Emergent Cinematic Arts

Shaping worlds.

Immerse audiences in your stories with state-of-the-art and interactive technology.
 

 

Green Screen pic

 

Building on the foundation of the groundbreaking UT3D initiative, UT's Department of Radio-Television-Film offers a variety of courses in digital and emergent media to equip you with the necessary technical and critical-thinking skills to take your cinematic stories to the next level. These classes also feed into the UT Game Development and Design program.

For questions about these courses, contact Ben Bays at benbays@utexas.edu.

 

Courses

RTF 329C         DIGITAL MEDIA PRODUCTION-WB Web-Based BEN BAYS

Animation, Visual Effects, Digital Painting and CGI are used to produce content for a variety of media including live action film, classical and 3D animation and interactive formats like video games and XR.  This course will teach you the industry standard tools and practical techniques of digital media production, no experience necessary.  The course is self-paced, non-linear and offers a variety of options.  Students choose their area of interest from a large array of assignments covering topics like concept art and previsualization, color correction and post production, animation and simulation, compositing and visual effects or CGI and interactive game design (and more).  Will you become a generalist across all digital media production, will you specialize in one discipline or will you define a new role in digital media production? Choose your own path and the instructor and a team of TAs collaborate with you.  No prior knowledge of digital media production required.  Mac or PC.  No software purchase required. OPEN TO MAJORS AND NON-MAJORS. PRE-REQUISITES WILL BE WAIVED FOR ALL UPPER DIVISION STUDENTS.

RTF 331P         THE VIDEO GAME INDUSTRY • LESLEY WILLARD

Trade press and business experts love to hype the profitability of the global video game industry, measuring its success in units sold and revenues earned. And while it is certainly a juggernaut within the media industries, there has been much less focus on what it is like to actually work in the industry. From game designers to games journalists, QA testers to Twitch streamers, this course will explore the material realities, working conditions, and business models of the games industry and their impact on its workers: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Instead of focusing on specific games, genres, systems, or mechanics, this course will trace the impact of digitization, casualization, and globalization on the industry’s production cultures, employment models, commodity forms, profit centers, promotional logics, and more. We will explore historical and contemporary concerns shaping the industry, such as government regulations and rating systems, outsourcing and offshoring, labor casualization and unionization, precarious employment and crunch periods, loot boxes and revenue models, live streams and gambling laws, mods and skins, user-generated content and end-user license agreements, identity politics and systemic inequalities, promotional work and emotional labor, etc. In addition to a thorough consideration of what it means to work in the games industry (past, present, and future), we will also hear from guest speakers about their experiences working in a variety of games companies and positions. From crash to crunch, this course will give you a better sense of how to anticipate and navigate the changing nature of work in these increasingly digital and global media industries.

RTF 331P         VIDEO GAME CULTURE & CRITICISM Web-BasedSUZANNE SCOTT

Games have always been an integral part of our culture, and studies of culture have long been fascinated by our propensity for play.  Beginning with a brief historical overview of the inception of the video game industry and arcade culture, this course is centrally concerned with identifying the pleasures of play and engaging with the cultural and academic discourses and debates that surround video games and game culture.  While video games have proven themselves as a dominant industrial force within over the past decade, the stigmas and social anxieties that circulate around video games persist. Consequently, one of the primary goals of this course is for students to both become conversant in these critiques and proficient in speaking back to them, acquiring the vocabulary to discuss and analyze the rules that govern our engagement with video games, and our experiences playing them.  To this end, in addition to discussing video game aesthetics and mechanics, we will have themed weeks on war and gaming, gender and gaming, and game-based learning.  In addition to course assignments analyzing gameplay and considering the representation of video games in film and television, students will be required to collaboratively design and theorize a game as their final project.  No player or programming skill set is required, just a willingness to learn through (and about) video games.

