Course Descriptions

The classes listed below are not necessarily offered every term. For current class schedules, or to register, select Register Now .

Helpful hint: When you are ready to register, write down your class number(s) before selecting Register Now .

  • ACN-390

    Character Design for Animation

    Learn the creative process of conceptualizing iconic characters for the entertainment industry, focusing on research, acting, gesture, psychology, storytelling, originality and other crucial technical aspects of character design for animation. Please note that although this course uses character design methodologies from the world of animation, students will not be animating in this class. This is an ideal course for aspiring students who are preparing admissions portfolios for the Character Animation track of ArtCenter's Entertainment Design program.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Figure Drawing, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. This course will focus primarily on hand-sketching with live models provided during class.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-419W

    Creative Process Demystified

    This one-day course will help to demystify the creative process. Whether your project involves a logo, website, illustration or entertainment design-oriented work, by the end of the day, you'll have a solid understanding of each of the different stages of the creative process and how to use them in your particular area of interest to come up with more creative solutions and make better decisions from the early sketch to the final project in the fields of illustration, graphic design, entertainment design and advertising.


    Class regularly offered in Summer

  • ACN-007

    Design 360

    Are you interested in art or design, but not sure which area suits you best? Would you like to sample each major offered at Art Center? Then this class is for you! Design 360 explores the major art and design fields offered in Art Center's degree program, including: advertising, graphic design, photography, filmmaking, fine art, illustration, product design, environmental design, entertainment design, and transportation design. Through projects centered around one major theme, you will have a chance to explore the principles of each of these art and design disciplines. Drawing skills will be emphasized as an essential way to communicate your ideas. This class is the perfect first class for adult students (over age 18) who are either new to design or seeking to expand their creative horizons.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-068

    Digital Painting Entertainment

    This introductory digital painting course is designed specifically for aspiring entertainment design, entertainment arts, and illustration students. Painting can seem complicated, but by understanding the medium and combining foundation skills with more lateral approaches, you can discover the joy of digital painting. The first half of the course will focus on the fundamentals of painting in Photoshop. Working primarily from observation (master copies, plein air photographs, movie stills), you will learn to create color palettes, how to make brush strokes, understand value, and use lighting and rendering to complete a composition or character. The second half of the class will focus on imaginative principles of creating paintings from scratch using more advanced techniques. For in-class assignments, no digital tools are needed, just a pen or pencil. For homework assignments, students must have access to a computer with Adobe Photoshop CS6, a Wacom tablet and a digital camera to take reference photos for plein air, brush and texture projects. Prerequisite: Introduction to Entertainment Design, or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-429

    Digital Sketching W/Photoshop

    Learn to digitally draw (almost) everything using a variety of digital drawing techniques used by professional concept artists, storyboard artists, illustrators, and industrial designers in today's entertainment design industry. Using photographic reference, you will learn how to approach a sketch of various subject matter such as rocks, plants, animals, armor, characters, creatures, vehicles, props, environments, film studies and props. This is an ideal class for aspiring concept designers, illustrators, animators or students considering ArtCenter's undergraduate Entertainment Design major. Prerequisites: Introduction to Figure Drawing and Digital Design 1 or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • ACN-219

    Fashion + Costume Drawing

    Working from live fashion and costumed models, students will explore: transitioning from life drawing to fashion and costume drawing; rendering draped fabric on the figure; drawing garment details; drawing historic costume; figure proportion; and experimentation with an assortment of media techniques. Digital illustrators working on laptops are welcome; please bring your own laptop if you wish to work digitally. This beginning-to-intermediate class is designed for: students working on college degree program entrance portfolios; fashion and costume teachers; illustrators; fashion and costume designers and entertainment business artists and designers. Beginning to intermediate level. Please bring the following supplies to the first class: Biggie drawing pad (14x 17" or larger), drawing board, two black Tombow pens and a water brush.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-045

    Intro to Entertainment Design

    Concept designers for the entertainment industry skillfully illustrate and design unique and compelling characters, environments, vehicles and props for all kinds of stories and eras. This industry requires a unique combination of industrial design and illustration skills to understand how things are built, to communicate this through drawings and to show narrative aspects of the design. This course offers an introduction to the concept design process. Students will create original design solutions through sketches and renderings to support a story. This is an ideal class for students considering Art Center's undergraduate Entertainment Design major or for those seeking an understanding of how concepts are created for entertainment-oriented projects. Prerequisites: Intro to Figure Drawing and Perspective, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-450

    Intro to Rhino 3D

    As the most versatile 3D modeling tool, Rhinoceros 3D can do it all. This software's flexible and easy-to-adapt tool set makes the learning process fun and extremely intuitive. Unlike surface modelers, Rhino uses NURBS to create fast and accurate geometry which allows you to focus on design and not worry about surface inconsistencies. Course will provide enough information to start modeling in Rhino and utilize its Grasshopper visual programming language for extensive parametric capabilities.

