A distorted image of a blue sky.

Cecilia Tyrrell, "Sirens Dawn"

Undergraduate Overview

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation Undergraduate Overview

As a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio (BFA) student studying in the Department of Film, Video, New Media, and Animation (FVNMA), you will have access to state-of-the-art filming, editing, and production equipment plus a large, diverse list of course offerings to address your individual artistic needs.

The FVNMA department reaches beyond conventional approaches of moving image media and animation programs. Students concentrating their studies in FVNMA at SAIC investigate the possibilities of:

  • Nonfiction/documentary and narrative film and video
  • Moving-image installation
  • Hand-drawn and digital 2D and 3D animation
  • Interactive art, VR, AR, and web-based projects
  • Media art histories

FVNMA students often invent interdisciplinary pathways to produce hybrid works that expand traditional forms to create new avenues of expression—acts of artistic exploration and risk-taking that the department enthusiastically supports.

The work of FVNMA faculty is represented in museums and galleries; presented at major international festivals of film and media; screened in art cinemas and at music and performance venues; embraced in community-based projects; and featured in prominent arts publications. Students take classes offered by these working practitioners, as well as with faculty across all departments, to develop and focus their own unique creative approaches. It is through this process that students learn to research, invent, and explore. The seminars, production classes and innovative art history offerings ensure that students receive in-depth knowledge of theories and histories relevant to moving-image art making.

Studio courses follow disciplinary paths of cinema, video art, new media art, and animation—experimental 3D and 2D. These classes provide rigorous technical training through sequences in each path that advance practical and critical skills, connecting your work to wider interdisciplinary concerns. Courses engage historical, critical, aesthetic, cultural, and technological issues by making experimental media art.

The program is consistently ranked among the top five graduate Film/Animation Schools in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.

Undergraduate Admissions Requirements & Curriculum Overview

Use the accordions (+) below to learn more about the admissions requirements and curriculum.

  • To apply to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC), you will need to fill out an application and submit your transcripts, artist's statement, and letters of recommendation. And most importantly, we require a portfolio of your best and most recent work—work that will give us a sense of you, your interests, and your willingness to explore, experiment, and think beyond technical art, design, and writing skills.

    To apply, please submit the following items:  


    Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Portfolio
    Submit 10–15 pieces of your best and most recent work. We will review your portfolio and application materials for merit scholarship once you have been admitted to SAIC.

    When compiling a portfolio, you may concentrate your work in a single discipline or show work in a breadth of media. The portfolio may include drawings, prints, photographs, paintings, film, video, audio recordings, sculpture, ceramics, fashion designs, graphic design, furniture, objects, architectural designs, websites, video games, sketchbooks, scripts, storyboards, screenplays, zines, or any combination of the above.

    Learn more about applying to SAIC's Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio, or view our portfolio preparation guide for more information.

  •  

    Studio

    69

    • CP 1010 Core Studio Practice I (3)
    • CP 1011 Core Studio Practice II (3)
    • CP 1020 Research Studio I (3)
    • CP 1022 Research Studio II (3)
    • SOPHSEM 2900 (3)
    • PROFPRAC 3900 (3)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 (3)
    • Studio Electives (48)

         PROFPRAC and CAPSTONE are now required for new incoming students beginning in the 2015-16 academic year.

     

    Art History

    15

    • ARTHI 1001 World Cultures/Civilizations: Pre-History—19th Century Art and Architecture (3)
    • Art History Elective at 1000 level (3)
    • Art History Electives (9)

     

    Liberal Arts

    30

    • ENGLISH 1001 First Year Seminar I (3)
    • ENGLISH 1005 First Year Seminar II (3)
    • Natural Science (6)
    • Social Science (6)
    • Humanities (6)
    • Liberal Arts Electives (6)

     

    General Electives

    6

    • Studio, Art History, Liberal Arts, AAP, or EIS

     

    Total Credit Hours

    120

    * BFA students must complete at least 6 credit hours in a class designated as "off campus study." These credits can also fulfill any of the requirements listed above and be from any of the divisions (Art History, Studio, Liberal Arts, or General Electives).

    BFA With Distinction—SAIC Scholars Program: 

    The SAIC Scholars program is a learning community of BFA students pursuing rigorous study in both their academic coursework and their studio pathways. There are two opportunities for interested students to apply to the SAIC Scholars Program: at the time of admission to the school, and after they have completed 30 credits of study at SAIC. Students pursuing the latter option are required to formally submit an application to the Undergraduate Division. Once admitted to the SAIC Scholars Program, students are required to successfully complete a minimum of six designated scholars courses. Students who complete the program will graduate with distinction.

    BFA in Studio with Thesis Option (Liberal Arts or Visual Critical Studies)

    BFA students may complete a nine-credit, research-based academic thesis as part of their studies within the 126 credits for the BFA in Studio degree. BFA with Thesis course sequences are offered over 3 semesters through the departments of Liberal Arts or Visual and Critical Studies (VCS). Students who are interested in one of the thesis options should follow the steps outlined below in the beginning of the junior year.

