2022 Master Class【Art & Technology】Video Game Studio & 3D Art Design

Course Description

This course focuses on scholarly and artistic strategies of 3D computing and art  making. Students develop fluency in industry compliant technologies while gaining  skills in foundational concepts of 3D modeling, animation and video game asset  creation and implementation. In this production course, students integrate computing  and artistic inquiry to create artwork for video game experiences. 

Through a series of practicums students develop their own original character models  and custom animation using modeling and animation software and video game  engines.  

Students develop their own projects using 3D cameras, lighting equipment, digital  rendering, animation software and video game development tools, as they plan and  bring to life their own video game worlds and environments. The series of projects  which offer a methodologies foundation in a range within 3D modeling, visualization,  animation and interaction design. Students develop a confident language to discuss  work as they respond to critical texts, work collaboratively and have their work  reviewed by professionals and guests representing institutions in the professional field  of video games.

Student learning objective  

  • Synthesize across the interdisciplinary perspectives, theories or methodologies implemented in  Computer Science and Artistic Inquiry. 
  • Recognize and describe major strategies and themes in the video game asset development. Apply this  integrated knowledge to produce and evaluate contemporary examples, and in individual projects. 
  • Articulate the design thinking and rationale behind video game experiences and identify creator’s  choices around the framing of various game genre and subject matter. Explore the works subjectivity, by  compare and contrasting viewpoints and positions; distinguish an authorial or artistic voice; defend these  ideas in written form, in discussion and critique with peers. 

Course content/outline 

Week 1:  

  • Introduction to the course, a brief history of 3D modeling 
  • Blender practicum: compose a 3D scene, work with objects, lighting camera 
  • Introduction to 3D modeling, sculpting tools, hard modeling 
  • Character modeling project introduced

Week 2:  

  • Students develop character models, introduction to modifiers, advanced editing tools
  • Model Skeletons, Rigging and weight painting 
  • Introduction to animation in Blender 
  • Character animation project introduced

Week 3: 

  • Developing video game engine ready assets 
  • How to optimize your 3D models and animation library into video game engines
  • Testing and refining assets for using debugging mode 
  • Publishing work, documentation of work, presentation of projects

Expected course outcome

Upon successful completion of this course students will create unique 3D video game  character models with custom animation expressions which will be tested, optimized and  deployed in contemporary video game engines like unity and unreal engine. Students gain  fluency in 3D modeling best practices, foundational understanding of character rigging and  animation principles. 

Required technology  

Windows or Mac operating personal computers with dedicated graphics processors. 

 Processor Type:  

  • Intel: Core i5, i7, i9 with 1.5Ghz or greater  
  • AMD: Ryzen 5, 7, 9 with 1.5Ghz or greater 
  • RAM Memory: 8GB Minimum – 16 GB recommended  
  • Hard Drive: 250 – 500 GB 

Software used: Blender, Unity Engine

Introduction to Professor

Professor Joshua Tonies is a Visual Arts Professor at UC San Diego where he teaches courses in film, video art, animation and studio arts. He exhibited his work most recently at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco, Musée d’Art Contemporain de Montréal, The Center for Fiction in NYC, Comfort Station in Chicago Illinois and the San Diego Museum of Art. His primary focus is on drawing and the moving image and his works center around temporary ecological studies that take form as animation, drawing, works on paper and book arts.

Words from the Professor


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