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International Program    SMART: Student Media Art Exchange
Focus on Shanghai:
ACM student filmmakers in China's cinema captial
A SMART Step


Academy for Creative Media – Catalog of Courses

(Updated 1/20/2011)

ACM 215: 3D Scene Design
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course will cover the basics of three-dimensional computer graphics, as it relates to the modeling and texturing of objects.  Polygonal and NURBS modeling techniques will be covered, as well as texture mapping and creation. Some lighting and rendering will also be covered.  The course will be project based, with students required to complete three projects over the course of the semester. Note: This is an introductory course. Although it is a pre-requisite for higher level courses, it does not count toward the 12 required “track” credits in animation


ACM 216: 3D Animation
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course will cover the basics of three-dimensional character animation.  Both the artistic/acting side and technical computer side of character animation will be covered.  Special emphasis will be given to techniques for imbuing computer-generated characters with the illusion of life.  The course will be project based, with students required to complete three projects over the course of the semester. Note: This is an introductory course. Although it is a pre-requisite for higher level courses, it does not count toward the 12 required “track” credits in animation.
Prerequisite: Art 113


ACM 220: Advanced Rendering
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course will cover the essentials of 3D computer graphics lighting, rendering, and compositing.  The course will cover specification and control of shading and illumination in a three-dimensional scene, as well as the compositing of multiple rendered layers into a final image.  The course will be project based, with students required to complete three projects over the course of the semester.
Prerequisites: ACM 215 and 216


ACM 255: Cinema & Digital Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course will introduce you to the study of Cinema  & Digital Media at the UH Academy for Creative Media. The course is divided into three parts: A survey of critical perspectives on cinema, computer animation and video game designs; an in-depth exploration into the production processes of a short film; and participation in a group creative media project.


ACM 310: Cinematic and Narrative Production
4 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Cinematic & Narrative Production is designed to introduce you to cinematic storytelling through your creation of 4 DV (digital video) productions in 15 weeks. A second focus will be narrative development and script preparation of a short screenplay.  This class is designed to encourage an organic exploration of storytelling, to strengthen trust in your own ideas and instincts, and heighten your curiosity about human nature and the world at large. It is an opportunity to develop a clearer sense of what you as a media-maker wish to communicate and the skills necessary to express those ideas effectively.
Prerequisite: B or better in ACM 255.  Restricted to Majors


ACM 312: Cinematography
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
A comprehensive course in visual styles supporting screen narratives through a study of principles of camera elements, operations, lighting, color, and composition. The course will also explore the professional role and responsibilities of the cinematographer in a film or digital cinema production unit. This is a project-oriented course. Students must have access to a manually controlled still camera.
Prerequisite:  ACM 310 (or concurrent). Restricted to Majors.


ACM 315: Narrative Game Design
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Introduction to the process of designing interactive narrative computer games in an immersive hands-on manner. The introduction and overview portion of the course will cover the history of computer games and their relations to other art forms, as well as an analysis of storytelling techniques and what makes for a good game. It will also introduce students to basic computer programming as it applies to the design of the logic of computer games. In the game logic design portion students will form groups and begin designing and implementing the underlying logic of a game. More programming will be introduced to permit the creation of basic game design and flow. The graphical game design portion will allow project teams to create digital art and place a graphical interface on top of their game designs. Basic graphics ideas and more advanced programming constructs will be introduced in this portion.
Prerequisite: ACM 215, 216 and a B or better in 255. Restricted to Majors

ACM 316: 3D Character Animation
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
 To provide a solid foundation of the principles of character animation, with which the illusion of life is created. These principles can be applied to create any style of character animation, be it stylized cartoon characters, or realism, to blend seamlessly into live action films. Understanding these Foundation Principles is required in working with any other medium where the illusion of life is desired, e.g.; hand drawn animation, stop motion animation, cut-out animation, etc. By the end of this course participants will be able to: 1. Express personality through weight and timing; 2. Demonstrate the physics of follow-through; 3. Demonstrate a character thinking and anticipating; 4. Demonstrate a natural walk which is motivated by the character’s objective; 5. Demonstrate a basic understanding of performance and acting.
Prerequisite:  ACM 215 and 216 and B or better in 255 and Art 113. Restricted to Majors

