“DMA camp was a blast! I can’t wait to go back next summer and take the 3D camp.”

Name: Lillie A.
Age: 12
Hometown: Spring, TX
Future Occupation: Animator, Film Director
Course: Adventures in Cartoon Creation
Campus: Cartoon Camp at Stanford

What do you want to be?
“One day I want to be an animator or a movie director. I love anything has to do with a computer and I am always drawing, so this camp was made for me! My dream job would be to design animation for DreamWorks!”

What did you learn at DMA?
“At camp I learned how to animate my drawings. Before this I was trying to use stop motion photography and it took forever! I got Toon Boom Studio® for my birthday and have been animating ever since. It’s awesome to see my drawings move around!”

What was your most memorable camp moment?
“One of my most memorable moments at camp was the first time I saw my thoughts come to life. I was so happy! My first film was pretty simpIe but it was a start and it was funny. I also made some good friends at camp that I am still in contact with today!”

Are you hoping to attend DMA camp next summer? If so, what campus and which program will you select?
“I plan to return to DMA next summer. I want to take the 3D animation or moviemaking course. I also want to return to the Stanford campus. It’s beautiful and I’m planning on going to school there one day!”

Aspiring young animators who want to learn how to create cartoons don’t have to wait to be old enough for visual arts school. Digital Media Academy’s animation camp and cartoon camp give kids a chance to create the next Spongebob Squarepants or Bugs Bunny while exploring and learning about technology and art.

What can you expect from a Digital Media Academy Instructor?

  What are the summer camps like?

By Ben Jaffe, Instructor

As a regular instructor for several companies around the San Francisco Bay Area, I believe it is important to ensure that every class I teach is different from the last. Even if I teach 5 consecutive classes on CSS, each class has a completely different set of students, each with different skill levels and interests. In many training centers, often classes really do end up exactly the same. Many instructors I have worked with simply plod along, following the curriculum word by word, line by line. No deviations, and no excitement. Of course, as a student you can ask questions and take advantage of their expertise in the field. But that experience doesn’t make for an interesting class. You may learn the topic, but it’s not fun. Read more

Learn 3D Modeling

3D Modeling by Vince Matthews

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

It’s an age-old question, and one people ask themselves, believe it or not, well into their 40’s and 50’s. Today, computer imagery plays a major role in entertainment and even business.

From online games to super hero blockbusters like Batman, computer generated characters, environments and animation are what hold our attention. Today, it’s pretty easy to start dabbling in 3D modeling. Off the shelf and developer provided tools allow games to be modded, to add your favorite shirt to a character, or even put your face on a famous hockey player or video game fighter.

Modeling Your Future
3D modeling and animation put fantastic worlds and characters at our command. Learning 3D modeling can be the first step to a career as a game designer, a creative director or a film producer. For a technical field like 3D modeling, a four year college can be expensive, especially if you’re looking at a very technical field like 3D animation and want to have access to the newest tech.

That’s where DMA comes in, sure it’s possible to learn on your own, but learning from a professional is the smartest path. So is getting hands-on experience with the the latest hardware and software, like Maya, or 3D Studio Max. Before you know it, you could be pushing polygons around to animate the next Shrek. Or creating a video game level, or wonderful random abstract whimsical thing.

Digital Media Academy gives you a chance to get the experience and get it from expert educators who been studying and practicing what they teach for years. Teachers who will answer all the questions you can throw at them without investing in 4-5 years at college. (That’s not to say a one-week summer camp takes the place of a four-year education, on the contrary, DMA can help you get ready for a four year school or provide the skills you need to help you get a job.)

Software like Autodesk Maya and 3D Studio Max brings professional quality tools to independent artist, hobbyist, and the student with an interest in animation. Maya 3D modeling software is the industry standard for creating 3D characters and objects. Maya is used in the game, film, television and tech industries and computer generated imagery is a standard in almost every form of media.

3D animator and modeler Adam Watkins teaches a class at DMA’s UT Austin location.

What’s Your Experience?
In my experience as a Digital Media Academy instructor and university professor, I have seen more and more students showing up to class with prior experience creating 3D models and animation. These student artists are usually self-taught, having picked up whatever lessons they could find online and in print.

I experienced this myself when I was first learning Maya. I had first worked in Softimage and 3D Studio Max, and I had practically taught myself 3D modeling through manuals and online tutorials. (To a certain extent this method works fine, but professional instruction teaches best practices and professional techniques.) To learn Maya I thought I would go through the same experience, and was on my way to doing that when the company I worked for hired a Maya professional to come in for a few days and get our team of 3D animators up to speed on how to model, rig, and animate a character. (Yes, it’s true, even professional 3D modelling artists can benefit from Maya workshops.) I learned more in those two days than I had learned on my own in the past two years.

