Exploration of the processes of creating objects, materials, lights, and cameras to accomplish a visual graphic and theme”

This course aims to explore geometric modeling, materials, lights, cameras, and rendering. Students will also learn both the technical and creative aspects of 3D arts and design.
The course also incorporates idea of fine art, design, and cinematography.
The class will be taught using hands on exercises.


  • Storage such as USB Thumb /flash drive (at least 8+GB)(Recommend a 250+GB USB/USB+Firewire external hard drive
  • CD/DVD R/RW blank discs.
  • Sketch/drawing materials
  • Money for printing
  • Digital Camera (option but important)

Throughout the course, you will be expected to document your work by outputting completed animations on CD/DVD. You may be focusing on the enhancement of your portfolio throughout the course.


  • Online document under Maya help menu (highly recommended)
  • Introducing Maya 2011, Sybex Inc, May. 2010
  • Mastering Autodesk Maya 2011, Sybex Inc, Sep. 2010   
  • Lee Lanier. Digital Texturing and Painting 2nd edition. Sybex Inc, 2008.
  • Birn, Jeremy. Digital Lighting and Rendering. New Riders Publishing, 2006.

Note* Due to the natural complexity of 3D Computer modeling, you will need to work outside of the class to complete your products. You must be a self-motivated and please have fun with your project.

In order to understand the complex aspects of Maya, there will be 14 in-class exercises along with 3 projects and the final project (Modeling with NURBS / Polygon / Sub-Division, texture mapping, lighting and cameras)



The structures of the exercises are designed for students to understand the functionality of tools that are available in Maya. Students will follow the in-class instructions step by step as presented by the instructor.
If the assignments are not completed in the class within the time allowed, they must be finished outside of class and re-submitted.

First in-class exercise:  Modeling with primitive and modification polygonal objects and deformational tools
Second in-class exercise: Lighting and Camera "Simple light setup"
Third in-class exercise:  Modeling with Polygons “Apple” revisiting deformational tools
Fourth in-class exercise:  NURBS modeling "Scope bottle”
Fifth in-class exercise: NURBS Modeling with Curves and surface tools
Sixth in-class exercise:  Materials and Texture mapping (NURBS)
Seventh in-class exercise: NURBS to Polygon/simple polygon modeling
Eighth in-class exercise: Polygons modeling "Airplane”
Ninth in-class exercise: Materials and Texture mapping the Airplane model
Tenth in-class exercise: Polygons modeling "Animal”
Eleventh in-class exercise: Materials and Texture mapping animal model
Twelfth in-class exercise: Modeling with Sub-Division surface and Convert Polygon to Sub-Division "Air plane"
Thirteenth in-class exercise: Light Rig
Fourteen in-class exercise: Mental Ray


Project One:

“Geometric Form”: Combine primitives to construct creative models in the scene that are influenced by natural organic forms.

You will create 3 different designs and PRINT OUT AT LEAST ONE EACH of DESIGN in 12"X12"

Digital Files DUE: Sep. 14
3 prints DUE: Sep. 20

Project Two:

"Lights of Still Life”: On this assignment you will look at some traditional still life painting from some classic painting masters and CG illustration masters to examine the object / color composition, lighting placement and so on.

You make one print of your final render at 11"X17"

Digital Files DUE: Oct. 14
Print DUE: Oct. 18

Project Three:

“Animobile”: The concept vehicle must be influenced by animal or insect. The form of your vehicle model must have the visual analogy according to your reference. You will use all the NURBS and Polygon modeling techniques that you have learn during the class.

You make at least one print of your final render at 11"X17"

Digital Files DUE: Nov. 4
Print DUE: Nov. 8


Final Project: 

“Adventure of a Mobile Castle”: Create a full rendering of surreal realistic image that has influence from the animated movie “the Howl's Moving Castle”. The imaginative castle must contain the characteristic of being adventurer or being an explorer. Every single ornament that present on the castle must underline it concept of its own personality.  Every living house has a spirit within, is the East Asian philosophy. You will try to capture a moment of time such as the expression the gratification and glory. You can use color, shape, texture, diagonals, lighting and compositional strategies to convey the emotion. Intensive research on topics related to your target subject is the important key.

