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Course Descriptions

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

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  • ACN-442

    Advanced Vehicle Design

    Expand your knowledge of dynamic vehicle design while increasing your understanding of the creative process from a contemporary perspective. While breaking away from some of the traditional methods of industrial design, learn to explore a unique and personal approach to the design process. Students will focus on quick and conceptual mini-projects, relevant to the changing nature of the world and its views on transportation. Contemporary issues such as battery-electric and other alternative fuels will be discussed and explored. In addition to demonstrations and lectures, a series of discussions on vehicle history, innovative packaging and future trends will also be included. This "out of the box" approach to vehicle design and creative conceptualization makes this an ideal class for transportation, product, and entertainment designers.

    Prerequisites: Visual Communication and Form Development, and Intermediate Transportation Design, or by permission of an Art Center advisor.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-202

    Brand Experience Design

    In order to stay competitive and connected with their customers, today more and more brands are morphing into multi-threaded brands. Brands are now more relevant, personal and experiential in their customers' daily lives, which means branding strategists and interaction designers now need to play key roles in determining how they grow and thrive. In this course you will learn how to collaboratively build successful brands and deliver immersive experiences. You will use trends and consumer insights research, interaction design and branding strategy projects to deliver enriching experiences for your target audience. An ideal class for design professionals, branding strategists and corporate executives, as well as students applying to ArtCenter's full-time Interaction Design, Graphic Design, Advertising and Industrial Design degree programs.

    Prerequisites: Passion and creativity! Prior design experience or fundamental design coursework highly recommended. Basic computer skills and access to a tablet or computer (desk or laptop) are required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-459W

    DIY like an Architect

    Are you a DIY home improvement enthusiast who would rather give up your firstborn than let anyone else design your dream project? Then this hands-on introduction to "architectural thinking" workshop, taught by architect Alla Kazovsky (aka "DIYally), is for you. Having experienced the thrill and satisfaction of forging her own path, DIYally encourages self-reliance in others and, as "architect on demand," spurs others into action by offering advise with no strings attached. Through brainstorming exercises like mind mapping, collaging and 3D diagraming, you will become familiar with the range of tools an architect employs while moving from concept to solution. No prerequisite other than a desire for self-expression.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Spring and 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-431W

    Design w/ Technology: Build

    The second of two seven-week courses, Design with Technology: Build provides an overview of building electronics for creative technology. Learn how to build the circuits that connect sensors, LEDs, and IoT (internet of things) to microcontrollers. Hands-on projects will cover the essential components that make up modern electronics and how to build physical working prototypes.

    Prerequisites: This class assumes no prior knowledge. Access to a personal laptop during class time is recommended starting week 1, but not required. Prior enrollment in ACN-430W Design with Technology: Code is recommended but not required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-430W

    Design w/ Technology: Code

    Take your ideas from basic concept to high tech. Today's small, inexpensive and easier-to-use microcontrollers allow artists and designers to incorporate functionality into just about any product or installation. The first of two seven-week courses, Design with Technology: Code provides an overview of programming for creative technology and how it can be applied to further develop concepts. Hands-on projects will explore microcontrollers such as the Arduino; colorful LED displays; sensors to spy on the real world; IoT (internet of things) to link objects to the cloud; and the code that makes it all work. Programming will be in languages such as Arduino, Processing and MicroPython.

    Prerequisites: This class assumes no prior knowledge. Access to a personal laptop during class time is recommended starting week 1, but not required.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • 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, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-260W

    Furniture Design

    Explore the diverse discipline of furniture design through various projects, such as functional furniture, interior systems, hybrid objects and lighting. Learn how to develop a concept into an actual object through various exercises in ideation, sketching, model building and materials exploration. Students will design and develop final models and basic production drawings, as well as design and fabricate a final 1:1 scale project. Class will meet at South Campus for the first few weeks; remaining classes will be held at the Hillside Campus model shop facilities.

    Noncredit

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-458

    Interm. Environmental Design

    Building upon the design fundamentals and basic presentation techniques covered in Introduction to Environmental Design, this course explores more complex parameters as devices for developing individual voices and intellectual processes. Students will design two projects in which they will distill the essence of abstract concepts and translate them into physical form language and materials / color palettes that define specific emotional experiences, brand philosophies and convey layered messaging. Emphasis will be on a higher degree of portfolio quality presentations using scale models and drawings, and may include temporary full-size installations and mock-ups of micro environments. Several field trips will be planned based on the current schedule of design events, exhibitions, availability of locations, etc. Demonstrations will include basics of using Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

    Prerequisite: Introduction to Environmental Design 1 or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Spring

  • ACN-353

    Intermediate Transportation

    Expand and strengthen your creative processes, automotive design knowledge, and visual and verbal vocabulary through two seven-week projects. Learn about basic vehicle packaging, product planning and strategy, brand considerations, basic feasibility issues and other industry information. Please bring your portfolio to the first class meeting.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-038

    Intro to Communication Sketch.

