The AAS degree in 3D graphics technology introduces concepts related to three dimensional (3D) graphics, and teaches students 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 students for one of two options: entering the 3D graphics industry after graduation or continuing their studies in the 3D digital design BFA program offered by the College of Art and Design. This program is only available to students seeking admission to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
The 3D graphics technology program consists of 72 credits taken over five semesters with a required cooperative work experience taken after the fourth semester. There are 48 credits of technical courses, 24 credits of liberal arts and sciences courses, a non-credit Freshman Seminar course, plus wellness.
The program's curriculum prepares and trains students for entry-level employment in the 3D graphics industry. The 3D graphics technology program covers the artistic and technical sides of the industry, with a specific focus on the modeling, animation, and visualization processes in 3D graphics. Students 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 students 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. Students acquire computer-based skills in 2D and 3D graphics software. In addition, students learn skills related to project management and teamwork.
The Capstone course (N3DG-270) offered in the final semester provides students with an opportunity to utilize their 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.
All students gain real work experience through one term of required cooperative education employment. They also complete a required portfolio workshop course in which they refine and complete their portfolio as needed for application to the BFA program in 3D digital design in the College of Art and Design, or for an employment search.
STEM and the 3DGT 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.
Graduates from the 3DGT program create 3D graphics, 3D printouts, environmental visualization graphics, and 3D models used in multimedia and animation on the job. Graduates will also be responsible for creating traditional media drawings and paintings, as well as animating 3D graphics, modeling, 3D printing, reading and understanding design plans and blueprints to translate into 3D models, and applying computer-based skills in 2D and 3D graphics software.
Places of employment
Students in the 3D graphics technology program will be prepared and qualified for obtaining entry-level employment in the industry, finding jobs with titles such as: junior computer graphic designer, junior computer animator, technical illustrator, 3D illustrator, 3D animator, junior environment artist, junior animator, 3D generalist, modeler, animator, texture artist, 3D visualization artist, and rigger. Graduates usually find employment in a variety of commercial, corporate, government, and educational settings. Examples include computer graphics firms, advertising agencies, art studios, architectural firms, film and video studios, animation studios, government agencies, industrial training or media departments, educational media centers, and educational institutions.
Successful completion of a sampling experience offered during the Summer Vestibule Program and during the academic year is required. The sampling activities provide opportunities for students to learn about the visual communications field, identify career opportunities, and evaluate their interest and aptitude for a degree program.
ACT: Composite test score of 17 or better
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.
Advertising, PR, and Marketing
Internet and Software
3D graphics technology, AAS degree, typical course sequence
Sem. Cr. Hrs.
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.
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.
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.
The course provides entering NTID students with opportunities to develop/enhance academic skills, personal awareness, and community involvement in order to maximize their college experience. Students have opportunities to explore and navigate the college environment, develop/reinforce academic skills and participate in service learning opportunities. Students are encouraged to establish 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. Students must pass this course to earn an associates degree.
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.
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.
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.
First Year Writing: Writing Seminar
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.
ASL-Deaf Cultural Studies†
First Year LAS Elective
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.
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 motion 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.
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.
LAS Perspective 2: History of Western Art - Ancient to Medieval
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from Prehistory through the Middle Ages. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
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.
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.
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.
LAS Perspective 3: History of Western Art: Renaissance to Modern
The subject of this course is the history of western art and architecture from the Renaissance through the early 20th century. We will examine the form, style, function, and meaning of important objects and monuments of the past, and consider these in their social, historical and cultural contexts. A chronological study will allow us to recognize when, where and by whom a given object was produced. Once these decisive factors are established, we may try to determine why the object was made, what it meant in its time, place and culture, and whose ideology it served. Since we are dealing with visual information, the primary goals of this class are to learn how to look, and how to describe and analyze what we see. At the end of the term, students will be prepared to pursue additional courses in the discipline, for they will have gained a foundational knowledge of the object, scope and methods of art history. The knowledge obtained in this introductory course will also guide students in their own creative endeavors.
This course provides a ten-week (350 hours) work experience in the field.
NGRD or NGRP Electives
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.
This course will give students from all areas of study in the Arts and Imaging 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.
LAS Perspective 1 (ethical)
LAS Perspective 4 (social)
LAS Perspective 6 (scientific principles)§
Total Semester Credit Hours
* 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 an LAS Perspective or LAS Elective.
‡ Any mathematics course numbered NMTH-120 or higher.