Digital Art and Animation, BFA

Programme Overview
The BFA in Digital Art and Animation program offers comprehensive education in the technique, processes, and tools that professional artists use to create art assets for games, animated films, and other digital media. Rather than simply teaching students how to use current software, this programme focuses on developing foundational skills that remain valuable and useful regardless of the technology or medium. Graduates of the BFA in Digital Art and Animation program have the ability to produce powerful affecting imagery in a professional studio environment.

Curriculum
Students who successfully complete the BFA in Digital Art and Animation programme possess the following:

  • Extensive production experience, in both 2D and 3D animation, as well as an area of greater focus that enables students to target a specific sector of the industry according to their interests and abilities.
  • Excellent drawing skills, including a mastery of perspective, shading, drawing from observation, figure drawing, value, color and composition.
  • Strong storytelling abilities, including visual storytelling, literary traditions, story through dialogue, story through acting and cinematic conventions.
  • Familiarity with modern studio processes, including the ability to use current tools and software, as well as the ability to learn new software while maintaining a strict production schedule.
  • Professional work habits, including and understanding of how to maintain and continually enhance their craft throughout their career, as well as the ability to utilize and integrate professional criticism into their work.

Career Opportunities
This programme prepares students for careers in digital art and digital 3D animation, digital 2D animation and video game or animation pre-production. Possible job titles include:

  • 2D and 3D Animator
  • Concept Artist
  • IIlustrator
  • Visual Effects Artist

Learn more about DigiPen's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art and Animation.

Eligibility and Exemption

All full-time diplomas awarded by the five local polytechnics

* Diplomas awarded by Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) and LASALLE College of the Arts will be considered on a case-by-case basis for the BFA in Digital Art and Animation programme.

Applicants who are not graduates from a Polytechnic in Singapore, but have completed a formal 12th year education equivalent to A-Levels, are eligible to apply for the following degree programme:

Overseas University Partner

Degree Programmes

Subject Requirement(s)

DigiPen Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Fine Arts in Digital Art & Animation

  1. A/H2 Mathematics
  2. HL Mathematics
  3. Also see programme-specific requirements for all DigiPen programmes

Note:

Credit transfers and duration of studies will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. 

Students who have relevant post-secondary qualifications may complete DigiPen’s degree programmes within seven semesters. To be eligible for the abridged programme, students must successfully satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The course(s) being evaluated must be taken at a bona fide, legitimate institution recognised and approved by a regulatory authority that oversees the educational system in the country where the institution is. These courses must appear on official transcripts from the institution.  The final decision regarding the transfer credits remains at DigiPen’s discretion.

  2. The course(s) must be comparable in academic quality to DigiPen courses including the number of credits or contact hours. Application will be denied for courses not meeting this standard.

  3. Transfer credit will be considered for courses in which the grade of “B -” or better is recorded. “Credit” or “Pass” grades will not be accepted for transfer credit.

  4. Course(s) transferred to a student’s major may also require a validation examination in order to be accepted.

Actual number of credits may vary from one student to another depending on the individual course work completed. Any course(s) not transferred must be completed within the duration of the programme.

Study Trip

All students have to complete a 12-week immersion programme at the home campus of DigiPen Institute of Technology in Redmond.  Students will take classes in Redmond’s summer semester and work with faculty and students from different programmes. The estimated cost for the programme ranges from S$8,000 - S$9,000 (based on prevailing currency exchange rates and flight ticket prices).

MODULE SYNOPSIS

Semester 1
ANI101 Introduction to Animation - Theories and Techniques I

This course introduces students to the principles of animation through classical animation techniques. Students explore the art of creating convincing movement through effective timing, spacing, and drawing. Works of master animators are screened and analysed frame-by-frame to illustrate the principles covered in class, and students will put their knowledge to work through a series of exercises. The ultimate goal of both this course and its sequel is to introduce methods by which animators “act” and bring characters to life through sequential images.

