3D Graphics Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree
3D Graphics Technology
Associate in Applied Science Degree
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Department of Visual Communications Studies
Master the concepts of 3D graphics to craft a range of creative solutions for animation and multimedia projects.
Overview for 3D Graphics Technology AAS
The associate in applied science (AAS) degree in 3D graphics technology introduces concepts related to three dimensional (3D) graphics, and teaches you the creative and technical skills required to produce 3D graphics, 3D prints, environmental renderings that range from artistic to photorealistic in quality, and 3D models used in multimedia and animation. A combination of traditional design skills and digital design techniques are taught, along with the representation of concepts of time, motion, and lighting principles. This program prepares you for one of two options: entering the 3D graphics industry after graduation or continuing your studies in the 3D digital design BFA program offered by RIT’s College of Art and Design. This program is available for qualified deaf and hard of hearing students.
The program's curriculum prepares and trains you for entry-level employment in the 3D graphics industry. The 3D graphics technology program, offered by RIT's National Technical Institute for the Deaf, covers the artistic and technical sides of the industry, with a specific focus on the modeling, animation, and visualization processes in 3D graphics. You acquire the creative and technical skills required to create 3D graphics, 3D printouts, environmental visualization graphics, and 3D models used in multimedia and animation.
The program also requires you to acquire skills in traditional media drawing and painting, as well as in animation, modeling, 3D printing, and reading and understanding design plans and blueprints. You acquire computer-based skills in 2D and 3D graphics software. In addition, you’ll learn skills related to project management and teamwork.
The capstone course offered in the final semester provides you with an opportunity to utilize your skills on an applied skill-focused project that is completed with advice and guidance of faculty from the visual communications studies department. The structure of the capstone course is that of a self-directed, semester-long project that is completed either on an individual basis or as part of a team-based project.
You gain real work experience through one term of required cooperative education employment. You also complete a required portfolio workshop course in which you refine and complete your portfolio as needed for application to the BFA program in 3D digital design in RIT’s College of Art and Design, or for an employment search.
The 3D graphics technology program is available as an associate of applied science (AAS) degree or as an Associate+Bachelor’s Degree Program.
The AAS degree in 3D graphics technology is a career-focused degree program that leads to immediate entry into well-paying careers in the graphic arts industry.
The Associate+Bachelor's Degree Program in 3D graphics technology prepares you to complete an RIT’s bachelor’s degree. In this option, upon successful completion of the AAS degree in 3D graphics technology, provided you have a 3.0 or higher grade point average in the program and a strong portfolio, you will enroll into RIT’s College of Arts and Design where you can pursue a bachelor’s degree in 3D digital design.
Learn more about the benefits of pursuing an Associate+Bachelor’s Degree Program.
STEM and the 3D graphics technology program
Education in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) careers is a major emphasis for students, parents, and counselors as they consider which college programs match students' interests and aptitudes. Funding for STEM career preparation is often a driving factor. The NTID 3D graphics technology program is a STEM career program. 3D graphics is listed in the technology/computer science STEM disciplines. 3D graphics and production for 3D printing, print media, and digital media cannot happen without immersion in computer technology.
Advertising, PR, and Marketing
Internet and Software
Movies, TV, and Music
Architecture and Planning
Government (Local, State, Federal)
Careers and Cooperative Education
Typical Job Titles
|Junior Computer Graphic Designer||Junior Computer Animator|
|Technical Illustrator||3D Illustrator|
|3D Animator||Junior Environment Artist|
|Junior Animator||3D Generalist|
|Texture Artist||3D Visualization Artist|
Cooperative education, or co-op for short, is full-time, paid work experience in your field of study. And it sets RIT graduates apart from their competitors. It’s exposure–early and often–to a variety of professional work environments, career paths, and industries. RIT co-op is designed for your success.
Students in the 3D graphics technology program are required to complete a cooperative education work experience prior to graduation. You may schedule your co-op after completing your second-year academic requirements.
