MFA in Media, Technology and Entertainment:
Graduate Course Descriptions

ART 5685: Advanced Digital Art 1 (4 credits)
Teaches the fundamental principles of animation, both computer and classical, including advanced techniques in character animation and dynamic scene design using advanced software. Emphasis on techniques such as keyframes, motion paths, inverse kinematics, procedural animation, and scripting. Includes storyboarding for animation. Students will master the complex interface and toolset of Maya. The course will concentrate primarily on the proficiency of use for the tool, and secondarily on the sharpening of personal skill sets such as modeling and animating. There will be in-depth discussion of the basic methodologies used in all leading 3D modeling packages for a better understanding of how Maya and other 3D applications work internally. Students will be assigned small-scope projects in modeling, animating, texturing, and rigging. Most of the features discussed will be geared towards current game industry use.

ART 5686: Advanced Digital Art 2 (4 credits)
Provides a thorough foundation of 3D modeling, texturing, and rendering techniques for computer animation using advanced software. Emphasis placed on such techniques as 3D curves, patches, meshes, surfaces, B-splines, polygonal tools, digital scene development, computer sculpture, texture mapping, shading and rendering.

ART 5690: Advanced Digital Video 1 (4 credits)
Trends and techniques in digital compositing to combine photographic video imagery with computer-generated animation. Students gain a thorough understanding of matting, keying, transitions, timing, color manipulation, compression and special effects. Advanced animation and related compositing software are used.

ART 5691: Advanced Digital Video 2 (4 credits)
Comprehensive overview of the basics of using digital audio equipment in a studio environment to record and edit audio. Students are introduced to audio systems, audio/video post-production, audio editing and surround-sound mixing using software packages. Sound design theory is covered.

ART 6688C: Studio in Computer Arts (4 credits)
This is a studio class that brings programmers, designers, and digital artists together to work on interdisciplinary projects. The studio may also assist with various client projects if the need and/or opportunity arise. The exact projects that the studio will tackle during any semester will be determined by the current needs of the program and the current skills make-up of the studio members. Artists who wish to join the class must have prior knowledge of 3D modeling, texturing, and/or animation using either the 3D Studio Max or Maya software packages. If only one package is known then a willingness to work with the other on an as-needed basis will be required. Some projects have special pipeline requirements.

ART 6692C: Creative Workshop in Computer Arts (4 credits)
This course will focus on the presentation and analysis of recent developments and applications of Interactive Media Art and Technology; it is also designed to provide students with updates on the latest trends in technology and the opportunity to discuss these. The emphasis is on understanding the production processes involved in making these works and on comprehension of fundamental principles of interactivity in stand-alone, immersive, and networked environments. The objective for these cultural and scholarly intersections is to motivate and inspire students to develop a stronger focus and clearer vision for their careers in the field of interactive media. The course will involve four kinds of activities: 1) presentations by faculty on their current research/art projects; 2) presentations by guest lecturers on their areas of expertise; 3) seminar discussions of relevant readings and topics; and 4) field trips to events and places of interest. The topics that will be addressed include introductions to new and upcoming content platforms, new entertainment software products (such as previews of consumer games and web sites), production tools, current research on new business models and distribution methodologies, as well as current hot topics in new media business and law. The course will also include field trips and site visits to interactive or digital media production facilities.

CAP 6010: Multimedia Systems (3 credits)
Multimedia systems concepts and characteristics. Multimedia compression techniques. Systems architectures for multimedia. Multimedia networking, communications, and synchronization. Multimedia operating systems. Video partitioning and retrieval. Multimedia systems and tools. Wireless multimedia. Multimedia applications. Student projects.

CAP 6018: Multimedia Programming (3 credits)
This is a graduate-level course focusing on software optimization in general and efficient multimedia software and systems development in particular. The course will use a video-coding algorithm and analyze complexity and architecture dependencies. The course will introduce efficient programming techniques including software optimization, SIMD programming, Open MP, DirectShow architecture, and Intel performance tools (Compiler, IPP, VTune). The course will include hands-on software development and performance analysis.