    Requirements for the BFA: Studio Art with Liberal Arts Thesis

    Step One: Students are required to meet with the Chair of the Liberal Arts department in the beginning of their junior year. 

    Step Two: With the Department Chair's approval, the student enrolls in the following courses beginning in the spring term of their junior year:

    • SOCSCI or HUMANITY 3900 Academic Research and Writing (3 credits)
    • LIBARTS 4800 Undergraduate Thesis: Research/Writing I (3 credits)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 Liberal Arts Undergraduate Thesis: Research/Writing II (3 credits)

    Step Three: The completed thesis must be approved by both the Thesis II instructor and the Chair of Liberal Arts. Students must make a formal presentation and participate in the Undergraduate Thesis Symposium in their senior year. 

    Requirements for the BFA: Studio Art with Visual and Critical Studies (VCS) Thesis

    Step One: Students are required to meet with the Visual and Critical Studies Undergraduate Coordinator in or by the beginning of their junior year.

    Step Two: With the VCS Coordinator's approval, the student enrolls in the first of the three-course sequence beginning in the spring term of their junior year:

    • VCS 3010 Tutorial in Visual & Critical Studies (3 credits)
    • VCS 4800 Undergraduate Thesis Seminar: Research & Writing I (3 credits)
    • CAPSTONE 4900 VCS Undergraduate Thesis Seminar: Research & Writing II (3 credits)

    Step Three: Completion of thesis must be approved by both the Thesis II instructor and the VCS Undergraduate Coordinator. Students must make a formal presentation and participate in the Undergraduate VCS Thesis Symposium in the senior year.

    Total credits required for minimum residency

    66

    Minimum Studio credit

    42

Course Listing

Title Catalog Instructor Schedule

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1208

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1208

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1209

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1209

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1234

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1234

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

This course is designed to introduce students to the language and histories of the moving image arts and the diverse ways in which artists have contributed to them. Throughout the semester we will examine a range of approaches to creating moving image work. We will compare and contrast established ?norms? with radical and experimental approaches to these various media, leading to an understanding of the rich, complex, and evolving landscape upon which individuals have been making, and continue to make, moving image art. Students will engage with this expanded field through lectures, readings, screenings, meetings with visiting artists as well as becoming active in discussions and practitioners in the field via group projects. Working in small groups, students will complete a series of short projects to introduce them to the various pathways of the department. By the end of the semester, students should have gain basic production and postproduction skills as well a good understanding of the key concepts relevant to contemporary film, video, new media, installation and animation.

Class Number

1999

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 314

Description

Form and Meaning is a rigorous investigation of the art of moving image editing and provides a historical and theoretical understanding of both classical film editing and newer modes and models of editing and perception. The course provides a working foundation and framework. A close reading of films will train the student in the core aesthetic decisions, structures, strategies and demands of editing cinematic works. In addition, we will look at examples and discuss how editing functions for the installation artist, and further, how the Internet, New Media, television and video art have made an impact on concepts surrounding editing. Weekly readings will expand on the work presented in class. Students should expect to research and write both a midterm and final papers as well as a few short responses to works presented in class. Form and Meaning is a theory-based seminar and is not designed to offer critique for works in progress.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1210

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Public Space, Site, Landscape, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 517

Description

Form and Meaning is a rigorous investigation of the art of moving image editing and provides a historical and theoretical understanding of both classical film editing and newer modes and models of editing and perception. The course provides a working foundation and framework. A close reading of films will train the student in the core aesthetic decisions, structures, strategies and demands of editing cinematic works. In addition, we will look at examples and discuss how editing functions for the installation artist, and further, how the Internet, New Media, television and video art have made an impact on concepts surrounding editing. Weekly readings will expand on the work presented in class. Students should expect to research and write both a midterm and final papers as well as a few short responses to works presented in class. Form and Meaning is a theory-based seminar and is not designed to offer critique for works in progress.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1221

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Public Space, Site, Landscape, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 517

Description

Sonics and Optics is an intensive study of lenses, optics, sensors, stocks, materials, laboratory processes, microphones, and recorders as essential tools in film/video making. Throughout the semester students will learn the fundamentals of a lens (focal length, aperture), its relationship to the camera (shutter, ISO), and aesthetic options available. The course will offer the same immersive perspective of sound technologies; including choosing microphones (stereo, cardioid, shotgun, contact, etc), recording options (sound device, field recorder, mixing board), and methods of field recording. This course is an essential technical base for all advanced moving image work. In-class screenings of films and videos and weekly readings will expand on the technical workshops at the core of the course. Students should expect to complete a series of quick technical exercises as well as a more in depth final project.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1211