ART101 The Language of Drawing

This course explores the nature of drawing as a language skill and the use of drawing by production artists and animators. Applied drawing goals and critical thinking skills are given special consideration. Students are introduced to basic professional habits in drawing practice, drill, and play. Design principles, basic research, and the design process are introduced and applied to a series of practical problems. This course also explores basic drawing materials, drawing strategy, drawing sequence, linear drawing methodology, practice, and theory.

ART110 Fundamentals of Visual Communication and Design Process

Beginning with the physiology of perception, this course explores the simple building blocks of visual communications and how the viewer understands and responds to shapes, symbols and images. The foundational skills of design process and problem solving methodologies are explored to develop the student’s visual problem solving skills.

ART115 Art and Technology

This course provides an overview of art history from Paleolithic times until the modern day. It traces the technological advances of society and art and considers the interplay between art and technology. Classical art materials and methods are examined, and students explore how art has historically impacted society. This course has a worldwide scope and is not limited to just European and Western traditions.

ENG116 Storytelling

This course covers the principal elements of storytelling including theme, character, perspective, setting, plot, and dialogue. It encompasses both visual and non-visual media, such as short stories, novels, drama, and film. Through a series of creative writing exercises, students practice developing stories with both words and images.

FLM115 History of Film and Animation

This course examines the more than 100-year history of film and animation. Beginning with the scientific and technical advances that made these media technologies possible, students explore every major movement and genre as well as their impact on society. The course gives students critical vocabulary required for explaining story, animation and cinematic techniques.

Semester 2
ANI125 Acting for Animation

An animator’s ability to express attitude, thought, and emotion through a character’s body language is a fundamental skill necessary for success. Therefore, this course focuses on presenting tools and techniques for translating thoughts and feelings into specific gestures and actions. The course introduces students to the history of acting in theatre, animation, and film. Students explore the basic fundamentals and differences of acting for the stage, film, and animation through a series of acting exercises and problems. Special emphasis is given to classical method acting.

ANI151 Advanced Animation – Theories and Techniques II

In ANI151 students continue to explore and exercise the concepts and techniques of classical animation through a series of assignments. The exercises in this course are considerably more demanding than those completed in ANI101 as they are longer and will require more refinement, subtlety, and creativity. There is also a greater emphasis on character development - the expression of personality, mood, thought, and attitude through motion and posing.

ART125 Tone, Color, and Composition

This course continues to build upon students’ abilities to draw by exploring the nature and use of tone, colour, and composition in drawing. It emphasises methods of creating tone, ways to use luminance as an organisational element, and the importance of thinking critically. Additionally, the course introduces students to a variety of classical tonal systems and tonal illusions, including atmospheric perspective, sculptural modelling, basic direct lighting, lighting position relative to viewpoint, light intensity, local value, and reflectivity. Students then explore the artistic use of colour. The course covers systems and traditions of organising hue and saturation, and it examines methods of building from tonal preliminary studies. Students also explore classical forms of compositional organisation, such as symmetry, asymmetry, golden mean, and figure-ground relationships.

ART151 Basic Life Drawing

This course introduces students to the challenges of drawing the human form for animation. Students examine life drawing for animation in addition to methods for attaining these goals. The course emphasises capturing skeletal structure, muscle form, emotion, and gesture. By drawing clothed and nude models of both genders, students learn to apply lessons in anatomy to the figure, significantly expanding their understanding of human kinetics and structure. Additionally, students practice extrapolating basic human life drawing strategies to other animals.

BIO150 Human Muscular, Skeletal, and Kinetic Anatomy

This course explores the skeletal and muscular structures of the human body. Students learn to identify skeletal and muscular forms from both live models and anatomical references. Additionally, students consider terminology, structural arrangement, and kinetic function. The course gives special emphasis to adapting this knowledge to the needs of artists and animators.

FLM151 Visual Language and Film Analysis

Animation is ultimately “film making,” and animators should learn from the many classics on how to effectively bring various film production elements together. Students review several films and study how the relationships between scripts, cameras, lighting, sets, production design, sound, acting, costumes, props, directing, and production lead to successful visual stories. They also examine the fundamental theories underlying visual storytelling. Understanding the creative processes utilized by these influential filmmakers provides insight into how students may improve their own animations.