ACM 317: 3D Cinemaatography and Dynamics
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Computer animation directing and cinematography for the design and creation of visual effects. Using particles and dynamic systems to simulate natural phenomena. Compositing of visual layers.
Prerequisite: ACM 215 and 216. Restricted to Majors


ACM 318: Drawing for Animation
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
To provide a solid foundation of the principles of design for cinema, together with observational studies essential for the student of animation. Design includes visual storytelling, idea generation, composing for the screen, and character design. Observational drawing from life includes drawing from the model or animal, to better understand gesture, poses and particularly movement. By the end of this course participants will be able to: 1. Appropriately plan out their animated scenes/films visually; 2. Demonstrate an understanding of composition and visual storytelling; 3. Demonstrate a basic understanding of character, and scene design; 4. Create a professional presentation of their work. Concurrent with ACM 316.
Prerequisite: ACM 215 and 216 and B or better in 255 and Art 113. Restricted to Majors


ACM 320: 3D Computer Animation Production I
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course is meant to introduce students to the process of creating a short animated film from concept to finish. The course will be divided into three portions. The preproduction and planning portion of the course will cover the initial conceptual design, writing, story boarding, and voice recording stages of the production. Students will plan out their animated films in some detail, and create a story reel in preparation for the second portion of the course. The production and animation portion of the course will cover the actual 3D animation production, which will include the creation of the characters, sets, and environments; the shot-by-shot animation of the film; and the shading, lighting, and texturing of the scenes. The rendering and post-production portion will cover the frame-by-frame rendering of the final images; addition of music, vocal, and sound effects tracks; and any required compositing or other port-processing.
Prerequisite: ACM 316 and 318. Restricted to Majors



ACM 325: Visual Effects
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Introduction to the history, theory, design and execution of visual effects for the screen. Project-based learning in traditional photographic and digitally generated special effects.
Prerequisite: ACM 215, ACM 216, or ACM 310. Restricted to Majors


ACM 350: Screenwriting
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
This course will introduce you to the basics of writing for the screen – whether the large screen of cinema or the small screen of computer animation and video games. It is a project-based course where students will develop a story idea that is presented as a treatment for a short film or video game plot, and then will go through several draft & rewrite stages on its way to becoming a final script. Students will learn the forms and formats of screenwriting, and also the elements of storytelling and character that propel a narrative and compel viewing.
Prerequisite: ACM 310 (or concurrent) or 315 (or concurrent) or 316 (or concurrent) and B or better in ENG 100 or equivalent.


ACM 352/AMST 352 Screening Asian Americans
3 Credits

Descriptions/Objectives
This course is offered by the American Studies Department, and cross-listed as ACM 352 so that ACM students can take it for ACM credit.  It is an undergraduate film seminar for students who wish to gain an in-depth knowledge of the history of Asian and Asian American representations in American film and television from 1915 to 2005. They will also learn about the many achievements of early Asian American actors as well as more contemporary manifestations of corrective representations by talented Asian American filmmakers and performers, such as Wayne Wang, Margaret Cho and Justin Lin.
Prerequisite: Junior Standing or consent. Taught by American Studies.

ACM 355: From Oral Tradition to Screenplay
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
In this course students will come to understand the basics of storytelling, starting with the oral traditions of the Pacific and mainland USA, and develop the ability to adapt those storytelling arts to writing for the screen. Knowledge of MS-Word or Final Draft scriptwriting software is assumed.
Prerequisite: ACM 255 (or concurrent).


ACM 360: Indigenous Aesthetics
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
First languages and indigenous cultures are storehouses. They contain the layers of history of the people; they contain the accretion of people’s feeling for the natural world they live in. They contain the reality of hardship, suffering and joy of the people, they contain the most intimate thoughts and feelings of love, pride, tragedy, of communing with a sense of the divine, of despair, of rage, of scorn and desire. And they contain the narratives that make sense of a people’s past, of its mysteries, of its communal imagination. 
Prerequisite: ACM 255 (or concurrent).


