Programs

Digital Media

BA HONOURS

Offered as:
Full-time and Part-time

Entry in:
Summer, Fall and Winter



Digital Media

OVERVIEW

Digital Media

Digital Media is offered collaboratively by Computational Arts (School of Arts, Media, Performance, and Design) and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (Lassonde School of Engineering), fusing arts and media with engineering. In the program students use code and programming as tools for creative expression in forms such as games, immersive and 3D environments, internet of things (IoT), interactive performance, and data visualization.

Work in digital media focuses on a broad range of current and emerging forms of digitally supported media, with applications that range from software development to video games and interactive media art. The name Digital Media reflects the breadth and the hybrid nature of the area of study, which applies the methods and theories of computer science and art to the design, implementation, evaluation and study of the multitude of forms found in contemporary digital media.

Digital Media responds to a well-established worldwide interest in the hybridization of art and science practices and methodologies. Students work within a shared environment that enables them to develop expertise across computational science and artistic practice, work in teams, and to develop interdisciplinarity. In Digital Media students integrate critical artistic discourse and scientific inquiry with broad application to the creative industries of tomorrow, including next-generation performance, screens, mixed reality, informatics, data visualization, games, mobile applications development, and new contemporary art forms.

In the program, students begin with an 18-month common core, and then branch into one of three streams according to their interests and goals. In upper-year courses, students work independently and collaborate on ambitious group projects, allowing them to advance their individual interests and gain valuable large-scale development skills. In addition to gaining in-depth knowledge with cutting edge technology, students graduate with the creative skills for the future of work, including computational thinking, sensemaking, resilience, teamwork, and human-machine collaboration.

HIGHLIGHTS

Top 6 reasons to apply

Ontario’s only degree program that integrates art, computer science, and engineering.

Learn computational thinking, teamwork, resilience and skills for the future.

Explore creative expression through innovating technology.

Professional internship opportunities through Lassonde’s Co-op office.

Work in cutting edge research labs and state of the art classroom facilities.

Great career opportunities.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • EECS 4700 6.0 Digital Media Project, which assigns faculty mentors to each project group, holds an open mid-year presentation and critique, and an open end of year final project presentation.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • The annual DM Showcase includes work chosen by instructors from all courses in Digital Media and features a public opening.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • An off-campus Exhibition features work selected by a curating committee including faculty from outside the program, lasts for one or two weeks in a gallery in Downtown Toronto and also features an opening reception.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Active student exchange program with countries such as Denmark, Germany, and Korea.

HIGHLIGHTS

Experiential Education

  • Industry talks from companies such as Ubisoft, TouchDesigner, WB games, Studio MDHR, OddBird Studio, GLOAM and the Hands Eye Society.

First 18 months

Digital Media Student on Stage

OVERVIEW

In the first 18 months of the program students in the Digital Media program complete a common core curriculum built from a mix of courses from Computational Arts and Computer Science and Electrical Engineering. Topics such as interactive art, programming, and critical studies provide students with the theoretical and practical background needed to succeed in the program, as well as in the future of the field.

Sample courses

Introduction to Interactive Digital Media I & II

Provides the basis for the exploration of computational art through fundamental tools needed for the analysis, evaluation, and creation of interactive computational art works, including the exploration of generative art, sound manipulation and effects, video manipulation and effects, and 2D graphics in run-time environments.

Fundamentals of Digital Media Studies

Offers students a survey of digital media through an investigation of historical and theoretical sources that explore the intersection of art and technology. Potential topics include cybernetics, artificial intelligence, human-computer interfaces, artScience, hypertext, net technologies, and the philosophy of science.

Media Signal Processing

Introduces the concepts and techniques of digital signal processing and their application in both sound and image resulting in the development of works that are cross-modal hybrids between sound and image, such as found in the Visual Music aesthetic.

Publishing in Digital Media

Introduces techniques and strategies for the documentation and dissemination of work in the digital age. Students will expand their skills in traditional and internet-based research in tandem with developing competence in the clear, concise communication of ideas through appropriate integration of text, visual, sonic and interactive components.

Net-Centric Computing

The objectives of 1012 are threefold: providing a first exposure to event-driven programming, teaching students a set of computing skills (including reasoning about algorithms, tracing programs, test-driven development, unit testing), and providing an introduction to computing within a mobile, net-centric context.

Programming for Digital Media

Introduction to program design and implementation focusing on digital media projects including sound, images, and animation; includes algorithms, simple data structures, control structures, and debugging techniques.

YOUR CHOICE OF THREE STREAMS

Year two to four

During their second year students choose between three streams according to their interests and goals. The Digital Media Game Arts stream engages students in game theory, design and development in the cutting edge and future domains of game development and design, Digital Media Arts stream focuses strongly on digital arts creation and production where the use of computational systems and thinking is the primary mode of expression, and Digital Media Development is oriented to the more technical side of the field with a deeper dive into areas that cross into computer science, such as low-level computer graphics pipelines and game engine development. These streams represent pathways through the program with the intent of highlighting broad study areas. Each stream also provides students with options and opportunities for students to combine elements from other streams, as well as courses from across AMPD and York University, to tailor their studies to fit their particular needs.

Game Arts Students

OVERVIEW

Video Games are a defining cultural form of the 21st century. The Digital Media Games Arts stream has an expansive and forward looking perspective on game education through the exploration of a range of delivery platforms. In the Digital Media Game Arts streams students learn the skills of game development and design from concept to production. Students gain hands-on experience working with professional game engines, with the dissemination of work in various platforms and cultural contexts (mobile media, web-based, gallery, urban gaming, etc.), with an approach that incorporates interdisciplinary collaboration and new frontiers of gaming. In addition, the Digital Media Game Arts Stream examins new and cutting edge trends in video game development, such as in the areas of alt gaming, queer games, Not Games, and urban gaming where the potential and boundaries of games and game play are being challenged and tested.

Sample courses

Game Development I & II

Provides a hands-on approach to the study and practice of games, gamification, and game play and their use in various applications, including video games, simulations, serious gaming, and art making contexts. The course will take practical and theoretical approaches to game production in a variety of gaming contexts.

Game Mechanics

Explores the rules and procedures followed by players and games-more broadly and not limited to computer games-that are the building blocks that make up gameplay. Students look at the various aspects of game mechanics; what they are, how they can be formed, how they interact with each other, what values they transmit and topics relating to the application of game mechanics.

Introduction to 3D Modelling

Provides a foundation in 3D modelling using state of the art render time 3D modelling software such as Maya, Blender, and 3DS Max. The course will provide a survey of various modelling techniques and approaches with an emphasis on modelling used in 3D art, 3D animation and games.

Introduction to 3D Animation

Provides a foundation in 3D animation using state of the art render time 3D modelling and animation software such as Maya, Blender, and 3DS Max. The course will provide a survey of various animation techniques and approaches with an emphasis on render time animation as it is used in 3D art, 3D animation, data visualization and games.

Game History, Genre, and New Directions

Examines the development of computer and video games from an historical and genre perspective. Provides a foundation for thinking critically about the history of games and how they are situated in culture, including their practices of representation of women, racial minorities and others.

Collaborative Project Development in Games

Students will work together as a development team by taking on roles where they focus on specific aspects of the project (such as Director, Designer, Artist, Programmer, Level Designer, Sound Designer, Publicity). The development team structure is modeled on teams used in large-scale project development within fields related to games that rely on multi-stakeholder collaboration and interdisciplinary research.

Digital Media Arts

OVERVIEW

The Digital Media Arts stream focuses on the creation of digital media performance and artistic expression through technology. With its blend of offerings in digital performance, physical computing and fabrication, and mixed reality, the program inhabits the spaces between the virtual and the physical, encouraging a seamless continuum between virtual reality and the world we inhabit. While placing more emphasis on offerings in AMPD, the stream in Digital Media Arts emphasizes the use of creative coding, computational and systems thinking as methods for creative expression. The Digital Media Arts stream has the most flexibility of the three streams. Students can pursue a range of interests from creative technology to art who are exploring the cutting edge of new media and new contemporary art forms.

Sample courses

Artificial Life, Generative Art and Creative Code

This course addresses computation as a creative medium from a biologically-inspired standpoint to develop artworks, adaptive media and simulations approaching the fascinating complexity of nature.

Creative Data Visualization

Explores data visualization as an artistic practice. Engage with interdisciplinary practices involving the mapping of data to aesthetic form, gaining inspiration from a wide range of topics as musical graphic/abstract notation, conceptual/instructional art, animation, social media analyses and computational sciences.

Electro-Acoustic Orchestra

This course engages an electro-acoustic musical ensemble as a site for composing interactive multimedia works. Students develop an interactive system through weekly sessions in collaboration with the ensemble, and iteratively refine this over the course of the term. Projects from the course are presented in public concerts.

The Interactive Stage

Explores the creation of interactive stage environments for live performance. Students investigate various strategies whereby on-stage ‘events’ (physical, vocal, physiological, etc.) manipulate audio, video and/or lighting events. Students are introduced to dedicated interactive and show control software, and become adept at programming interactive environments.

Physical Computing I-III

This course builds on the material covered in Introduction to Physical Computing II to explore more advanced topics in physical computing such as circuit board design and manufacturing, embedded computing, communications and protocols, among other topics, with an emphasis on research-creation in the development of novel projects.

Digital Fabrication

Introduces students to the possibilities for translating digital objects into physical objects using three-dimensional printing technologies, and the related conceptual concerns.

Digital Media Development

OVERVIEW

Placing more emphasis on offerings in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the Digital Media Development stream focuses on the design of core tools and technologies supporting digital media practices. This stream provides a specialized track into our most advanced options in Digital Media such as low-level game development, human-computer interaction, signal processing, virtual reality, machine learning, and simulation. Students in this stream are well situated to work in areas of low-level digital media and tool development that represent a high-demand sector in the creative industries. As with all of our streams, topics are taught in a manner that encourages resilience and adaptability in the ever-shifting landscape of new media technology, so that graduates are positioned to adopt new technologies and paradigms as they arise and keep on the cutting edge of the field for the unforeseeable future.

Sample courses

Advanced Topics in 3D Computer Graphics

This course deals with the fundamental concepts and algorithms of three-dimensional computer graphics, including object modelling, transformations, cameras, visibility and shading.

Human-Computer Interaction

Introduces the concepts and technology necessary to design, manage and implement interactive software. Students work in small groups and learn how to design user interfaces, how to realize them and how to evaluate the end result. Both design and evaluation are emphasized.

Mobile User Interfaces

This course teaches the design and implementation of user interfaces for touchscreen phones and tablet computers. Students develop user interfaces that include touch, multi-touch, vibration, device motion, position, and orientation, environment sensing, and video and audio capture. Lab exercises emphasise these topics in a practical manner.

Digital Audio

This course introduces the basic principles of digital audio, and presents several of its applications. Students will learn the physics of sound and the human auditory system, how analog audio is converted to digital, and the properties of different digital audio formats.

Introduction to Virtual Reality

Introduction to the basic principles of Virtual Reality and its applications. The necessary hardware and software components of interactive 3D systems as well as human factors are discussed.

Simulation and Animation for Computer Games

Introduction to simulation and animation techniques used in computer games, with a focus on the algorithms and methods that support moving objects in the virtual environments.

YEAR BY YEAR OVERVIEW

Learning Outcomes

Throughout the program students will:
  • develop a computational basis for the creation of digital media imagery and sound, using cutting edge technology in the creation of games, new forms of art, and the simulation of 3D environments.
  • explore the theoretical, artistic, aesthetic and experiential ideas that provide a comprehensive understanding of digital media creation
  • get hands-on experience creating digital media works and investigate the ways in which culture is, and can be, produced through technology
  • examine the broad socio-cultural effects of digital media, and contemporary theory and research on the uses of, and responses to, digital media
  • build a foundation of skills for the future, including new media literacy, design mindset, transdisciplinarity, computational thinking, sensemaking, enterprise, resilience, and human-machine collaboration
Years 1 & 2: Foundation
  • Gain the theoretical and practical background needed to succeed in the program and the future of the field.
Year 2: Specialization
  • Specialize in one of three streams: Digital Media Game Arts, Digital Media Arts, Digital Media Development.
Year 3: Ambitious large-scale projects and team-building
  • Work on large-scale projects in a classroom that functions as a studio-office environment with real-world clients and collaborators.
  • Learn role assignment, task management, multi-stakeholder engagement and project frameworks needed to develop large projects.
Year 4: Refining your independent creative voice and professional practice
  • Develop self-directed, ambitious projects that explore cutting edge topics in the domain of Digital Media

Digital Media Course Clusters

Courses in Digital Media are organized into six thematic clusters, providing students with flexibility of personal direction they can pursue in the program, regardless of the stream they choose. These clusters have been carefully curated so that students can build strong foundations in the area(s) that interest them most, building a trajectory to their future careers.

CORE
  • Introduction to Interactive Digital Media
  • Fundamentals of Digital Media Studies
  • Media Signal Processing
  • Publishing in Digital Media
  • Net-Centric Computing
  • Programming for Digital Media
  • Building Interactive Systems
  • Collaborative Project Development
  • Digital Media Capstone Project
GAMES
  • Game Development I
  • Game Development II
  • Game History, Genre, and New Direction
  • Game Mechanics
  • Introduction to 3D Modelling
  • Introduction to 3D Animation
  • Simulation and Animation for Computer Games
  • Artificial Life, Generative Art and Creative Code
INTERACTIVE PERFORMANCE
  • Interactive Installation and Performance
  • Collaborative Performance Project I
  • The Interactive Stage
  • Performing Telepresence
  • Interactive Sonic Arts
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra
MIXED REALITY and SIMULATION
  • Screen-Based Fluid Interfaces
  • Creative Data Visualization
  • Artificial Life, Generative Art and Creative Code
  • Introduction to Virtual Reality
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • User Interfaces & Mobile User Interfaces
  • Advanced Topics in 3D Computer Graphics
  • Hypermedia and Multimedia Technology
  • Introduction to Virtual Reality
3D FABRICATION/PHYSICAL COMPUTING
  • Introduction to Physical Computing
  • Physical Computing II
  • Physical Computing III
  • Generative and Parametric Modelling
  • Modelling for 3D Fabrication
  • Digital Fabrication
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • User Interfaces
SONIC ARTS
  • Signals and Systems
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Digital Audio
  • Performing Telepresence
  • Interactive Sonic Arts
  • Electro-Acoustic Orchestra

APPLICATION PROCESS

How to apply

Please note that the supplementary application procedures may change due to Covid-19. Please check back to learn about interim measures. If you have any questions please contact ampd@yorku.ca.

A. Ontario Universities’ Application Centre (OUAC) Application

Use this application if:
  • You want to apply to degree studies for any session (Ontario high-school students should see their guidance office). Fee Information.
  • You’re a mature or university/college applicant (if you’re applying to more than one university). Fee Information.

Apply Now

B. York University Application

Use this application if:
  • You are a mature, international or university/college transfer applicant (if you’re only applying to York), OR
  • You want to take courses as a Visiting Student, OR
  • You want to apply to a certificate, OR
  • You are currently taking a York pre-University/”Bridging” course or YUELI course

Fees: $130 payable by Visa, Visa Debit or MasterCard (non-refundable)

Apply Now

Admission to the Digital Media (BA Specialized Honours) program is based solely on academic performance. Applications to this program are accepted for Fall (September), Winter (January) and Summer (May) entry.

Once you have submitted your application, you will receive an email containing your York reference ID. This email will be sent approximately 5-10 business days after you submit your application. Please complete step 4 once you have your York Reference ID.

*During the coronavirus pandemic public events on campus have been cancelled.

  • Game Programmer/Manager/Designer/Developer
  • Game UI Programmer
  • Technical Artist for Video Games
  • New Media Artist
  • AR/VR Developer
  • Interactive Experience Designer
  • Interactive Media Developer
  • Data Visualization
  • Entrepreneur
  • Media/Multimedia Developer
  • Graphic Arts Technician
  • Creative Producer/Developer
  • Graphic Designer
  • Sound Designer
  • UI/UX Designer
  • Web Programmer/Manager/Designer/Developer
  • Front End Application Developer
  • Full Stack Software Developer
  • Application Analyst and Architect
  • Backend Developer
  • Computer Programmer/Software Engineer
  • Digital Media Teacher and Subject Coordinator
  • Creative Consultant/Director
  • Data Analyst
  • Digital Development Architect
  • Digital Marketing Manager
  • Digital Project Director
  • Digital Strategies Specialist
  • Editorial Technical Director
  • Embedded Computing Developer/Engineer
  • IT Specialist
  • Lead Programmer/Designer
  • Operations Specialist
  • Product Designer
  • Project Developer
  • Senior Developer
  • Social Media Executive
  • Software Architect/Designer/Programmer/Engineer
  • Software Testing Engineer
  • Systems Programmer