New York Film Academy
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New York Film Academy Animation
NYFA animation grads Ricardo Megre and Ana Borges

Overview of Our Animation Courses

Students in the Academy’s 3D Animation School get the opportunity to learn the technical and artistic tools in 3D animation and visual effects for film, video, and content creation. Students can expect to take the following animation courses depending on the program or workshop in which they enroll.

Search Our Animation Courses By Program

Course Title Description Program/Workshop Learning Goals
Polygonal Modeling Students are introduced to the basics of modeling for 3D animation. Three-Week, Four-Week Students build complex characters and environments from simple polygonal shapes.
Introduction to Maya Software Students learn the how to navigate the Maya interface Three-Week, Four-Week Students learn the major modules that they will utilize such as the modeling and animation environments.
Lighting, Materials & Textures Students are introduced to materials and textures in Maya and Adobe Photoshop for surface creation of their models. Three-Week, Four-Week Students set up scenes with the Spot and Directional lights, and learn to control shadows in the scene for optimized renders.
Rigging Students focus on learning basic rigging theory as it applies to Maya. Three-Week, Four-Week, One-Year Students learn to create a skeleton and its controllers for their character.
Animation This course provides guidelines for arranging our character in strong poses and explains how to generate "in-between" poses. Three-Week, Four-Week, One-Year Students learn how to animate gestures, walks, and facial expressions utilizing the major principals of animation such as extreme poses, in-betweens, overlapping action and silhouettes, and squash and stretch.
Rendering, Editing & Sound Students learn the settings for outputting their animated sequences such as aspect ratios and optimization of settings for efficient render times. Three-Week, Four-Week Students learn basic editing and compositing, cuts and transitions, and importing sound and synchronizing it with the action.
Story Students create a story for their animated movie, utilizing an understanding of story arcs and plot points, creating a goal and obstacles for their characters to navigate around. Three-Week, Four-Week Students learn how write a story and how to create a visual rendering in the form of a storyboard to help them visualize the flow of the story.
Modeling I This course focuses on creating hard surface and organic models, using a variety of industry standard software. One-Year, BFA Students learn to create professional, realistic 3D characters and props from scratch.
Graphics Essentials This course will introduce animation students to the basic skills necessary to fulfill specific requirements of the animation pipeline. One-Year Students learn how to use Photoshop, the basics of sound and editing, and After Effects.
Story Essentials Students are presented with an integrated approach to story and learn how to layout ideas economically and clearly from the initial written idea to a fully fleshed out pre-visualization of their animation. One-Year Students learn the craft of character design, storyboarding, animatics, screenwriting, and directing.
Lighting & Shading I Students learn lighting, rendering and textures using the mental ray plugin for Maya in conjunction with Maya materials. One-Year Students will gain a basic understanding of spot and directional lights, shadows, and volume fog. Creating shaders and textures for their animated scenes.
Drawing & Anatomy The purpose of this course is to explore and become familiar with the human form. One-Year, BFA Students will gain a deep and intimate knowledge of the human form on a perceptual and anatomical level.
Lighting & Shading II This course is an introduction to mental ray shaders, batch render commands and scripts, and user variables and render passes. One-Year Students will learn mental ray sampling and filtering, sampling algorithms, filtering techniques, rasterizer sampling, and BSDF.
Scripting in Python & MEL This course is an intro to Python and MEL to create well-designed scripts and maintain existing projects for efficiency in all areas of the animation pipeline. One-Year, BFA Topics learned include Python-Variables and Objects/Open Environment, Python-Loops, Conditionals, Scopes and Operators, and Python for Compositing.
Compositing I Students will learn techniques integrating video, film, and cg generated animation and dynamics. One-Year, BFA Students learn how to apply compositing to their own work.
Modeling II This course focuses on both organic and hard surface modeling. One-Year, BFA Students learn to reintegrate high polygon models into low polygon environments for animation and rendering.
Project Supervision I In this course, instructors work with individuals or small groups of students in areas related to their final project. One-Year Students gain insight into how to improve their final project and achieve professional-level quality.
Compositing II This course is a continuation of Compositing I and will build on the knowledge accrued during the previous semester. One-Year Students learn advanced compositing skills.
Motion Capture Using the industry standard Motion Builder software from Autodesk, students learn to refine the motion capture information for animating characters in their projects. One-Year Students gain extensive experience in working with motion capture and further advance their animation skills.
Project Supervision II Student work with instructors in order to get in-depth instruction in areas specific to their final project needs. One-Year The goal of this course is to allow students to create the high level of work for inclusion in their reels.