ACM 370: Directing the Actor
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Introduce the screen-director to the craft of acting for the camera. The director has many jobs, but of all the creative collaborators on the production team, only the director is responsible for capturing the performance of the actor. Each student will act in two scenes and direct two scenes.
Prerequisite: ACM 310 and 350 (or concurrent). Restricted to Majors.


ACM 372 Editing for Cinema
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
A comprehensive course examining the theory, procedures, and practices of motion picture editing. Students edit dramatic scenes to learn the tools and techniques of the editor’s craft. The language of cinematic montage and issues of continuity, movement, sound and effects are studied as they relate to the essentials of visual story telling.
Prerequisite: ACM 310 or ACM 316. Restricted to Majors.


ACM 374 Post Production Sound
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
A comprehensive hands-on study of the post-production sound workflow in the digital cinema production process, with emphasis on sound editing, sound design, and multi-track mixing. The course is project based.
Prerequisite: ACM 372. Restricted to Majors.

ACM 375 Directing the Camera for the Screen
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Detailed analysis of cinematic grammar, placement, movement, focus, and effects of the camera to create the mise-en-scene. Practical exercises and projects to apply theory to individual creative work.
Prerequisite:ACM 310 and 350 (or concurrent). Restricted to Majors.



ACM 380 Genre and Narative Theory in Creative Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
An exploration of issues concerning genre and narrative form as they pertain to creative media such as cinema, animation, and video games. Genre and narrative are the dominant mode of classification in creative media and provide instructive points of departure for learning about the history, politics, and economy of film.
Prerequisite: ACM 255


ACM 382 Authors in Creative Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
An in-depth study of specific authors in creative media (director, screenwriter, game designer or animator). Arguably, directors continue to be recognized as the principal author of cultural works, especially those films, games, or serials that have greatly influences issues and themes in creative media. This course examines the aesthetic, critical, and historical dimensions of creative media through the work of selected directors across cultures, regions, and nations.
Prerequisite: ACM 255


ACM 384 Study Abroad
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Intensive study of selected topics, genres, filmmakers, or digital media productions in the host country in a UH -approved study abroad location.
Prerequisite: ACM 255 or consent.

ACM 385: Topics in Creative Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
A topics-designated course that will take advantage of faculty, student and visiting professionals’ interests in subjects not normally covered, or not covered in depth, in the curriculum. Such areas might include a study of various “genre” films, the works of a particular director, or works produced during a particular historic era. Topics could also include innovations in technology and production for film, digital video, or computer animation.
Prerequisite: ACM 255 and Junior Standing.


ACM 386: Techniques in Creative Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
A topics-designated course that will take advantage of faculty, student and visiting professionals’ interests in advanced production and creation techniques not normally covered, or not covered in depth, in the curriculum. An exploration of basic media production theories with additional emphasis on practical application in cinematic storytelling. ACM 386 will introduce students to principles and techniques of advanced creative media through a combination of lectures, guided exercises, individual and collaborative projects. Prerequisite: ACM 310 or ACM 316. Restricted to Majors.


ACM 390: Workshop in Creative Media
1-3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

Short-term intensive workshops in a focused area of media production, such as cinematography, editing, sound design, etc.
Prerequisite: ACM 255. Restricted to Majors.


ACM 399: Directed Group Project
1-3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

Participation in a Group Production Project under the supervision of an ACM faculty member. Students must complete a prospectus for the project that includes objectives, procedures and proposal evaluation. Application forms available on the ACM website.  
Prerequisite: ACM 215 or ACM 310, departmental approval and instructor consent. NOTE: Only 6 credits of 399/499 can be counted toward the major.


ACM 405: Documentary Production
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Focus on the documentary production of a single project by a group in which each individual will take on role and responsibilities of a single crew position, such as director, producer, cinematographer or editor. By examining a range of traditional documentary forms, emphasis will be made on understanding how form can best support story content within a visual anthropological context.
Prerequisites: ACM 310 and ACM 350. Restricted to Majors


ACM 410: Advanced Cinematic and Digital Production
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Advanced cinematic and digital production of a single project by a group with each individual taking on the creative and technical role and responsibilities of a principle crew position; This course is intended for those with previous production experience and who have completed ACM 310.  The number of projects to be produced in this class will be determined by the number of students enrolled.  Prior to the first class, students will be interviewed and assigned a crew position according to interest and experience.  Scripts to be produced will have been chosen by faculty committee review.  Unless otherwise determined by faculty, writers will be the directors of their own scripts.  Emphasis will be made on understanding how artistic form can best support story content within a dramatic narrative.   
Prerequisites: ACM 310 and ACM 350. Restricted to Majors




