Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Effective Term: Summer 2023
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • Students successfully apply design techniques and theory to design a digital game character
  • Students successfully apply design theory and techniques to create a digital game environment


This course introduces the creative and technical aspects of computer and video game art and design. Students learn conceptual and practical skills for bringing a comprehensive artistic vision to the creation of computer and video games, including concept art, character design, interface design, storytelling, and gameplay. Projects emphasize creative design processes and digital prototyping of art for 2-D and 3-D computer and video games.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:

  1. Use digital techniques and tools for drawing and painting
  2. Use digital techniques to create 3-D models
  3. Develop an unique artistic vision for a computer or video game
  4. Create concept art for computer and video games
  5. Create character designs for computer and video games
  6. Create interface designs for computer and video games

Course Content

  1. Genres of computer game art
  2. Cultural influences in computer game art
  3. Comparing computer game art and classical art
  4. Introduction to digital drawing and painting tools
    1. Drawing tablets
    2. Painting software
    3. 3-D software
  5. Introduction to 2-D digital drawing
    1. Perspective
    2. Lighting
  6. Introduction to 3-D modeling
    1. Cameras
    2. Lights
  7. The human figure
    1. Gravity and movement
    2. Proportion
    3. Anatomy
    4. Facial expression
  8. Elements of design
    1. Framing
    2. Camera angle
    3. Scale
    4. Grouping
  9. Character design
    1. Character concept
    2. Visual metaphor
    3. Mood board
    4. 2-D character design
    5. 3-D character design
    6. Subverting conventions
  10. Environment design
    1. Character-centric environmental design
    2. Top-down environmental design
    3. 2-D environment design
    4. 3-D environment design
    5. Game-play map design
    6. Visual interface design
      1. Icons
      2. Menus

Lab Content

  1. Introduction to digital drawing
    1. Perspective exercises
    2. The illusion of lighting
    3. The importance of process
  2. Elements of design
    1. Set up a 2-D scene
      1. Cropping
      2. Scale
      3. Grouping
    2. Set up a 3-D scene
      1. Camera angle
      2. Lighting
  3. Character design
    1. Drawing proportions
    2. Drawing anatomy
    3. Using visual metaphors
    4. Using mood boards
  4. Environment design
    1. Composition
    2. Buildings
    3. Gameplay maps

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

1. A lecture room equipped with instructional computer, high resolution color monitor, software; projection system and lighting suitable for displaying projected media.
2. An integrated or separate facility with student workstation configurations, to include hard drives, color monitors, mice, keyboards, and software.
3. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with JavaScript-enabled internet browsing software, media plug-ins, and relevant computer applications.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Methods of Evaluation may include but are not limited to the following:

Computer assignments
Collaborative student work
Oral presentations

Method(s) of Instruction

Methods of Instruction may include but are not limited to the following:

Lectures on techniques and theoretical concepts of computer game art
Demonstration of digital painting software and technique
Presentation and in-class discussion of preliminary and finished artwork
Group critique of student artwork

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Solarski, Chris. Drawing Basics and Video Game Art: Classic to Cutting-Edge Art Techniques for Winning Video Game Design. 2012.

Schell, Jesse. The Art of Game Design: A Book of Lenses. 2015.

These texts are older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, but are still the best choice for this course.

Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

  1. Weekly reading assignments from text and outside sources ranging from 30-60 pages per week
  2. Review of handouts and relevant reading material
  3. Research and planning of individual creative projects
  4. Project progress reports


Graphic Arts