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Game Design

Location

MacLean 1304

Description

Sonics and Optics is an intensive study of lenses, optics, sensors, stocks, materials, laboratory processes, microphones, and recorders as essential tools in film/video making. Throughout the semester students will learn the fundamentals of a lens (focal length, aperture), its relationship to the camera (shutter, ISO), and aesthetic options available. The course will offer the same immersive perspective of sound technologies; including choosing microphones (stereo, cardioid, shotgun, contact, etc), recording options (sound device, field recorder, mixing board), and methods of field recording. This course is an essential technical base for all advanced moving image work. In-class screenings of films and videos and weekly readings will expand on the technical workshops at the core of the course. Students should expect to complete a series of quick technical exercises as well as a more in depth final project.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1229

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Game Design

Location

MacLean 1304

Description

This class is inspired by Johannes Itten?s radical early twentieth-century basic art course developed for the Weimar Bauhaus School of Art, but here using the Maya 3D software, typically used for commercial productions by the entertainment industry. Students will solve a series of formal problems, introduced in increasing levels of complexity. Moving from the 2-dimensional to the 3-dimensional and ultimately to the four-dimensional or time-based, students will evolve their abilities to utilize aspects of light and dark, form, rhythm, color, proportion and volume but in terms of a post photographic discourse, with the intention of advancing a new virtual cinema.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1220

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 519

Description

This class is inspired by Johannes Itten?s radical early twentieth-century basic art course developed for the Weimar Bauhaus School of Art, but here using the Maya 3D software, typically used for commercial productions by the entertainment industry. Students will solve a series of formal problems, introduced in increasing levels of complexity. Moving from the 2-dimensional to the 3-dimensional and ultimately to the four-dimensional or time-based, students will evolve their abilities to utilize aspects of light and dark, form, rhythm, color, proportion and volume but in terms of a post photographic discourse, with the intention of advancing a new virtual cinema.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1232

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Digital Imaging, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 519

Description

This introductory studio course focuses on screen-based new media works, their historical contexts, their specific aesthetics and theoretical concerns. Students gain an understanding of the emerging culture and historical antecedents of new media. Interactive, network and web based technologies are introduced from the perspective of media art making. Students will be exposed to relevant theoretical texts. Historical and contemporary new media works are screened, demonstrated and discussed. Through a series of workshops, assignments and a final project, students will gain a general understanding of how to read and write new media using various techniques such as HTML ++ CSS, JavaScript, Realtime systems, Generative systems, and Art Games.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: FVNM 2000

Class Number

1212

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Digital Communication, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 807

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1213

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1214

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

This class introduces the traditional animation techniques of creating movement through successive drawings. Techniques include metamorphosis, walking cycles, holds, squash and stretch, blur and resistance. Students use the pencil test Lunch-Box to view their work . Students complete a series of exercises encouraging a full range of animation skills and a final project. Films illustrating drawn-animation techniques are screened regularly.

Class Number

1470

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Animation, Illustration

Location

MacLean 717

Description

as we continue to digitize our world, the chorus of techno-optimists singing technology’s praises is louder than ever. but...are our expansive networks and digital tools truly enlightening us? or are they in fact working to obscure, impede, and deny us the very things they are said to provide? this seminar will confront the dark cloud looming over our digital domains. we will examine how advances in information technology have generated a growing set of unintended consequences that hinder our view of the world, and diminish our agency within it. we will reflect on various topics including technology and power, complex uncertainty, perpetual surveillance, archival viability, and eroding empathy. selected readings, screenings, assignments, and critiques will map out lines of inquiry for students to consider and apply to their research + studio practices. a significant amount of class time will be spent in critique + conversation offering students feedback and mentorship throughout the semester.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Must be a sophomore to enroll.

Class Number

2229

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Location

MacLean 517

Description

How do environments influence art, and how can we extract imagery, sound and ideas from these places to create work and develop our artistic voices? Through location exploration, image/sound/object collection, experimentation, research and writing we can discover connections between ourselves, our environment, and the artmaking that will shape our creative practices. What are the concerns that drive one?s creative practice? How does one set the terms for its future development? Sophomore Seminar offers interdisciplinary strategies for the evaluation and communication of students? individual practice as artists, designers, and/or scholars. Through essential readings, studio projects, and writing, students will generate narratives about how and why they make art. Works by video artists, visual artists, and filmmakers are also viewed and discussed.

Prerequisites

Prerequisite: Must be a sophomore to enroll.

Class Number

2230

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Location

MacLean 517

Description

This course introduces video as a medium for artistic expression and social inquiry. Students gain an understanding of the video image-making process and develop proficiency with video equipment, including portable and studio production and editing systems. Strategies for the use of video as an art-making tool are explored. Works by video artists are viewed and discussed.

Prerequisites

FVNM 2000 or FVNM 5020

Class Number

1227

Credits

3

Department

Film, Video, New Media, and Animation

Area of Study

Digital Communication, Social Media and the Web

Location

MacLean 518
Black and white image of students operating a steenbeck editing table.

Freshman and Transfer Deadline: June 1