Requirements By Major

Our portfolio requirements were updated on September 1, 2021. If you are applying for the Spring 2022 or Summer 2022 terms and have already begun developing your portfolio according to the previous requirements, you may submit this portfolio once complete. All other applicants should adhere to the new requirements.

Creative Direction

Design 3 campaigns that serve to connect an existing or imaginary brand, client, or cause with the public. As a Creative Director, you should strategically expand your brand, client, or cause’s reach, connecting it to its market in a fun, impactful, and enduring way, initiating two-way engagement with your target audience.

The campaigns you create could include strategic social media campaigns, video content, promotional stunts, print ads, in-store experiences, online experiences, and more. Think about some of the things you’re most passionate about and design content that will get it out into the world and allow others to engage with it.

For each campaign, show us examples of the ideas you generated before deciding on your final solution(s). Each campaign should include process examples such as mind-maps, personas/market research, or thumbnail sketches of different design directions in addition to your final pieces. Feel free to explore your ideas through a variety of formats and options.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Entertainment Design

CONCEPT

Submit a 20-25 page portfolio that demonstrates your ability to immerse us in imaginative story worlds that adhere to a specific visual and narrative logic appropriate to the story you are telling.

Concept art incorporates both “concept” and “art”. We want to see both your imaginative thinking to solve creative problems (concept) and the strength of your artistic skills (art). Immerse us in unique narratives by thoughtfully designing the elements of the world as dictated by the needs of the story-- either re-envisioning an existing story or creating a brand new one. Think big, make unexpected choices, and connect us to your story on an emotional level by visualizing your story in a way that only you can. Show us your passion and surprise us!

Your portfolio should feature 2-3 different story worlds, demonstrating different visual styles.

The four elements of the story world you should include in your portfolio are:

  • Characters/Creatures
  • Architecture/Environments
  • Vehicles
  • Props

Not all four elements are needed for each story, but each element should be represented in at least one of your stories. For instance, you could have characters, props, and environments for one project and only characters and vehicles for another.

When depicting each of these elements, be sure to include:

  • Research/inspiration. Show us the inspiration for your design thinking by sharing visual inspirations and key concepts that will inform your design decisions.
  • Process/Ideation. Include a number of sketches that demonstrate your development process, show us different design directions you explored in developing the elements of your story. Demonstrate your proficiency in the fundamentals of anatomy, drawing, and perspective.
  • Final Renderings. Demonstrate your final design decisions through a digital or marker rendering or a keyframe painting. Keyframe paintings are a good way to put multiple elements together and demonstrate your proficiency in the fundamentals of painting, lighting, and composition.

In addition, please include 5 sample sketchbook pages and 6 figure drawings from a live model. These drawings should not be related to the stories you are depicting.

ANIMATION

Submit a 20-25 page portfolio that demonstrates your ability to tell an animated story.

Your portfolio should be built around an original idea for an animated short film, feature film, or TV show and should demonstrate deep engagement with the ways in which movement, performance, and expression play vital roles in visual storytelling.

The elements of your portfolio should include:

  • Story Pitch. A concise (1-2 sentence) synopsis of the original storyline that will be the basis of your portfolio.
  • Character designs. Design at least 3 characters central to your story pitch. Each character should be presented on a page of fully rendered drawings conveying the movements, expressions, attitudes and idiosyncrasies that express the character’s personality within the context of the storyline. Include reference images, inspiration, character development/exploration.
  • Finished keyframes. Create at least 5 fully rendered illustrations that convey critical, narrative moments from your storyline, depicting your characters in dramatic moments throughout the story’s arc.

In addition, please include the following elements that don’t need to be connected to your story:

  • Animated Work. Studies/exercises, clips/scenes of animated projects you have created, or 1-2 short films. These do not need to be fully completed films, but can be shorter clips that show us how you use movement and performance to tell a story or convey a character.
  • Figure drawings. 6-8 figure drawings from a live model. This should include gestural sketches as well as more finished drawings.
  • Sketchbooks. Include 3-4 pages from your sketchbook, focusing on observational drawings such as animals, people, locations.

