BA Digital Arts & BEngSc Digital Arts – specialising in Game Design
Digital Arts and Electrical & Information Engineering have pioneered two exciting programs in Game Design, offering you an opportunity to work with what you love. The Game Design course is offered as part of two separate degrees.
One is housed in the Wits School of the Arts (WSOA), the other in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering (EIE). The two schools have been collaborating closely on developing these programmes for many years. What makes this exciting is the multidisciplinary approach that this makes possible. Students will be able to approach Game Design from two directions: the creative arts, or the technical software and engineering side. They will, however, have the opportunity to develop a familiarity with all areas in the field. To this end, students in both degrees attend the same core Game Design course, side by side.
BA Digital Arts (BADigA – AF011)
This degree caters for students interested in game graphics and animation, narrative, and character design. In this degree students do a professional subject in WSOA (Digital Arts Practice), an academic subject in WSOA (Digital Arts Theory), any subject from the Humanities faculty (so English, Philosophy, Psychology, Economics, etc), and of course Game Design. As the degree progresses the other subjects fall away and the Game Design core course becomes the central focus. This is a 4-year professional degree.
BEngSc Digital Arts (EB001)
The technical Game Design degree is a Bachelor of Engineering Science in Digital Art (BEngSc Digital Arts). This 3-year degree is based on the same design as the very successful Biomedical Engineering degree. In this degree students attend half of their courses in the School of EIE. Here they do Physics, Maths, Mechanics, Electric Circuits, Software Development, and Electromagnetic Systems with Game Design as the core course. This degree aims to give students an introduction into both the hardware and software environments. On graduation should they wish to study further students may continue into the third year of the professional Electrical and Information Engineering degree or into the Honours degree in Digital Arts.
Bachelor of Art in Performing and Visual Arts (BA PVA)
This is a 4-year professional degree that integrates theoretical, conceptual elements of Performing and Visual Arts studies. The BA PVA degree allows students to cater for diverse interests in the Arts by combining professional subjects offered in different disciplines, or focusing on more academic subjects within Humanities with only one professional subject.
From within Digital Arts, the BA PVA is ideal for students wanting to combine Game Design with Music Composition or to combine their focus on Game Design with other Humanities subject as an academic major. Popular combinations include Psychology (for those interested in the application of games to an industrial or therapeutic practice), English Literature (For those interested in Creative Writing in Interactive Environments), and even Math. The BA PVA also allows for students to move into senior Digital Arts specialisations like Animation, Interactive Media, or Writing and Interactivity, without being in the Game Design program itself.
As the curriculum for the BA PVA is custom made for each student’s interest you MUST consult with Catherine Duncan Catherine.Duncan@wits.ac.za or Hamisha Bhana Hamisha.Bhana@wits.ac.za with regards to your specific areas of interest and combinations of subjects.
Aditional Undergraduate Courses in Digital Arts
Animation, Interactive Media and Writing and Interactivity
Digital Arts offers a number of undergraduate semester courses to introduce students studying professional degrees in the Wits School of Arts to the field. It is strongly recommended that students considering an MA in Digital Arts take these courses as part of their undergraduate degree as preparation for their advanced degree. These courses are also ideal as part of the BA PVA degree.
While Animation and Interactive Media courses can be taken together, as they fall in the same semester we advise students to consider the Writing and Interactivity course for the alternative semester as it would fit into their workload better. Should you choose to take Animation and Interactive Media together, please consult with us about the course requirements. Alternative semester courses are also available from WSOA, please speak to the Student Liaison Officer for more options. As each is a single semester course, we recommend consulting with us to ensure that they fit within your required degree credits and timetable.
To be considered for these courses, you need to submit a one-page motivation and a digital portfolio that includes any previous animation you may have done, or any other forms of art, design, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, or creative writing. This can be sent to Hamisha Bhana Hamisha.Bhana@wits.ac.za or directly to Tegan Bristow Tegan.Bristow@wits.ac.za, Bronwyn Horne Bronwyn.Horne@wits.ac.za, or Hanli.firstname.lastname@example.org
Third Year Courses:
First Semester – B diagonal
WSOA3001 INTRODUCTION TO PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION
The aim of this course is to give students the opportunity to obtain a working knowledge of the practical, technical, and creative possibilities of 2-D animation. Through the creation of short 2D animated clips, the students will get to experiment with different forms of storytelling and gain an introductory understanding of the practical and technical components involved in the production of 2-D animation. The course encompasses a large area of skills and techniques using TV Paint software. Students will also engage with theories of animation and analyse the work of several prominent 2-D animation filmmakers.
First Semester – D diagonal
WSOA3000 INTRODUCTION TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB AS CREATIVE MEDIUM
Writing and Interactivity
Second Semester – B diagonal
WSOA3015 – Writing and Interactivity III
The course provides an introduction to Interactive Literature, Storytelling, and Writing for an Interactive Environment. Students are introduced to selected tools for interactive writing, as well as the conceptual and creative framework of the field. The course is theoretically grounded with selected case studies, but also focus on the practical production of interactive writing.
Fourth Year Courses
Writing and Interactivity
First Semester – C diagonal
WSOA4089 – Writing and Interactivity IV
In this course, students extend their knowledge of Interactive Narratives in both theory and practice. This is a strongly theoretically framed course which encourages students to develop their interest in the field through experimental practice. Students produce a portfolio of their own Interactive Narrative works.
Fourth Year – Second Semester – D diagonal
WSOA4051 APPLIED CONCEPTS IN INTERACTIVE MEDIA PRACTICE
After this course, students will be able to develop interactive applications in Processing (a Java-based development environment for artists and designers) and would have a thorough grounding in the history and theory of data and interaction in art and creative practice. The course has two interlinked threads, a theory thread, and a practice thread. The focus of the theory thread is to investigate data and its use in software driven and networked contemporary cultures. Addressing how we influence and are influenced by data; questioning its techniques and addressing its role in networked culture, contemporary art, and digital culture practices. The practice thread focuses on learning Processing. In building interactive, graphic and data-driven digital applications, students will gain coding skills and techniques for web-based application development.
Second Semester – B diagonal
WSOA 4052 Digital Animation
The focus of this course is on 3D character animation using Autodesk Maya. Students will undergo an intensive course on the animation principles so that they have the vocabulary and the tools to tackle a broad range of character animation problems. Through this course, students develop an “eye” to identify animation problems and are able to distinguish animation which is believable from that which is unconvincing. A student who has completed the course satisfactorily will come away having learned the following basic skills: A solid understanding of the principles of animation; be able to map out their animation in thumbnails; basic 3D modelling, shading, lighting and rendering as well as storyboarding and creating animatics.
If you want to study any of these courses please contact:
Hamisha Bhana- Wits School of Arts Student Liaison Officer
Telephone: 27 (11) 717 4656