Curriculum for 3D Graphics Technology AAS
3D Graphics Technology, AAS degree, typical course sequence
|Course||Sem. Cr. Hrs.|
This course is an introduction to the fundamentals of drawing objects depicting three-dimensional space using traditional and computer-based techniques. Students will create drawings by observation of the world and use of invented or nonobjective forms, creating surface textures, and designing and laying out compositions. Color theory will be introduced and used in the course. Students will also use and understand the basics of perspective, perspective grids, and creating and using mechanical perspective and orthogonal projections of objects. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
Basic 3D Modeling
This course is an introduction to the representation of form in three-dimensional space using 3D software. The course focuses on the development of visual and verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing, and understanding 3D modeling techniques. Topics include the basics of lines, planes, contour, transforming lines into forms, interaction of lights and surfaces, perspective, resolution of geometry, and rendering. Projects will include modeling organic and inorganic forms, composition and level of detail. Structured assignments develop skills in concept generation, basic form making, techniques and craftsmanship. Emphasis is placed on workflow, teamwork, and the technical and aesthetic aspects of each project. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
Intermediate 3D Modeling and Techniques
This course will provide students with an extensive range of strategies for modeling and evaluation of the appropriate methods to use in various 3D design situations. The emphasis on the course will be on researching and problem solving in the areas of environments, interiors, spaces, objects and characters. With these techniques, students will develop intermediate skills in creating complex models of organic and inorganic forms, composition, concept art layout, and level of details. Emphasis is placed on workflow, teamwork, and technical and aesthetic aspects of each project. 3D graphics scripting will be introduced. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-100 and N3DG-110 or equivalent courses.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
3D Lighting and Materials
This course is an introduction to the development of surface materials in 3D software, using concepts covered in N3DG-110, Basic 3D Modeling. The emphasis on the course will be on researching and understanding the interaction of light and surface, utilizing materials, shaders, textures mapping, cameras, resolution of geometry, and rendering. Techniques for UV layout are introduced. Principles of additive and subtractive color are introduced as they relate to the interpretation of physical phenomena within a virtual world. Projects focus on using color, value and texture to enhance the representation of form and space. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-100 and N3DG-110 or equivalent courses.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
Principles of Design and Color
Students will be introduced to the basic elements of two-dimensional monochromatic and color design, compositional principles, and approaches to analysis of design problems. Techniques for gathering resources to work toward possible design solutions and visualization of design concepts through the use of idea sketches to final comprehensive layouts. Color theory will be introduced. Students will also utilize basic design vocabulary to participate in critiques for the purpose of analyzing their own and other students' work. This course provides students in non-creative technical majors as well as those pursuing more creative endeavors within the graphic arts field with a fundamental overview and understanding of the design process to expand critical awareness of the importance of good design. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
Raster and Vector Graphics
This course introduces students to the skills needed for the successful production and manipulation of raster and vector images using image creation and production software. Students will work in bitmap and vector applications, producing and editing with the tools and techniques offered by the software programs such as selection techniques, basic layer controls, digital masking, image correction and enhancement. Additional topics will include the relevance of image size, resolution and file format specifications when working with raster and vector images. Comprehension and correct usage of terminology and concepts are emphasized. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
The course provides incoming deaf and hard-of-hearing students admitted to NTID undergraduate programs with opportunities to develop/enhance academic skills, personal awareness, and community involvement in order to maximize their college experience. Students will have opportunities to explore and navigate the college environment, develop/reinforce academic skills, and participate in experiential learning opportunities while establishing meaningful connections with faculty, staff and peers. The course promotes the development of plans for ongoing growth and involvement in class and in the RIT/NTID and/or broader community. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 2 (Fall, Spring).
