The Master of Fine Arts in Visual Arts
Master of Fine Arts in visual arts at FIX University is the terminal degree within the studio art discipline. Our program offers concentrations in the studio areas of drawing, painting, printmaking, ceramics, photography and sculpture. The primary goal of the program is to provide students with opportunities to develop a high degree of professional competence in their chosen area of concentration. Interdisciplinary and collaborative projects are encouraged within the department. The relatively small size of the program encourages students to explore studio areas that will enhance their major area of concentration. In addition, it creates a highly individualized method of instruction. Our students may also take advantage of the opportunity to spend a semesters of study on The FIX University Cultural Campus in Cali, Columbia.
Having the department of art housed on Independent Learning presents opportunities to interact with various other college disciplines. The M.F.A. curriculum is composed of the following art history and art seminar an in studio thesis. The thesis is primarily art studio in preparation for a final exhibition with published documentation. Residencies are available based upon artist performance and international funding.
The MFA in Digital Production Arts degree requires live projects, of which are devoted to Digital Production Studio, wherein the student participates in production work; which are devoted to Graduate Research Studio, where students may choose to continue work on an independent project, or pursue a contractual production. The Core Courses, Aesthetics and Theory, from the Master's Thesis, and all from Independent Aesthetics and Theory courses.
These courses are intended to address deficiencies in a student’s background. They will be taken as directed upon examination of the student’s portfolio and record of coursework. Students requiring more than two foundations courses will be asked to make up any extra deficiencies before admission.
Description: The technical, conceptual, and algorithmic foundations of computer graphics. The Unix operating system, scripting, C programming, and an interactive graphics API. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor. This course is not permitted to computer science, computer engineering, or computer information systems majors.
DPA 601: Technical Foundations of Digital Production II
Description: The mathematical and algorithmic foundations of computer graphics. Spatial data structures, object oriented programming in C++, mathematics for graphics, 3D graphics API. Prerequisite(s): DPA 401 or permission of the instructor. This course is not permitted to computer science, computer engineering, or computer information systems majors.
DPA 602: Visual Foundations of Digital Production I Description: Visual foundations underlying computer graphics production. Perspective, observational drawing, color and value, principles of composition and design, and storyboarding. Incorporates the studio method, involving students in hands-on work and the critique process, and stresses examples from the history of art, animation, and film. Prerequisite(s): Permission of the instructor. Course is not permitted to art or architecture majors.
DPA 603: Visual Foundations of Digital Production II Description: Extends the foundation visual principles underlying computer graphics production, begun in DPA 402. Stresses representation of the figure in drawing and the use of cameras. Incorporates the studio method, and the critique process, and stresses examples from the history of art, animation, and film. Prerequisite(s): DPA 402 or permission of the instructor. Course is not permitted to art or architecture students.
The core courses provide a broad underlying artistic, technical, and studio methods foundation for advanced study, leading to original studio and research work. Although all courses are required, all will be chosen towards the independent learning requirement. All students will complete the following courses:
THEA 687: Stage Lighting I
Theory and practice of stage lighting through an understanding of various lighting instruments, lighting control systems and execution of lighting designs.
ART 821: Visual Narrative
Students develop visual communication skills through the vernacular of cinema, and express concepts and ideas in sequential narrative design.
CP SC 604: Computer Graphics Images
Theory and practice behind the generation, and manipulation of two-dimensional digital images within a computer graphics context. Image representation and storage, sampling and reconstruction, color systems, affine and general warps, enhancement and morphology, compositing, morphing, non-photorealistic transformations. Prerequisite(s): CPSC 212 and MTHSC 311, or DPA 401
CP SC 809: Rendering and Shading
The art and science of lighting and shading for effective computer graphic imagery, including the mathematical, physical, and perceptual elements contributing to the simulation of a desired visual look. Shading languages, advanced rendering tools, global illumination effects, production of photoreal and non photoreal imagery. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 807
Studio Methods Core
CP SC 807: 3D Modeling and Animation
Foundation principles and practice of modeling, animating, and rendering of 3D computer graphics scenes. Students complete a series of projects using industry-standard software. Topics include modeling techniques, technical animation, rigging, materials, lighting, scripting, and post production.
