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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-470

    Art Directing Teams

    The transition from being a designer to the leader a creative team can present many challenges. How do you guide a multidisciplinary group towards one common goal while still empowering each discipline to engage and contribute? In this course you will explore case studies of current companies revolutionizing the creative industry, discuss leadership styles and identify strategic, change-making role models. Interview creative leaders to gain a better understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, develop your own brand mission, and leave the course with a network who can help guide your career. Guest speakers who have had success in art directing multidisciplinary teams will share their experiences. An ideal course for designers or art directors looking to move into greater leadership roles, individuals interested in what creative leadership looks like in a variety of fields, and students interested in illustration, graphic design, advertising, industrial design or photography. No prerequisites other than a curious mind and a sense of collaborative thinking.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall

  • 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-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-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 for prospective Interaction Design majors.* Please note: due to an instructor schedule conflict, class meeting has changed to THURSDAY nights.

    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-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-051

    Intro/Transportation OC

    This course is strongly recommended for beginning students who want to enter the automotive design field. Class projects 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 are discussed. Class meets at Mazda Design North America, Irvine. 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. Enrolled students will receive location address and directions after confirmation of registration. If you have any questions, please call 626 396-2319, or email your questions to acn@artcenter.edu.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Spring

  • ACN-055

    Intro/Transportation SBAY

    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-457W

    Model Making Basics

    This 7-week course will introduce you to the fundamentals of architectural model making as it relates to the field of Environmental Design. Emphasis will be on manual and analog techniques using modeling supplies such as Foam-Core, balsa wood, cardboard, styrene, etc.) Designed for those who have little or no background in model making, this course will cover basics and proceed to an intermediate level. Through assignments and work in class, you will complete two simple study maquettes: one small white study model and one detailed color model.

    1 unit

    Class regularly offered in Fall and Summer

  • ACN-309

    Photoshop Rendering for I.D.

    For those interested in taking their industrial design rendering skills to the next level, this digital rendering course builds upon fundamental knowledge of manual techniques and applies it digitally using Adobe Photoshop. You will learn to use basic Photoshop functions such as masking, airbrushing and image manipulation to create realistic, 3D-looking products. Materials, textures and lighting will be covered through design projects ranging from consumer electronics to automobiles. Prerequisite: Intermediate level Product and/or Transportation Design courses, or by permission of an ArtCenter advisor. Prior Photoshop knowledge is helpful, but not required.

    2 units

    Class regularly offered in Fall 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 with grade of B or better.*

    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-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