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New York Film Academy Animation
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One-Year 3D Animation & Visual Effects Conservatory Program

An animated dragon created at NYFA's animation school An animated character eyes a bottle in his cupboard A janitor pushes a cart in this 3D animation still

Overview of our One-Year 3D & Visual Effects Program

Our One-Year in 3-D Animation Program is a comprehensive training in 3D using industry standard software such as Maya, Mudbox, ZBrush, and Nuke.

Students in the Academy’s One-Year in 3-D Animation Program get the opportunity to learn the technical and artistic tools they need to master 3D animation and visual effects for film, video, and content creation. After the program, they may choose to become independent animators or to pursue a career in the film, gaming, interactivity, or commercial industries.

Preparation

No previous 3D or animation experience is required. However, studio art or computer experience is helpful. Basic familiarity with a computer graphic program such as Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop is recommended. Free student copies of Maya and Mudbox are available for download here. Students are encouraged to familiarize themselves with this software.

Core Curriculum

Over the course of the year, students learn the essential aspects of animation, from storyboard to final movie. Students also get the opportunity to delve into the realm of visual effects and go deeper into advanced modeling techniques.

Students will learn the essentials of preparing a template for an animated movie or sequence. The amount of labor, hard work, and attention to detail required to make even a short animated movie necessitates an exacting and exhaustive amount of preparation before the modeling; animation, lighting, and much more even to begin. In order to create their own original productions, students are required to learn and master the software programs Adobe Photoshop and Adobe After Effects. In addition, they study subjects including Screenwriting, Storyboard, and Character Design.

Upon completing the foundations for the creation of their movie, students will focus on the next stage of the process, using software that includes Maya, Mudbox, and ZBrush. (Please note that our software may change as new methods for animation evolve and we continue to use industry standard products). For instance, ZBrush and Mudbox are now used extensively in both movie and video game production. In addition, students will study subjects that include Drawing and Anatomy, Acting for Animation, Lighting, Materials, Textures, Animation, Rendering, Editing, and 3D Modeling and Sculpture.

As the year progresses students begin developing a final project that showcases a primary area of interest, be it modeling, animation VFX, or a combination thereof. Students are introduced to motion capture as part of the animation pipeline while also refining concepts learned in the Compositing I class. Visual effects are an essential part of the movie industry and are used for integrating computer generated characters and particle systems, such as fluids and explosions into live action shots. All of the major aspects of VFX are included in our one-year conservatory program, including the software programs Nuke, Maya, and Motion Builder. In addition, students will cover such subjects as Motion Capture, Green Screen, Compositing, Dynamics, Advanced CG Lighting, Scripting, Compositing, and Motion Tracking. Adequate time is made available for students to finish final projects and demonstrate a mastery of their particular area of interest.



Course Description

Graphics Essentials
Story Essentials
Modeling I
Lighting & Shading I
Rigging
Animation
Drawing & Anatomy
Lighting & Shading II
Scripting
Compositing I
Dynamics
Modeling II
Project Supervision I
Compositing II
Motion Capture
Project Supervision II
Sculpture

Graphics Essentials

This course is comprised of Photoshop, Sound and Editing, and After Effects. The Graphics Essentials course will introduce animation students to the basic skills necessary to specific requirements of the animation pipeline.
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Story Essentials

This course is comprised of Character Design, Storyboard, Animatics, Screenwriting, and Directors Craft.

Students are presented with an integrated approach to story and learn how to lay out ideas economically and clearly from the initial written idea to a fully fleshed out pre-visualization of their animation.
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Modeling I

This course focuses on creating hard surface and organic models, using a variety of industry standard software.

Students learn to create professional, realistic 3D characters, and props from scratch. The course focuses on creating complex models using simple step-by-step techniques.
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Lighting and Shading I

Students learn lighting, rendering, and textures using the mental ray plugin for Maya in conjunction with Maya materials.
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Rigging

Students learn rigging theory, how to create skeletons, how to use inverse Kinematics, and create dynamic controllers for animated characters.
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Animation

Understanding animation using Maya software is but a small part of our animation course. In the animation classes students will learn how to create realistic motion, follow through, and how to convey the weight of a character. At NYFA, we put a great deal of focus on accurate body mechanics, via observation and reference footage.