While it is not required, if you have already produced work related to one our program tracks (character animation, storyboarding, modeling, art direction, lighting for animation), please also include any relevant example(s), such as models, storyboards, lighting exercises, or motion/movement studies.

GAME DESIGN

Submit a one-minute pitch video and a 10-15 page original idea/concept proposal for a game.

Your proposal should go beyond just the story elements of your game and should articulate how the player will navigate, experience, strategize, and progress through the stages of your game. The emphasis of your proposal should not be focused on game art but instead upon designing the elements of the game from a player experience perspective. Sketches and/or renderings may be used throughout the different elements of your concept proposal where helpful to communicate your ideas.

Your pitch video should consist of you presenting the basic game concept and talking us through the basic structure of the game. This is your opportunity to sell us on what makes your game unique and why you think it will resonate with players. Videos can be submitted through the online application or the applicant portal as a YouTube/Vimeo link (not password protected) or video file titled “Pitch Video.”

Your game concept proposal should be a single, cohesive document that includes:

  • A short paragraph that details the main features of the game, including the target platform (console or mobile) and audience
  • A description of the different categories/layers of navigation and movement available to the player (main mechanics), articulate how the player will navigate the game
  • A brief description of the “game flow,” detailing the overall structure of the game, the ways in which levels build and progress into one another, and how the player progresses toward completing/winning the game
  • An art direction brief describing the visual aesthetic and design of the game’s story world, including visual research/reference as well as sketches and/or renderings of sample characters and environments
  • A description of “five minutes of gameplay” that takes us through a narrative or puzzle sequence in your game from the player’s perspective

If you have a working prototype of your game running on PC or Mac, please feel free to include (it should not require specific software or hardware; detailed instructions for installation and interaction, including platform requirements, must be included). A prototype is not required. You can also include a video walk-through as well, if you have one.

Film

Submit at least 2-3 films that demonstrate your ability to craft narrative stories for an audience. Narrative films should take on a beginning/middle/end structure, establish a protagonist’s objective/motivation, and dramatize the escalation of conflict that results when the protagonist endeavors to achieve that objective. The total run time of the films you submit should not exceed 20 minutes and films should be presented in their entirety, not edited down and included in a reel.

Acceptable films can be of any genre and can include short films, spec commercials, music videos, and more, but all work should be narrative. If you include documentary work in your portfolio, make sure that it is told in a narrative manner and goes beyond traditional talking head formats. High-end production value is not critical, but your work should demonstrate competency in cinematography, lighting, staging, editing and sound. At least one of your projects should employ sync sound.

Submit only projects on which you played a key creative role, such as director, cinematographer or editor; be sure to clearly indicate the role you played on each project.

Films can be submitted as accessible links (not password protected) to Vimeo (preferred), YouTube or as video files.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Fine Art

Submit 15-20 selections of your work in any media that demonstrate your ability to explore concepts, ask questions, and examine ideas visually. Work can include all forms of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, photography, film, video, performance, sound and installation. While it can be helpful to see work that demonstrates your foundation skills, we are typically more interested in seeing personal work rooted in your individual curiosity, work that reveals experimentation and pushes the boundaries of a traditional narrative relationship to audience.

Students seeking the Illustration minor should include 4-6 figure drawings from a live model.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Graphic Design

Submit 6-10 Graphic Design projects that demonstrate your ability to combine image, typography, and layout to communicate your ideas. Acceptable projects could include posters, brochures, editorial design, package design, motion graphics, web design, identity systems, and more.

Be sure to include process work that shows the development of each project, giving us a sense for your thinking and exploration. This might include mind maps, typographical explorations, thumbnail sketches of different layouts, color studies, and more.

We are interested in seeing work that is rooted in your personal curiosity and unique point of view as a designer. Think beyond technical exercises done as class assignments and show us projects about something important to you, visual problems you long to solve, or brands you would like to present more effectively.

