniques that can be used to produce artistic content. It is intended for students who are not necessarily pursuing 3D animation as a specialization and will introduce different 3D content creation and acquisition workflows. It will also cover ways to present the 3D content that is relevant for a fine artist, such as interaction using the Unity Game Engine and various ways to display it, including virtual reality and projection mapping. Students will have the opportunity to develop artwork through critique and discussion of historical and aesthetic perspectives of computer art. Assigned projects include still, time-based and interactive works. 

SCG-5782
3D Design and Fabrication I
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will examine several methods of virtual to digital output. It will cover the software programs needed to successfully translate creative ideas into a file format that will be used for printing and cutting, or to machine-build a project. Applications include SolidWorks, Rhino, Modo, SketchUp, Sculptris, Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator, Geomagic, MasterCam, Vcarve Pro and Cut3D. Weekly assignments will familiarize students with 3D scanning and printing, laser and CNC milling and cutting machines, and other techniques. The works of well-known artists who use these technologies as well as the history of these types of artistic production will be discussed. 

SCG-5783
3D Design and Fabrication II
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course is a continuation of SCG-5782, 3D Design and Fabrication I. After mastering the basics of digital and mechanical methods of making art, students will begin to work on advanced projects. Class time will include discussions on the evolving aesthetics of this type of work. Students will produce several projects during the course of the semester, or may use this class as an adjunct for fabricating their thesis projects. 

SCG-5829
Game Design
Spring semester: 3 credits
The study of interactive design is at the core of what is unique to making art on the computer. Game design is the creation of interactive, self-contained systems of rules that usually contain a challenge and a victory condition. This course is geared not only toward those interested in the game industry, but also toward those interested in creating compelling and meaningful interactivity. This goal will be met through the exploration and critique of the work of interactive artists and commercial game designers. The course will include guest lectures by artists
and game designers, as well as readings and assignments. 

SCG-5837
Interface Design: From Ideation to Realization
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will investigate how to construct ideas through design, research, storyboarding and wireframes. Students will examine what design can accomplish and the impact it has on a larger scale. Assignments will explore specific ways of building usable, effective and meaningful interface designs for mobile devices, tablets, desktop computers and/or any imaginable interactive surface. The goals of the course are to connect the dots of user experience within the flow of a specific activity with different devices. 

SCG-5841
User Experience Design and Development
Spring semester: 3 credits
User experience (UX) is an essential focus of designers, artists and developers. This course will address how usability, accessibility and information architecture shape design: from applications and websites to fine art and installations to industrial and product design. Students will learn how to make responsive designs for desktops and mobile devices—even television. Bringing designs to life through prototyping both improves the refinement of your work and dramatically assists the creative process. We will use prototypes to explore navigation methods, how they influence generative art and data visualizations. 

SCG-5863
Touch and Tech Art Lab I
Spring semester: 3 credits
This course is intended for students from all disciplines who want to expand the realm of their virtual work into the physical world with computational media and physical computing. Participants will gain an understanding of future physical/virtual interfaces, advanced sensing technology, interactive art installations, Microsoft Kinect-based technology, augmented reality, interactive video mapping, generative art, robotic art and interactive performances, among other cutting-edge approaches. Weekly lab exercises will build skills with the technologies reviewed in class, and longer assignments will apply the principles covered in lab exercises to creative applications.

SCG-6126
Touch and Tech Art Lab II
Fall semester: 3 credits
A continuation of SCG-5863, Touch and Tech Art Lab I, this course will go into greater depth in the examination of available technologies. We will keep looking away from the limitations of the mouse, keyboard and monitor interface of today’s computers and start with the countless possibilities of the physical world. Weekly lab exercises combined with individual sessions with the instructor to discuss the computational media needs for each student’s project will be included. 

