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Course Series Spotlight: Unity I, II, and III

Curious what you’ll learn in our Unity course sequence? Instructor John Selig tells us more:

Why is Unity important for my design education?

Unity is, in many ways, the future; people think it’s only for games, but with Unity you can build apps, movies, augmented reality experiences, and even VR simulations. People are using it in the health industry, for interior design, and more; it’s an incredibly powerful tool, with room for every type of designer. You can get inspired by what’s possible here.

Why does it require a 3-course sequence?

You could say that what we’re learning to do in the Unity classes really combines every aspect of design; in these courses we learn to build rich interactive experiences, and with that comes the need for creativity, design sense, technical know-how, UX expertise, and so much more. Music? Check. Architecture? Check. Physics? Definitely check! Whatever you’re into, there’s a way to apply it to these projects, so although we cover a lot of ground in each class, it would be impossible to get through everything Unity has to offer in just one quarter!

How will this skill set translate to the “real world” workplace?

Interactive media and games is now the biggest entertainment industry today; bigger than movies, bigger than sports, bigger than music. Maybe that interests you, or maybe you’re just curious to see what it’s about; but either way, part of what you get in the Unity sequence is a strong foundation in programming, and every year this becomes more and more valuable, in every industry. Even if you think you have zero interest in being a programmer, knowing how to “talk the talk” so to speak can give you an edge in a great many careers today.

Can you share a sample assignment?
Sure! Here’s the final project from Unity I: 3D Game Design and Game Engines:

Final Project Unity I: GameJam!

What’s a game jam? Good question!
A game jam is an event where teams or individuals get together and each try to make a small game around a specific theme, within a specific time limit. And that’s exactly what we’re going to do!

Theme: Ghosts, Goblins, Monsters
You can make any kind of game you want, but it has to include ghosts and/or goblins and/or monsters in some meaningful way! If you’re looking for suggestions, see below!

Project Suggestions:
A game where you have to find and defeat ghosts in a scary forest
An app where you use the UI system to create an interactive ghost story
A game where you play as a goblin and try to drive away those pesky humans!
Literally just Pac-Man
A movie that plays out automatically, telling a story—if you go this route, make sure to use Cinemachine, animation, and potentially Unity’s Timeline system (see lecture 7 for more info)
Anything else that you can think of (as long as you can actually build it before the deadline!)

Thanks, John! Enroll in our Unity sequence today.

Design IV: Capstone final project – Code for America by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Code for America, by Manoela Dowsley and Jason Acuna. The designers shared this about the project:

Code For America is a nonprofit organization that works with government agencies on tech solutions. The organization uses the principles and practices of the digital age to improve how government serves the American Public, and how the public improves government. They consider themselves to be a network of people making government work for the people, by the people, in the digital age.

Our rebrand project for Code For America focused on modernizing the visuals aspects of the organization and make those elements memorable. In addition, we worked to improve the communication and make the mission and vision as clear as possible to the public, including possible volunteers, government agencies, and most importantly, people in need of government services. We aimed to emphasize that this organization empowers communities by raising civic awareness through the use of technology. 

Our inspiration for this rebrand project was the organization’s mission to help people throughout the community through the use of technology and make government accessible to everyone. 

Our design process involved taking our favorite parts of the organization’s brand elements and making them stronger and contemporary.  

Thanks, Manoela and Jason. Excellent work!

Design IV: Capstone final project – Animal Legal Defense Fund by Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz

Below is the Design IV: Capstone final project, Animal Legal Defense Fund, by students Payal Salot and Genesis Goertz. The designers shared this about the project:

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is a non-profit organization located in the Bay Area, CA whose purpose is to provide justice to animals as they cannot speak for themselves. We both researched the brand and identified key elements of what their preexisting branding was about and analyzed the organization’s speech to find their goals, values, and the message they want to convey.

We were inspired by the organization’s visual message of trying to position themselves as animal defenders by using key elements like the shield and animal references and decided to reinforce it making it stronger and cleaner. So we consider our project a brand refresh instead of a re-branding since we bring the preexisting design intentions of the ALDF (like their color palette, initial logo, etc) and give it a more contemporary, friendly, and iconic look to create a memorable impact in the audience’s minds.

