The National Certificate course in 3D Animation and Visual Effects aims to deliver students who are competent 3D animation or visual effects artists. The course investigates a range of Animation fundamentals, such as how to animate characters, as well as texturing and lighting objects, characters and backgrounds. In addition, the course places a critical focus on the student’s professional practice, such as the ability to assess client contracts and to market your own projects.
Minimum entry requirements: Pass on National Senior Certificate (Grade 12) and basic computer literacy
Introduction to 3D Technology
This module introduces the history and development of digital animation, and delves into the functionality of 3D software applications. Students will learn various modelling techniques and modifiers that facilitate the process of modelling 3D characters. Students are introduced to the manner in which line, form and volume functions and how these elements are implicated in the changing of surfaces during motion.
3D Concept Development
This module explores the process of the production of digital concept art for computer generated images (CGI). Digitally drawn concept art for animated films, commercials, games or special effects is produced. The art produced during this module includes characters, costumes, props, environments, effects and game elements as well as paintings to be used as backgrounds.
3D Animation Production
This module introduces students to define the scope of a 3D animation project, and to create a production schedule and budget for a chosen animation. Students identify time and resource intensive tasks and they have to schedule and manage the identified tasks effectively, in order to adhere to the schedule required by the client. Students explore the basics of contractual agreements and project management and project assessment and scoping principles in order to manage the project successfully.
During this module, students create 3D character models that are ready for animation. Students generate and source reference material to study in order to gain an understanding of motion or specific actions. Students break down the action into drawn key poses and apply it to the rigged 3D character. Components of the module includes modelling, body and facial rigging, animation reference and blocking with the aim of animating the character successfully.
3D Animation Workflow
During this module, students refine and complete their 3D animation project for presentation. Rendering, adding audio, colour grading and compositing, refines the process. Emphasis is placed on consolidating the student’s ability to finalise their portfolio and choose appropriate works to showcase their portfolio in the best manner. The student is also introduced to principles of communicating with clients and self-promotion in the industry.
Introduction to Game Design
This module explores the arena in which games are produced. Students conceptualise their ideas in a proposal document and are introduced to the business of game development, game styles and titles, as well as appropriate distribution channels, and pricing. Students explore game specifications such as the interface, world types, levels / experience and publishing formats. The marketing campaign, and the generation of marketing material is explored. Finally students are exposed to the publishing and distribution of games.
Game Development & Scripting
During this module, students are introduced to fundamental concepts and core language structures of game and web programming. The purpose of the course is to facilitate game functionality in terms of player profiles, scoring systems, leaderboards, loading data HUD’s and GUI systems. The course includes an overview of commercial languages, as well as proprietary scripting languages. Components of this module include the fundamental principles of problem analysis, data management systems theory, proprietary scrpting environments, database scripting and server-side scripting.
Introduction to Motion Graphics
This module introduces students to motion design principles through analysing and re-imaging existing broadcast quality motion graphics projects. Students explore the essential elements of action, reaction and activity in the production of professional motion graphics. This module focuses on the understanding and integration of the principles of graphic design and motion, with industry standard digital animation techniques. Components of the course include current trends in motion design, motion design principles and components, as well as digital animation techniques.
Compositing and Visual Effects
This module focuses on the process of post-production in terms of layer compositing and special effects. Students learn to seamlessly combine live action video footage or still photographic imagery with 3D content in a short compositing exercise. Students apply visual effects to enhance the impact of the visual message. They also create realistic simulations and effects that are indistinguishable from real footage, such as lighting effects, hard and soft body simulations, particle effects and fluid simulations.