You make at least one print of your final render at 17" x 22"

Digital Files DUE: Dec. 9
Print DUE: Dec. 13


  1. Digital Files: Name Convention Format
    1. (your user name)_ (project name).ext
    2. Example: 
      • saritds_Castle.JPG
      • saritds_ Castle.mb
      • saritds_Castle_project
  2. Turn in Maya file (*.mb) and image file (*.jpg) file formats for in-class exercises  at the end of the section
  3. For term projects and the final project, you will need to turn in
    • A minimum of 4 different camera views of your scene digital files of your final rendering in Tiff format as much as you can.
    • The Maya directory of each project on CD/DVD rom. Conventional Name Format of Maya Directory: project name_ your user name
  4. The final output in printing formats: one or more prints (TBA) If you don't print out your scenes images, 10 point will be subtracted off you total scores. (100 point is "A")
  5. Update your web portfolio to include your modeling assignments.
  6. Create Blog for the class
  7. The prints on each project
    • Every print must have the border at least ½ inch all sides
    • Example:

  8. Students are required for participating during class critiques.


14 in-class exercises: 28 points (2 points each exercise)
First project: 10 points
Second project: 10 points
Third project: 20 points
Final Project: 30 points
4 project materials 2 points (0.5 each)
NOTE* If you don’t turn in your print out, there will be subtraction; 2 points subtraction for missing each print and 1 point subtraction for in-correct print size.

Grades are based on the quality and quantity of your work. I will also consider your participation, ambition, commitment and development of your work from one project to the next. The following will be considered on grading:

Craftsmanship – Ability to develop the skill, techniques, style, details, and quality of all the projects during the class.

  • Visual thought process.
  • Ability to interpret course concepts inventively, the ability to search for and discover methods and ideas with insight, and the ability to organize clear visual relationships.

Ambition - The ability to study effectively during class hours, the ability to accomplish work on a weekly basis, and the ability to apply constructive discussion during the class.
Productivity - The amount of work completed and how complete the works are.
Development - How much of your work has been developed and improved since the beginning of the semester.

A = Outstanding, excellent work 100 - 90 points
B = Above average work 89 - 80 points
C = Average work 79 - 70 points
D = Below average work 69 - 60 points
F = Failing work 59 - 0 points


3d art is time extensive and the technology associated with it is always changing. Learning the fundamentals is a must. Techniques, concepts and ideas discussed in this class are essential for a 3d Artist. Because of these, attendance is essential.

1 absences = excused
2 absences = grade lowered 1 letter grade
3 absences = grade lowered 2 letter grades
4 absences = grade lowered 3 letter grades
5 absences = fail course. Dropping course recommended
Being late to class three times will be counted as one unexcused absence. Likewise, leaving class early will be counted as an absence unless approved by instructor.


Any student who wishes to discuss accommodations on the basis or a disability, please come and talk to me after class or during office hours.


  • No food or drink in the lab.
  • No cell phones or beepers on during class.
  • ALWAYS remember to turn off your cell phone before class.
  • No sleeping during class. • No using head/ear phones, chatting online, emailing, my space/facebook/ or other online surfing during class(accept research of requesting period)
  • No playing video games during the class time
  • Hardware: No student is permitted to disconnect, reconnect, or reconfigure any workstation without the permission of a digital arts instructor. Any problems with hardware or software must be reported to a digital arts professor, preferably by email. Report should include name of workstation and exact nature of problem.


If you do not obey the rules, you will receive a first warning. If it happens again, you will be asked to leave the classroom plus receive one half a letter grade drop and a third time you will receive a full letter grade drop on your final grade.


Projects created in any Digital Arts course may be used by the ART department for the purpose of promoting the student, the department and/or the university in general. These materials may also be used by the ART department for instructional purposes in future courses. Please inform the instructor if you do not want your projects used.