David Beaudoin is director of digital arts, associate division chair of arts and humanities, and teaches web design, multimedia authoring, and motion graphics.
The field of digital arts encompasses the latest in electronic media, design, and technology. “Our program prepares students to transfer and complete a bachelor’s degree in digital arts,” says Beaudoin, “where our students can work towards ever-expanding career options in graphics, multimedia, gaming, and simulation design.”
Demand for graphic designers is projected to increase 13 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employ- ment of multimedia artists and animators is expected to grow by 8 percent. HCC digital arts students are preparing to meet that demand. They are learning skills such as digital imaging, 3D animation, designing for interactive environments, and motion graphics, to create products as varied as electronic installation art, video games, 3D surgical instrument renderings, and flight simulators.
“The goal is for students to graduate with a portfolio demonstrating a range of technical and creative skills,” says Beaudoin. Reaching that goal comes with challenges.
The curriculum strengthens both right brain and left brain thinking. “Digital art requires logic and precision, as well as artistic talent. Students must be adept at putting creative elements and digital language together to problem solve,” says Beaudoin. Another challenge is staying on the leading edge of a dynamic and complex field. “To keep the program up to date, we rely on our relationships with four-year colleges, and on our faculty of practicing professionals,” says Beaudoin.
“Over the years, we’ve changed course content and classrooms dramatically to follow industry trends and keep students’ skills sharp.”
After studying graphic design at HCC, Sara Michener transferred to the Maryland Institute College of Art, earning a bachelor’s in fine arts. Today she is an art director for an engineering firm in New York. “Most of what I do day-to-day comes directly from skills I learned at HCC,” she says. “This is a wonderful career with a lot of competition. The design rules taught at HCC are valuable – allowing me to grow with the technology and be creative.”
GAMING IS SERIOUS BUSINESS
Julia Lemich, HCC alumna and faculty member, takes a creative yet serious approach when she teaches students the fundamentals of gaming and simulation design.
Gaming consists of complex virtual or digital interactive entertainment. With gaming as a fairly new addition to college curricula on the East Coast, HCC is already ahead of the curve.
“My students learn the foundational skills for creating games that also apply to illustration, animation, programming apps, and web design,” she says.
After studying digital and studio arts at HCC, Lemich earned a degree in gaming from the University of Baltimore. She immediately got a job creating educational games.
Now that she’s swapped student status for teaching, she enjoys a dual focus on her students and her own creations. When she’s not in the classroom, she works as a freelance illustrator, and a gaming, graphic, and web designer.