3D Character Program

Make Characters

This is where the characters are made!
students learn the crafts of modeling and rigging.
What is it?
Rigging students place bones into the body to bend it properly and control the shape of the form in the myriad of possible poses.
Each week, modelers and riggers (Character TDs) from film and game studios work with the students one-by-one, giving the students a guided opportunity for improving their own work.
Once a design has been sketched on paper, modeling students sculpt them in 3D. It not only has to look beautiful, but the arrangement of points and edges also have to facilitate the next step: articulation. That’s where rigging steps in.
How it works
Our 3D Character program is divided into 2 parts, the 3D Character track, and the 3D Character program.
The 3D Character track consists of classes 0-3. In the 3D Character track, students focus on modeling and rigging. In classes 4-7, our 3D Character Program, 3D Character students focus more specifically on their area of greater interest, selecting two of Five electives covering the technical, tools side of rigging, or the sculpting and facial expression side of modeling, Environments, Materials and Texturing, or Lighting.
Prior to acceptance in the 3D Character program students must successfully complete the 3D Character track classes and be accepted by the Review Board for entrance to the program or provide a reel demonstrating the prerequisite skills needed to be successful in the 3D Character Program. Each term in the 3D Character Track and Program is 11 weeks long.
Discover the 3D Character Track Courses
Learn the skills used to make 3D characters for feature films, tv productions, vr and video games.
0. Introduction to Maya
Duration: 11 Weeks
Learn the basics of Autodesk Maya. This 11-week course explores the Maya interface, working with objects, modeling basics, how to animate objects, apply materials and textures, and use lights and cameras to render your scene. Students will have the foundation they need to carry out the assignments in our programs. This course was specifically designed for students that are new to 3D, or for students that are transitioning to Maya from a different software package. Students with Maya experience can bypass this course. This course is offered at a lower tuition cost than all other courses.
1. Introduction to 3D Modeling
Duration: 11 Weeks
An introduction to the principles of polygon modeling, applied to simple objects.

This course teaches professional topology layouts for hard surface and character modeling. Students learn modeling workflows to achieve desirable shaping, and common rest states for rigging. Students model organic and inorganic objects, a real-world household object, model a designed vehicle, and a designed character bust. Students learn basic modeling concepts like edge flow, working with manipulators, isolate selection, primitives, history, loft, bevel, extrusion, duplication, transformation space, soft selection, reflection editing, lattices, converting geometry types, projects, and workspace. Students learn how to effectively interpret a design and realize that vision in 3D space. Students will also be taught about visual appeal, and how to make their models stand out.
2. Introduction to Rigging
Duration: 11 Weeks
An introduction to the principles of rigging, applied to simple objects and scenarios.

In order for any 3D animation to happen, riggers (Character Technical Directors) take a completed character or prop model and use the concepts learned in this class to prepare it for deformation and action. Riggers insert bones (joints) into the character and refine the shapes and control systems so the character can act. Students learn basic rigging concepts including hierarchies, constraints, skinning, blendshapes, connections, joints, orientation, inverse kinematics, expressions, math nodes, xray, curve controls, custom attributes, sets, Set Driven Keys, and hypergraph connections. Each exercise builds on the previous, so students are able ease into the complexities of rigging.
3. Intermediate Modeling ZBrush Introduction
Duration: 11 Weeks
Students learn how to use ZBrush software, learning the unique interface and workflows. Students sculpt a character from a stylized character design approved by the instructor. This course teaches professional modeling workflow and practices so students can sculpt appealing characters. Students tackle advanced body and facial modeling and learn the landmarks including: how to evaluate a model from multiple vantage points, how to simplify lines, what to look for to reveal model problems.
Students also sculpt clothing a hard surface object or set piece for their character.
NOTE: This course requires the purchase of the student version of ZBrush, typically $450.
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