Not only was it personalized instruction, but I had never had someone tie it all together into such a well-organized workflow. Things made sense and were directly relevant to the 3D modeling task at hand. Now all the bits and pieces of the online tutorials and book chapters came together like puzzle pieces falling into place.

And not only was that time productive, my future self-directed learning in Maya was made more valuable because I was able to put it into the solid framework established during that 3D modeling training session.

Modeling a Career Path
Do you want to become a professional 3D animation artist? If so, you’re beginning a long and rewarding journey. My best advice? I highly recommend you take the time to get started on the right foot with some quality instruction. Digital Media Academy offers great courses to learn how to create and animate using Maya.

We are now in our third week of summer 2009! As of this week, we have four locations up and running across the country, including Stanford University, University of Pennsylvania, UCLA and The University of Texas at Austin. The University of California at Irvine ran for two weeks, June 22 – July 3, focusing on filmmaking courses for both teens and adults. Next week, four more locations will be launched, including Brown University, UC Berkeley, UC San Diego (UCSD) and our first ever international location, The University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

DMA students include adults, teens and kids as young as seven years old. At each age group, a variety of courses are offered, including movie making, video game creation, robotics, animation and web design. Summer 2009 also features several new courses, including Adventures in Cartoon and Comic Creation for kids ages 9-13 and Junior Adventures in Digital Art and Movie Making for kids ages 7-9. Among our new teen courses is the very popular Music and Video Production course, taught in conjunction with the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus. Students in this class use the latest audio, video and music gear to create their own songs and music videos! Stay tuned for more features on each of these new courses!

All DMA courses are project based, so students are going home every Friday with their very own portfolio of project work. In the coming weeks, we will feature many of these projects, as well as profile some of the students whose creativity is filling college campuses nationwide!

All courses are taught by professionals with classroom teaching experience and/or experience in the industry, so students are learning from the “masters” themselves! Please check out our instructor biographies to learn more about our teaching staff.

Spots are still available at several locations. Please call 866-656-3342 for course availability!

Today at the 2009 CUE conference in Palm Springs, I had the unique honor of meeting Peter H. Reynolds, an award winning author and illustrator of children’s books and creator of animation software for children. I waited in line for a long time to ask him to sign a copy of The Dot, one of his most popular books. When I got to the front of the line, I found out why I had waited so long. In addition to signing each book and writing a personal message, Peter took the time to include a unique illustration in each book he signed!

Peter_Reynolds_CUEArtist Peter Reynolds’s cartoon creations have a distinctly fun and friendly feel.

At a conference focused on technology and the latest in creative software, it was wonderful to see that the most popular items purchased today were children’s books written and illustrated by Peter Reynolds. In fact, the book that I originally wanted to purchase and have signed, Someday, had sold out on the first day of CUE! Those who have read Peter’s books know why they are so popular. Peter’s books leave an uplifting message in the hearts of readers, regardless of age. For example, The Dot is the first in a trilogy that teaches readers that we all have the ability to explore creative expression and our fullest human potential. As the book says, “Make your mark, and see where it takes you.”

As Peter Reynolds’ website and blog explain, his mission is “helping kids, especially the ‘off the path’ kids.” He says he was “one of them,” until he was caught drawing in class by a seventh grade teacher who saw his potential and encouraged him further (rather than reprimand him!) That experience began his exploration of comic art and animation. Many years later, Peter would start FableVision, a company focused on creating educational software and animation films. One of their main products, an animation software program called Animation-ish, is designed to have kids animating their drawings in a few short, simple steps! Students can design animations for movies, websites and greeting cards. I myself plan on playing with Animation-ish in the next few weeks and seeing if it might have a good place in our Jr. Adventures in Digital Art and Filmmaking class for kids ages 7-9.

As I wrap up a long day at CUE, where I talked to many people on a variety of topics, I have to say that meeting Peter Reynolds was the highlight of my day. And as I remember that long line that formed to meet him, it is clear that I was not the only adult lost in the wonderful world of children’s literature.

Do you know about the Maya training courses and video special effects courses that are being taught at Digital Media Academy? Learn 3d video game design, animation, character modeling, and more at DMA’s summer computer training sessions at prestigious universities and schools around the United States and Canada. DMA offers separate programs, summer computer camps, and digital art & technology camps for adult professionals, teens, and kids.

The video below talks about some of the exciting tech concepts students learn at DMA (wait until the end!)