CPSC 815: Special Effects Compositing
Video special effects, compositing problems, effects animation, matchmoving and 3-D geometry, color and texture reconstruction from 2-D images; extensive use of scripting languages and high-end software platforms. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 605 or 807
Aesthetics & Theory
The aesthetics and theory electives provide an introduction to the analysis and conceptual foundation of visual presentation. Although only one course is required, an additional course may be chosen towards the Open Electives requirement. The students will complete all of the following courses:
AAH 630: Twentieth Century Art I
Acquaints students with the major artists’ monuments and issues of the Modern period in art. Through lecture/discussions and the reading of primary sources, course places the major modern movements in the context of the period (1860s–1945).
AAH 632: Twentieth Century Art II
Overview of trends in art and architecture since World War II. Specific artists, artworks and movements are presented in a socio/historic context with specific emphasis on the transition from a late-modernist to a post-modern perspective.
ENGL 650: Film Genres
Advanced study of films that have similar subjects, themes and techniques, including such genres as the Western, horror, gangster, science fiction, musical and/or screwball comedy. Also considers nontraditional genres, screen irony, genre theory and historical evolution of genres. Topics vary. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 357
ENGL 651: Film Theory and Criticism
Advanced study into the theory of film/ video making emphasizing understanding a variety of critical methods to approach a film. Examines the history of film theory and defines the many schools of film criticism, including realism, formalism, feminism, semiotics, Marxism and expressionism. Prerequisite(s): ENGL 357
ENGL 853: Visual Communication
Understanding the language of images used in textual and extratextual communication; theories of perception, methods of visual persuasion, gender analysis, and cognitive and aesthetic philosophies of visual rhetoric; technologies of visual communication; and technologies of visual production.
PHIL 845: Aesthetics
Nature and value of aesthetic experiences and objects. Attention is directed to the roles of and relationships among objects, makers and audiences; interpretation, criticism and aesthetic response; the contexts and languages of art; the nature of aesthetic value; aesthetics in application; issues in public policy.
The Independent Studies provide an opportunity for students to either develop a special expertise, or broaden their background to sustain studio and thesis work. Independent Studies are offered in the areas listed below. An additional Core Course or an additional Aesthetics and Theory practices may be used towards this requirement. The student’s thesis committee, subject to review by the DPA Director, may approve other courses. All students will complete all course work.
ART 605: Advanced Drawing
Advancedlevel studies of drawing which explore the synthesis of refined drawing skills and philosophies of art. Student’s understanding of drawing as a form of art is developed through studio practice augmented by critiques, demonstrations, lectures, field trips and independent research. Prerequisite(s): ART 305
ART 607: Advanced Painting
Advanced studio course in painting. Study of contemporary painters and directions is included. Students select painting media and are expected to develop a strong direction based on prior painting experience. Prerequisite(s): ART 307
ART 609: Advanced Sculpture
Intensive independent studio concentration to further develop personal direction and content. Emphasis is on continued investigation of sculptural context, materials and processes, and relative historical research. Preq: ART 309 or consent of instructor. Prerequisite(s): ART 309
ART 611: Advanced Printmaking
Culmination of process, techniques and individual development. Students are expected to have mastered process and technique for the benefit of the image produced. Creativity and self-expression are highly emphasized as students select a process for concentrated study. Prerequisite(s): ART 311
ART 613: Advanced Photography
Continuation of ART 313. Advanced problems in photography. Prerequisite(s): ART 313
ART 617: Advanced Ceramic Arts
Students are directed toward further development of ideas and skills. Glaze calculation and firing processes are incorporated to allow for a dynamic integration of form and ideas. Prerequisite(s): ART 317
THEA 672: Improvisation
Practical applications using drama as a learning tool to strengthen writing skills, motivate collaboration and heighten analytical skills. Students use improvisation to analyze texts and to revise original work, consider theory and research of contemporary scholars and develop approaches to literature and composition based on readings and drama experiences. Preq: Senior standing or consent of instructor.
MUSIC 680: Audio Engineering II
Advanced course in music technology focused on music production integrating digital audio and virtual instruments Prerequisite(s): MUSIC 380
THEA 697: Scene Painting
Practical study of basic painting techniques for the theatre including layout, proper use of materials, painting styles and texturing techniques.