    Prerequisite: Digital Design 1 or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-009

    Introduction to Figure Drawing

    The ability to draw the human figure is a vital skill for your academic and professional success in many areas of art and design. This class is an essential first step for those planning to study fine art, animation, illustration, costume design, character design and concept design. Working from a model, you will examine the elements of drawing the human figure and the principles of composition and develop observational drawing skills by investigating proportion, form and gesture. Charcoal, graphite pencil and various other media will be used.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-192

    Maya to Zbrush: 3D Character

    This new course bridges the gap between Maya and Zbrush software applications to keep students up to date with today's evolving entertainment industry. Understanding the 3D workflow is a vital skill needed for working in today's studio environment. You will start by using Maya to model a 3D humanoid character with perfect animation flow, then use Zbrush to further refine, sculpt, and paint your 3D models. Finish the course with a portfolio-ready 3D character model. This course will provide a good introduction into these applications and is ideal for students interested in Entertainment Design, or Illustration. Prerequisite: Digital Design 1 or by permission of an Art Center advisor. Prior figure drawing or character design experience recommended but not required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-106


    Increase your understanding of 3D perception and linear perspective systems. Through a series of exercises, develop your technical skills and improve your ability to simulate 3D space on a 2D plane. Theories explored in class apply to traditional and digitally generated images. Primary applications are to illustration and to industrial and environmental design. A foundation course for many majors.

    Required textbook: The Complete Guide to Perspective Drawing. Author: Craig Attebery ISBN: 978-1-13-821562-7.

    Transferable for Illustration majors (see REGISTRATION INFO-COURSE CREDIT for details).

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-165


    This course provides an introduction to the versatile field of storyboarding.Class discussions and demonstrations will cover different styles and techniques of sequential art used in live action, animation and commercial applications. Through a combination of in-class and homework assignments, this course will teach you the necessary mechanics of visual storytelling and help you develop an individual and industry-typical style. Special guest speakers will round out the classroom experience. Students may draw by hand or work in digital formats using Wacom boards and laptops. Note: access to Art Center's computer facilities is not included. Please provide your own equipment and software if you wish to work digitally. This course is designed for students and professionals who wish to expand their skills or seek to develop their portfolios for entry into Art Center's full-time degree programs.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-369

    The Art of Visual Storytelling

    A cohesive, coherent narrative is critical for exploring and developing the visual elements of any entertainment property, whether it's a film, game, TV show, theatrical production or theme park. Learn the foundations of storytelling as well as how to apply them to your project. Prerequisites: Intro to Figure Drawing and Perspective or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-236

    Theme Park Design

    Learn how to translate your imagination to reality through the unique and exciting process of theme park design. This exciting industry utilizes a diverse knowledge base of skill and expertise. In this course, you will learn how to use visualization skills to communicate immersive story driven experiences with responsibility to real world building restraints. Although the class will focus on hand-sketching and rendering skills, digital painting techniques will also be covered. Students will build an understanding of architecture, engineering, master planning, show set design, production design, lighting design, and show operations. This class is a rare opportunity for students who are interested in entertainment design or environmental design to start building a portfolio of themed environments. Projects will include dark ride attraction design, drawing over 3D models that have real world restraints, park icon designs, show set elevations, etc.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Entertainment Design or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Digital Painting for Entertainment is recommended but not required. Access to a laptop with a current version of Photoshop is also highly recommended but not required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-074

    Visual Communication

    Mastering visual communication skills is vital to your academic and professional success as an industrial designer. This class deals with a variety of sketching techniques designed to help you communicate your creative solutions and explore form development as it relates to product, transportation, entertainment and interaction design. Class exercises will be geared toward improving your drawing skills as well as providing a strong foundation in perspective, composition, value, craftsmanship and use of graphics in presentations. Emphasis will be placed on rapid ideation to improve the flow of your ideas on paper.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-530

    World Building ENT

    Visualize and create an imaginary world for entertainment industry in this introductory class. Cohesive world design is central to building intriguing levels and sets, as well as lands for games, movies and theme parks. Through engaging in fun drawing exercises on various "building block" subjects, students will be taken through research, observation, ideation process and designing from imagination. Class encourages originality in visual storytelling by establishing organizing principals such as genre, motif, climate, culture, etc., and will cover conceptual design from landscape and architecture, to characters and creatures that inhabit the world. Both traditional sketching and digital painting methods will be covered. Access to Photoshop, laptop, tablet and pen are highly recommended. An ideal portfolio class for aspiring entertainment design students or anyone looking to expand their horizons.

    Prerequisites: Intro to Figure Drawing and Perspective, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring