Duration
8 Months (2 trimesters)
Locations
Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
Fees
Intake Dates

February, June, September

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International

CRICOS 075767K

JMC welcomes from all over the world.
Find out more

At Diploma level, design, develop, prototype and implement an idea, and gain hands-on knowledge of leading industry software and game engines. 

Explore everything from concept drawing, digital sculpting and visual narrative to expressive animation techniques, game art development, 3D modelling, asset creation and building immersive game spaces.

You will begin to understand the core components of visual narrative and games design and will adopt a range of rich, diverse and expressive animation techniques, which you'll develop into sophisticated outcomes. A solid foundation in game-art development practice will provide you with the perfect platform upon which to deepen your critical level of knowledge and understanding in a Bachelor degree.

Why Study Game Design at JMC?

Use the world's leading development platform for games and real-time content
Take advantage of our 18 camera dedicated motion capture suites
Study abroad in Japan or the Netherlands

Technology & Facilities

We take gaming seriously at JMC, with each campus housing dedicated digital art + development studios with purpose built workstations, cintiq and intuos pro wacom tablets, non-digital art studio for prototyping, stopmotion, sculpting and life drawings, portable VR development suites, motion capture studios, 3D printers, green-screen cyclorama studio and mixing + recording studios.

JMC uses a range of software including Unity 3D and Unreal Game Engine, Autodesk Maya, Adobe Creative Cloud, Pixologic Zbrush, Substance Suite, Foundry Suite with Nuke + Mari, Redshift GPU + Arnold CPU Renderer, Adobe Suite, Toon Boom Harmony with Unity middleware, Shotgun Studio and SourceTree.

Duration

In only 2 years you can graduate with a Bachelor degree thanks to our accelerated full-time course. Part-time study is also available to domestic students. International students may choose to complete the course in 3 years [CRICOS 075772B] rather than the accelerated 2 year option.

Students who have successfully completed 4 trimesters of the Bachelor programme may successfully graduate with an Associate Degree qualification.

The Dutch Exchange

Take your passion to Europe and spend an entire trimester at Fontys Academy for Creative Industries in the Netherlands. Collaborate with creative students from all over the world and build your international contacts along the way.

Japan Study Tour

Spend 12 days immersed in anime and manga creation classes at the Tokyo Design Technology Center and Osaka Animation College, and explore the pop culture of Japan. This selective unit includes visits to the Osamu Tezuka Manga Museum and the Kyoto International Manga Museum.

*Study Abroad programs will resume once international travel restrictions ease

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Curriculum

Students will have the opportunity to investigate widely used design processes, specifically the British Design Council’s “Double Diamond”, human-centred design practices, and “Agile” project management. This is the first of two units that take students through the full life span of a project, from brief to implementation. This first part covers the “first diamond”, from challenging the brief and discovery to conducting research, and developing insights - right through to identifying opportunity areas.

This unit introduces students to practices, processes, and tools utilised in animation, games and VFX. Students will work through a series of self-contained exercises, with mentoring support from lecturers, which will provide entry-level practical experience. These will primarily be completed during class time. Areas of focus may include design research, design sketching and visualisation, concept ideation, 3D modelling, surfacing, texturing, basic rigging, simple animation, rendering, colour grading, editing, game mechanics, simple programming, and delivery to different platforms. While students are not expected to achieve full competence in these skills, they will gain a practical grasp of the steps and thinking required to produce animation, games, and VFX. At the conclusion of this unit, students will be supported to make an informed decision regarding the focus streams they will choose in Trimester 2.

A Design unit that introduces students to basic concepts in visual design. With a mix of foundation concepts, hands-on exploratory creative exercises, and an introduction to important ideas and people in various visual design disciplines, it will provide a sound basis for students to build their individual specialisations on.

Games and Animation in Context provides students with a formal and contextual framework to discuss games and animation. Beginning with journalistic responses, and developing through to in-depth presentations, students will consider the context, express the experience, and identify the structural elements of a variety of contemporary and historical works. This unit also requires on and off-campus participation in contemporary exhibitions, screenings, and events.

In Lab I students are presented with the opportunity to develop and execute a small individual project utilizing the key skills they are focusing on in their streams. They must log required hours in the lab environment, and meet weekly with an assigned project supervisor who will act as a mentor and support person. A range of creative briefs will be provided covering potential projects in areas such as art and design, modelling, animation, game development, or hybrids of these. In addition to the creative work, students will be guided through planning, documenting, reporting, and reflecting on their work. Additional workshops may be provided where required to extend technical knowledge. Finished projects will form the basis of a portfolio to be built upon in successive trimesters.

* indicates elective stream unit (2D Animation Stream)

Students are introduced to the conventions and common principles that have developed over animation’s rich hundred-year history. Students will explore traditional frame-by-frame techniques including cut-out, stop-motion, and drawn animation underpinning and developing an understanding of principles of movement and the animation process. Work will be undertaken using both traditional hand-made and photographed techniques and newer digital versions of these.

* indicates elective stream unit (3D Animation Stream)

3D Animation I guides students through the analysis and application of key principles of animation in a 3D context at a basic level. Technical workflow and animation mechanics are illustrated through lectures, and ongoing practical exercises build foundational knowledge and skills.

* indicates elective stream unit (Production Art Stream)

Character Design introduces key design principles for the creation of memorable animation and game characters in a range of styles. Students will be introduced to fundamentals of form and construction, basics of anatomy and gesture through life drawing, and the visual development of characters from story contexts. Artwork workflow and finishing styles will be covered, along with unified approaches to developing a full cast. Industry practice in documentation and presentation will also be covered.

* indicates elective stream unit (CG Art Stream)

The unit focuses on general 3D art creation with an emphasis on process. Block-outs, low poly modelling in 3D, mesh optimisation, unwrapping, rendering to texturing, and project management, are all covered using a low poly diorama as a vehicle for the project. The final project is uploaded to an online real-time WebGL 3D viewer. The course begins with an introduction to the pipeline through the creation of simple prop objects such as telephone poles and signs. A scene block-out is then created and students work through the elements. For houses, a modular texturing approach is introduced along with stencils to reduce the number of textures. Finally, vegetation is created. Post-processing effects and lighting are added in the online viewer.

This unit provides a broad introduction to working within game editor systems, integrating art elements into projects. The use of 2D graphics programs will be developed in conjunction with 2D & 3D features in the engine. Students will be provided with a template for gameplay and will apply principles of design and technical art skills to develop a playable project. This will provide an overview of a range of core engine features and practical experience integrating content.

Student Showcase

Our Lecturers

Sean Callinan

Head of Animation + Game Design (Sydney)

The essence of Sean’s career has been a broad-ranging interest in all aspects of design for film, television and other screen media. His career prior to teaching spans a wealth of experience, beginning as co-founder of his own production company, Meaningful Eye Contact (MEC), with Alex Proyas and Peter Miller. Sean quickly garnered a reputation for eye-catching visuals and inventive concepts. While producing music video clips for high profile acts such as INXS, Crowded House, and Fleetwood Mac, Sean developed a passion for the disciplines of production design, art direction, graphics and animation that would become instrumental in his future career.

During this period Sean received an AFI nomination for “Best Art Direction” for his work on Alex Proyas’ post-apocalyptic gothic fantasy feature Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds. MEC were also the recipients of a number of music video awards through the eighties.

Having turned freelance, Sean continued to work on numerous television commercials, music videos, television productions and several more feature films. Animation and motion graphics had always been an important part of his practice, but in 2001 Sean made the decision to leave Production Design and focus on these areas whilst undertaking a Masters in Design at UTS.

Since then he has undertaken a range of work including infographic animation, screen graphics, museum interactives, collaborations on broadband and mobile platform content, and personal projects. Prior to accepting the role as Head of Animation and Game Development at JMC Academy, Sean taught animation, video design and screen-based media at UTS for over twenty years.