CP SC 605: Graphical Systems
Computational, mathematical, physical, and perceptual principles underlying the production of effective three-dimensional computer graphics imagery. Prerequisite(s): CPSC 212 and MTHSC 311, or DPA 401
CP SC 611: Virtual Reality
Design and implementation of software systems necessary to create virtual environments. Techniques for achieving real-time, dynamic display of photorealistic, synthetic images are discussed. Includes hands-on experience with electromagneticallytracked, head-mounted displays and requires, as a final project, the design and construction of a virtual environment. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 405
CP SC 614: Human and Computer Interaction
Survey of human and computer interaction, its literature, history and techniques. Covers cognitive and social models and limitations, hardware and software interface components, design methods, support for design, and evaluation methods. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 212 and 215
CP SC 616: 2D Game Engine Design
Introduction to the tools and techniques necessary to build 2-D games. Techniques draw from subject areas such as software engineering, algorithms and artificial intelligence. Students employ techniques such as sprite animation, parallax scrolling, sound, AI incorporated into game sprites and the construction of a game shell. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 212 and 215
CPSC 619: Physically Based Animation
Physically-based modeling and dynamic simulation techniques as used for the automatic description of motion and geometry for animation and computer graphics. A variety of approaches are explored, with a special emphasis on the use of particle-systems to represent complex phenomena. Prerequisite(s): CPSC 405
CPSC 805: Advanced Computer Graphics
Advanced techniques used in the artificial rendering of natural scenes; current practice in computer graphics; full software implementation of each technique; extensive coding. Prerequisite(s): CP SC 405.
CP SC 863: Multimedia Systems and Applications
Principles of multimedia systems and applications; techniques in effectively representing, processing and retrieving multimedia data such as sound and music, graphics, image and video; operating system and network issues in supporting multimedia; advanced topics in current multimedia research. Term project requires implementing some selected components of a multimedia system.
DPA 808: Advanced Animation
The foundation principles of the production of computer animation, from original concept development and character design, through rigging of articulated figures, character animation methods, and digital cinematography. Prerequisite(s): CPSC 807
DPA 819: Physically Based Effects
The use of physically-based dynamic simulation techniques in the production of digital special effects. The course will emphasize tools, techniques and pipeline. Laboratory assignments will be done using both commercial software and student's custom code. Prerequisite(s): CPSC 619 o
GC 801: Process Control in Color Reproduction
Techniques and rationale for procedures used in reproducing color originals for printed media. Topics include color systems, measurement, reproduction characteristics, proofing systems, process evaluation/analysis for offset, gravure, flexographic and screen printing processes. Prerequisite(s): GC 644
PSYCH 823: Perception, Cognition, and Technology Fundamentals of sensory and perceptual processes focusing on human vision and audition. Emphasis is on perceptual aspects of applications and communication in electronic and traditional media. Topics include perception of speech, time, depth, color and motion in natural and virtual environments, as well as psychophysics, attention, eye movements and reading.
ECE 847: Digitial Image Processing
Review of fundamental concepts, issues and algorithms in image processing. Includes image formation, file formats, filters, edge detection, stereo, motion and color. Prerequisite(s): ECE 467.
Studio & Thesis
DPA 860: Digital Production Studio
The digital production studio provides the student with the opportunity to develop as accomplished visual problem solvers in a team setting. As part of the studio experience, students will complete 12 credits working on a team-oriented production project, in which they will take a project from concept through a finished piece. This will give them the experience of working on a goal-oriented artistic team. Students begin their studio sequence taking the studio course for only one credit each semester of their first year. This provides new students with a familiarization to the team process workflow, while still allowing them to concentrate on coursework to develop core skills and knowledge. After the end of their first two semesters, they work on a team project, for two consecutive terms, either summer-fall or fall-spring. The digital production studio will include regular class meetings, under faculty supervision, providing the vehicle for planning, critique, and presentation of ongoing project work. Although a large majority of a student’s studio work will be undertaken outside of class, active participation in class is crucial to a successful studio experience, and is required.
DPA 880: Graduate Research Studio
The graduate research studio provides the student with the opportunity to complete a major project or projects, under the guidance of a faculty advisor, in a direction supporting their personal goals and aspirations. All students will complete 6 credits of research studio. Such work may be team oriented or individually oriented, and may be of a technical or of an artistic nature.
DPA 891: M.F.A. Thesis
The M.F.A. thesis course consists of a studio project, undertaken with the guidance of the student’s advisor and thesis committee. The thesis project is developed to a refined degree, articulated in the form of a written document, and presented orally in a thesis defense. The project is intended to elaborate and refine a theme that the student has begun to explore in the elective coursework and the production and research studio.