Illustration

DESIGN, FINE ARTS PAINTING, MOTION, SURFACE DESIGN, UNDECIDED

Submit a total of 20-25 drawings or paintings that demonstrate your ability to draw from observation, to tell stories, and to utilize illustrative elements such as composition, color, and more to convey your ideas and technical abilities.

Your portfolio should include:

  • 8-12 figure drawings from a live model, including gestural and more developed pieces.
  • 8-10 imaginative pieces that demonstrate your use of color, composition, and narrative. These should be finished, fully realized pieces that tell stories and communicate effectively.
    Some suggested types of imaginative work we recommend you include are:
    • posters, book covers, or album covers incorporating hand-drawn text and illustrated imagery
    • story-driven illustrations (digital or traditional)
    • a self-portrait
    • a concept painting of a personal moment or experience.
  • 5-6 pages from your sketchbook. These pages should include observational drawings and unfinished explorations that express your point of view as an artist.

More so than seeing work you do as assignments that are focused predominantly on technical ability, we are interested in seeing work that is rooted in your personal curiosity and unique point of view as an artist. Through your work, we want to see who you are, what the world looks like to you, and who you aspire to be as an illustrator.

ENTERTAINMENT ARTS, ENTERTAINMENT ARTS CONSUMER PRODUCTS

Submit a total of 20-25 drawings or paintings that demonstrate your ability to draw from observation, to tell stories, and to utilize illustrative elements such as composition, color, and more to convey your ideas and technical abilities.

Your portfolio should include:

  • 8-12 figure drawings from a live model, including gestural and more developed pieces.
  • 8-10 imaginative pieces that demonstrate your use of color, composition, and narrative. These should be finished, fully realized pieces that tell stories and communicate effectively.
    Some suggested types of imaginative work we recommend you include are:
    • story-driven paintings (digital or traditional)
    • story-driven environment drawings or set designs
    • a self-portrait
    • a concept painting of a personal moment or experience.
    Please do not include Fan Art.
  • 5-6 pages from your sketchbook. These pages should include observational drawings and unfinished explorations that express your point of view as an artist.

More so than seeing work you do as assignments that are focused predominantly on technical ability, we are interested in seeing work that is rooted in your personal curiosity and unique point of view as an artist. Through your work, we want to see who you are, what the world looks like to you, and who you aspire to be as an illustrator.

Interaction Design

Submit 3-5 projects that demonstrate your ability to design user experiences, crafting how people engage with a digital product, system or service. For example, you could redesign an existing web site, mobile app, or other interface to improve the user-experience. Or, identify a particular challenge in everyday life and design an app or interactive solution that specifically addresses that need.

Projects can be screen-based (mobile or social applications, web sites, gestural interfaces or augmented reality), physical (consumer electronics, smart products), or both. But think beyond the screen user interface or object itself to design the ways in which users engage through your design.

Be sure to include the following elements for each of your design projects:

  • Research/inspiration. Explain the design objectives for your interactive experience, include user research, personas, mind maps of key concepts, and/or visual inspirations that will inform your design.
  • Process/Ideation. Provide user journey maps, wireframes, thumbnail sketches of possible layouts, and/or sketches of physical objects relevant to your design. This work should demonstrate your development process and show us different design directions you explored.
  • Final Renderings. Demonstrate your final design through digital mock-ups, URLs, videos, and/or prototypes.

If you have previously worked on collaborative projects that have made it to production, include a statement about your role in the design and any URLs, working versions, videos or multiple images that show how your interactive project works.

Applicants should feel free to include 3-4 other examples of your art and design work such as drawings, graphic design or any sort of personal work to show us how you think and communicate visually.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Photography and Imaging

Submit a range of 20-25 black-and-white, color, or digital images in which you are making deliberate choices as a photographer to craft and develop imagery that communicates a concept or idea. We are interested in seeing work that is intentional, has a specific point of view, and utilizes photographic elements such as composition, lighting, framing, and more to communicate your ideas effectively. This can include subject matter such as people, places, or objects. Your portfolio should demonstrate a range of approaches to crafting imagery and can span a variety of styles, subjects, and visual aesthetics, but should emphasize your ability to “make” images more so than just “take” pictures.