FYW: Writing Seminar (General Education-First Year Writing)
Writing Seminar is a three-credit course limited to 19 students per section. The course is designed to develop first-year students’ proficiency in analytical and rhetorical reading and writing, and critical thinking. Students will read, understand, and interpret a variety of non-fiction texts representing different cultural perspectives and/or academic disciplines. These texts are designed to challenge students intellectually and to stimulate their writing for a variety of contexts and purposes. Through inquiry-based assignment sequences, students will develop academic research and literacy practices that will be further strengthened throughout their academic careers. Particular attention will be given to the writing process, including an emphasis on teacher-student conferencing, critical self-assessment, class discussion, peer review, formal and informal writing, research, and revision. Small class size promotes frequent student-instructor and student-student interaction. The course also emphasizes the principles of intellectual property and academic integrity for both current academic and future professional writing. Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
General Education – Elective†
General Education – Elective‡
History of Western Art: Ancient to Medieval (General Education – Artistic Perspective)
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from prehistory through the Middle Ages, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look, how to describe and analyze what we see, and how to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern (General Education – Global Perspective)
In this course students will examine the forms, styles, functions, and meanings of important objects and monuments dating from the Renaissance through the beginning of the twentieth century, and consider these works of art in their social, historical and cultural contexts. The primary goals of this course are to learn how to look and how to describe and analyze what we see, and to use these skills to understand and explain how art visually expresses meaning. At the end of the term, students will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of the discipline of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors. Lecture 3 (Fa/sp/su).
Advanced 3D Modeling and Techniques
This course is a comprehensive review of modeling techniques that are useful in developing environments, interiors, spaces, objects, and characters to create complex models of organic and inorganic forms. The course will cover the understanding of proportions appropriate to a variety of environments, lighting for spaces, surface design to replicate real world materials, and building to an appropriate level of detail for the project. Additional techniques for 3D compositing and digital sculpting are introduced, as well as concepts for creating stereoscopic images. The course will emphasize researching and problem solving. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-115 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
Principles of 4D Design
In this course, students will learn to develop illustrations and animated elements that use the fourth dimension, to create time-based 3D and 2D graphics. Course content includes historic fundamentals of animation, principles of modern animation, and concepts of motion using 3D and 2D software. An overview of animation and time-based design will be introduced and discussed throughout the semester. Writing and storyboarding techniques for animation will be addressed. Vector and raster animation applications will be used. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-140 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C or N3DG-115 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
This course is an introduction to motion using three-dimensional software. The course focuses on the development of visual and verbal vocabulary as a means of exploring, developing, and understanding motion with digital geometry and in virtual spaces. Subjects covered include inverse kinematics, rigging and deformers, interaction of light and surface, basic concept of compositing, and rendering. Perception and visual thinking are emphasized in the development of projects. Projects will include modeling organic and inorganic forms, composition, level of detail, creation of space and motion. Structured assignments develop skills in concept generation, basic form making, techniques for creating motion, and craftsmanship. Emphasis is placed on workflow, teamwork, and the technical and aesthetic aspects of each project. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-220 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
This course introduces students to the skills needed for the production and creation of three-dimensional printed objects using 3D modeling and production software. Students will work in 3D applications, producing and editing with the tools and techniques offered by the software programs. Structural modeling techniques and modeling approaches to creating physical 3D objects with 3D printers will be taught. The use of materials in 3D printing will be discussed and demonstrated, and students will gain an understanding of the use of specific materials to satisfy printing requirements. Additional topics will include the relevance of file format specifications in modeling, comparing differences in design approaches between 3D modeling and 3D printing, and operating 3D printers under different conditions. Capabilities of different 3D printer models will be discussed. Comprehension and correct usage of terminology and concepts are emphasized. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-210 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
The course focuses on preparing students to be ready to seek employment in the 3D graphics industry. Subjects covered include professional ethics, workplace expectations, production pipeline and an overview of copyright issues. Strategies for developing leadership, teamwork, and collaboration will be discussed. Successful self-promotion and marketing, including the development of demo reels will be introduced, along with emphasizing the importance of joining professional organizations and submission of work to competitions for the purpose of professional networking. (Prerequisites: Restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-201 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
Provides students with an opportunity to prepare for co-op and permanent employment through activities including developing and revising resumes, cover letters and portfolios, completing forms, interviewing, developing strategies for finding job opportunities, and researching targeted companies. Discussions relating to personal finance, communication strategies, adapting to the workplace, tips for job success, and workplace expectations will be included. (This course is restricted to 2nd year students in the ARTIMG-AAS or ARTIMG-AOS program.) Lecture 3 (Fall, Spring).
Co-op Visual Communication Studies
This course provides a ten-week (350 hours) work experience in the field. (Prerequisites: Restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-201 or equivalent course.) CO OP 350 (Fall, Spring, Summer).
