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The Division of Continuing Education offers advice on courses. Below are some of the most commonly asked questions. Should you have additional questions, please contact a CE Course Advisor at ce@sva.edu or call 877.242.7200.

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Which Advertising course will help me build a portfolio?
The majority of our advertising courses are portfolio-building courses. The focus will be on concepting; developing the best possible ideas for an ad campaign. With that in mind, you may be able to complete 2-3 portfolio pieces per course. However, you should not expect to build an entire portfolio within one course, or by taking multiple courses concurrently. Building a professional, competitive portfolio for the marketplace takes time and is a continuous process throughout one's career.

What course should I take if I'm interested in being a copywriter?
Most of our advertising courses are taught by a copywriter/creative director team, and give assignments that will be equally helpful for someone pursuing a career as a copywriter, as it would for those interested in being a Creative Director. Instructors emphasize the importance of beginning with a great idea.


What software will I learn in the course Graphic Design: Basic?
The Graphic Design: Basic (DSC-2021-ADSC-2029-A) courses will introduce you to the fundamental building blocks of design, but they do not teach students how to use computer software programs. You may use whatever tools and skills available to complete your assignments; those may include but are not limited to drawing, painting, photocopying and collage. Some students may already know how to use programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, and while they may use these tools to complete the assignments, it is not required. Once at the intermediate and specialized level, it is expected that you have a working knowledge of imaging/desktop publishing software. To learn the basic software programs used by designers, please refer to our Imaging, Design and Desktop Publishing courses. Many students begin with Digital Design Basics (SMC-1031).

Can I build a portfolio in these courses? 
Most of our design courses are portfolio-building courses. Some courses will specialize on a specific area of design (i.e., Typography: BasicDSC-2053 and Hand Lettering and DesignDSC-2071-A), whereas others will focus on different types of design (i.e., Editorial DesignDSC-2156, and Brand Identity: Creating an Image, DSC-2243-A). All of these courses will help you build a portfolio. If you are a beginner, you should not expect to complete a portfolio by taking one class, or even through multiple courses concurrently. Building a professional, competitive portfolio for the marketplace takes time and is a continuous process throughout one's career.

Will I learn about design and build a portfolio in the Imaging, Design and Desktop Publishing courses?
In our Imaging, Design and Desktop Publishing courses, you will learn about the different tools and techniques that are used in design. These may include: desktop publishing software, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. Although these courses are very effective in teaching the current software used in the industry, you will not be learning about the principles of design, nor will the focus of the courses be toward building a portfolio. To learn about design, the creative process undertaken in order to convey a specific message (or messages), you can look at our BasicIntermediate and Specialized and Advanced courses.

Which course should I take if I want to learn about web design?
To start learning about web design you can take a look at the Web Design and Development course section. 
A good place to start is the Coding: HTML and CSS - Basic (SMC-2422). If you plan to pursue a career in web design and development—and wish to move into more advanced languages like XML, PHP, CSS, HTML5, MySQL, or into iPad and iPhone App development—you will need to have a working knowledge of basic HTML. Deciding which course to begin with depends largely on the individual student. Are you invested in a career as a web developer? Do you want to create iPhone and iPad Apps? Are you interested in the back-end development of websites? Then start with HTML. Are you a designer or artist trying to get an online portfolio or website together? Then consider Wordpress: From Designer to WordPress Developer (SWC-3333-A).

Film, Video and Animation

Which Animation course should I take if I'm a beginner?
If you are a beginner, consider taking Animation: An Introduction (ANC-1022-A). This course will introduce you to the basics of animation. In these courses, you will be hand drawing your animations, cell by cell, and then shooting them in DragonFrame. The approach is very similar to that used in early Disney animations and will introduce you to the process of creating animations, from storyboards to final film. Alternatively, Putting It All Together: Digital Animation for Drawing Traditional Animation and Motion Graphics (ANC-3276-CE), will be a good introduction to digital software for 2-d animation production, including Adobe After Effects and Photoshop

Are there any 3-D computer animation courses?
Yes, you can find our Computer Animation courses under the 3D Animation Software Skills for Animators in the Animation section of our website. We offer Maya: Basic Computer Animation (SMC-2213) and Maya: Intermediate Computer Animation (SMC-3213).

