The Bachelor of Arts in Digital Design with an Emphasis in Animation prepares students to enter the expanding world of animation, which is not limited to cartoons. An animation degree prepares graduates to work in a variety of areas including television, film, computer applications and games, technical simulations in manufacturing and medical industries, architectural visualization, new product development, and more.
The foundation of this animation degree includes the study of drawing, color, typography, photography and composition skills. Students study the business aspects of running a design studio and prepare a web-based portfolio of their work. Coursework in the animation degree focuses on the development of creativity, communication and problem-solving skills that demonstrate critical thinking and ethical leadership.
While earning this animation degree, students create digital content in 2D and 3D applications using current industry software including Adobe and Maya products. They work to improve their storytelling skills; develop character models and basic rigging, lighting and textures; and study the development pipeline from story idea to final rendering. Design for motion graphics is included in the study of kinetic type and graphics primarily seen in television and film title sequences.
A student design organization and AIGA chapter are available and students are encouraged to participate. In this way, Grand Canyon University is building a creative community on campus and connecting to the design community. Students are required to have their own laptop and a subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud for the duration of their program.
General Education coursework prepares Grand Canyon University graduates to think critically, communicate clearly, live responsibly in a diverse world, and thoughtfully integrate their faith and ethical convictions into all dimensions of life. These competencies, essential to an effective and satisfying life, are outlined in the General Education Learner Outcomes. General Education courses embody the breadth of human understanding and creativity contained in the liberal arts and sciences tradition. Students take an array of foundational knowledge courses that promote expanded knowledge, insight, and the outcomes identified in the University‛s General Education Competencies. The knowledge and skills students acquire through these courses serve as a foundation for successful careers and lifelong journeys of growing understanding and wisdom.
|Competency||Requirements||GCU Course Options||Total Credits|
|University Foundations||Upon completion of the Grand Canyon University's University Foundation experience, students will be able to demonstrate competency in the areas of academic skills and self-leadership. They will be able to articulate the range of resources available to assist them, explore career options related to their area of study, and have knowledge of Grand Canyon's community. Students will be able to demonstrate foundational academic success skills, explore GCU resources (CLA, Library, Career Center, ADA office, etc), articulate strategies of self-leadership and management and recognize opportunities to engage in the GCU community. Students with fewer than 24 credits will fulfill the University Foundations requirement with a specified lower-division course. An upper-division selection will be made available to students that enter the university with more than 24 credits.||UNV-103/303, University Success: 4 credits||4 credits|
|Effective Communication||Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to construct rhetorically effective communications appropriate to diverse audiences, purposes, and occasions (English composition, communication, critical reading, foreign language, sign language, etc.). Students are required to take 3 credits of English grammar or composition.||UNV-104, 21st Century Skills: Communication and Information Literacy: 4 credits
ENG-105, English Composition I: 4 credits
ENG-106, English Composition II: 4 credits
COM-263, Elements of Intercultural Communication: 4 credits
|Christian Worldview||Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to express aspects of Christian heritage and worldview. Students are required to take CWV-101/301.||CWV-101/301, Christian Worldview: 4 credits||4 credits|
|Critical Thinking||Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to use various analytic and problem-solving skills to examine, evaluate, and/or challenge ideas and arguments. Students are required to take 3 credits of college mathematics or higher.||MAT-144, College Mathematics: 4 credits||3-4 credits|
|Global Awareness, Perspective and Ethics||Graduates of Grand Canyon University will be able to demonstrate awareness and appreciation of and empathy for differences in arts and culture, values, experiences, historical perspectives, and other aspects of life (psychology, sociology, government, Christian studies, Bible, geography, anthropology, economics, political science, child and family studies, law, ethics, crosscultural studies, history, art, music, dance, theater, applied arts, literature, health, etc.).||INT-244, World Religions: 4 credits
PSY-100, Psychology in Everyday Life: 4 credits
SOC-100, Everyday Sociology: 4 credits
If the predefined course is a part of the major, students need to take an additional course.
|Course #||Course Title||Course Description||Credits|
|DDN-100||Survey of the Visual Arts||This survey course introduces majors to theoretical foundations of the visual arts and cultures. Modes of cultural production are explored—including art, photography, film, and design—with focus on influential artists, critics, and theoreticians. Students begin to identify, form, and critically support their own visual interests and opinions in relation to the diverse and changing nature of contemporary culture. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-105||Drawing for the Visual Arts||Drawing, sketching for clients, and preparing storyboards are essential skills in a visual world that communicates through pictures. This beginning drawing course teaches students about rendering spatial relationships, perspective, light, shadow, texture, and forms. This foundational course includes lectures, drawing, critiques, and discussions and does not require that students have an art background. Student will provide drawing supplies and paper, along with a portfolio to carry them. A supply list will be provided at the start of the course.||4|
|DDN-110||Design Fundamentals||This course is an introduction to the basic elements of design and processes of visual communication using graphic tools standard in the industry. The focus is on mastering pixel, vector, and layout tools to demonstrate two-dimensional graphics, images, symbols, color theory, typography, and composition.||4|
|DDN-215||Digital Photography I||In this introductory digital photography course, students explore basic camera operation, digital capture, photographic principles, lighting, and visual design elements. Digital photo editing and compositing techniques are introduced and explored using digital darkroom software. Students are required to provide their own digital camera for this class. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student photography. Technology requirement: Students provide their own 35mm DSLR camera and tripod along with a personal laptop and subscription to Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop through the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-210||Designing with Type||This course explores fundamentals and traditions for creating, setting, and designing with type, as well as corporate design with an emphasis on typography and integration of vector designs and photography into promotional pieces. Students propose and create solutions for visual problems with type. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Prerequisite: DDN-110. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-205||Figure Drawing||This course teaches students the anatomy of figure drawing for animation and character modeling. Developed skill sets transfer to figure drawing of any organic being, whether human or animal. Class time consists of demonstrations, lectures, critiques, and drawing exercises using a variety of media and subject matter. Student will provide drawing supplies and paper, along with a portfolio to carry them. A supply list will be provided at the start of the course.||4|
