Graphic Design Diploma – Animation & Motion Graphics Specialization

As a graduate of the Graphic Design Diploma with specialization in Animation and Motion Graphics, you will understand the fundamentals of design, motion graphics and animation. You’ll be able to create and combine multiple forms of media to generate animation and motion-based projects involving graphic, video and audio assets, and will complete the program with a graphic portfolio that demonstrates your skills, knowledge and techniques in design, animation, video and motion. 

View courses and cost per credit for our Animation and Motion Graphics Diploma. Courses, course names and cost per credit may vary by location. Download your state specific catalog for more information.


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Animation and Motion Graphics Diploma Course List

Major and Core Courses

Lower Division

Design Foundations

In this course students will learn the foundational principles and elements of art & design and explore them through digital design. Theory of each principle and element will be supported by hands-on exercises in which students will apply what they have learned. Examples from the history of art & design will be used to support and explain each new concept. Balance, value, repetition, unity & variety, contrast, dominance, scale, line, shape & form, depth, direction, texture, color, and value will be presented. This course will provide basic training and exploration in a variety of industry-standard design software. Emphasis will be placed on exploration of basic foundation principles through original compositional designs.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: NM105
Credits: 3

Drawing from Observation

Students in this course will develop and hone vision and drawing skills. The course will focus on drawing on paper from still life and life scenes observations. The course will progress from basic sketching and contour lines to gesture drawing and perspective drawing. Developing observation skills for line, form, light, shadow, and detail, will be emphasized. Techniques learned in this course will be utilized later in digital drawing and painting courses. Professionalism in critique of one's own work and that of others will be practiced.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: NM112
Credits: 3


This course focuses on the fundamentals of typography and introduces the students to aspects of type for display and text design. Students become familiar with the categories of type and a variety of font families. They also become proficient at choosing fonts to match a specific message. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM121
Credits: 3

Digital Illustration

In this course students will create illustrations with industry standard digital software. Concepts and themes developed into visual painted and drawn messages will be explored. Illustrations will be created for print and screen. The process of illustrating an idea or story, from thumbnails to sketching, color and style studies, color comprehensives, to final illustrations, will be presented.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations and Drawing for Observation

Course ID: NM140
Credits: 3

Color Theory

This course offers methods and exercises for the study of color theory using creative software. Exploring color on the computer holds the advantage of speedy experimentation with many color techniques and solutions, as well as immediate application to projects. The digital approach used in this course will give students knowledge and practice that is immediately relevant as the student moves from color study to color application.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM120
Credits: 3

Introduction to Animation

This course introduces students to the 12 basic principles as well as the processes of animation. Student will learn about research, pre-visualization, storyboarding, animatics, character model sheets, and other processes integral to accomplishing a final animated film. Sketches and source imagery are utilized to effectively communicate ideas for time-based media. Documentation techniques are employed to chart progress with character and scene development, as well as cameras and lighting. Students will be able to relate the 12 basic principles to examples from animation history while applying them through hands-on analog and digital projects.

Prerequisite: Design Foundations

Course ID: NM150
Credits: 3

Interactive Media

This course is a study of the integration of components used in multimedia applications using authoring software. Students use industry-standard software as well as skills developed in earlier coursework to produce interactive projects that incorporate graphics, sound, and interactive elements. Combining multimedia elements into HTML pages are explored. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Animation and Typography

Course ID: NM200
Credits: 3

Audio/Video Editing

Students learn the theory and processes of audio/video editing using non-linear editing software on the desktop. Exercises in production and post-production techniques will be applied for various delivery media. Students produce and edit a series of short videos for video, disk and Internet applications. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM130
Credits: 3

Print Design

This course utilizes techniques associated with designing computer graphics and multi-page and package design for both desktop publishing and digital distribution. Students will learn professional practices in proper file setup, saving and exporting, and delivery. Emphasis is on the exploration of combining illustration, images, and type in an effective manner while working toward industry-standard published files primarily in printed form.

Prerequisite: Typography

Course ID: NM210
Credits: 3

User Experience Design

This course expands on student's knowledge of interactive design learned in earlier course work, exploring interactive design from the perspective of user experience. Metaphors for graphic interfaces and icon design are studied through industry product examples, student practice exercises and projects. Organizing, scoping, planning, design, prototype models, and creating, working and aesthetic interactive experiences of complex informational content through rich multimedia experiences are covered. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-standard design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM222
Credits: 3

Digital Photography

Building upon skills already accomplished in earlier course work, students will advance their skills, aesthetic, and technique in digital image making. Professional artist's sample work will be viewed, analyzed, deconstructed, and discussed in terms of concept, message, technique, and approach. A variety of techniques for digital image-based art making will be demonstrated, explored, and practiced. Images will be combined with typographic and written messages. Image output for print, screen, and broadcast will be presented. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Color Theory

Course ID: NM230
Credits: 3

Career Development

This course is designed to study the personal and professional characteristics necessary for obtaining and maintaining suitable employment. The student will assemble a complete job-seeking portfolio including his/her resume and references, letters of application and appreciation, documentation of work and educational history, and demonstration of skills through examples of student work. The course includes an in-depth study of self-marketing approaches, job interviewing techniques and professionalism as well as participation in a mock interview.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: E242
Credits: 2