For this final course in 3D Graphics Technology, students will identify an area of exploration, where they have the opportunity to work on a semester-long project. Collaborative or individual projects will be supported, and students will work closely with their instructor to develop and implement a final project that will incorporate their skills, starting from the planning stage, through completion and project presentation. Collaborative projects require the clear definition of the responsibilities of each student involved and project management responsibilities. Faculty will support and provide guidance for student work exploring an industry and skill-related topic for their capstone project. (Prerequisites: Restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-299 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
This course will give students from all areas of study in the Visual Communications Studies Department an opportunity to prepare and submit portfolios of their work for final review by a jury composed of department faculty members and professionals. The course will emphasize professional procedures, work habits, and demonstration of creative and technical skills, depending on the students' areas of expertise, as well as appropriate communication with clients, presentation techniques, and ability to work as a fully contributing member of a team. (This course is restricted to ARTIMG-AAS, ARTIMG-AOS or 3DGT-AAS students with at least 2nd year standing.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
General Education – Ethical Perspective†
General Education – Social Perspective†
General Education – Scientific Principles Perspective§
|Total Semester Credit Hours||
Please see the NTID General Education Curriculum (GE) for more information.
Please see Wellness Education Requirement for more information. Students completing associate degrees are required to complete one Wellness course.
† An ASL-Deaf Cultural Studies (AASASLDCS) course is required for graduation. It can be taken in any semester and can be taken at NTID or another college of RIT. In order to fulfill this requirement as part of the credit hours in the program, it can be a course approved for both AASASLDCS and a General Education - Perspective.
‡ Any mathematics course numbered NMTH-10 or higher.
§ Any science course numbers NSCI-120 or higher.
Graphic Design and Typography I
Students will learn how to work through steps of the graphic design process, starting with the identification and research of design problems, and the intended message and the target audience, to development of basic graphic design solutions presented visually through clear, well-executed layouts created by both traditional and electronic means. Fundamental graphic design and typographic principles, elements, techniques and vocabulary used in design problem solving will be introduced. Students in this course will also learn about areas/categories of graphic design, creating examples such as posters, book/CD covers and logos. Topics covering selecting appropriate printing papers, professional practices, psychology of color, and critique methods will also be introduced. (Prerequisites: Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NGRP-120 or NAIS-120 or equivalent course and NAIS-130 or equivalent course with a minimum grade of C.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
Page Layout I
Students will use page layout (desktop publishing) applications to design and produce pages and documents to given specifications. Skill development will include importing and placing text and graphic files, the application of style sheets, templates, snippets, libraries, and color specifications. The application of design and typographic principles, industry terminology, measurement systems, font management, and file management are also covered. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
Web Design I
This course introduces students to the fundamental skills needed to create designs that work on the World Wide Web. Students are introduced to the Internet, learn basic HTML programming for graphics, and legal issues of the Internet. Text based technology is used to separate design from content using templates and cascading style sheets (CSS). Topics such as image preparation, page design, site graphic design, navigation & linking, content, usability, speed, originality and audience are discussed. Students are expected to create web pages that demonstrate their understanding and use of basic application of the above topics. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
Independent Study-Visual Communications Studies
The description for each Independent Study request will be specified in each student proposal. (Enrollment in this course requires permission from the department offering the course.) Ind Study (Fall, Spring).
Special Topics-Visual Communications Studies
The description for each Special Topics request will be specified in each course proposal. (NTID Supported Students.) Lecture (Fall, Spring).
This course continues the principles and skills developed in Drawing I, with special emphasis on the human form, including proportion, shading, light and dark, head/facial features, sustained study, and the use of figure within a composition. This course extends the various applications learned in the previous drawing and applies them to still life, drapery studies, and the human form within various environments. The use of the sketchbook will be emphasized for development of composition skills; students will use the library and other resources and will further explore various kinds of drawing materials. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NGRD-111 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
In this course, students will learn how to create illustrations, create animation, and develop animated elements for web-based and stand-alone interactive media. Course content includes concepts of staging, timelines, frame rates, keyframes, transitions, and object attributes. Writing and storyboarding for animation will be addressed. Both vector and raster animation applications will be used. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed N3DG-220 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
In this course, students will learn how to create cartoons, apply storytelling techniques to develop sequential graphic narratives, and develop multi page, multi-strip, or single-panel cartoons. Course content includes understanding the history of cartooning, drawing techniques (both traditional and digital methods), character creation and development, story writing, plot breakdowns, panel to panel sequencing, cartooning, and creating final output in the form of a printed comic book or a online web comic. Writing and breakdowns for cartooning will also be taught. Drawing techniques and software applications are taught and used in the course. (NTID Supported Students.) Lab .