Semester 3
ART201 Advanced Life Drawing

This course builds upon the anatomy and drawing courses students have already taken. Students continue to improve their ability to capture kinetics in humans and animals. By engaging in a series of exercises designed to enhance their visual memory, students build the foundation for drawing accurate figures from their imagination. They also explore putting the figure into an environment, figurative composition, and introductory sequential figurative composition.

BIO200 Animal Muscular, Skeletal, and Kinetic Anatomy

This course introduces the major skeletal and muscular structures of animals. Students extrapolate their knowledge of the human form to the structure and form of a variety of animal types, specifically focusing on the impact of locomotion and feeding strategies on form. Additionally, students consider terminology, structural arrangement, and kinetic function. The course also considers standard locomotion cycles and the relationship between humans and various animals. It gives special emphasis to adapting this knowledge to the needs of artists and animators.

CG201 2D Raster Graphics and Animation

This course introduces students to the industry-standard software and practices of raster graphics and animation. The course begins with basic information, such as interface organization strategies, system components, bit depth, resolution, memory management, and output strategies. It also explores techniques and critical thinking skills for digital painting, scanning, still compositing, and texture creation. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customisation options and strategies in 2D raster graphics.

CG225 Introduction to 3D Animation

This course introduces students to industry-standard software and practices of 3D animation. The course begins with basic information such as interface organisation strategies, equipment options, and production elements. It also introduces techniques and critical thinking skills for texture mapping, modelling, rigging, lighting, cameras, and animation. Additionally, it looks at basic interface customisation options and strategies in 3D graphics, culminating in a series of applied problems in 3D production techniques

PRJ201 2D Animation Production

This is a traditional animation course within the context of a two-semester project. This project builds on the cumulative skill sets acquired in ANI 101 and ANI 151, but with a focus on team dynamics, acting, visual storytelling, and the goal of completing a short animated film rather than a series of learning exercises. PRJ 201 concentrates on pre-production for the project.

Semester 4
ART251 Character Design

Students leverage their drawing and anatomy knowledge to the creation of animation characters. This course introduces student to the traditions of character design and the basic structural strategies for creating animation characters. Students explore simplification gradients relative to human, animal, and inanimate object-based characters. They consider issues of costume, personality, and story interaction. The course emphasizes professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course serves as pre-production design for PRJ 300, PRJ 350, or ANI 300.

ART350 Storyboards

This course explores the animation pre-production skills of storyboard art. Students leverage their knowledge of drawing, storytelling, and cinematography to create both production and presentation storyboards. They also explore means of using drawing to create story flow, character development, mood, time, and place. The course emphasizes professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course serves as pre-production design for PRJ300, PRJ350, or ANI300.

CG251 2D Vector Graphics and Animation or Electives

This course examines the principles and practices of 2D vector graphics and animation. It introduces students to industry-standard software, output options, and production strategies for using vector graphics in both graphic design and animation. The course gives special consideration to critical thinking and refinement strategies when modifying vector images. Students examine methods of using vector-based tools for creating web and broadcast animation, and the course concludes with a series of applied problems in 2D vector animation.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list

FLM201 Cinematography OR FLM210 Cinematography for Visual Effects

Like a filmmaker, computer animators must have a good understanding of appropriate camera composition, lighting and editing techniques to enhance the visual impact of the story being told. Appropriate composition and camera movement help to reveal action, and lighting establishes focus, place, and mood.. Assignments in camera composition, movement, lighting and editing help students solidify their understanding of the concepts presented.

OR

This course focuses on the technical aspects of cinematography including understanding how cameras work, how images are captured and processed, computer graphics theory, and image analysis. Emphasis is on digital imagery.

PRJ251 2D Vector Animation

This is a traditional animation course within the context of a two-semester project. This project builds on the cumulative skill sets acquired in ANI 101 and ANI 151, but with a focus on team dynamics, acting, visual storytelling, and the goal of completing a short animated film rather than a series of learning exercises. Building on the work completed in PRJ201, PRJ251 concentrates on the production and animation for the project.