Motion Graphics

Moving graphic 2D animation is the primary focus of this course. Students will composite video, digital images, motion graphics, vector and pixel graphics, titles, and kinetic typography into cohesive motion graphics pieces. Narrative and non-narrative form will be explored. Projects include: kinetic logo design, animated PSAs, broadcast titling, and advertising spots. Students will assemble a demo reel of motion work. Software training builds on previous knowledge to advance student's skills with a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: Audio/Video Editing

Course ID: NM241
Credits: 3

Digital Media Project

This course is a culmination of a student's accumulated knowledge in narrative and non-narrative digital film creation. Students will produce a proposed film idea from concept to final presentation. Brainstorming, story writing, casting, storyboarding, animatic, character creation, animation, audio and video recording and production, camera techniques, digital capturing/rendering, non-linear editing, post production, titling, compositing, and final output will be evaluated in the final piece. The course will culminate in a screening of final student films.

Prerequisite: Motion Graphics

Course ID: NM251
Credits: 3

Portfolio Development

In this course, students create an industry-quality portfolio consisting of enhanced and updated projects from previous classes as well as newly created projects. Students will create a final portfolio/demo reel using a consistent theme and targeting an intended market based on what career path they are pursuing. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-accepted Adobe design software.

Prerequisite: User Experience Design

Course ID: NM261
Credits: 3

Choose a Specialization

Web & Interactive Design

Fundamentals of Web Design

This course is an introduction to the World Wide Web and the design and development of web sites. It provides a foundation in the planning, designing, and production of web pages through the creation of HTML and CSS using industry-standard web development software. Key components of the course include web design principles, the planning and management of content and structure, optimized image production, web typography and usability.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM132
Credits: 3

User-Centered Web Design

This course builds upon the fundamentals of web development with a focus on user-centered design. Expanding upon basic HTML and style sheets, the student is introduced to best practices, interface design, and the development of flexible, multi-use sites. Usability and accessibility are also explored in greater depth, using advanced web development tools. Needs of the visitor will be examined, including detecting and responding to the visitor's browser, as well as utilizing the advanced media capabilities of HTML5 and CSS.

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Web Design and User Experience Design

Course ID: NM160
Credits: 3

Introduction to Web Scripting

This course introduces the advanced interaction capabilities enabled through the use of client-side scripting languages. Students are introduced to basic logic and programming concepts, with a focus on Javascript and AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript and XML). Enhancement of usability and function are explored and emphasized, with attention on collecting and validating user information and interacting with the site visitor.

Prerequisite: Fundamentals of Web Design

Course ID: NM170
Credits: 3

Scripting for Web Servers

This course delves deeper into the power of web development through server-side programming. Building upon Introduction to Web Scripting, the student will explore and interact with server-side databases and collect and manipulate data using general PHP scripting language. Students will create dynamic content for web pages to perform simple calculations, collect visitor information, and interact with basic databases.

Prerequisite: Introduction to Web Scripting

Course ID: NM281
Credits: 3

Mobile Web Design

This course focuses on current trends in web usage, specifically on the expansion of mobile platforms from laptops to tablets and smartphones. Emphasis is placed on responsive design: creating cross-platform web sites that provide equal and optimal usability across a wide range of devices, screen sizes, and resolutions. Various web tools and techniques are utilized to provide a fluid and flexible experience for the web visitor.

Prerequisite: User-Centered Web Design

Course ID: NM290
Credits: 3

Animation & Motion Graphics

Figure Drawing

Basics of structure and anatomy of the human figure will be introduced with a strong emphasis on gesture and the drawing of actions and kinetics. Students will explore drawing a stationary human figure as well as figures moving while dressed in flowing costumes and figures performing basic movements. The development of visual acuity and professionalism in criticism of artwork will play a key role in the course.

Prerequisite: Digital Illustration

Corequisite Digital Illustration

Course ID: NM100
Credits: 3

3D Modeling

This course introduces students to the fundamentals of 3-dimensional modeling. Students learn basic modeling techniques, texture, lighting, and environmental effects, to create forms based on observed objects, as well as student's original concepts. Basic constructs are covered such as: primitive objects, polygon modeling, nurbs, booleans, extrusions, lofting, revolving/lathing, software interface navigation, model exporting and rendering. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-standard 3D design software.

Prerequisite: Interactive Media

Course ID: NM114
Credits: 3

3D Lighting, Texturing & Rendering

Expanding upon prior experience with 3D modeling and animation, students will take a deeper look into the specifics of lighting, texturing, and rendering. Advanced texturing techniques and methods, in combination with best practices for lighting various model scenarios, will be explored and then further refined through examining output from multiple renderers.

