PreCollege Curriculum: Immersions and Core Classes

The PreCollege 2019 Curriculum 

PreCollege is immersive, rigorous, and FUN.

The Ringling College Majors
Ringling College currently offers majors in: Business of Art and Design, Computer Animation, Creative Writing, Film, Fine Arts, Game Art, Graphic Design, Illustration, Motion Design, Photography & Imaging, Virtual Reality Development, and Visual Studies. Fall 2019, we began enrolling our first class in a new major: Entertainment Design. For detailed information about all our majors and see examples of student work, please visit:

Immersion Descriptions and Course Goals (pdf to download)

Immersions may develop required skills used in more than one major. You will be enrolled in TWO immersions based in the majors, in addition to four required classes in art and design funamentals. On the online application, RANK your top preferences from this year’s list of unique courses. You may delve into a specific major or explore two different majors, whether they are closely related or quite different. Placement will be offered with your acceptance to the program in accordance with (1) your ranked majors of interest and (2) your personal essay submitted on your application, as well as (3) how you rank your preferences. Look for immersions that will best meet your interests and learning goals, and provide the opportunity to explore different approaches and techniques whether digital or studio based.

     Immersions are based on Ringling College majors and several are applicable to more than one major.

Having trouble deciding on a major or an immersion?  Visit to explore the majors and view work created in a given major.

Business, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship
This immersion will focus on designing and leading entrepreneurial ventures. Through a series of collaborative exercises, including entrepreneurial idea generation and experimental market research, you will learn to apply a variety of design thinking techniques, mindsets, and strategies for working in and managing creative businesses – and for starting new ones. Sample topics include how to frame and re-frame problems, how to challenge assumptions, how to work in creative teams, how to generate and test creative ideas, and how to tell a compelling story through a verbal and visual pitch presentation.
Course goals:
Gain real-world skills as you experiment with your personal leadership style.
Learn the leadership skills needed to drive good design process in groups.
Participate in team projects, allowing you to explore the variables that affect creative projects.
Apply principles of design thinking to generate ideas, prototype, test and iterate, market, and pitch a product or service.
Create a visually compelling pitch deck presentation using reference images, mood boards, and original designs.
Gain experience pitching a product or service and learn to incorporate quality feedback into your revision process.

Computer Animation
Discover the complexities of computer animation. This immersion covers subjects that are universal to most 3D software packages and to animation. Through a series of assignments you will be introduced to basic modeling, animation, texturing and lighting techniques using the 3D software Maya.
Course Goals:
An exploration of basic tools and functions of Maya.
Learn to use Maya to create simple models, animate, texture, light and render.
Learn the basic principles of animation.

Computer Illustration
Explore the fundamentals of digital illustrating using “draw" and "paint" applications. Classes will explore basic design principles (line, mass, volume, space, positive and negative space, value, repetition of form, harmony, and balance, etc.) as applied using Adobe application user interfaces, tool functions and digital image making techniques.
Course Goals:
Learn the basics of the Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop interfaces.
Vector image making in Adobe Illustrator
Basic digital painting and image manipulation skills in Adobe Photoshop

Creative Writing: Comics & Games
This immersion offers an introduction to the basic elements needed to create your own effective, engaging comics, video games, and tabletop games. We’ll work together to create a welcoming writing workshop environment that includes classroom discussion of both published comics and games and student work. Please note: This is a writing class, which means regular writing AND reading expectations exist for every student. Please bring a laptop or tablet with keyboard to every class meeting.
Course Goals:
Demonstrate an understanding of what makes a good story (in games and comics)
Learn the principles of writing compelling choices in interactive media
Learn to integrate word and image in storytelling
Improve your ability to create moving characters that engage readers and players
Gain confidence in your own creative process
Introduce the professional habits and skills needed to be a successful writer

Creative Writing: Scripts and Stories
This immersion offers an introduction to the basic elements needed to create your own effective, engaging stories and movie scripts. We’ll work together to create a welcoming writing workshop environment that includes classroom discussion of both published writing and student work. Please note: This is a writing class, which means regular writing AND reading expectations exist for every student. Please bring a laptop or tablet with keyboard to every class meeting.
Course Goals:
Demonstrate an understanding of what makes a good story (in short fiction and movies)
Become acclimated to receiving feedback on your writing
Learn to incorporate quality feedback into your revision process
Improve your ability to offer thoughtful responses on the writing of others
Gain confidence in your own creative process
Introduce the professional habits and skills needed to be a successful writer

Digital Sculpting
Digital sculpture is easier than you think. Students learn digital sculpting techniques using form development methods combined with 3D modeling to create intensely detailed digital models and sculptures. Plan, create and develop models for the movies, games, comic books, and toys.
Course Goals:
Students will be provided with an introduction of the digital sculpting application ZBrush.
Students will become familiar with ZBrush’s user interface and the application features including ZSpheres and ZSketching.
Students will learn to create base models and then refine their models with Projection Master.
Create base geometry for sculpting utilizing ShadowBox.