ACM 415: Computer Game Production
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

Over the course of the semester, students will work as a team to design and produce a computer game.  The entire class will work on a single game project, producing 2D and 3D elements, animation, story, music and audio, as well as software for the project.  This class is co-listed as ICS-491.   
Prerequisite: ACM 315, ICS-313. Restricted to Majors


ACM 420: Computer Animation Production II
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

In this course students will work as a team to produce a short animated film over the course of the semester.  Knowledge of 2D and 3D media authoring tools and animation techniques is assumed. 
Prerequisite: ACM 320. Restricted to Majors


ACM 450: Advanced Screenwriting
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:
Develop the student’s ability to apply the narrative principles of character development, story structure and thematic spine to their work. Each student will produce a polished version of a short screenplay suitable for production, and a fully developed synopsis of a feature length screenplay. .
Prerequisite: ACM 350. Restricted to Majors


ACM 455: Indigenous Filmmaking
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

This course will explore the inroads that have been made by Indigenous filmmakers and films that tell stories of Indigenous cultures, traditions and value systems. Just as importantly, it will provide the student an opportunity to create a short film that reflects indigenous stories, traditions and cultural values. Indigenous filmmaking is both an art form and a tool for social change. We will examine the development of Indigenous cinema with special emphasis on documentaries, and looks at new directions in Indigenous cinema including experimental works and drama.
Prerequisite: ACM 255 and ACM 350. Restricted to Majors



ACM 460: Ethics and Film.
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

Ethical theory and dilemmas as reflected in film and filmmaking. Ethics and Film is part of the critical study of contemporary mass media, including film and digital media. Students must learn the social responsibilities of filmmakers, particularly in the portrayals of the “fault lines” that create societal separations: race and ethnicity; gender; social class; gender; and geographical differences.
Prerequisite: ACM 255 Restricted to Majors


ACM 480: Oceanic Film, TV & Multimedia Culture
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

A focus on film, television and media culture in Oceania. How myth and legend and their hidden meanings become screen stories that extend Pacific Cultures to global audiences.
Prerequisite: ACM 255. Restricted to Majors


ACM 485: Seminar in Creative Media
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

A seminar-designated courses that will take advantage of faculty, student and visiting professionals’ interests in subjects not normally covered, or not covered in depth, in the curriculum. Such areas might include a study of various “genre” films, the works of a particular director, or works produced during a particular historic era. Seminars could also include innovations in technology and production for film, digital video, or computer animation. The Seminar would be marked by higher degrees of active learning and student responsibility for researching and presenting specific aspects of the course.   
Prerequisite: ACM 255 and Junior Standing. Restricted to Majors


ACM 490: Global Media
3 Credits

Objectives/Description:

Close textual analysis and strategic analysis of globalism through media.
Prerequisite: ACM 255. Restricted to Majors



ACM 495: Internship
3 Credits

Description/Objectives:

To provide students the opportunity to apply classroom theory and knowledge to professional media settings.  Minimum 150 hours of substantive participation in the professional workplace under the supervision of a professional on site and a faculty member in the ACM. Guidelines and worksheets for internship qualifications available from faculty and the ACM website.
Prerequisite: ACM 310 or ACM 315 or ACM 316 and Consent.  Restricted to Majors. Repeatable 1 time. NOTE: No more than 6 credits of Internship can be counted toward the major.


ACM 499: Directed Study
3 Credits

Objectives/Description:

An opportunity for students to pursue scholarly and creative projects beyond the scope of standard course offerings. Each proposed directed study project must include a clear description, statement of objectives, methods/procedures, proposed means of assessment, and be approved by both an ACM faculty member and chair.  Application forms available on the ACM website.   
Prerequisite: ACM 310 or ACM 315 or ACM 316 and Consent. Restricted to Majors. Repeatable. NOTE: Only 6 credits of 399/499 can be counted toward the major.

Outside Electives for ACM

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