SCG-6127
Touch and Tech Art Lab III
Spring semester: 3 credits
While the production of the thesis project is the focus of the course, emphasis will also be given to the study of advanced topics in augmented gaming, OSC (Open Sound Control), face detection technology, embedded computers, drones and global positioning technology, among others. Conversely, computational project ideas—whether in the domain of art, design, humanities, sciences, or engineering—will propel students to acquire the skills necessary to realize those ideas. 

SCG-6167
Production Issues: Animation I
Fall semester: 3 credits
The production of animation projects will be examined in this course through such topics as scene layout, camera, motion, shading, lighting, effects, rendering and compositing. Focusing on production methods as they are practiced in the professional realm, assignments will address the conceptualization, design, scheduling and techniques of animation production for thesis projects. 

SCG-6168
Production Issues: Animation II
Spring semester: 3 credits
A continuation of SCG-6167, Production Issues: Animation I, this course goes into greater depth in the examination and discussion of thesis projects and professional production methods. Advanced techniques in lighting, shading and rendering will be addressed. 

SCG-6413
Motion Graphics: Theory and Design
Fall semester: 3 credits
Intended to develop creativity and a personal style, as well as hone professional and artistic skills, this course will focus on an innovative approach to producing motion graphics projects, including crossover (designers as artists, artists as designers), inspiration, osmosis and looking beyond the screen to the world around us. The art of title design for opening sequences will also be addressed. Self-directed short- and long- term projects within an artistic design framework will be supported, and group critiques will help to develop communication and visual analytic skills. Reel building will be examined to further professional development. This course is for flexible, open-minded thinkers who want to explore their creative vision and learn the art of communication through moving imagery.

SCG-6432
Production Issues: Motion Graphics I
Fall semester: 3 credits
Serving as an expansion upon the topics addressed in first-year motion graphics, this course will explore the workflow of a professional production artist. Photoshop timelines, advanced camera techniques in Cinema 4D and the Adobe After Effects pipeline, character animation, the framing of a story through collage and sound will be covered. Each week, a task is assigned to create elements toward a final project and/or demo reel. 

SCG-6433
Production Issues: Motion Graphics II
Spring semester: 3 credits
The focus of this course is from the standpoint of compositing, including the use of green screen, tracking and the combining of 2D/3D and live-action elements. The fundamentals of using video for compositing will also be covered. Students will experiment with advanced techniques for visual effects. Additionally, analysis of the trends of current motion graphics and glitch art, along with the subject of distortion—visually and through sound—will be explored 

SCG-6561
Sound Design
Fall semester: 3 credits
The fundamental principle of sound design is simply to explore the possibilities for underscoring an image or time-based work. There are principles of music that work with time-based media (motion graphics, animation, stop motion, networked media), interactive media and games. Topics for the principles of music include: selection and use of prerecorded material, creation of music and audio content, the connection of music and sound production for animations, websites, DVDs and videos, as well as music inherent in illustration and photography leading to developing the final track. Discussions will center on the differences between working with sound in a narrative or interactive environment, along with the static images of illustration and photography. 

SCG-6572
Seminar in Musical Choices
Spring semester: 3 credits
Guiding students toward designing a sound environment that is properly connected to their thesis project is the premise of this course. Animation and motion graphics students will work with a sound accompaniment to support the story line and the motion of characters, or abstract visual elements involved in their thesis projects. Fine artists, web designers and installation artists can achieve a strong musical reference point in order to formulate a soundtrack that speaks to their creative work. Students will learn how to make music choices for projects that will guide the artistic vision or to enhance the already conceived image. 

SCG-6626
Production Issues: Fine Art
Spring semester: 3 credits
Geared toward students working on their own projects in the area of installation art, interactive video, sound art or performance, this course will address issues surrounding creative projects and follow the projects to completion. Topics will include timeline and budgets, contractual issues for hiring musicians/engineers, testing and documentation. We will also discuss networking, press materials, CV, promotion, identifying funding sources and grant writing. How digital artworks can survive in a time of constant technological changes will be addressed. 

