Course Syllabus

DES 3600 / ART 3610 — 3D Visualization

INSTRUCTOR: Prof. Ronald Woodland (
TELEPHONE: 435-652-7970
OFFICE: Üdvar-Hazy Bldg., Room 324

2:00 pm to 2:50 pm — Monday, Wednesday, Friday (section 01)
Üdvar-Hazy Bldg., Room 120

This course is an introduction to three-dimensional modeling and photorealistic rendering on the computer.  Techniques for creating 3-D models, developing and applying textures, assembling scenes with expressive lighting, and rendering finished images or animations will be examined in detail.  When a solid foundation in the basics of modeling, mapping, and rendering are fully understood, additional techniques used in animation will be explored as time allows.

"For students pursuing an emphasis in Visual Technologies; also open to other interested students. Introduces three-dimensional modeling and rendering techniques on the computer, including various modeling processes, defining and applying textures, assembling scenes, and rendering images, which are applicable to realistic package and product designs, as well as exciting graphics for desktop or Internet publishing projects.  Assignments require access to specific programs on either Machintosh or Windows platforms.  Course fee required. Prerequisites: DES 2500 (Grade C- or higher); AND DES 2600 (Grade C- or higher)."
(Dixie State College Catalog, 2010)

DES 1300, DES 2500, and DES 2600. (See the current course catalog and this semester's class schedule for more information about these courses.)

Familiarity with the MacOS and Windows operating systems is assumed. A solid understanding of file management — including the concept of file pathnames — is essential to successful delivery of your projects.  A good working knowledge of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator is expected. (Lack of functional working knowledge of computers in general, and the software tools taught in the prerequisite courses specifically, may adversely affect your ability to perform well in this class.)


  • Textbook: None Required
  • Storage media to backup and/or manage your coursework during the semester
    1. Multiple blank DVD-R/RW disks (to back up data and files)
    2. A USB flash drive of sufficient size (32 GB or larger)
    3. Optional: External hard drive of usable size (500 GB or larger)

If you suspect or are aware that you have a disability that may affect your success in this course, you are strongly encouraged to contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) located in the North Plaza Building.  The disability claim will be evaluated and eligible students will receive assistance in obtaining reasonable accommodations. For more information, call 435-652-7516.

DSU seeks to provide an environment that is free of bias, discrimination, and harassment.  If you have been the victim of sexual harassment/misconduct/assault, we encourage you to report this to the college's Title IX Director — Cindy Cole, (435) 652-7731,  If you report to a faculty member, she or he must notify the Title IX Director about the basic facts of the incident.

"In order to ensure that the highest standards of academic conduct are promoted and supported at the University, students must adhere to generally accepted standards of academic honesty, including but not limited to, refraining from cheating, plagiarizing, falsification, misrepresentation, and/or inappropriately colluding or collaborating.  The University shall consistently hold students accountable for instances of academic dishonesty and apply appropriate consequences. For more information, see the Student Academic Misconduct section of DSU policy at (Links to an external site.)"

What constitutes plagiarism vs appropriation has been debated in terms of graphic graphic design.  With the introduction of the internet, students and professionals face the question of what is appropriate in terms of deriving inspiration from visual sources and what is actual plagiarism or theft of concepts.

Any appropriation or use of other's design work is considered plagiarism.  Review the links below for further clarification.

This is an upper division course and you are expected to create original content for all design projects.  As you continue to develop your visual vocabulary and use of design tools you might have questions about what is appropriate in terms of image use.  You should always strive to use your own images but if you need to use images created by others you must find ones that are designated as "fair use (Links to an external site.)" or "public domain" or obtain permission for use of these images. 

A good resource to search for images that may be usable is (Links to an external site.).  Please consult with the professor if you have questions.

Classrooms are special environments in which students and faculty come together to promote learning and growth.  It is essential in these environments that respect for the rights of others seeking to learn, respect for the professionalism of the instructor, and the general goals of academic freedom are maintained.

Students are expected arrive to class on time, take notes (as necessary), and remain in class until the end of the session.  During class, students should be polite to one another and the professor and be attentive to the matters being discussed through active participation.  Inappropriate behavior includes (but is not limited to) IMPROPER COMPUTER USAGE, LAUGHING, INATTENTIVE DEMEANOR, SLEEPING, TALKING OUT OF TURN, AND TEXTING.

