Computer Graphics and Game Technology Program Overview
Interactive entertainment and computer-animated visual effects are now part of our mainstream culture. Creating such computer-generated imagery, however, is no trivial task. It requires a delicate blending of art with science by teams of highly skilled professionals, including artists, animators, writers, designers, engineers and software developers working long hours with cutting-edge technology and tools. Currently there are very few academic programs at four-year research universities adequately preparing students for such positions. The Master of Science in Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology (CGGT) was created specifically to address this need.
The CGGT program was established in 2004. The goal of the program is to expose recent graduates, as well as individuals returning from industry, to state-of-the-art graphics and animation technologies, as well as interactive media design principles, product development methodologies and engineering entrepreneurship. The CGGT program prepares students for positions requiring multidisciplinary skills such as designers, technical animators and directors and game programmers. Students in the CGGT program use the equipment and resources available through the SIG Center for Computer Graphics. Opportunities for specialization are provided in such core areas as art and animation, creative design, animation and simulation technology, human/computer interfaces and production management.
Who Should Apply?
Students seeking admission to the program are assumed to have a bachelor's degree in either Computer Science or Engineering. Students seeking admission with non-computer science and/or engineering undergraduate backgrounds will require a minimum of two years to complete the program. The first year will be spent in the Department's Master of Computer and Information Technology (MCIT) program; upon satisfactory completion of the MCIT program, the student may pursue the Computer Graphics and Game Technology degree. Such students, having taken a total of 16 courses, will receive two degrees: a Master of Computer and Information Technology and a Master of Science and Engineering in Computer Graphics and Game Technology.
Since 1975, the Center for Human Modeling and Simulation (HMS) has been a leader in the fields of 3D computer graphics, human simulation and the behavioral animation of embodied intelligent agents. The lab has achieved international recognition for its research and is well known for the "Jack" software, a procedural character animation system used in both private sector and government applications. Computer Graphics Penn alumni have been influential in computer graphics applications around the world, and include industry leaders such as Nick Foster of PDI/DreamWorks ("Shrek") and Cary Philips at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM), who are winners of Academy Awards for Technical Achievement.
The SIG Center for Computer Graphics includes a state-of-the-art motion capture studio and high performance NVidia GPU processors. This lab houses both the HMS Center and ViDi, the Digital Visualization Center. It fosters a collegial and open atmosphere in which faculty, staff, and students interact and collaborate. Doctoral students are often teamed with CGGT students and students from the affiliated undergraduate Digital Media Design (DMD) program to conduct cutting-edge research and produce animated demonstrations highlighting their results. The continued industry need for well-rounded designers, programmers and technical directors who understand both the art and science of producing visual media and interactive content has led to great success with graduates from both the CGGT and DMD programs finding employment at companies such as Pixar, DreamWorks, Disney, Electronic Arts, Microsoft, Sony, Activision, Blue Sky Entertainment.