RTF 344M      CGI FOR FILM AND GAMES-WB Web-Based BEN BAYS

CGI for Film and Games explores the history, principles and methods of 3D Modeling, Surfacing, Animation and Simulation using CGI. This course is self-paced and non-linear: students customize the course according to their area of interest. Topics to choose from include (but are not limited to) creating concept art for CGI, modeling and sculpting hard surfaces and organic characters, designing virtual sets and game levels, procedurally generating flora, hair, fur and terrain, painting (and photographing) textures, simulating effects, lighting and virtual cinematography, real-time (game engine) implementation and advanced rendering techniques (and much more). Additionally, there are "combo" projects which allow students to combine their skills into larger ideas like making a cartoon, integrating CGI into live action and creating interactive games. Choose your own path and the instructor collaborates with you to achieve your vision. No prior knowledge of CGI is required. Mac or PC. No software purchase required.

RTF 344M          3D ANIMATION AND DIGITAL PERFORMANCES BEN BAYS

3D Animation and Digital Performances explores the history, principles and methods of animation and storytelling using CGI. Through the intersection of in-person activities and creative project-based learning, students animate characters, design and render simulations, create compositions in motion, even sequence motion capture data for a variety of formats from live action to cartoons to videogames. Students have the ability to customize the course to their area of interest, whether it is developing expertise in the craft of animation (or one particular aspect of it) to applying these techniques to larger projects. There are as many ways to take the course as there are students. Choose your own path and the instructor collaborates with you to achieve your vision.  No prior knowledge of digital media production required. Mac or PC. No software purchase required.

RTF 344M        INTERACTIVE MEDIA AND GAME DEVELOPMENT DEEPAK CHETTY

This course provides students with the fundamentals of interactive media through digital game creation. The course focuses on two areas: (1) general principals of game design and game development, and (2) development of simple 3D games.

RTF 344M        INTRO VFX & MOTION GRAPHICS BEN BAYS

This is a production course designed to introduce and expand your knowledge of the world of motion graphics and special effects. Credits, transitions, greenscreen, filters, masks, mattes, all sorts of things. In contrast to the animation course, this class will focus on advanced compositing and techniques to enrich your video, stills, typography and to get exactly what you want to see onscreen. You will not be required to draw anything (complicated). Consider this more of a course in design than art. We will take the elements of design: line, shape, value, texture, color, direction, size, perspective and space and add one more thing to them: time.

RTF 344M        INTRO VFX & MOTION GRAPHICS - WB Web-Based BEN BAYS

This guided, non-linear, self-paced course teaches students concepts, tools and techniques in VISUAL EFFECTS--the intersection of live action video and other media formats including (but not limited to) CGI, miniatures, matte paintings and UI/UX elements. From advanced photographic and on-set visual effects techniques to compositing and tracking of plates, simulations, even traditional animation, students will create a portfolio of projects of their own choosing enhanced with titles, transitions, credits and various other MOTION GRAPHICS. It is designed for introductory, intermediate and advanced students, allowing for multiple pathways to generalization or specialization.

RTF 344M       POST-PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES (COLOR GRADING) SIMON QUIROZ

Note: Hybrid undergraduate & Graduate course.

This class will examine best practices in the finishing and mastering stages of digital post-production for a film or media piece focusing primarily on picture control and quality. The class will reinforce strong habits in media preparation when it comes to editing -- but this is not an editing class. We will depart from the moment the offline edit is done and move forward with preparing assets for online editing, sending them to sound design and mix, integration of VFX to color correction and grading (finishing) and then integration of all these elements (mastering) for deliverables creation. While we will cover color correction and grading, this course will also emphasize the technical elements that allow us to deliver the best quality images possible for different platforms. The concepts of infrastructure, pipeline and workflow should become second nature to the student upon successful completion of this course. Ideally, students should come with a pretty good understanding of nonlinear editing software.

RTF 344M        DIRECTING FOR VIRTUAL REALITY SIMON QUIROZ

While exploring the language of cinematic storytelling in Virtual Reality 360 Production, students will develop, produce and direct immersive and interactive story experiences geared for the Virtual Reality Medium in stereoscopic 3D.

While students will be exposed to best practices for shooting and editing stereoscopic 360 material, UX and UI for VR headsets, the main focus of this class will be on the development and directing of effective stories. Further, students will be encouraged to think volumetrically as an approach for cinematography and directing which will translate to their growth as filmmakers and story content creators in general.