We followed the design process given to us by our instructor Kyle Valentic in which every week we tackled different levels of design decisions. We started with design thinking and research, followed by creating a brand profile and style guide, determining identity needs (logo refresh/redesign), creating print collateral and digital assets, branding a social media channel, crafting an ad campaign, and ending with the branding of a fundraising event.

This was an extensive project we designed under the guidance and feedback of our instructor Kyle and was an excellent opportunity to deeply understand the ALDF brand and provide practical design and brand solutions that could potentially benefit their impact on the world.

Excellent work!

Course Spotlight: Motion Graphics III

Our Motion Graphics sequence consists of three courses, includingMotion Graphics I, Motion Graphics II, and, new course this winter: Motion Graphics III. Instructor David Dodds tells us more about it:

Why is Motion Graphics III important for my design education?


In Motion Graphics III you will learn to work faster, smarter and more creatively. Learn the latest features in After Effects, and efficient ways to get things done. Through mentorship I’ll help you develop your creative voice, and actualize your ideas. In addition to advanced motion graphic assignments, I will help you develop 3 independent projects. We also will focus on career and Motion Graphic portfolio development.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?


One assignment will be to animate Futuristic HUD Elements. These types of user interface elements are seen in Iron Man or the Star Wars movies. After setting up our layers correctly in Illustrator, we will transfer the Illustrator HUD assets into After Effects and animate each layer professionally. Finally we will add a camera, depth of field, a motion track, and composite the HUD in a video. The skills learned in this project can be used to create professional motion graphics for video games, movies, and infographics.

What will I take away from this course?


Tips and tricks for advanced animation techniques
Keyboard shortcuts and mapping techniques to maximize any workflow
Motion Graphics portfolio and career development
Career Research skills
How to tackle complex design and creative challenges and bring them to fruition
Practices for finding or refining your unique creative voice

Thank you, David. Enroll in Motion Graphics III today!

Course spotlight: Media Experimentation (online)

Henrique Teixeira

Instructor Michelle Constantine tells us more about this dynamic course, which you can enroll in today:

In this new iteration of Mixed Media, now Media Experimentation, we’ll include digital tools. The old version of the course focused heavily on analog tools and experimentation. We’ll cover some collage tools in Photoshop and there will be a few projects that allow students to work both digitally and analog. Students will have more freedom to move between digital and analog work with support from the instructor.

Aimee Nash

Understanding how to make things analog is important and can open up worlds for students. Learning how to bounce from analog to digital can be helpful for students who want to push their work further.

The course focuses on mastering Media Experimentation tools and techniques; we’ll collage and explore creating with analog and digital tools.

Thanks, Michelle!

Enroll in Media Experimentation today.

Now Online! Web Coding Intensive Bootcamp

We’re thrilled that instructor Michael Newman, known for pushing the boundaries of interactive design with pieces such as this UCLA Extension catalog cover, will be bringing the Web Coding Intensive Bootcamp online this spring.

He answered a few questions about it for us:

Why is this material important for my design education?
Having solid, hands-on experience with web development gives designers a true understanding of how to bring a project to life. Not only will you be familiar with the core technologies and the development process, you will also be able to build rapid prototypes during the design phase. This is a powerful skill set that will help you test, prove and share your creative vision whether you are building a project yourself or handing it off to a development team.

Do you have a sample assignment we’ll be working on?
Throughout the course we’ll work on a variety of fast-paced projects, each building on skills learned in the previous weeks. A fun project we’ll work on towards the end of the course is to design and build an interactive infographic complete with animation and live data.

What will I take away from this course?
● A solid understanding of modern HTML & CSS
● An intermediate understanding of Javascript ESNext
● Working knowledge of responsive frameworks and how to use them
● Modern web design and development workflow and process

Thank you, Michael!

Enroll in Web Coding Intensive Bootcamp today!

Chinese Brush Painting Video Demo

On Feb 2 & 3, celebrate the month of love and the new lunar year at UCLA Extension by exploring two well-loved subjects of Chinese Brush Painting: the majestic Peony—King of Flowers, and the magnificent Red-Crowned Crane—a symbol of devotion and fidelity. Bringing decades of practice, expertise, and artistic inspiration, artist/instructor Mayee Futterman will guide students of all levels to experience the materials, techniques, and concepts that make this art form transformative, inspiring, and fun.

Click here to enroll.

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