Digital Visual Development
Introduction to visual development artwork for Game Art. Focus on visual exploration of ideas and generation of character, prop, and set designs with the potential for interactivity and visual sophistication. Introduction to basic elements of art direction. Emphasis on sound draftsmanship and creating original designs as they are used in an entertainment industry pipeline.
Course Goals:
Students will explore visual development concepts as they relate to Game Art.
Learn some of the vocabulary associated development of characters, props and setting.
Explore methods for solving problems specific to artwork for Game Art.
Learn the basics of the Game Art industry pipeline as it relates to Visual Development

Drawing for Animation
This immersion explores techniques and processes involved in creating artwork for animation with a focus on character development. You are introduced to the animator's process of gesture drawing and quick sketch, as well as creating volume and depth to capture action and attitude within a single pose. The workshop stresses the importance of drawing for weight, force, thought, emotion and movement as they pertain to industry standards. 
Course Goals: 

To explore elements and processes involved in drawing for animation and story.  Students will be encouraged to collaborate in solving some of the difficult technical problems that are part of this major. Students should leave the workshop with strong portfolio pieces and an excellent understanding of emotion in poses. The knowledge and work developed in this workshop is invaluable and can be used in a portfolio to be submitted for any creative major.

Entertainment Design: Themed Environments
Entertainment Design is the art of creating compelling and engaging experiences for entertainment. From theme park attractions to museum exhibits, from live concerts to resort destinations, themed environments take guests on magical journeys that immerse them in a story. This course will introduce students to the design processes that bring immersive entertainment experiences to life. Students will conceive and visualize a themed environment that could serve as a real world experience.
Course Goals:
Students in this course will be provided the opportunity to:
To develop an awareness of entertainment design industry
Develop an awareness of built environments for entertainment
Understand communicating story through themed environments
Develop skills in sketching 3D spaces
Understand the immersive nature of successful guest experience

Filmmaking is a field that includes a number of disciplines that, when integrated, can result in a work that will move an audience emotionally. Students in this immersion will be introduced to the basics of filmmaking through a rigorous process of classroom and experiential learning. At the end of the course, students will produce a single project, which will be appropriate as a portfolio piece. Students should bring a digital camera (SLR) that has the capability to shoot video and headphones or ear buds for sound editing.
Course Goals: 
The course is designed to give students a basic understanding of the filmmaking process. The competencies that are emphasized will be storytelling, composition, picture and sound editing, directing, and producing. The basics of each of the areas will be explored from a technical, aesthetic and psychological standpoint in order to provide students with a basic understanding of the art and craft of filmmaking.

Fine Arts
This immersion emphasizes the importance of investigation, ideation, communication and critique in conjunction with the development of a rich and personal body of work. Students are encouraged to experiment with collaborative and individual approaches to achieve personal goals. Through diverse processes in drawing, watercolor painting, origami, paper pulp casting, laser cutting and more, students will explore the principles and elements of 2D and 3D design to push artistic boundaries.
Course Goals:
Increase verbal and critical skills through participation in reading discussions, critiques, and seminars.
Through various projects, introduce the professional practice skills necessary to be a successful artist.

Game Art
Students will get an introduction to the Game Art major and become familiar with the cutting edge Unreal 4 game engine, which is a leading development software solution used throughout the Game industry. In this class students will create a physics based ball bounce, an architectural fantasy, and a small interactive experience. 
Course Goals:
Students will gain familiarity with design principles and cutting edge development tools used in the game industry to create a basic environment they will be able to navigate and play.
Learn general workflows, techniques and production processes of creating 3D content for Games.
Development of new vocabulary related to the creation of 3D art.
Development of production skills for both collaborative and independent work.
Establishment of methods for analyzing and solving problems specific to 3D art.
Development of design and aesthetic sensibilities in visual communication.

Game Design
We have fun and play some games! Students will learn the Fundamentals of Game Design including: player start, decisions, interaction, rules, opposition and goals through level design utilizing the cutting edge Unreal Engine 4 program. Students will review and analyze the different types of core mechanics and the classification of games by target audience. Finally, students will create their own playable platform they can publish and share with friends and family.
Course Goals:
Students will gain familiarity with design principles of the game industry to create a game.
Learn best practices of creating an overall theme and content for a game idea.
Learn Unreal Engine 4’s visual scripting, and general workflow of level design, including play testing and problem solving both technically and creatively.
Development of new vocabulary related to the creation of games.
Development of production skills for both collaborative and independent work.
Establishment of methods for analyzing and solving problems specific to game creation.
Development of design and aesthetic sensibilities in visual communication.

Graphic Design
Graphic design touches you every day through packaging, posters, logos, sports, foods, movies and more. In this immersion you will apply the foundation principals of graphic design to create meaning through image, text, and composition. Learn techniques for rapidly generating many variations of your initial idea to refine and expand your skill. Each project is designed to build your skills and to be a potential portfolio piece.
Course Goals:
Learn the scope of graphic design as a profession and the diverse career paths it provides.
Learn basic to intermediate skills with professional design software programs (Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop.)
Create custom layouts for poster and package design.
Print, prototype and build finished designs as both physical objects and digital mockups for portfolio presentation.