Digital Photography I
This course gives students an introduction to the tools, techniques and terminology of digital photographic imaging through a series of hands-on activities that will permit each student to investigate the applications of digital photography. Students will be expected to capture images using digital cameras, process digital images using the appropriate software, create quality picture files and prints, and participate in project-related critiques. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall, Spring).
Digital Photography II
Aesthetic/composition considerations will be emphasized. Various genres and markets will be discussed such as photo journalism, portraiture, fine art, advertising and marketing, sports, and still life. This course will also address various technologies for the capturing and converting of multiple static images into more dynamic presentations of environments, and objects. Topics will include panoramic stitching, creating virtual tours, creating 360 degree views of 3D objects, and creating dynamic slide shows. Students will be taught basic techniques for studio lighting and will be asked to produce photographs to match an art director sketch or layout. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NGRP-110 or equivalent courses.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
This course provides an overview of videography for the web. This is a basic digital video course that introduces the process and procedures involved in digital video production from start to finish. Students will be introduced to videography production techniques, camera operation and formats, digital non-linear editing, titling and lighting for video. Emphasis is on development of ideas, proper operation of video and computer equipment for productions and post-production of digital non-linear edited sequences and their adaptation to different presentation formats for online delivery. (NTID Supported Students.) Lec/Lab 5 (Fall).
This course emphasizes the procedures and skill development required for the efficient and effective manipulation and compositing of digital images in a production environment building on the skills previously learned in Raster and Vector Graphics. This is a production-oriented course with a focus on the non-destructive editing of (primarily raster) digital images. This course includes specialized image manipulation methods such as advanced selection and masking techniques for producing images that blend together into a single composite image. Additional topics include applying production planning techniques to image manipulation, production quality standards, advanced methods and quality criteria for image manipulation, and legal and ethical issues. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-130 equivalent course with a minimum grade of C.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
Web Design II
This course provides an overview of designing multi-page web sites and being sure they are accessible to audiences with special needs. Students will continue to learn how to use website concepts and design elements learned in Web Design I to successfully to create a multi-page web site. Effective use of color, typography, and design will be applied to website design. Students will continue the study and application of Web design concepts, site navigation, interactivity, and the management of a multi-page web site. Students will develop a web site that combines the advantages of text-based production techniques and graphics-based design with content management systems, with a focus on usability and accessibility. (Prerequisites: This class is restricted to NTID supported students that have completed NAIS-160 or equivalent course.) Lec/Lab 5 (Spring).
Admissions and Financial Aid
For the career-focused AAS Degree
- 2 years of math required
- 1 year of science required
- English language skills as evidenced by application materials determine associate degree options.
For the AAS Degree Leading to Bachelor’s Degree (Associate+Bachelor’s Program)
- 2 years of high school math preferred
- 1 year of high school science preferred
- English language skills as evidenced by application materials determine acceptance into the AAS or the AOS program
Specific English, Mathematics, and Science Requirements and other Recommendations
Successful completion of the Summer Vestibule Program is required.
- English: Placement into the Critical Reading and Writing (UWRT-100) course.
- Mathematics: Placement into the Mathematics in Society (NMTH-140) course. Typically, students entering this major will have completed at least two years of high school mathematics.
- Science: Typically, students entering this major will have completed at least two years of high school science.
- ACT (optional): The ACT middle 50% composite score is 14-17.
Financial Aid and Scholarships
100% of all incoming first-year and transfer students receive aid.
RIT’s personalized and comprehensive financial aid program includes scholarships, grants, loans, and campus employment programs. When all these are put to work, your actual cost may be much lower than the published estimated cost of attendance.
Learn more about financial aid and scholarships