|DDN-220||2D Animation Design||This course introduces the principles of animation, bringing objects to life using established principles of squash and stretch, key framing, and basic timing techniques. Vector-based design tools are used to create moving design. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Prerequisite: DDN-110. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-230||Sculpture||This course introduces students to sculpture in various mediums, both traditional and nontraditional; provides practical and theoretical exploration of form, surface, mass, gravity, and structure; includes reading and writing assignments; and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Students will provide their own sculpture tools. A supply list will be posted prior to the start of class.||4|
|DDN-300||Web Design I||In this course, students learn visual design for the Web, building structure and presentation. Web layouts and style, artistic quality and performance, and navigation and accessibility are explored in the development of Web sites using HTML and CSS. The focus of the course is to develop a core foundation in HTML and CSS before the evaluation of other Web development tools. Prerequisite: DDN-110 or instructor permission. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-330||3D Modeling Design I||This course focuses on 3D modeling using a variety of media and processes. Students demonstrate three-dimensional concepts, theories, and application while creating products and package designs; photography and 3D model integration; game environment designs; and beginning character designs. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.||4|
|DDN-305||Drawing for Animation||Students develop perspective and layout techniques for creating depth illusion as applied to principles of 3D modeling and animation. This course emphasizes the study of story, size relationships, values, lines, vanishing points, lighting, path direction, camera placements, and composition. Students also explore drawing media. Prerequisite: DDN-105. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to Adobe Creative Cloud, a graphics tablet, sound editing software (Garage Band or Audacity), and additional supplies as defined during the course.||4|
|DDN-340||History of Design||This writing-intensive course focuses on the history of visual arts, graphic design, and animation; genres of design; and the influence of artists, graphic artists, and animators through the ages. Emphasis is placed on the history of and current developments in the digital and information age. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-315||Digital Photography II||In this course, students shoot RAW and apply advanced photography techniques (e.g., corrections, masks, blends, filters and composites) to create visual art. Studio lighting and high dynamic range imaging are explored to create styles and various uses of photography. This course requires Web-based presentations, competitions, and the creation and exhibition of student artwork. Students must provide their own digital SLR camera for this class. Prerequisite: DDN-215. Technology requirement: Students provide their own 35mm DSLR camera and tripod. Personal laptop and Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom are recommended, however computers are available in the Design Lab for processing images.||4|
|DDN-360||3D Modeling Design II||This course is a study of the tools used to convert two-dimensional hand drawings, photos, and other references into three-dimensional elements. Students employ the terminology, tools, and topology of animation and game industries while modeling polygons, NURBS, and SubDs. Students explore texturing methods, camera setups, lighting techniques, and rendering options. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments and requires the creation and exhibition of student work. Prerequisite: DDN-330. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.||4|
|DDN-365||3D Animation and the Mechanics of Motion||In this course, the principles of animation are explored in greater depth as they apply to 3D. Students learn about the production cycle of animation while planning models for future animation. Kinematics, rigging, and facial animation processes are explored as students demonstrate walk cycles, express emotions, and synchronize sound to animations. Students also create short animations and integrate basic sound and video compositing software. This course includes reading, writing, and lab assignments. Prerequisites: DDN-220 and DDN-330.||4|
|DDN-400||Business for the Design Professional||This writing intensive course focuses on the essential business skills necessary for the design practice and professional. Business development, legal issues, project management, finances, human resources, and other management issues are explored as they relate to the design profession. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|DDN-410||3D Short Film Production||This course explores the process of building a 3D short film as students are introduced to every aspect of the short-film production pipeline. From pre-production when the story and characters are developed to the final lighting, rendering, visual and sound effects, music, titles, and ending credits in post-production are completed, students prepare a production plan for their own animated 3D short film. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.||4|
|DDN-415||3D Visual Effects and Lighting||In this course, students plan and visualize a special effects project by creating a shot-by-shot storyboard, building environmental sets and props, applying appropriate lighting and special effects, and rendering the solution. Sets are modeled with realistic texturing, lighting design, visual effects, and rendering solutions demonstrated. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.||4|
|DDN-420||Advanced Animation||This is a highly aesthetic and technical course in which students bring all design skills together, including pre-production, graphic design, modeling, animation, audio production, texturing, and rendering. Students must demonstrate composition, timing, and editing while producing a short, time-based project. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop, a graphics tablet, external hard drive, and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud. Maya software is available as a student download from the Autodesk website.||4|
|DDN-475||Advanced Design Practicum||In this advanced design course, students incorporate their personal style into the development of a portfolio. Professional design projects for a variety of campus and studio-based projects provide opportunities for students to fine-tune solutions for customer-driven, reality-based design problems. Students propose design solutions, practicing their communication and presentation skills while exploring career opportunities. The ethics of business practice is incorporated into studio projects. Technology requirement: Students provide their own laptop and subscription to the Adobe Creative Cloud.||4|
|Required Course Total Credit:||80|
|General Education Requirements:||34 - 40 credits|
|Open Elective Credits:||0 - 6 credits|
|Total Degree Requirements:||120 credits|
This program is offered in the following formats or locations:
Enjoy Grand Canyon University's traditional campus experience. Nestled on over 90 acres in the heart of Phoenix, 8,500 (anticipated) students live and attend class on the GCU campus. New modern classrooms, suite style dorms and a focus on creating a rich student life make GCU a top choice for high school graduates.
* Please refer to the Academic Catalog for more information. Program subject to change.