Learn how to tell stories and communicate concepts through the visual language of picture-making. In this immersion, you will practice composing images, create interesting characters and stage them in a scene, use color theory to express emotion, and explore a variety of media. The result will be artwork that stimulates the viewer to reflect and react.
Course Goals:
Introduce the picture making process, including research, thumbnails, value, and color studies.
Survey past and present illustrators and the kinds of jobs available in the illustration field.
Improve drawing, painting, and compositional skills.

Make! Digital Fabrication
Learn to take your ideas from hand drawn sketches to three-dimensional sculptures and products. Make! Digital Fabrication class offers artists and designers the opportunity to use cutting edge technology to design, develop, and manufacture exciting new forms for the 21st century.
Students will complete projects in Vinyl & Laser Cutting, CNC routing, and 3D Modeling & Printing.
Course Goals/Outcomes:
Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
Demonstrate the ability to employ design strategies for the production of digitally fabricated sculpture/products
Demonstrate the ability to create file types for digital fabrication
Demonstrate the ability to construct and install digitally fabricated sculpture/products

Motion Design
This immersion will explore the fundamental principles of Motion Design through exercises exploring
Pre-Production idea generation, collaboration, design and composition in Adobe Illustrator, and 2D key frame animation/compositing in Adobe After Effects. Emphasis is on movement, metamorphosis, transition, sequence, time and rhythm, pace, and editing word to picture stories.
Course Goals:
Learn what “motion design” is and its place in the media landscape.
Learn some of the basic design and animation principles fundamental to motion design.
Learn the basics of Adobe After Effects, one of the foundational software packages for motion design.

In this class, students will complete multiple oil-on-canvas paintings exploring techniques and methods for representational painting. Emphasis will be on observation to develop a more sensitive perception of color, value and shapes. Various techniques for ideation will be explored to aid in the development of self-directed works.
Course Goals:
Technical understanding of materials and methods.
Creating the illusion of space and form.
Develop a sound studio practice.
Increase awareness of past and current art movements and their role in contemporary painting.

Photography & Imaging
From sharing images on social networking sites, to utilizing stills, video and sound in multimedia productions, photography is at the forefront of our visual culture. This course will provide a general introduction to photography and digital imaging. The course will focus on technical and aesthetic elements of photography. Students must have a digital (SLR) camera that has the capability to shoot in RAW format.
Course Goals:
A brief history of photography, qualities of composition and aesthetics; the photograph as a method of storytelling and communication; technical camera skills, processing RAW images and generating successful workflow using Photoshop Bridge; general Photoshop skills and image preparation; and image printing.

Storyboarding for Animation
Storyboards are the first visual pass at a movie script and they become the blueprint for the film. This immersive develops an understanding of the basics of storyboarding conventions and techniques, film language, continuity editing and descriptive drawing for visual storytelling. Students will work from a script and preproduction packet to develop a scene for an animated short.
Course Goals:
Understand how visuals support story for an animated film
Thumbnail a script
Understand and apply basic continuity editing
Understand how to draw for storyboards
Storyboard a sequence for an animated film

Virtual Reality Development
Explore Ringling College’s newest major! Virtual Reality Development students will pioneer and push forward advancements in a new—and explosive—medium for art and artists.
Course Goals:
Learn to analyze, design, and create immersive interactive experiences utilizing industry standard development software and hardware.

Visual Development / Concept Art
This course introduces students to a variety of techniques and methods that are used to create effective characters and background designs for video games and movies.  Students will be placed in a small team setting and will learn to practice the research, brainstorming, critical analysis, and improvisational techniques that are necessary to create and implement conceptual work in the professional field.  This is a studio workshop.
Course Goals:
Learn to work in a team setting.
Learn research and brainstorming techniques.
Learn a variety of methods to construct a character or environment.
Learn to articulate ideas and concepts.

Having trouble deciding on a major or immersion? Visit to see the College’s site for helping to explore our majors find the right fit, and to see the type of work created in a given major.

At the time of acceptance into PreCollege, a preferred immersion maybe full. In such cases, you will be offered a seat in the next ranked immersion and wait listed in higher-rank selections. Should space become available, we will hold a spot in that selection and contact you inquire if you wish to change immersion assignment.

PreCollege Core Classes
In addition to your immersions, all students are enrolled in FOUR classes in art and design fundamentals: 2D Design; 3D Design; 4D Design; and Figure Drawing. Here, every student builds corel skills through classes that explore dynamic projects, which open doors to new ideas and broaden your artistic vision.

Wherever your PreCollege experience leads you, you’ll have Ringling College faculty and student teaching assistants offering valuable guidance every step of the way. Through critiques with faculty, guest artists, teaching assistants and peers, you’ll learn how to analyze and discuss your work and the work of others in a supportive setting. Focused dialogue and evaluations will help you to assess the strengths and weaknesses in your artistic practice. And those discoveries will bring you to the next challenge—applying what you learn to what you do. You’ll leave with a solid understanding of college-level artwork, a stronger portfolio for college applications and scholarships, and a number of lasting friendships.

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