Sean Callinan

Head of Animation + Game Design (Sydney)

The essence of Sean’s career has been a broad-ranging interest in all aspects of design for film, television and other screen media. His career prior to teaching spans a wealth of experience, beginning as co-founder of his own production company, Meaningful Eye Contact (MEC), with Alex Proyas and Peter Miller. Sean quickly garnered a reputation for eye-catching visuals and inventive concepts. While producing music video clips for high profile acts such as INXS, Crowded House, and Fleetwood Mac, Sean developed a passion for the disciplines of production design, art direction, graphics and animation that would become instrumental in his future career.

During this period Sean received an AFI nomination for “Best Art Direction” for his work on Alex Proyas’ post-apocalyptic gothic fantasy feature Spirits of the Air, Gremlins of the Clouds. MEC were also the recipients of a number of music video awards through the eighties.

Having turned freelance, Sean continued to work on numerous television commercials, music videos, television productions and several more feature films. Animation and motion graphics had always been an important part of his practice, but in 2001 Sean made the decision to leave Production Design and focus on these areas whilst undertaking a Masters in Design at UTS.

Since then he has undertaken a range of work including infographic animation, screen graphics, museum interactives, collaborations on broadband and mobile platform content, and personal projects. Prior to accepting the role as Head of Animation and Game Development at JMC Academy, Sean taught animation, video design and screen-based media at UTS for over twenty years.

Petr Joura

Senior Game Design Lecturer

Petr Joura

Senior Game Design Lecturer

Lance Balchin

Head of Animation & Game Design (Brisbane)

Lance is an educator in the creative industries, with over 15 years hands-on experience teaching Photoshop. Lance’s relationship with Photoshop started in 1991 with Version 2.5 (pre layers!) and he has built a substantial understanding of the software over 25 years. Lance currently lives in Brisbane, Australia and was admitted to practice law two years ago.

Lance Balchin is also a children’s illustrator and author who has internationally published two books in the ‘Mechanica’ series with the Five Mile Press, Simon & Schuster, Little Bee Books and Bonnier Publishing. There are a further seven picture books to follow as well as a set of four novels. The books carry a strong environmental message and are written for children aged from 8 to 14.

Lance Balchin

Head of Animation & Game Design (Brisbane)

Lance is an educator in the creative industries, with over 15 years hands-on experience teaching Photoshop. Lance’s relationship with Photoshop started in 1991 with Version 2.5 (pre layers!) and he has built a substantial understanding of the software over 25 years. Lance currently lives in Brisbane, Australia and was admitted to practice law two years ago.

Lance Balchin is also a children’s illustrator and author who has internationally published two books in the ‘Mechanica’ series with the Five Mile Press, Simon & Schuster, Little Bee Books and Bonnier Publishing. There are a further seven picture books to follow as well as a set of four novels. The books carry a strong environmental message and are written for children aged from 8 to 14.

Kim Edwards

Head of Animation & Game Design (Melbourne)

Kim is a technologist, educator and animator with over a decade of experience working in media education.
From Sultans to Festivals, Health organisations to studios, he has maintained an active practice working with
a broad range of clients in animation. Kim believes animation and interactive media is a product, comment and forecaster of our global society.

Media dynamically shifts into new territories, requiring new perspectives and Kim sees the responsibility of education is to enable active creatives in this dynamic space.

Kim Edwards

Head of Animation & Game Design (Melbourne)

Kim is a technologist, educator and animator with over a decade of experience working in media education.
From Sultans to Festivals, Health organisations to studios, he has maintained an active practice working with
a broad range of clients in animation. Kim believes animation and interactive media is a product, comment and forecaster of our global society.

Media dynamically shifts into new territories, requiring new perspectives and Kim sees the responsibility of education is to enable active creatives in this dynamic space.

Brendan Votano

Animation & Game Design Lecturer

Brendan is a multi-platform developer and the Founder of Sydney-based game studio Blue Volcano, a game and multimedia company to challenge the way we play. Brendan has presented personal and commercial projects globally within the augmented reality, virtual reality, and live performance gaming spaces including at The National Maritime Museum in Sydney, National Museum of Singapore, SXSW Festival, Tokyo Game Show, and PAX AUS.