CAP 6411: Foundations of Vision (3 credits)
Study of the interdisciplinary science of vision, combining psychological, neurophysiological, and computational aspects of vision research. Research paper and project topics will be chosen from a list of latest developments in the field.

CNT 6515: Mobile Multimedia (3 credits)
Course covers technologies, tool, and standards for multimedia services over 3G/4G wireless networks. Topics covered include the 3GPP’s IP multimedia subsystem (IMS) and video services over IMS.

CNT 6885: Video Communication (3 credits)
Advances in computing and communications technologies have made possible powerful mobile devices with significant computational power. Delivering video services to such mobile devices is a challenging problem that requires research and understanding of the fundamental video communications technologies. This course is designed to provide a comprehensive learning and experience in the area of digital video communications. The course will cover the video coding standards widely used in the industry such as MPEG-2, MPEG-4, and H.264, as well as the communication technologies used to deliver video services such as RTP, video over IP networks, IP TV, video multicasting, and 3G networks with special emphasis on IPTV services.

COT 5930: Game Programming (3 credits)
The main objective of this course is to learn how to build games from scratch. The games will run under Windows and will be written using C# (Visual Studio 2005) and XMA 2.0 from Microsoft. The techniques that we learn can be applied to other applications besides games. These include simulations, instrumentation and educational software, and other software applications that require dynamic high speed interactive displays of graphic objects.

COT 5930: Computer Animation (3 credits)
Course includes basic animation concepts, principles of animation, storyboarding, character development, animation rendering, and design. Also, 2D animations for use in practical applications are developed. Basic 3D modeling, rendering, animation techniques, and common algorithms used to create computer animation are introduced.

COT 5930: Cutting-edge Web Technologies (3 credits)
To develop hands-on knowledge of the latest web development tools, languages and models. Students will develop projects consisting of innovative Web-based solutions. Topics include: characteristics and foundations of Rich Internet Applications (RIAs), server-side technologies and languages, client-side technologies and languages, usability and human factors, and content sharing tools and technologies.

COT 5930: iPhone Programming (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to software development for the iPhone OS platform. Students will become familiar with the native objective-oriented language used for iPhone OS development, Objective-C, as well as the design patterns necessary to carry out development of iPhone apps. This includes proper Objective-C syntax, defining classes, and proper object-oriented techniques such as abstraction and inheritance. Common design patterns, such as the Model-View-Controller and Delegate patterns, will be discussed as a foundation needed to comprehend and take full advantage of the core objects used in the iPhone Software Development Kit. Finally, we will dive into the vast library that makes up the iPhone SDK, and become familiar with many of the most commonly used APIs that are necessary for great iPhone applications. Throughout the term, we will discuss the theory of what makes a great iPhone application, such as proper design considerations, usability, and acceptable performance characteristics. Most of these guidelines are outlined by Apple, and many are required in order to meet the standards necessary to publish to the App Store, and as such, are just as important to an application as the code that drives it.

COT 5930: Android Programming (3 credits)
This course is an introduction to software development for Google’s Android mobile phone. Students will learn programming basics and develop marketable applications, using emulators for application development and real phones for demonstration.

COT 6930: Visual Information Retrieval (3 credits)
Study of the interdisciplinary research area of visual information retrieval. Research paper and project topics will be chosen from a list of latest developments and open challenges and opportunities in the field.

DIG 5930: Interactive Multimedia (3 credits)
Introduction to interactive multimedia production. Class projects explore the potential of interactive media to communicate, express, and challenge cultural ideas. The course seeks to develop a combination of critical, technical, and design skills.