SCG-6950
Thesis I
Fall semester: 3 credits
The thesis project consists of documented research and a body of creative work. The project should reflect individual direction and interests, attained through an awareness of the creative use of the computer and emerging technologies and its potential in the chosen area of practice. This course is intended to guide students through the initial stages of their thesis. A forum for discussion of content and context, as well as critique of work-in-progress with faculty and visiting artists will be provided. Throughout the year, students will work with a thesis group leader and the department chair. 

SCG-6951
Thesis Research and Writing I
Fall semester: 3 credits
Intended to help students to refine their research skills and articulate concepts and context, this course will focus on finalizing the thesis proposal, and the thesis research paper. Students will meet with the instructor in groups and individually several times during the semester. The critique and review sessions will be open to all thesis students every week. 

SCG-6955
Thesis II
Spring semester: 3 credits
A continuation of SCG-6950, Thesis I, this course is geared to achieving the goals outlined in thesis proposals. Weekly group and individual critiques will be held. 

SCG-6956
Thesis Research and Writing II
Spring semester: 3 credits
A continuation of SCG-6951, this course is intended to help students prepare the written materials needed to introduce their art practice. It will focus on the artist’s biography, statement, résumé/CV, project description and a press release. Students will meet with the instructor in groups and individually several times during the semester. The critique and review portion will be open to all thesis students every week. 

Independent Study
One semester: 3 credits
Independent study is granted to students who wish to pursue a special project not covered by the parameters of the curriculum. Students work independently under the tutelage of an appropriate faculty member or professional sponsor. Students must submit a detailed proposal that outlines their goals, must meet the GPA requirement for independent study, and must receive approval from the departmental advisor and the department chair. At the end of the semester, a summary of the completed work is required. 

Internship
One semester: 3 credits
Instructor: Professional Sponsor
Students can gain valuable professional exposure and experience through an internship with a professional sponsor or an employer. The SVA Career Development Office, departmental advisor and department chair can assist in locating internships that suit students’ goals. To receive credit, students must participate in the Internship for Credit Program through the Career Development Office. 

PROGRAMMING COURSES 

HSG-5010
Computer Systems I
Fall semester: 3 credits
The purpose of this course is to give an overview of the inner workings of computer systems. It will cover the many facets of computers, including logic, hardware, programming and software, how they communicate to create networks and how to use that knowledge to make informed technical choices. It will review the theory, history and cultural context behind the emergence of computer systems, which has shaped the current technological state of affairs. Students will also learn to configure hardware and software for specific tasks, including motion graphics, 3D animation and fine art. 

HSG-5011
Computer Systems II
Spring semester: 3 credits
The MFA Computer Arts Lab is a sophisticated and complex network of computers, peripherals, software, servers and other high-end components. If students are to take advantage of the true potential and power of the MFA lab, indoctrination in “real-world” problem solving is necessary. This course dissects, researches and solves systems problems that prepare students to successfully execute a thesis project. In addition to lectures, field trips will be made to state-of-the-art facilities. 

HSG-5232
Programming for Animators
Fall semester: 3 credits
The ability to write scripts (short programs that control other software) is one of the most powerful skills that a CG artist can have. In addition to an artistic eye, it is perhaps the skill that most frequently separates a run-of-the-mill artist from an irreplaceable one. In this course, we will examine Python, which is both a full-fledged programming language suitable for building entire applications and the integrated scripting language of choice in CG software such as Maya, Houdini and Nuke. 

HSG-5266
Technical Direction
Spring semester: 3 credits
The technical director (TD) is traditionally both a jack of many trades and the “hub” that brings the work of more specialized artists together into a cohesive whole. Nowhere else in the CG ecosystem will you so frequently find professionals who straddle the line between art and science. The most sought after TDs are invariably those who have multiple skills, an artistic eye and the ability to delve into the inner workings of the CG pipeline to repair and/or improve it. This course will cover advanced topics in Python scripting. We will touch upon fluid simulation, particle dynamics, cloth, procedural animation and modeling, rigid and soft bodies, and more. 

