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High School Digital Arts Courses at Sterling Academy

Expand your knowledge of technology through our digital arts courses

Sterling Academy Logo   Digital Arts

Develop digital design skills through our high school Digital Arts courses at Sterling Academy!  We offer 4 courses in this subject area, each worth one semester (0.5 credit). 

Full-time students at Sterling Academy can take these courses for their electives.  If you are a full-time student at another school but your school does not offer these courses, you can enroll at Sterling Academy part-time and take the courses you wish. These courses are 100% online, and since we are an accredited school, you can generally easily transfer credits earned back to your high school.

What can you learn in our courses?  Well, not only will we teach you how to apply established graphic design principles and how to use the digital graphic programs that are out there today, but also how to learn so that you can quickly adapt to the ever-changing list of new graphic tools. Our courses give you many opportunities to create vector based graphics, apply effective graphic design principles, and create 3-dimensional models and animations. Most of the digital tools we use in our courses are free. 

A typical course will ask you to create a project by first breaking down the specific skills you will need to know to succeed. You practice these skills separately, then you practice integrating the skills. At this point, you will feel confident as you successfully complete the required project.


Digital Arts I

In the first semester of this introductory digital arts course sequence, students will learn the seven elements of visual art: line, shape, form, color, value, space, and texture. The course highlights historical artwork, focusing on the ways in which artists have used specific elements of visual art in a variety of ways. After surveying a variety of media and art, students will use digital drawing to apply the elements of visual art in their own work.

Students will use Inkscape, the popular open-source vector-graphics software program, to complete the course projects. Students will discover career opportunities in the design, production, display, and presentation of digital artwork. Students will respond to the artwork of others and learn how to combine artistic elements to create finished pieces that effectively communicate ideas. The course assignments build toward a finished still-life drawing that incorporates all seven elements of visual art.

Digital Arts II

In the second semester of this introductory digital arts course sequence, students will build on the skills and concepts learned in Digital Arts I to develop further a vocabulary of digital design elements. Digital Arts II includes a review of the skills and concepts learned in Digital Arts I to support the more advanced techniques described in the course. Students will learn about the principles of design and use them to create their own unique artworks. The principles of design include repetition, pattern, contrast, variety, movement, rhythm, proportion, balance, emphasis, dominance, unity, and harmony.

By the end of the course, students will have created a collection of digital art projects for a digital design portfolio. This course also uses Inkscape. Assignments instruct students in analyzing the use of principles of design in specific artworks, as well as assignments that support using those principles in student work.

3D Art I - Modeling

This course will introduce students to 3D-modeling tools and concepts. Using Blender, the popular open-source 3D-modeling package, students will learn the basics of creating shapes, adding textures and lighting, and rendering. By the end of the course, students will have produced a series of increasingly sophisticated projects for their 3D portfolio, such as a house, a creature, and terrain.

This course is suitable for students with no prior experience with 3D game design or digital media authoring tools, but it is recommended for students who are older. The course uses a difficult software program, and prior experience in 3D software may be helpful. Also, student computer speeds will greatly affect how long the course will take to complete.

3D Art II - Animation

In this second-semester course, students will build on the 3D-modeling concepts and Blender software skills developed in 3D Art I to learn intermediate to advanced 3D-animation techniques. Using Blender, the world’s most powerful open-source modeling tool, students will master the basics of animation—trajectory, lighting, bones, and movement—while learning how to apply traditional animation techniques to their 3D models.

By the end of the course, students will have a solid foundation for pursuing further 3D modeling and animation projects.