Behavior that interferes with the learning of other students will not be tolerated.  The Dixie State College Policies and Procedures Manual, Section 3-34, states: “Teachers at Dixie State College have the right to manage the classroom environment to ensure a good learning climate.  Toward this end, teachers (or college security) may dismiss and remove disruptive students from individual class activities.  If a student's behavior continues to disrupt class activities, the teacher may dismiss and cause the removal of disruptive students from his or her course.”

Students who are asked to leave class should do so quietly and without confrontation.  They will be expected to schedule a meeting with the instructor before being allowed to attend class again.  If students start a disturbance, the instructor will call Campus Security to have the students removed from campus.  Students are not allowed to interfere with the learning of others.

Mobile device use in the classroom (including cellphones), should be targeted to classroom content, placed on silent mode, and not draw attention away from the learning environment for either the teacher or other students.

Specifically, cell phones are a serious distraction to everyone in the class, including the instructor. It is inappropriate to make or receive phone calls, to text messages, or to check for messages once a student enters a classroom, especially during scheduled class time. Students should remember to silence their phones before entering the classroom or CIT lab.  If students must leave their cell phones on for any reason, they should set them to vibrate or disable the ringtones.  If a student's cell phone disturbs the class, the student will be asked to leave class and consult with the instructor about being readmitted to class.  During a test, if a student is caught looking at a cell phone or other electronic device or texting during class, the instructor will assume the student is cheating, and the student will forfeit any points for that day and may be asked to leave class.

The instructor reserves the right to change the specifics of this syllabus and the schedule (weekly topics of instruction, assignments, assignment details, due dates, etc.) as determined for the betterment of the class.  Any changes will be announced in a timely manner during class instruction periods.

The purpose of this course is to teach students how to use the computer as a 3-D modeling and visualization tool. Students will learn the technical aspects of the 3-D modeling software.  Students will receive design projects at intervals throughout the quarter, which they will be expected to produce on the computer. Assignments are tailored to require the application of concepts presented in class periods.  Students will learn to distinquish between effective and ineffective 3-D modeling approaches through instruction, exposure to expert examples, and course projects.

At the completion of the course, students will be expected to know the following technical skills:

  • Gaining an appreciation of the history of three-dimensional modeling and image rendering.
  • Understanding the technical and artistic uses of 3-D models.
  • Drawing 2-D and 3-D objects using tools from the Tools palette.
  • Navigation of 3-D space using 2-D tools and view planes
  • Visualizing spatial relationships within a virtual 3-D environment
  • Constructing 3-D objects using various modelers.
  • Grouping and ungrouping objects
  • linking and unlinking objects
  • Parenting and unparenting objects
  • Transforming objects and groups using various tools and methods
  • Editing the geometry of both 2-D and 3-D objects at the vertex level
  • Creating and applying various texture types, including difficult surface properties like glass, mirror, and metals.
  • Mapping image created in external software using various methods and properties
  • Creating textures/shaders that can accurately simulate real world surfaces
  • Adding/inserting and adjusting each type of light source for effective lighting.
  • Adding/Inserting and controlling each type of camera
  • Understanding and implementing advanced lighting techniques using raytracing and photo mapping
  • Using hierarchical construction techniques in larger 3-D projects.
  • Building and scripting animations using hierarchical structuring.
  • Choosing and setting the appropriate quality levels needed for specific image-rendering needs.
  • Rendering still images of proscribed size using various rendering methods.
  • Understanding the advantages and disadvantages of, and be able to use, various rendering methods.
  • Rendering animation sequences into a popular digital video format.
  • Using various types of camera objects for both still and animation rendering.
  • Establishing rendering frame sizes according to project specifications for both still images and animations.

All assignments will be submitted in electronic form.  You will make presentations of your work to the class at various times throughout the semester.  In case of technical difficulties, you should always keep backup copies of ALL your work using the suggested storage media.

ATTENDANCE is important to your success in this course; therefore, the grades earned for this course will also reflect your attendance habits.  A total of 45 points are allotted for attendance toward the total points possible to determine your grade — one point for each classroom period during the semester. Attendance will be recorded by signing an attendance form passed around the class each time we meet.  IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ENSURE THAT YOU SIGN THE ROLL EACH DAY.  If you don't sign the attendance roll, you didn't attend class that day.