HSG-5343
Web Programming I
Fall semester: 3 credits
Serving as an introduction to the basic concepts, techniques and technologies of web programming, this course will address how to design and build dynamic and database-driven sites for the web. Conceptual and practical programming ideas will be examined through the creation of flowcharts, as well as working through examples of code and scripts, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The exploration of design principles and building dynamic templates will be achieved by working on assigned projects. 

HSG-5344
Web Programming II
Spring semester: 3 credits
Students will be introduced to programming concepts used to create dynamic content for the web. Assuming basic HTML skills, students will learn to add JavaScript to pages to effect client-side dynamic pages. CSS, XML, JSP and introductory database techniques will be explored to add functionality to a web application. Several short assignments will be given, enabling students to produce creative and innovative websites. 

HSG-5592
App Design and Development
Spring semester: 3 credits
This introductory course will explore producing applications for mobile devices and understanding their creative potential. From concept through development and testing to distribution and sales, we will address the entire process of bringing an app to users. A variety of app development paths will be discussed. With no programming experience required, students will develop a simple web app using HTML, CSS and JavaScript, and then use Phone Gap to bundle the product as an application suitable for distribution through various app stores and marketplaces. In addition, we will explore device-specific features, such as accessing the camera, using the accelerometer for motion-driven games, using geolocation. 

HSG-5611
Creative Programming for Artists I
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course is intended for students who have no prior exposure to programming and who want to build their own tools to create digital art. We will take a close look at the techniques used to program simple manipulations of video and sound works, control these with a broad range of external controllers that are commercially available, as well as with simple camera and motion-tracking techniques. The course will consist of lectures and presentations, with a short assignment after each session. Software and hardware includes: Max/MSP/Jitter and the Processing language tool set; Arduino, iCube, and other I/O devices; Korg Nano, QuNeo and MIDI-based controllers; Kinect, Leap, and other 3D interfaces; iPhone, iPad, and smartphone apps that are able to control the computer. 

HSG-5612
Creative Programming for Artists II
Spring semester: 3 credits
Intended for students with a basic understanding of computer programming, this advanced course is recommended for anyone who wants to build his/her own tools to create digital art. By the end of the semester, students should be able to program self-generating artworks and use data from the Internet to create artworks. The course will consist of lectures and presentations, along with short assignments, culminating in a final project. Software and hardware includes what was covered in the introductory course. 

ART HISTORY COURSES

SDG-5010 / SDG-5015
Digital Art Seminar I and II
Two semesters: no credit
These seminars address many aspects of digital art history and theory, including the evolution of digital technologies through an examination of the key theorists and practicing artists who have defined the digital media field. The primary goal is to expose students to the broad range of ideas and forms of expression that the digital arts encompass. Students will clarify and expand their personal creative niche within the context of contemporary art and culture, through research, short written assignments and creative experimentation. The seminars offer a historical and theoretical foundation in the digital arts, along with establishing a familiarity with contemporary art in New York City through gallery visits, artist talks and guest lectures. 

SDG-5147
Animation Culture
One semester: 3 credits
Why do we love animation? What is it doing for us—or to us? This course will explore the impact of animation on our perception and culture through screenings, discussions and written work. We will discuss how pervasive animated worlds influence people through entertainment, games, advertising, broadcast media, medicine, law and architecture. The use of animation as commentary on topics such as politics, emotional life and intimacy will be considered. The culture of animation itself—as represented by legendary companies, people and practices of this multifaceted art form—will also be addressed. Guest speakers and field trips are included. 