RTF 344M        VFX FOR STORYTELLING DEEPAK CHETTY 

In this hands-on course, students will be introduced to the new frontiers of VFX technology, including neural networks for VFX (deep learning), Style Transfer, Real-time rendering and mixed reality Stagecraft. These technologies, fast becoming industry standards, are not out of reach! Along with production elements, the class will have screenings and analysis of films that contain historical milestones in VFX, which have led us to the present state of VFX and the development of the industry.  Whether you are interested in VFX as an additional skill in your filmmaker's toolkit or would like to become a visual effects artist and technician, you must understand the past to contextualize the present and the future of this art form. This class explores the production of contemporary and cutting edge VFX as well as both sides of this chronology, with the ultimate goal of creating a well-rounded understanding of where VFX started, and where it is headed.   

RTF 344M        WRITING FOR INTERACTIVE GAMES & MEDIA SUSAN O'CONNOR

Interactive storytelling is a form of dramatic writing, just like theater or television. What makes the medium unique is that the author does not control the story; the audience does. Creatives have only just begun to explore the storytelling possibilities of this field. In this class, you will begin to develop the skills & knowledge necessary to write for interactive mediums such as video games, digital media, VR, and augmented reality. Your final deliverable in this course - a narrative design document - will serve as a writing sample for your portfolio.

RTF 344M / 388P       XR STORYTELLING Hybrid / Blended SVEN ORTEL

Hands-on exploration and prototyping of the mixed reality design challenges posed by the Eyes-On-The-Skies project: hybrid physical & digital sets, physical sets & virtual performers, real actors & virtual sets. A basic knowledge of Unreal Engine and Adobe Creative Suite is required.

RTF 344M        VIRTUAL PRODUCTION (aka "CONCEPTS OF REAL-TIME RENDERING")DEEPAK CHETTY 

Virtual Production and real-time rendering are here. Learn how to plan, layout, light, animate and render your ideas, concepts and art in real-time using Unreal Engine. Physically accurate cameras will simulate their real-world counterparts and give you the ability to learn and develop your real-world skills in a virtual environment or integrate your real-world skills into the virtual production environment. Final projects, which will be fully realized short-form pieces, will display an understanding of the methodology and creative potential of this game-changing workflow.

RTF 344N        MOTION CAPTURE STUDIO DEEPAK CHETTY 

Utilizing a combination of hardware (motion capture suits and facial capture techniques) and software (Unreal Engine, Motion Builder), students will write, direct and virtually shoot and edit a completely computer-generated film within Unreal Engine using an actual human performance. The course will also cover the history of motion capture techniques and their utilization within the world of cinema, gaming and non-entertainment related fields.

RTF 344T         GAME DEVELOPMENT CAPSTONE: 2D GAMES (Fall) PAUL TOPRAC

The Capstone Game Development course brings together students from Computer Science, College of Fine Arts, and Radio-Television-Film to form small teams in which each student will contribute specialized knowledge to the group creation of 2D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms. Through modeling of the environment and practices that are used in game studios and the larger industry, students will gain a thorough understanding of the 2D game development process. Local game companies and industry professionals are committed to evaluating student projects and hiring successful graduates. 
*OFFERED IN FALL SEMESTER. If interested, please read instructions to apply. Consent of instructor required.

RTF 344T         GAME DEVELOPMENT CAPSTONE: 3D GAMES (Spring) PAUL TOPRAC

The Capstone Game Development course brings together students from Computer Science, College of Fine Arts, and Radio-TV-Film to form small teams in which each student will contribute specialized knowledge to the group creation of 3D games for mobile, online, and social technology platforms. Students will gain a thorough understanding of the 3D game development process, through modeling of the environment and practices that are used in game studios.
*OFFERED IN SPRING SEMESTER. If interested, please read instructions to apply. Consent of instructor required.

RTF 351D        ADVANCED 2D ANIMATION • LANCE MYERS

Students will use the basic 2D animation skills learned in the 351C Intro to 2D Animation class to focus on the production of longer animated projects. Additional techniques including some motion graphics, stop motion, and advanced 2D will also be covered in class.