Is there a course in which I can complete a film?
Completing a full-length film is a huge undertaking, but in Digital Filmmaking I (CFC-1003-A) the various stages of filmmaking will be discussed and students complete a short film. The majority of our courses focus on honing skills specific to a particular area such as Directing (CFC-2040-A) or Cinematography (CFC-3034-A). Filmmaking is a collaborative process with many roles, both in front of and behind the camera.  In other courses, like Creating a Documentary Film (CFC-3027), planning, concepting and writing are partnered with hands-on work to help you develop your idea for a full-length film.

Will I need to purchase software for my course? Are there student discounts?
While it is not mandatory to purchase software, it is recommended to do so in order to practice at home between class sessions. The SVA Campus Store offers computer and software discounts to Continuing Education students.  Please stop by the store, located at 207 East 23rd Street, email campusstore@sva.edu

Fine Arts

What are the differences between Drawing I and Figure Drawing I
The approach in these courses will vary by instructor, but in both courses, the emphasis will be on life drawing (drawing the nude model from observation). However, in Drawing I, you will also spend time drawing still life and/or discussing perspective while drawing the interior of a room. Both courses will cover basic principles of drawing such as proportion, mark-making, shading, line-weight, composition and positive and negative space.

Can I use the studios outside of class time? 
Students enrolled in printmaking courses are offered additional studio hours outside of class time. The open studio schedule will be made available to students once all of the courses have begun for the semester. Many of our sculpture courses offer access to the studios outside of class time. Sculpture courses that do not meet in the sculpture center do not offer studio access outside of class time. (See individual sculpture course descriptions for complete details.) If you are enrolled in a painting, drawing or jewelry-making course, there are no studios available for use outside of class time.

Illustration and Cartooning

What kind of drawing skills do I need to take these courses and/or can I use a computer? 

The level and type of skills required in our illustration and cartooning courses largely depends on the course. In a course such as Cartooning Basics (CIC-2011) you will learn some basic drawing techniques for cartoons and comics. Other courses that teach drawing skills include Figure Drawing for Cartoonists (CIC-2218-Aand Crash Course for Artists, Illustrators and Cartoonists (ILC-2448-A). In other courses such as Inking Comics (ILC-2114-A) and Formula Drawing and Analysis for Cartoonists I (ILC-2119), you will be learning the fundamental techniques in drawing. Finally, we offer a large variety of concept-based courses, in which students should feel comfortable with their drawing skills and/or method of working. Courses include Illustration as Design as Illustration (ILC-2756-A), The Art of Cartooning (CIC-2781-A), Children's Book Illustration Intensive: Intermediate to Advanced (ILC-2565-A), and Essential Knowledge and Skills for Comics Creators (CIC-2239-A), among others. The medium used in these courses may include: colored pencil, acrylics, oils, inking, gouache or collage, as well as computer programs such as Illustrator, Photoshop or Maya.

Which course will teach me to draw using digital tools?
While we do not offer a course focusing entirely on digital drawing, Digital Coloring for Illustrators and Comic Artists (ILC-2149-A) covers uses of Adobe Photoshop for illustrators.



If I'm a beginner and I have a digital camera, which course should I start with? 
Digital Photography I (PHC-1042) is a great course to start with if you have a Digital Single Lens Reflex (SLR) camera and you want to get started in photography. You may also take Know More, Shoot Better: Intro to Photo Techniques (PHC-1040-A), a lecture and demonstration based course focusing on the technical control of photography. This course is non-specific to digital or film. 

Can I take a lighting course if I have no previous experience with photography?

If you do not have previous experience, or if you do not know about the basic principles of photography—how to take pictures manually; what the difference is between the f-stop, shutter speed and ISO—you should not take a lighting course or other intermediate to advanced courses in photography. In these courses, students are expected to have a basic working knowledge of photography principles. Courses that will help you learn these principles are: Black-and-White Photography (PHC-1003), Digital Photography I (PHC-1042) and Know More, Shoot Better: Intro to Photo Techniques (PHC-1040).


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