Clemson

Digital Production Arts

Information

Degrees Offered

Introduction

PROGRAM UPDATE: DPA is excited to announce the expansion of its MFA and MS programs, located in the Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (ZFGEC) in Charleston, South Carolina. The ZFGEC houses high-tech classrooms equipped with the latest technology, collaboration spaces and conference rooms, laboratory and studio spaces, and more. A variety of courses will be offered each semester by Clemson faculty in a traditional face-to-face classroom format and via "real time" streaming to and from Clemson’s main campus. DPA students can choose to study in Clemson or Charleston, and are not required to travel between the two locations. For more information, please visit the DPA website.

The recent advent of dramatic visual effects in film, television, and games has created an unprecedented demand for educational programs leading to careers in the field. To fill this need, the DPA offers a unique blend of instruction from art, computer science, computer engineering, graphic communications, performing arts, philosophy, and psychology, together with newly designed courses targeted at production techniques specific to the animation effects industry.

MASTER OF FINE ARTS (MFA) in DPA

The Master of Fine Arts (MFA) in Digital Production Arts (DPA) at Clemson University is a professional degree program aimed at producing technically savvy, artistically talented graduates who are sought after by the growing electronic arts industry, particularly by those companies engaged in visual effects within the entertainment and commercial video, film, and gaming industries.Students successfully graduating from DPA will have many abilities through accomplishments in the program, such as:

- Training in and application of artistic skills for storyboarding and character development.
- Familiarity and experience with industry standard 3D packages Maya, Houdini, Nuke and others.
- Training in compositing, 3D modeling, rigging, animation, lighting, simulation, and FX.
- Programming skills in Python, C, and C++.
- Understanding of computer-graphic methods for simulations and experience writing them in C++.
- Experience working in a production environment in which they create an original short film from concept to final edit.
- Experience doing original work leading to a MFA thesis.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MS) in DPA

The Master of Science (MS) in Digital Production Arts (DPA) Program is a technical professional degree aimed at producing graduates who intend to seek employment in the software development of the electronic arts industry. Its focus includes the technical components of visual effects production for the film, electronic games, and commercial video industries. The MS in DPA is designed primarily to attract technically-minded students interested in learning applied technical knowledge and gaining the related experience to become competitive and pursue employment as a 3D graphics programmer, software engineer, tool builder, and/or technical director in the digital production entertainment industry, but interest may also include related fields, such as commercial virtual reality, 3D printing, and visualization.

This program will consider applicants for conditional letters of admission (CLA’s) pending successful completion of ELS Language Center’s level 112 English as a Second Language (ESL) program. More information can be found on the ELS Conditional Admission page or by visiting the ELS Language Center website.

Handbook

More information can be found in this graduate handbook.

About

Program of Study

MASTER OF FINE ARTS (MFA) in DPA

The degree requires 60 credit hours devoted to core courses, electives, both team-based and individual studio work, and a master’s thesis. Foundation courses are offered in the fundamentals of computing or visual arts, for students who are not fully prepared either technically or artistically. A maximum of six hours of foundation courses may be counted toward the degree. It is possible to complete the program in 2 years, but it is recommended that students plan on taking from 2-1/2 to 3 years.

MASTER OF SCIENCE (MS) in DPA

The MS requires 30 credit hours and has both a thesis and a non-thesis option.

Facilities

The DPA program’s Clemson facility is designed to closely parallel facilities at major animation and effects studios. Located in the main School of Computing building, McAdams Hall, we have a large multi-purpose studio, a classroom, a screening room, and an auxiliary student workroom. In nearby Barre Hall, we have an additional studio. The multi-purpose studio holds 21 high powered dual-screen workstations, a 14 camera Vicon motion capture system, and a greenscreening area for live action shots. The classroom has seats and computers for 20 students, allowing interactive classroom work and demos. The screening room houses a cinema grade projector and computers, allowing review of work at the resolution, brightness, and contrast experienced in a commercial theater. The workroom (Mac Lab) houses additional computers, graphics tablets, a scanner, and video editing workstations. The Barre Hall studio is used for teaching foundation art classes, providing space for teaching traditional visual foundations of the discipline.

Charleston:

DPA’s MS and MFA programs are also located in the new Zucker Family Graduate Education Center (ZFGEC) in Charleston, South Carolina. The ZFGEC houses high-tech classrooms equipped with the latest technology, collaboration spaces and conference rooms, laboratory and studio spaces, and more. A variety of courses will be offered each semester by Clemson faculty in a traditional face-to-face classroom format and via "real time" streaming to and from Clemson’s main campus. DPA MFA students can choose to study in Clemson or Charleston, and are not required to travel between the two locations.

Our Students

Recent graduates have been hired by DreamWorks, EA, Pixar, Walt Disney Animation, Industrial Light & Magic, Marvel, Sony Imageworks, RedStorm, NVIDIA, ReelFX, Blue Sky Studios and institutions of higher learning. Graduates have worked on films such as:

  • Moana
  • Frozen
  • Hobbit
  • Rio
  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Croods

Applying

Application Information

To be admitted, candidates need a complete Graduate School application, an acceptable GRE composite score, unofficial transcripts and three letters of recommendation. Non-native English speakers also must submit an acceptable TOEFL score. A portfolio is required for the MFA degree, but is optional when applying to the MS. 

Applicants may apply on the Web at http://www.clemson.edu/graduate/admissions/apply/. Applications should be received no later than five weeks prior to registration. Every required item in support of the application must be on file by that date.

More detailed application and portfolio information can be found by visiting the DPA website at https://www.cs.clemson.edu/dpa/index.html  

Required Documents

Financial

Students can now choose to study in Clemson or Charleston, SC and we offer financial support in both locations. This level of support is dependent on the student’s application materials, however, we will strive to make costs competitive and affordable to all qualified students. We accept applications throughout the year on a rolling admission basis for the nearest term (Spring or Fall), however, our standard deadline for full consideration is January 15. 

Contact


Program Contact(s)

  • Victor Zordan
  • Office: 131 McAdams Hall
  • Phone: (864) 656-4144
  • Email: vbz@clemson.edu
  • Dida Weeks
  • Office: 103 McAdams Hall
  • Phone: (864) 656-5577
  • Email: dpa@clemson.edu

Program Coordinator(s)