He is always seeking creative projects that give participants new experiences using emerging technologies. In addition to his creative game and music endeavours he also enjoys teaching programming, prototyping, 3D animation, and game design at JMC Academy in Sydney.

Brendan completed his studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Kyushu University, Japan including a Masters of Animation, a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.

Brendan Votano

Animation & Game Design Lecturer

Brendan is a multi-platform developer and the Founder of Sydney-based game studio Blue Volcano, a game and multimedia company to challenge the way we play. Brendan has presented personal and commercial projects globally within the augmented reality, virtual reality, and live performance gaming spaces including at The National Maritime Museum in Sydney, National Museum of Singapore, SXSW Festival, Tokyo Game Show, and PAX AUS.

He is always seeking creative projects that give participants new experiences using emerging technologies. In addition to his creative game and music endeavours he also enjoys teaching programming, prototyping, 3D animation, and game design at JMC Academy in Sydney.

Brendan completed his studies at the University of Technology, Sydney, and Kyushu University, Japan including a Masters of Animation, a Bachelor of Science in Information Technology, and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies.

Studying at JMC Academy was a great experience. It gave me the foundational knowledge, experience, and a solid support network to rely on when pursuing my dream career.
Okan Beyit - Environment Artist and Level Designer at Zero Latency
Game Design Alumni
Learning with industry standard software at JMC definitely prepared me for a career in the game industry. The small class sizes also made the lecturers very accessible and hands on.
Alaric Willi - Render Wrangler, Iloura Animation and Visual Effects Studio
Game Design Alumni
Work is not just 9 to 5 anymore. I am so thankful to be living and breathing my passion to make games.
Sofia Maraitis - Associate Experience Designer at EA Games
Game Design Alumni

ARE YOU READY TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP TOWARD YOUR CAREER IN GAME DESIGN?

FAQs

Yes. We offer multiple pathways into the course regardless of your current drawing abilities and art is one of these pathways. If you don’t feel all too comfortable drawing, we offer pathways in technical and conceptual skills.

A portfolio essentially relates to samples of your work. If you have nice finished artwork, that’s fantastic, but not essential. What we’re looking for is that you have a drive to create things and are passionate about the field, so show us that in your portfolio. Things like sketches or drawings, notes, ideas and characters you’ve invented are all great.

It’s your compulsion to create, tell stories and discover new forms of play that we’re really looking for, and we teach the course from beginner level up so you’re in good hands.

The Game course is primarily focused on art and design, but we recognise that a familiarity with scripting and programming is a key part of the skillset of a game artist, and you will certainly learn skills in those areas as well.

The emphasis is on understanding the theory behind games, designing interesting challenges, mechanics, concepts and stories, and creating the art and assets for those concepts. You would be studying a mix of art and design, software and programming skills, and theoretical concepts.

Yes. The JMC Academy is registered and regulated by the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA) which is Australia’s independent national regulator of the higher education sector, both public and private.

No, our courses are hands on and practical. Students are required to attend classes to receive ongoing mentorship, learn new skills and work with the equipment provided. We do encourage our students to use online study resources, however our courses would not be as immersive as they are without the practical component.

While the availability of internships and work placements depends on the individual companies and studios in the industry, we have strong relationships with many practising game designers and game studios. As a result of these connections there is the potential for you to experience internships and placements, studio visits, talks and workshops by industry practitioners, and assessment feedback opportunities from industry people during dedicated 'speed networking' nights. Where practical, interviews will be arranged for individual graduating students with companies seeking to recruit new talent.

Applications used in the Game Design course include Maya for modelling and animation, MotionBuilder for motion capture, Substance Painter & Designer for texturing and ZBrush for digital sculpture.

Unity 3D will be your core game engine and you'll work with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects. You will also have the chance to try a range of other packages such as Nuke, SourceTree & Foundry Mari.