DIG 5930: New Media Narrative (3 credits)
This course explores traditional and alternative storytelling using new media tools and paradigms. The class encourages experimentation, while developing critical, technical, and design skills. Taking inspiration from film, video, animation, comics, art, and literature, the class creates collaged, multi-perspective, modular, and multi-participant narratives. Students are taught the language of filmmaking and the director’s craft as it applies to the digital format. Aspects of mise-en-scene, visual storytelling, continuity-style coverage, temporal and spatial montage theory, directing actors and thinking visually, will be essential to the new media director’s palette. All forms of digital filmmaking will be discussed including dramatic, documentary and independent features as well as commercials, music videos and experimental subjects. Through lectures, readings, screenings, web-postings, discussions, writing and production assignments, students will learn the basic principles and vocabulary of film theory and aesthetics. Understanding these fundamental ideas will help students develop a more critical eye towards creating new media.

DIG 5930: Digital Video Editing (3 credits)
An intensive study of the technical and aesthetic elements of nonlinear digital video editing. Students learn strategies for media management, image capture, sequence creation, title creation, working with audio, video effects and compositing.

DIG 5930: Video Game Studies (3 credits)
This course is an overview of the interdisciplinary academic study of video games, with focused attention to the analysis of games as interactive media, as rule-based systems, as cultural and social texts, as designed learning spaces, as arenas of play, and as the products of industrial discourse and design.

DIG 6645: Video Processing (3 credits)
An introduction to the fundamentals of digital video processing. Topics will be chosen from video processing, video compression, organization of video databases, video storage, indexing, and retrieval, video transmission and streaming, and latest developments in digital video technologies. Students will use MATLAB for practical projects.

FIL 6807: Film Theory and Criticism (3 credits)
This course is an overview of the major topics in film theory, and includes structuralist, psychoanalytic, feminist and Marxist approaches to film, as well as debates about realism and authorship. The course surveys both classical and contemporary film theories, and provides a historical perspective on the discipline. This class examines the intersection of film studies with other disciplines, including literature, art and the social sciences.

FIL 6935: Studies in Film and TV: Bodies and Technologies (3 credits)
This course examines the body as a culturally and historically contingent category, a material locus of practices and an object of fashioning and self-identification. With a focus on the mediated body, the emphasis of this course is both the representation of the body (as a discursive subject in film, television and new media) and the impact of various media forms and technologies on physicality and subjectivity. The course considers the multiple intersections and points of convergence and conjoinment between bodies and technologies, where the two may be either systematically re-shaped, fundamentally re-envisioned, or completely absorbed by one another. Subjects to be considered include: the science fiction and horror genres (which may contain specific anxieties about the loss of the body), computer culture and digital imaging technologies (which may present certain utopic narratives about disembodiment), online identity, collective intelligence, gaming and play (all of which give form to the expressive potential of the body), and scientific inquiry (a discourse of mastery, often literalized in medical visualization, and countering the principle of the disembodied subject in the field of new media).

ISM 5930: Internet Application Programming (3 credits)
The purpose of this course is to teach students how to design and develop Web sites at the introductory to intermediate level. This course is project-oriented. Students are required to finish several Internet-based projects using the tools introduced in class.

MMC 6715: Studies in New Media (3 credits)
This course examines the key theoretical works and arguments in the field of new media. Subjects to be considered include: computer culture, digital imaging technologies, interactivity and simulation, digital cinema, digital space, digital media, virtuality, cyberspace, online identity, collective intelligence, and new media communities. This course examines the cultural implications of new technologies in the context of communication and cultural theory. It situates the contemporary representation of and debates about new technologies within an historical context, and examines the utopian and dystopian narratives that have been generated around new technologies throughout history.

RTV 6006: Television and Video Studies (3 credits)
This course is a critical investigation of the history of broadcasting from its beginnings in the nineteenth century imagination to the present. The primary concern is the relationship between broadcasting and the social contexts in which it has been produced and received. The course considers the relationship between art, citizenship, technology and commerce, and reviews critical and practical responses to the broadcast industry as well as new industrial models that reflect contemporary technological trends, new modes of distribution, and new developments in interactive and transmedia narrative.

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 Last Modified 3/16/16