Dynamics This course uses example projects, which are executed in class, from start to finish explaining the thought process and all other technical aspects of creating an effect. One-Year Students will study such topics as expressions, animating particles with expressions, nCloth and particle-fluid integration and advection-driven effects.
Sculpture This course teaches the sculptural techniques in a variety of clays geared toward character-based and realism-based artworks. One-Year, BFA This course covers armature construction, neutral and dynamic posing, and techniques.
Screenwriting In this course, students will deepen their understanding of narrative, dramatic, and visual storytelling. BFA Character, plot, story structure, dialogue, subtext, suspense, plant and payoff, mystery, misdirection, and other concepts are discussed and applied to original pieces created by the students.
Cinematography This course is designed to give students an introduction to the technical and conceptual aspects of cinematography through short format filmmaking. BFA Students will learn to analyze, interpret and utilize traditional methods of cinematography and apply those techniques to their work as digital animation artists.
3D Essentials Students will learn Computer Graphics terminology and create and edit digital images and video using industry standard tools. BFA Students will learn about experimental video animation, and create original animation pieces using visual and storytelling techniques learned in class.
Drawing & Sculpture This course teaches the sculptural techniques in a variety of clays geared toward character-based and realism-based artworks. BFA Students will practice realizing human anatomy into three-dimensional form.
Character Animation Students will cover the fundamentals in performance and animation. BFA Students will learn how to apply the principles of animation to a final polished piece.
Texturing & Look Development This class will introduce students to the basics on Texturing and Shading models to achieve photo realistic results. BFA Students will learn the different approaches to Organic and Hard Surface texturing and texture and shade their existing models.
Character Design This course will show various approaches to conceptualizing and designing believable and original creatures/characters for feature films and video games. BFA This course will teach how to give creatures an underlying animation skeleton that animators can use to bring life to their characters.
Lighting & Rendering This course will introduce students to approaches and philosophies in creating both photorealistic lighting for live action as well as stylized lighting for animated feature films. BFA The course will focus on a strong understanding of techniques used in practical "real" lighting and cinematography and then applying those techniques in to computer graphics to achieve better, more grounded, and realistic results.
Digital Environments This course will take students through the process of creating the impossible landscapes, imaginary vistas, and set extensions that are physically impossible to film or too expensive to create using other mediums. BFA The class will take students through the process from concept of a shot to final images including reference photography, Photoshop techniques, 3D projection, and integration.
Character Setup This class will focus on the deformations and skinning of characters, how skin folds, how muscles flex, and facial setup and deformation. BFA Students will learn shot modeling, corrective pose modeling, and soft skin bodies will be covered and be able to further refine their work.
Matte Painting This class will teach students how to combine the best tools in traditional matte painting with those in a 3D pipeline using both Maya projection techniques as well as Nuke’s 3D toolset. BFA Students will create an all CG shot for their reels using all available techniques alongside the Matte Painting course.
Matchmoving This course will give students a thorough understanding of how cameras work and why truly understanding the traits of a camera has such an impact on realistic results. BFA Students will learn the necessary skills of matchmoving to integrate digital effects into live footage.
Visual Effects This course will take students through the techniques of creating and controlling realistic natural phenomena such as fire, smoke, dust, particle effects, and volumetric fluid dynamics. BFA Students will learn how to integrate dynamics into live action plates as well as CG features.
Storyboard & Animatic This course will teach students the storytelling art and techniques of traditional storyboarding. BFA Students will learn modern 3D animatics or pre-visualization using industry standard programs.
Acting for Animators Animators will learn basic concepts for working with actors. BFA Students will cover topics including subtext, scene study, character analysis, as well as techniques for voice acting used in animated films.
Thesis Project Development This course centers on the practical experience in animation and pre-production animation needed to develop a thesis project. BFA Development, direction, and production of a sophisticated, well-produced film or project are all covered in this course.
Animation Directed Studies I-VI This course occurs each semester and provides directed study to students on selected problems in animation not covered in other courses. BFA Each seminar focuses on various issues in the field of animation and gives the student an opportunity to pursue projects related to the subject of the course.

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