CREATIVE PROJECTS. There are seven (7) specific assignments through the semester, each worth 50 points.  Thus, the maximum possible for all assignments is 350 points. See the weekly schedule for assignment descriptions and due dates.  These are intended to be original work and should reflect techniques learned in the course up to the time of each project.  Specific attention will be given to how you incorporate new knowledge and techniques into your projects.  Relative improvement in production values from one project to the next will also be considered in the points earned.  Projects will also be evaluated on the design and artistic layout of the piece.  The points given for each assignment will be based on the standards found in rubrics developed for this course.

Assignments will be submitted electronically to a networked server. Instruction will be given in class before the first assignment is due concerning how to access the submission web page and find the appropriate sub-directory to submit the assignments.  Additionally, students will present their work to the class on pre-announced days.  The class will participate by critiquing each others' assignments in order to provide artistic feedback and help improve students' design skills.  It is important that you attend and participate on the peer-critique days to receive points for that part of your assignment score.

All assignments will be due by 10:00 P.M. on the day(s) specified.  To earn up to the full points for projects, students must submit assignments on time and also present their work in class.  POINTS WILL BE DEDUCTED FOR LATE ASSIGNMENTS. ASSIGNMENTS MORE THAN FOURTEEN (14) DAYS LATE WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED! NO EXCEPTIONS.

WRITTEN MID-TERM EXAM.  A mid-term test will be given during week eight (8) of the semester during a scheduled class period.  There are 50 points possible.  No makeup exam will be available.  If you miss the mid-term during the appointed date(s) and time, your grade will be severely and negatively affected.

SKILLS TEST.  A hands-on skills test will be given in connection with the written final of the semester.  There are 50 points possible.  Consider this the essay portion of the final exam, designed to give you an opportunity to show your mastery of specific Photoshop skills.  Each student's resulting product will be evaluated for adherence to the principles of design as well as demonstration of objectives listed previously in this syllabus.  Being able to perform these skills will free the student to concentrate on developing creativity by using the computer as an artistic tool, rather than a barrier because the software is difficult.

WRITTEN FINAL EXAM.  A final exam will be given during the scheduled time for this class period.  There are 100 points possible.  DO NOT BE LATE!

To review for the both the mid-term and final written tests, check HERE for example questions and suggested areas you should know.

First and foremost, technical problems with computers or software will NOT be accepted as a reason for late coursework.  Technology is not an excuse; it is a resource.  Points will be deducted for late submissions.  Assignments will not be accepted if over fourteen (14) days late.  THERE ARE NO EXCEPTIONS TO THIS POLICY, REGARDLESS OF THE EXCUSE!  Projects are given specific due dates during the semester.  Tests will be administered at the times specified in this syllabus.  If you cannot take a test at the scheduled time, due to an APPROVED reason, you must contact the instructor and arrange to take the test early.  Plan ahead and make sure you deliver your work on time.

The design quality of your assignments is a significant factor in the points evaluation.  Adherence to the technical specifications of the assignment will also be checked — image size and file formats are the most-often ignored issues that will lose assignment points.  If you hand in all assignments on time and score well on the tests, you will receive at least a "C" grade.  A higher grade can be earned on the creative and design components you add to your assignments.  I am looking for more than the minimum work required to meet the assignments.  If you have questions about what is considered "A"-, "B"-, or "C"-level work for this course, read this page on establishing grading criteria.  If you have further questions, contact the instructor for this class.

Points for course work are earned by turning in assignments and taking tests on time. (See the weekly course and assignments schedule for the due dates.) Allocation of points for the four major components of course work are as follows:

45 ...Attendance (1 pt. each class period)
350 (7) Creative Projects (50 pts. each)
50 ...Mid-Term Exam
100 ...Final Exam
545 ...Total points possible


Letter grades will be earned based on the following percentages of the total points possible:


A 95% or higher
A- 90% to 94.99%
B+ 85% to 89.99%
B 80% to 84.99%
B- 75% to 79.99%
C+ 70% to 74.99%
C 65% to 69.99%
C- 60% to 64.99%
D+ 55% to 59.99%
D 50% to 54.99%
D- 45% to 49.99%
F 44.99% or lower


IMPORTANT: Letter grades below a “C-” in any course designated as part of the Visual Technologies program cannot be used toward obtaining a Certificate of Competency or abaccalaureate degree. For further information, contact Carol Stander (, advisor for the 4-year CIT baccalaureate degrees.



Last Updated 08.15.2015
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