Prerequisite: 3D Modeling

Course ID: NM123
Credits: 3

3D Animation

Building upon knowledge of 3D modeling and rendering and 3D animation from earlier coursework, this course will focus on advancing 3D animation skills, techniques, and proficiencies towards creating an animated digital short film. Emphasis on refining application of the 12 animation principles, life-like animation, forward and inverse kinematics, scene staging, and camera work. This course will provide training in a variety of industry-standard 3D design software.

Prerequisite: 3D Lighting, Texturing and Rendering

Course ID: NM142
Credits: 3

Character Modeling

This course is designed to refine skills in 3D character creation and effects. During this course students will explore advanced 3D modeling and animation theory and principles that focus on character animation as it applies to the gaming environment. Specifically, these principles and theories are applied to the context of interactive narratives and video games. Students will engage in the study of character posing and rigging for games, advanced animation, and morphing, blending, and similar techniques to create more expressive characters. This course will further prepare a student for industry certification in Autodesk 3ds Max.

Prerequisite: Figure Drawing and 3D Lighting, Texturing and Rendering

Course ID: NM270
Credits: 3

General Education Courses

Lower Division

English Composition (Required Course)

English Composition

This course is designed to guide students in understanding the writing process and developing their ability to write and express ideas in an organized, unified, and coherent manner. Students will produce college-level writing that reflects awareness of rhetorical strategies, writing purpose, student voice, and appropriate grammar, punctuation, and usage skills. Through reading, writing, discussion, research, and collaboration, students will practice effective writing and apply course concepts.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G124
Credits: 4

Communication (Select 1 Course)

English Composition 2

This course builds on students' understanding of the writing process through an exploration of various writing strategies and research. Students will analyze readings and apply critical reading and writing skills. This course will develop argumentative writing and application of research.

Prerequisite: English Composition

Course ID: G126A
Credits: 4

Introduction to Communication

The course will introduce students to basic models and theories of the communication process. Students will learn about a variety of elements involved in communication. They will also explore how factors such as race, ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, and gender influence communication. Students will focus on developing an awareness of the effects of various types of communication on themselves and others. They will also develop practical skills for improving their ability to communicate in personal, social and professional contexts. Specific topics will include perception, self-concept, verbal and nonverbal communication, effective listening and communicating in culturally diverse settings.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G141
Credits: 4

Oral Communication

This course will present students with a broad understanding of communication in a variety of contexts. Students will learn the processes and strategies of oral communication by exploring speech anxiety, audience analysis, and organizational speech patterns. Students will research, use supporting materials, and use effective language to develop and present a narrative, informative and persuasive speech.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G227
Credits: 4

Math/Natural Sciences (Select 1 Math course, College Algebra recommended)

Structure and Function of the Human Body

This course provides a working knowledge of the structure and function of the human body. A general introduction to cells and tissues is followed by study of the anatomy and physiology of the skeletal and muscular systems. The student is introduced to the nervous, cardiovascular, respiratory, digestive, urinary, reproductive, and endocrine systems.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G150
Credits: 4

Scientific Literacy

In this course students will explore the role that science plays in the world. Students will survey different natural sciences such as: biology, health sciences, chemistry, physics, astronomy, and geology; as well as analyze specific case studies from these fields. Throughout the course students will develop their scientific reasoning skills. They will learn about the scientific method as well as how to detect common fallacies and misuses of science.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G152
Credits: 4

General Education Mathematics

This course introduces students to topics from modern mathematics that are relevant to everyday life and not typically covered in the standard college math sequence. Students will be exposed to a variety of mathematical tools from diverse branches of mathematics. They will utilize these tools to solve interesting real-world problems. Topics may include, but are not limited to, game theory, graph theory, the mathematics of growth, applications of geometry, probability, and statistics.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G180
Credits: 4

Introduction to Human Biology

Students will explore fundamental concepts of human biology. They will examine cell structure and function, body systems, and biochemistry. They will also learn basic concepts of genetics and evolution. Students will explore the relationship of human populations and the ecosystem. Students will complete laboratory exercise coordinated with course content.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G231
Credits: 4

College Algebra

This course provides students with the skills to achieve mastery of algebraic terminology and applications including, but not limited to, real number operations, variables, polynomials, integer exponents, graphs, factoring, quadratic equations, and word problems.

Prerequisite: Passing grade in Foundation coursework or placement determined by Rasmussen College entrance placement exam score

Course ID: G233
Credits: 4

Introduction to Astronomy

Examines astronomical phenomena and concepts, including the solar system, stars and galaxies, planetary motions, atoms and radiation, and the origin and evolution of the universe.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G239
Credits: 4

Introduction to Geology

Examines basic geologic principles from a physical or historical perspective. Includes such topics as the formation of rocks and minerals; internal and external processes modifying the earth's surface and phenomena; and the evolutionary history of the earth, including its life forms, oceans and atmosphere.

Prerequisite: none

Course ID: G245
Credits: 4

Total Diploma Credits

General Education Credits: 12

Major and Core Credits: 44

Specialization Credits: 15

Total Diploma Credits: 71

* Credit totals do not include Foundation Courses.  Students must either demonstrate mastery of the subject matter in Foundation Courses through a Rasmussen College entrance placement exam or by successful completion of Foundation Courses.

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