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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

3D Design: Modeling for Games, Animation & Illustration (FULL)

This program is currently full. New applicants will be added to a waitlist.

In this introductory course, students will learn how to use the industry standard 3D software, Autodesk Maya, to create simple and complex 3D objects and environments. The course will focus on the creation and editing of 3D polygonal shapes and the basics of lighting, materials and rendering.  Students will take primitive 3D shapes like spheres, cubes, and cylinders to create complex objects using the box modeling technique.  This Is the foundational basis for all poly modeling and the initial step in 3D Asset creation for games and animation.

Students will learn the most essential modeling techniques and tools for poly modeling, such as extrusion, managing edgeloops, editing and manipulation of vertices, edges or poly faces at the sub-object mode.  The example lessons in class will focus on the creation of a claw hammer, a Philips head screwdriver, a combination wrench, a cordless drill and a circular saw, modeled from photo references of the student’s choice to learn the modeling tools and techniques necessary for more complex modeling.  Students will also learn the basics of material creation, lighting and rendering to place these tools in an original environment. 

At the end of this two-week course students should be able to navigate the Autodesk Maya interface, create simple and semi complex objects, apply materials, create lights and render out a still image.  This is a great class for any computer savvy student who wants to learn about 3D modeling for games, movies, animation and so much more.  No Prior 3D experience is necessary.  Autodesk Maya is available for both Mac and PC and the classroom will be using PC computers.

The skills and techniques learned in this course can be included in students' Art Portfolios for their college application process. Presenting 3D work is a great way to help a college art applicant stand out. This class will cover rendering 3D work and demo reels for Art Portfolio preparation.


This course is offered at the UMass Amherst campus as a residential program. Local students may apply to attend as a commuter.