Week 3 (July 19-24, 2020)

Intensive Study in Animation: A Digital Artistry Experience

Have you dreamt of creating your own animated worlds, characters, creatures and stories like the ones in blockbuster animated films such as Monsters Inc., Kung Fu Panda and Frozen? Since its conception, Animation has always been a place where anything you imagine can happen.

Animation was born when people such as Eadweard Muybridge and J. Stuart Blackton used cutting-edge technology to imitate motion with photographs and drawings.  Now, over 100 years later, there is little resemblance between those experiments and modern films. However, technology remains indispensable. Some of the most advanced computer systems in the world are dedicated to bringing fantastical worlds, creatures and characters to life.

In the Drawing & Animation class, students will learn about the concepts and techniques used in professional animation studios around the world. They will use the same tools as the pros to bring their ideas to life through drawing, digital sculpting, modeling, lighting, rigging, animation, and more.

Successful collaboration and communication is key to large animation productions. So, students will pitch ideas, designs, and stories, as well as learn how to give and receive creative critique. Additionally, students will have the option to collaborate with one another to create projects.

At the end of the class students will have a broad understanding of a modern 3D animation pipeline and will have produced an animation or digital composition.

            Hands-on experiences will include:

  • Observing, drawing, and communicating using perspective, composition, light, shape, and texture.
  • Sketch and/or storyboard ideas
  • Use 3D sculpting for organic modeling
  • Use hard-surface modeling for geometric shapes
  • Light, shade, and texture 3D models
  • Learn basic rigging for 3D characters and creatures
  • Observe motion and weight, and translate those observations to animation.
  • Use key frames and curves for animation
  • Use motion capture to create realistic, complex movement

Intensive Study in Technical Writing in GIS, Data Visualization and Immersive Displays

This course will teach students about data visualization using immersive displays as well as giving an opportunity to include their data visualizations in writing exercises. Students will use Geographic Information Systems (GIS), which are spatial databases used for map making and data analysis, and they will write in thoughtful ways that engage with these experiences and tools.

Participants in this course will learn how to use GIS software and get a conceptual understanding of the challenges involved in mapping and spatial data. In addition to GIS students will work with 360 cameras and learn about the MSU Library’s 360 display space and the MSU museum’s Science on a Sphere (SoS).

 Here are some of the learning objectives for the course: 

  • Introduction to the 360 system and creation of 360 photos
  • Write the “Story” of a 360 photo
  • Introductions to the Science on a Sphere (SoS) system and VR (virtual reality)
  • Create a map with discovered data and write an explanatory abstract 
  • Share maps, data, and abstracts with peers and examine maps and alternate ways of seeing/experiences based on technology and presentation.

Intensive Study in Sustainable Agriculture and Remote Sensing

Food security occurs when all people can access enough safe and nutritious food to meet their requirements for a healthy life, in ways the planet can sustain into the future. However, food security faces several challenges across both production and consumption which research will be essential to solve. Against the backdrop of climate change, food for nearly 8 billion people is likely to become a real issue for many countries. 

Students will learn the application of advanced crop system models to predict the impact of weather, soil and management on short-term and long-term yield, nutrient uptake, water use efficiency and environmental outcomes.  Additionally, we will explore the advances and limitations of different air and space-borne platforms to obtain remotely sensed data via hands on satellite data analysis.  This includes a hands-on component of touring the MSU research farms and deploying our own research drone to collect real crop data. MSUs Entomology Department will join us for a look at modern management techniques and research of insect pests in agriculture.  Finally, we will look at future projections and the computer models to better understand the impact of climate variability on agricultural production systems. 


  • Learn about the fast moving and high-tech field of modern agriculture directly from industry leaders and contemporary research experts.  
  • Participate the analysis of high-resolution satellite images and explore the advances in air and space-borne platforms in obtaining crop and soil data.   
  • Tour the MSU research farms and launch a state-of-the-art research drone to collect our own data for analysis.
  • Learn about the future of farming including topics such as sustainable agriculture, food security, crop yield forecasting, and precision farming.
  • Assessing the impact of climate variability and change on agricultural production systems.