    Learn how to put ideas to paper quickly and convincingly in this intensive class. Drawing techniques covered in this course will enable you to handle a variety of subjects and everyday objects, including products, appliances, office equipment, furniture and materials such as wood, metals, plastics and glass. Emphasis is on mastering basic forms - such as cubes, spheres and cylinders - to produce attractive drawings. Mediums used will include pencil, pen, felt marker and pastel. Acquired skills are appropriate for students interested in industrial design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • 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-060

    Intro to Environmental Design

    This foundation course introduces the broad range of possibilities within environmental design through a series of projects. Environmental design focuses on a holistic and experiential approach to designing experiences, spaces, objects and images. Projects will range in scope from the design of overall immersive spaces to the detailed elements that define them, focusing on the design and integration of furniture, lighting, materials and graphics. The development of basic skills in concept development and visual communication (including drawings, models and other media) will be covered. Weekly presentations and lectures on significant artists, designers and architects will also take place. Visiting design professionals will provide tangible insight into career paths within environmental design.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-076

    Intro to I.D. Modeling

    This course provides an introduction to the techniques that will allow you to develop and execute well-crafted models and gain an increased awareness of 3D form. In this seven-week workshop, you will be introduced to the Art Center Technical Skills Center and become familiar with many of the materials that are used to build models for industrial design presentations. Some of the materials you will work with are styrene, urethane foam, and polyester resin. Hands-on exercises include wood lathing, vacuum forming, and mold making. Fiberglass layup and two-part molding/casting may also be covered, if time allows.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-200

    Intro to Interaction Design

    This course offers a hands-on introduction to interaction design, the craft of how people interact with products, systems and services. Through brainstorming and critiquing different types of user experiences such as mobile and social applications, websites, gestural interfaces, games, consumer electronics, smart products, tangibles and art, students will become familiar with the range of design elements and methods that make up interaction design. Equal parts thinker and maker, students will conceive, design and produce simple interactive projects. An ideal course for students thinking of applying to Art Center's Interaction Design program, adults considering a career change and those interested in understanding this emerging field. Prerequisite: curiosity and a desire to create never-seen-before solutions. Fundamental design skills are recommended but not required. Basic computer skills are required. Transferable*

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-050

    Intro to Product & Transp Des.

    This course is strongly recommended for beginning design students who want to enter the product and transportation design fields. Design projects involve fundamental design principles and procedures, drawing techniques and presentation methods as they relate to product and transportation design. Sketching demonstrations and exercises utilize pencil, marker, chalk, Prismacolor and gouache. Career information and opportunities are discussed.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-055

    Intro to Transportation Design

    This course is strongly recommended for beginning students who want to enter the automotive design field. Class projects will involve fundamental design principles and procedures, industrial drawing techniques, and presentation methods. The role and responsibilities of the professional industrial designer as well as career information and opportunities will be discussed.

    These off-campus courses are taught in professional design firms by ArtCenter alumni. Registration and all inquiries are handled by ArtCenter's Public Programs office in Pasadena. Please do not contact the locations hosting these classes. Class meets at Honda R&D Americas Inc.,Torrance; enrolled students will receive location details via email before the term begins.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-089

    Introduction to 3D Design

    Designers and artists work with form and space to create meaningful and useful products, communications and experiences. In this course, you'll explore the basic elements and principles of three-dimensional design as a means for artistic expression and design solutions of all kinds. Develop a working knowledge of the processes and vocabulary associated with three-dimensional form. Topics include form, space, mass, weight, balance, rhythm, unit forms, structure and balance. This course focuses on principles and elements of design and the design process. While digital tools may be used, assignments and exercises are created by hand and are conceptual in nature. The course is an ideal foundation for beginning- and intermediate-level students interested in transportation and product design, architecture, 3D modeling, sculpting, environmental design, furniture design and more. Open to beginning and intermediate-level students.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-386

    Product Design 1

    Product Design 1 will focus on the main elements and processes in compressed form that make up a product design experience from start to finish. This will include basic sketching, composition, personal branding and presentation. Focus will also be put on brainstorming techniques (open your mind in attitude and exploration), iconography, infographics, storyboards and methods to protect IP. Emphasis will be placed on research and integrating study models into the final project. All work will also be presented in a process book at the end of the term.

    Prerequisite: Product Design: Basics and Product Design: Process. Concurrent enrollment in ACN-076 Intro to ID Modeling is recommended but not required.

    Transferable for prospective Product Design majors. *

    3 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-086

    Product Design: Basics

    Housewares, appliances, electronics, toys, soft goods, sporting goods, tools, lighting and other lifestyle products are just some of the items that product designers create. This seven-week crash course is designed for beginners seeking to explore educational and career opportunities in product design fields and learn basic industrial design sketching and fundamental design processes through hands-on projects. No prerequisite.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-087

    Product Design: Process

    Students with basic skills in product design will learn to apply more advanced "design processes" through one intense project. In-class demonstrations of more advanced rendering and presentation techniques will also be covered. This course is recommended for intermediate or returning industrial design students, as well as design professionals. For individuals interested in applying to Art Center's industrial design or interaction design programs, the project created in this course will be suitable for use as part of your application portfolio.

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-139

    Sketching for Designers

    Learn to communicate your ideas through quick sketching techniques using a variety of media, including pencil, pen and markers. Emphasis is on developing visual communication skills for graphic design and packaging, product and advertising. Class will cover type indication, 3D form development and observational sketching through still life. This is an ideal class for designers who need to brush up on freehand drawing skills.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall, Spring and Summer

  • ACN-377W

    Soft Goods Design 2

    Develop ideas generated in Soft Goods Design 1 to a level appropriate for production or for seeking investors in a crowdsourcing platform. Course will cover in-depth sampling processes, material exploration and selection, sewing techniques, preliminary cost analysis, and methods of creating a compelling presentation of the end product. After completion, students will have a comprehensive knowledge of soft goods design and will be able to turn a preliminary idea into a presentable sample ready for production.

    Prerequisite: Soft Goods Design 1. Access to a sewing machine is required

    1.5 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall 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