Semester 5
ANI300 Acting through an Interface OR Electives

An animator’s ability to express attitude, thought, and emotion through a surrogate is a fundamental skill of 3D character animation. This course builds upon the earlier acting and 2D animation curriculum. It explores 3D character animation techniques of performance, physicality and weight. Students complete a number of animation assignments during the semester.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

ART300 Perspective, Backgrounds, and Layouts

This course explores the animation pre-production skills of background and layout art. Students review classical depth cue and perspective systems and apply this knowledge to the creation of animation backgrounds and layouts. Additionally, students explore means of using drawing to create camera lens illusions, architectural space, theatrical sets, level design, matte painting, and surface texture. The course emphasizes professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course serves as pre-production design for PRJ 300, PRJ 350, or ANI 300.

CG300 3D Environment and Level Design

This course introduces students to the principles of 3D environment design. Theatrical sets, architectural simulations, and level design are considered. In order to provide students with a broader skill set, this course also presents the “mechanics” of how to use other 3D animation software, with an emphasis on the unique strengths of the package. Students explore the comparative strengths of different software packages and the impact that this has on workflow. The course emphasizes critical thinking skills and strategies for tool selection.

ENG315 Story through Dialogue

This course introduces students to the basics of screenplay writing for film beginning with the fundamentals of dramatic structure, story arcs, character arcs, and dialogue. Through a series of related assignments, students experience the process of developing a script of their own and practice their hand at writing dialogue for film. Students will write at least one original pre-production script in screenplay format.

PRJ300 Limited-Scope 3D Production

PRJ 300 addresses two of the more serious affective learning challenges facing commercial animators: professional focus and realistic expectations. The goal of this course is to build on the experience gained in production pipeline procedures in PRJ 201/251 as well as the modelling and animation skills developed in CG225 and CG275. Students apply skills learned concurrently in ART 300 and CG 300 to produce an animated short film of limited duration.

Semester 6
COL499 Career Search Preparation: Materials, Logistics, And Communication

College 499 is a capstone course for students to prepare their job application materials and learn how to effectively search for an entry-level job in their field. The goal of the course is for each student to have a polished resume, cover letter, business card, and online/web presence by the end of the semester, as well as a search strategy for seeking employment.

ANI350 Voice Acting for Animation OR Electives

This course explores the nature of acting through the medium of the human voice. The curriculum explores narration, expressive reading, diction, and vocal refinement. It introduces students to basic audio technology and recording equipment. The course also covers lip-synchronization techniques in animation and culminates in a series of practical exercises in both 2D and 3D animation.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

ART225 3D Design and Sculpture OR Electives

This course introduces students to the principles of 3D design using both traditional and digital tools. Students become acquainted with additive, subtractive, and cast sculpture. They consider the basic concepts of architectural space, interior design, landscape design, surface interplay with light, lofted forms, and skinning systems. Students use modern polymer clays and build an animation maquette.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

CG350 Graphics for Gaming OR Electives

This course examines the unique problems of creating graphics for games, and it teaches effective production techniques for addressing these issues.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

PHY115 Introduction to Applied Math and Physics

We live in a world governed by physical laws. As a result we have become accustomed to objects’ motions being in accordance with these laws. This course examines the basic physics and mathematics governing natural phenomena, such as light, weight, inertia, friction, momentum, and thrust as a practical introduction to applied math and physics. Students explore geometry, trigonometry for cyclical motions, and physical equations of motion for bodies moving under the influence of forces. With these tools, students develop a broader understanding of the impact of mathematics and physics on their daily lives.

PRJ350 3D Animation Production

PRJ 350 picks up where PRJ 300 left off in further developing design and production skills. The course is a full-semester project where students will produce a short animated production that demonstrates their skills in design, modelling, animation, lighting and rendering.

Semester 7
ART401 Conceptual Illustration and Visual Development

This course explores the animation pre-production skills of conceptual illustration and visual development. Students apply their knowledge of drawing, storytelling, and composition to create speculative drawings for animation. They review compositional systems, design process, and illustration techniques. Additionally, students explore means of using drawing to visually explore story and character ideas from both existing and original story materials. They also consider adaptation, stylization, and visual variety. The course emphasizes professional applications, techniques, and standards of quality. The work completed in this course serves as pre- production design for PRJ300, PRJ350, or ANI300.

ART450 Portfolio

Students use this course to compile the elements of their professional portfolio, which will serve as their BFA in Digital Art and Animation thesis. Additionally, this course introduces students to the marketing campaign needs of modern animation portfolios, including visual continuity, business documents, traditional still art portfolios, process and practice samples, digital portfolios, web sites, demo reels, and promotional items. They use this knowledge to assemble their own portfolios. The course also covers related information regarding job interviews, trade shows, professional standards, and contract negotiation.

FLM250 Digital Post-Production OR Electives

The last step of any animation project involves the assembly of various production elements ranging from rendered files to sound effects. This is also the stage where the visual effects artists add the effects seen in today’s movies. This course teaches the fundamental skills these artists use in post-production. Effective editing skills are the primary outcome of the course. Students will also cover the planning, execution, and addition of special effects to animation.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

MUS115 Fundamentals of Music and Sound Design OR Electives

This course offers an introduction to the fundamentals of music and sound design, and an overview of the production of music and sound for animation, film, and video games. Topics include music notation, key, meter, rhythm, melody, harmony, texture, tempo, genre and form; historical musical styles; dialog and timing; and digital audio production methods and technique

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

PRJ400 Capstone Project 1

Working effectively as producers, the Animation Faculty team will select from student submissions one or more team projects to be produced. They then assign students to specific teams, based upon their artistic strengths and career goals. Wherever possible, individual students are introduced to specialist advisers from outside the faculty. Each student’s individual effort is assessed as well as the overall teamwork and professional success of the team. As in a professional work environment, student teams are not allowed to exclude individual members due to production conflicts or performance. The faculty alone retains the right to remove a team member for failure to perform.

Semester 8
ANI400 Cinematic Animation OR Electives

This course is a culmination of the student’s ability to use animation as a storytelling medium. It also provides an opportunity for the student to demonstrate his or her personal artistic growth. Each student works to complete a short piece of cinematic animation. Working independently or in small groups with the instructor’s approval, students may use either 2D or 3D tools.

OR

**any course from the Elective Requirements list.

CS115 Introduction to Scripting and Programming

This class introduces programming environments to students who are not experienced programmers. This course covers simple logic, programming flow, and the use of variables. It introduces students to the history of programming and the basic vocabulary of the programming industry. The course culminates in a series of hands-on exercises using this knowledge to solve problems. At his or her discretion, the instructor may cover special topics in programming or scripting. Credit may be received for CS 115 or for CS 120, but not for both.

LAW115 Introduction to Intellectual Property and Contracts

The animation and computer software industries are founded upon the principle of intellectual property. This course introduces students to the social concepts and traditions that led to the idea of intellectual property. It surveys the various international legal systems governing intellectual property, giving special consideration to Title 17 and the local statutes that govern copyrights, trademarks, and patents in the United States. Students learn fundamental issues surrounding this field, such as fair use, international relations, and economics. The course also introduces students to a basic overview of contracts, including structure, traditions, and vocabulary.

PRJ450 Capstone Project II

Having completed the pre-production work for a team-based animated production in PRJ 400, students then complete final rendering and post-production. Students face the challenges of commercial art direction, quality control, production deadlines, and team dynamics, as well as the many technical challenges.

SOS115 Media and Ethics: A Social Science Perspective

This course guides students in the ethical assessment of both the processes and outcomes of social decision-making. After an introduction to basic ethical theories, students acquire an understanding of the structure of social institutions and the process through which one makes social choices. Central to the analysis is a study of ethics as a criterion for assessment of social decision-making with emphasis on the study of particular issues of social choice. The course also provides a theoretical framework within which to spot and analyse ethical issues in the media.

Campus Location
SIT@SP Building
SIT@SP Building

Singapore Polytechnic
510 Dover Road, Singapore 139660