The integration of the characters’ personality, initially developed in the “Elements of Story” course with the movement and behavior of the animated character, is also a primary aspect of the animation students’ work.
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Drawing & Anatomy

The purpose of this course is to explore and become familiar with the human form. Students will gain a deep and intimate knowledge of the human form on a perceptual and anatomical level.

The classes will be focused on direct observation from a live model, focusing on gesture and accurate proportions. This course will also instruct the student on the observation and recognition of light to describe form. There will be homework assignments over the course of the semester, and a comprehensive anatomy exam at the end of the semester. Students are expected to attend and participate in every class and take home assignments.
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Lighting & Shading II

This course is an introduction to mental ray shaders, batch render commands and scripts, and user variables. Students will learn mental ray sampling and filtering, sampling algorithms, filtering techniques, rasterizer sampling, and BSDF to name but a few techniques in the rendering and lighting arena, enabling participants to create realistic lighting for animation and the integration of CG elements into live action environments.
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Scripting

This course is an introduction to Python and MEL scripting, instructing the student in the creation of well-designed scripts for the efficiency and maintenance of existing projects in all areas of the animation pipeline. Areas of study will include Python-Variables and Objects/Open Environment, Python-Loops, Conditionals, Scopes and Operators, and Python for NUKE.
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Compositing I

The goal of this class is to give students a fundamental understanding of compositing using real-world examples. The student should come away not just knowing what buttons to press, but why they are pressing them. There will be an emphasis on keying, color correction, tracking, and roto in the Foundry's industry standard NUKE software.
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Dynamics

This course uses example projects, which are executed in class from start to finish (using mostly props and scenes from a proposed final thesis), explaining the thought process and all other technical aspects of creating an effect. The session will start with a demo of a finished effect followed by an explanation of how to achieve it; just like a cooking show. This method ensures all the intricate aspects of dynamics are covered. Subjects taught include introductions to expressions, animating particles with expressions, nCloth and Particle-Fluid Integration, and advection-driven effects.
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Modeling II

This course focuses on both organic and hard surface modeling. Students learn to reintegrate high polygon models into low polygon environments for animation and rendering using cutting edge methods of retopolization, and employing the discipline of displacement and normal mapping models.
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Project Supervision I

The goal of student project supervision sessions is for our instructors to work with individual or small groups of students in areas specific to their final project needs. This individualized attention will allow students to create the high level of work for inclusion in their reels that is necessary for entry into the animation VFX job market.
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Compositing II

This course is a continuation of Compositing I and will build on the knowledge accrued during the previous semester.
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Motion Capture

Students have the option of using motion capture data for their projects. Using the industry standard Motion Builder software from Autodesk, students learn to refine the mo-cap information for animating characters in their projects. This course also builds upon and refines animation principles accrued in the first semester.
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Project Supervision II

The goal of student project supervision sessions is for our instructors to work with individual or small groups of students in areas specific to their final project. This individualized attention greatly enhances a student’s ability to create high-level work. Instructors will work with participants on finalizing their reels including VFX breakdowns of effects; demonstrating how their amazing final shots were created.
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Sculpture

This course teaches the sculptural techniques in a variety of clays geared toward character-based and realism-based artworks. This course covers armature construction, neutral and dynamic posing, and techniques.
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Dates & Tuition

Location Dates Fees Per Year
New York City September 2015 - September 2016 Tuition: $30,000(USD)
Lab Fee: $2,000(USD)

Number of Semesters: 3
January 2016 - September 2016
May 2016 - January 2017
September 2016 - May 2017
Tuition: $36,000(USD)
Lab Fee: $3,000(USD)

Number of Semesters: 3
Los Angeles September 2015 - May 2016
Tuition: $30,000(USD)
Lab Fee: $2,000(USD)

Number of Semesters: 2
January 2016 - September 2016
May 2016 - January 2017
September 2016 - May 2017
Tuition: $36,000(USD)
Lab Fee: $3,000(USD)

Number of Semesters: 3
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