Check out some of the 3d, video game, animation, modeling, and special effects courses taught at DMA:


3d Game Design Courses and Summer Camp Experiences for Teens:

  • 3D Video Game Creation I – Level Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation I – Level Design with 3ds max
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with 3ds max
  • Advanced Video Game Creation with 3ds max, Maya and ZBrush

    Professional Level 3d Game Design Computer Training:

  • 3D Game Art and Design with 3ds max
  • Also, check out the Maya Training Courses: 

  • Maya I – Introduction to 3D Modeling 
  • Maya II – Introduction to 3D Character Animation
  • Maya III – Advanced 3D Character Animation
  • Maya IV – Creating an Animated Movie

    3d Game Design Computer Camps for Kids:

  • Adventures in 2D & 3D Game Creation : Ages 9 – 13
  • Adventures in Advanced Game Creation : Ages 9 – 13       

  • Watch an actual student talk about his experience at DMA’s Teen 3d Video Game Design Program. He used 3ds Max to create a 3d Mario World and 3d characters to match. 

    Learn more at http://news.digitalmediaacademy.org/teen

    Become a Video Game Designer at Digital Media Academy!


    What an amazing 3d video game design experience! Digital Media Academy offers creative 3d Video Game Design courses for adult professionals, teens, and kids. All 3d Game Design courses are taught using the latest software, applications and game engines currently being used in the video game industry. Autodesk Maya and 3ds Max are two of the most popular software programs available that allow students to create realistic, 3d character models and animation movies.

    In the teen 3d game design course programs, students create a full 3d game level. An entire virtual world is created for their video game. The students then create a fully customizable 3d character model to enter and play with in their 3d world! Many teens who stay for the overnight camp experience get involved in network LAN party to play against all the other students’ 3d characters. This is more than just a summer camp experience. This is the full digital art and technology computer camp experience you can only find at Digital Media Academy. You can see an actual student’s experience in this video. Below is an outline of the 3d Game Design and Video Game Creation courses offered this summer…

    3d Game Design Making Video Games at DMA

    3d Video Game Courses offered at DMA:     

    3d Game Design Courses and Summer Camp Experiences for Teens:

  • 3D Video Game Creation I – Level Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with Maya
  • 3D Video Game Creation I – Level Design with 3ds max
  • 3D Video Game Creation II – Character Design with 3ds max
  • Advanced Video Game Creation with 3ds max, Maya and ZBrush

    Professional Level 3d Game Design Computer Training:

  • 3D Game Art and Design with 3ds max
  • Also, check out the Maya Training Courses: Maya I, Maya II, Maya III, Maya IV

    3d Game Design Computer Camps for Kids:

  • Adventures in 2D & 3D Game Creation : Ages 9 – 13
  • Adventures in Advanced Game CreationAges 9 – 13       

  • There I am standing in front of the most beautiful high definition audio and visual setup money can buy. I have completely lost reality of where I am. I have totally forgotten what I am doing inside an electronics store. I am surrounded with the televisions, computers, cameras, gadgets and only the latest technology (at the best prices I’m told), but none of that matters to me now. I have completely lost touch with reality. I am completely transfixed with the 60″+ flat screen, crisp surround sound system with the super 1200 watt subwoofer, and the high definition blu-ray player in front of me. It seems nothing can suck me out of this odd technology trance I have been sucked into.

    High Definition Experience

    For a moment I feel as though I am a real pirate in the Caribbean on board with Captain Jack and the crew. I get kind of grossed out with Davy Jones squirming tentacles. Ewww. I never noticed his mouth moved like that when he talked! I have to turn away, but my eyes become glued to another 65″ flat plasma screen. Then I am suddenly on the back of a funny looking dragon flying down into a huge canyon. As silly as it sounds, I was momentarily scared. Then I stop and realize the 3d dragon looks…. fake. Lame. I turn to another huge LCD flat-screen to get pulled into an amazing live concert. Now this is great! The crowd is screaming. The music is pumping out of the awesome surround sound speakers, the lights are flashing. I feel like I am inside a Rock Band video game. I feel like I am on the front row at the concert…. and all of a sudden I realize how scratched and ugly Sting’s guitar is. Actually, the whole group looks really old. Look how much he is sweating. OK. That’s enough.

    Then, all of a sudden I am pulled out of my technology trance and out of the home video and audio department. I need to go find the Apple computers. Do they have those new 17″ MacBook Pro laptops yet?

    As I stroll back down the large aisles I begin to think about how quickly technology is moving. Can designers, digital artists, 3d animators, filmmakers, audio technicians, and creative programmers keep up? You better bring your best 3d models and animated characters if your viewers are going to be critiquing them on a ginormous flat screen TV with the highest of high definition disc players.

    Think about it. I was snapped out of the movie by thinking about how fake the 3d character looked in the movie. If the the movie had been on a low resolution, old-school setup, I might have been able to pass over the poorly rendered and animated polygons. I wouldn’t have noticed. I’m just saying…. 

    It’s time to flex your creative muscle at Digital Media Academy. Get in some of the computer courses this summer at any of the prestigious summer locations.