SDG-5163
Video Art and Beyond
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course begins by examining the emergence of video art of the 1960s, through structuralist films and the freewheeling days of “feedback” and “real-time” manipulation of the analog electronic signal. Students will examine how the barriers between artistic disciplines broke down as artists took up portable video cameras, experimented with installation, staged actions, and went outdoors to build land art. Works of contemporary video artists who move freely between painting, sculpture, photography, film, performance and other media will be discussed, as well as the contributions by musicians toward developing new working methods. The course will consist of weekly screenings, analysis of installations, readings and written assignments. 

SDG-5441
Contemporary Voices
Fall semester: 3 credits
Guest artists will discuss their artwork in a forum designed to help students understand the work of their contemporaries. By exposing students to a spectrum of computer art-making possibilities, this course inspires creative work and provides an opportunity to meet prospective thesis advisors and professional digital artists. 

SDG-5452
New Media in Contemporary Art
Fall semester: 3 credits
This course will explore artistic developments in new media over the past century, with a particular focus on artistic practices that examine or embrace new circumstances in the media and technologies of our time. Key works will be presented and discussed in light of the evolution of creative expression. Students will also research and discuss the concepts presented by critics and theorists. The term “new media” will be treated broadly to include developments in contemporary art, interaction, Internet-based work, film, photography and radio, as well as the beliefs and expectations that accompany new technologies. 

SDG-5534
Theory, Criticism and History of Time-Based Media
Spring semester: 3 credits
As the first time-based medium, film quickly became a primary means of cultural expression and an icon of popular culture. Early works by Thomas Edison included live action, stop motion and animation, laying the groundwork for digital video, motion graphics and computer animation. Although digital projection, 3D and web-based technologies have begun to supersede the film medium, its history, including video and animation, provides a wellspring of ideas and practices that demand theoretical and critical analysis. This course will address the vocabulary, grammar and syntax of experimental and mainstream film language, while examining and analyzing basic film constructs, genres and forms. Focusing on these issues from an international perspective, students will explore time-based media through the works of theorists, critics and practitioners. Reading and writing assignments will be complemented by student presentations, guest lectures and discussion. 

SDG-5541
Ecstasy and Apocalypse
Spring semester: 3 credits
In this course we will study selected science-fiction utopias and dystopias in popular culture, literature, cinema and theoretical writing from the 19th century to the present. We will begin with the question, “Why is science fiction our political theory?” in order to use the genre to analyze relations of power and control; capitalism and the media; ethics and freedom; definitions of human, gender and race in an increasingly bioengineered world. Among the texts will be Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, George Orwell’s 1984, Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake, as well as essays by Donna Haraway, Tom Moylan, H. G. Wells, Frederic Jameson, Scott Bukatman, Allucquére Rosanne Stone, Samuel Delany and Jean Baudrillard. Students will have the choice of writing a seminar paper or creating a piece of serious critical work in another medium for their final project. 

SDG-5562
New Media Theory
Spring semester: 3 credits
The history and theory of new media from aesthetic, cultural and political perspectives will be outlined in this course. Key texts from science, technology, cultural theory and philosophy will be used to illustrate how mediation in various forms has impacted perception, communication, information systems and cultural production. Prominent theories will be referenced to trace the development of the term “new media.” Other topics include the logic of the database as a new cultural form, as well as notions of software and the power of code’s structures and rules. How networks affect cultural production—from social networking to semantic filtering to intellectual properties and urbanity—will be explored. Through lectures, reading assignments and discussions, new media will be positioned in this larger cultural context. 

This course will study the structural elements underlying animated entertainment, traditional and experimental narratives. Story structures will be analyzed to discover what content can be conveyed within 30 seconds, a few minutes or longer in art and entertainment. We will focus on the key elements of storytelling, including the development of concepts, such as the central dramatic question, inciting incident, idiosyncratic characters and spaces, conflicts and needs, mounting tension, reversals and resolution. Visual language will be addressed by gaining a familiarity with camera shots, movements, angles and placement. Through short assignments, students will develop original scripts, concept sketches, storyboards and animatics. The basics of previsualization will be covered. An examination of key works in the field is included. 


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