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Undergraduate courses in Digital Arts

Game Design programmes at Wits

Digital Arts and Electrical & Information Engineering have pioneered two exciting programmes in Game Design. The Game Design course is offered as part of two separate degrees (BA Digital Arts (BADigA – AF011) and BEngSc Digital Arts (EB001))

One is housed in the Wits School of the Arts (WSOA), the other in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE). The two schools have been collaborating closely on developing these programmes for many years. What makes this exciting is the multidisciplinary approach that this makes possible. Students will be able to approach Game Design from two directions: the creative arts, or the technical software and engineering side. They will, however, have the opportunity to develop a familiarity with all areas in the field.  To this end, students in both degrees attend the same core Game Design course, side by side.

BA Digital Arts (BADigA – AF011)

This degree caters for students interested in game graphics and animation, narrative, and character design. In this degree students do a professional subject in WSOA (Digital Arts Practice), an academic subject in WSOA (Digital Arts Theory), any subject from the Humanities faculty (so English, Philosophy, Psychology, Economics, etc), and of course Game Design. As the degree progresses the other subjects fall away and the Game Design core course becomes the central focus. This is a 4-year professional degree.  

BEngSc Digital Arts (EB001)

The technical Game Design degree is a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Digital Art (BEngSc Digital Arts). This 3-year degree is based on the same design as the very successful Biomedical Engineering degree. In this degree students attend half of their courses in the School of EIE. Here they do Physics, Maths, Mechanics, Electric Circuits, Software Development, and Electromagnetic Systems with Game Design as the core course. This degree aims to give students an introduction into both the hardware and software environments. On graduation should they wish to study further students may continue into the third year of the professional Electrical and Information Engineering degree or into the Honours degree in Digital Arts.


Bachelor of Art in Performing and Visual Arts (BA PVA)

This is a 4-year professional degree that integrates theoretical, conceptual elements of Performing and Visual Arts studies.  The BA PVA degree allows students to cater for diverse interests in the Arts by combining professional subjects offered in different disciplines, or focusing on more academic subjects within Humanities with only one professional subject.

From within Digital Arts, the BA PVA is ideal for students wanting to combine Game Design with Music Composition or to combine their focus on Game Design with other Humanities subject as an academic major. Popular combinations include Psychology (for those interested in the application of games to an industrial or therapeutic practice), English Literature (For those interested in Creative Writing in Interactive Environments), and even Math. The BA PVA also allows for students to move into senior Digital Arts specialisations like Animation, Interactive Media, or Writing and Interactivity, without being in the Game Design programme itself.

As the curriculum for the BA PVA is custom made for each student’s interest you MUST consult with the School with regards to your specific areas of interest and combinations of subjects. Email info.digitalarts@wits.ac.za 


 

Additional Undergraduate Courses available in Digital Arts

Digital Arts offers a number of undergraduate semester courses to introduce students studying professional degrees in the Wits School of Arts. It is strongly recommended that students considering an MA in Digital Arts take these courses as part of their undergraduate degree as preparation for their advanced degree. These courses are also ideal as a way to add Digital Arts techniques to an existing skills set. As each is a single semester course, we recommend consulting with us to ensure that they fit withing your required degree credits.

Animation student work Animation student work

Animation Courses

Third Year – First Semester
WSOA3001 INTRODUCTION TO PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION

The aim of this course is to give students the opportunity to obtain a working knowledge of the practical, technical, and creative possibilities of 2-D animation. Through the creation of short 2D animated clips, the students will get to experiment with different forms of storytelling and gain an introductory understanding of the practical and technical components involved in the production of 2-D animation. The course encompasses a large area of skills and techniques using TV Paint software. Students will also engage with theories of animation and analyze the work of several prominent 2-D animation filmmakers.

Fourth Year – Second Semester
WSOA 4052 Digital Animation

The focus of this course is on 3D character animation using Autodesk Maya. Students will undergo an intensive course on the animation principles so that they have the vocabulary and the tools to tackle a broad range of character animation problems. Through this course, students develop an “eye” to identify animation problems and are able to distinguish animation which is believable from that which is unconvincing. A student who has completed the course satisfactorily will come away having learned the following basic skills: A solid understanding of the principles of animation; be able to map out their animation in thumbnails; basic 3D modeling, shading, lighting and rendering as well as storyboarding and creating animatics.

Animation workshopInteractive Media Courses

Third Year – First Semester
WSOA3000 INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB AS CREATIVE MEDIUM

Students on this course will study the history of creative practice on the world wide web and other networked communication media. Students will creatively engage in public communication technology platforms as a means to extend their creative practice. Students will also create their own digital communication platforms to document and showcase their process and creative engagements.  In this course students work with HTML and JavaScript.

Fourth Year – Second Semester
WSOA4051 APPLIED CONCEPTS IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA PRACTICE

After this course, students will be able to develop interactive applications in Processing (a Java-based development environment for artists and designers) and would have a thorough grounding in the history and theory of data and interaction in art and creative practice. The course has two interlinked threads, a theory thread, and a practice thread. The focus of the theory thread is to investigate data and its use in software driven and networked contemporary cultures. Addressing how we influence and are influenced by data; questioning its techniques and addressing its role in networked culture, contemporary art, and digital culture practices. The practice thread focuses on learning Processing. In building interactive, graphic and data-driven digital applications, students will gain  coding skills and techniques for web-based application development.

Writing and Interactivity Courses

Third Year – Second Semester
WSOA3015 – Writing and Interactivity III

The course provides an introduction to Interactive Literature, Storytelling, and Writing for an Interactive Environment. Students are introduced to selected tools for interactive writing, as well as the conceptual and creative framework of the field. The course is theoretically grounded with selected case studies, but also focus on the practical production of interactive writing.

Fourth Year – First Semester
WSOA4089 – Writing and Interactivity IV

In this course, students extend their knowledge of Interactive Narratives in both theory and practice. This is a strongly theoretically framed course which encourages students to develop their interest in the field through experimental practice. Students produce a portfolio of their own Interactive Narrative works. 


If you want to discuss these courses please contact:

Wits School of Arts Student Liaison Officer: Telephone: 27 (11) 717 4656, email info.digitalarts@wits.ac.za

Apply here

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