We want to see a variety of subjects in various settings. This could include some indoors or in the studio, some outdoors, and/or some in locations that are intentionally chosen. We suggest that you not include multiple images of the same location or multiple pictures of the same person unless you are presenting a sequential or conceptual project built around specific individuals or environments. Such projects are okay to include, but should not dominate your portfolio.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Product Design

Submit 3-5 original commercial product designs. These projects should go beyond just the visual appearance of your products and also emphasize problem-solving, the mechanical functionality and sustainability of your products. Your concepts should be practical and applicable to real world users.

Each design should be presented as a project including the following elements:

  • Identify the Problem/Research/inspiration. Explain the design objectives for your product by establishing a profile of your target user/market, share visual inspirations that will inform your design, present key concepts you aim to articulate in your design, and demonstrate any emphasis on sustainability.
  • Process/Ideation. Include a number of sketches that demonstrate your development process, show us different design directions you explored, show us your product from multiple perspectives, explore the mechanical functionality of your product, include photographs of any rough prototypes or models of your product.
  • Final Renderings. Demonstrate your final design through a digital or marker rendering or model.

Industrial design sketching and the applied nature of your products are critical components of the portfolio, so include plenty of sketches and think practically about the problems you aim to solve.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Spatial Experience Design

Submit 3-5 projects that demonstrate your ability to design the spatial experience of an environment by addressing both the function as well as the conceptual, emotional, and narrative elements of being in that space.

Examples might include designing a branded retail store, a concept-driven restaurant or hotel, a museum or trade-show exhibition, or residential/living spaces. For each project, your work should consider elements such as interior design, architectural design, lighting design, set/exhibition design, or furniture design as relevant to each environment.

Be sure to include each of the following elements for each of your designs:

  • Research/inspiration. Explain the design objectives for your space by sharing visual and conceptual inspirations that will inform your design, present key concepts you aim to articulate in your design.
  • Process/Ideation. Include a number of drawings and sketches that explore the development of your space.
  • Final Renderings. Demonstrate your final design through a digital or marker rendering or through photographs of models that demonstrate your understanding of 3D space, show your technical skills, and articulate your design sensibility.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

Transportation Design

Submit 3-5 original vehicle designs. These projects should demonstrate a passion for and curiosity about the future of transportation and can include cars, trucks, public transportation, boats, motorcycles or alternative mobility. While you can use a particular brand as a starting point, you should create a design that is new, innovative and embraces the future of transportation design.

Each design should be presented as a project including the following elements:

  • Research/inspiration. Explain the design objectives for your vehicle by establishing a profile of your target user/market, share visual inspirations that will inform your design, present key concepts you aim to articulate in your design.
  • Process/Ideation. Include a number of sketches that demonstrate your development process, show us different design directions you explored, show us your vehicle from multiple perspectives, explore specific facets of the design as well as the vehicle as a whole.
  • Final Renderings/Models. Demonstrate your final design through a digital or marker rendering or a digital 3D model.

Automotive sketching and original concepts are critical components of the portfolio, so include plenty of sketches and think beyond the vehicles you currently see on the road.

You can also include a sample of sketchbook work (up to 5 images) highlighting your visual communication skills not featured in your projects. Please group these images in one PDF.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

First Year Immersion

Submit 12-15 selections of your creative work that demonstrate your aptitude for communicating ideas visually. This can include work in any medium and can either show your interests in a range of art and design disciplines or be concentrated in one specific area. Ultimately, we are interested in seeing work that is rooted in your personal curiosity and unique point of view. We encourage you to think beyond technical exercises done as class assignments and show us projects that give us a sense for who you are, what the world looks like to you, and who you aspire to be as an artist or designer. If your portfolio focuses primarily on lens-based work (Photography, Film), we suggest you also include a few pieces that demonstrate your drawing abilities.

In addition, submit your required portfolio video/essay.

hand painting portrait of a woman

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