What is Computer Graphics Technology

The Department of Computer Graphics Technology prepares students who are interested in creating and managing the production of computer graphics for a wide range of industry. Students work in computer labs developing their graphics skills, techniques, concepts, and management ability through individual and team-based projects. After successful completion of the pre-technical graphics curriculum, students can select one of several Computer Graphics Technology majors. Or combine aspects of multiple majors into a single customized program of study.


From the latest blockbuster film to the most complex scientific analysis, computer animation brings ideas and concepts to life. When you major in computer animation, you can help provide perspective and context to complex ideas, creating visual representations of new product ideas, big data, cancer cells, and even dancing penguins. Computer animation is everywhere, not only in entertainment but also in education, product and packaging, construction, courtrooms and new applications yet to be discovered. Study in animation and spatial graphics focuses on developing and integrating skills in raster & vector graphic technology, 3D model building, lighting & rendering, storyboarding,  and virtual-motion based physical simulation. Students graduating from the program are prepared for production and management level roles as modelers, animators, producers, and technical or art directors in all areas of animation and virtual environment production. Several of our graduates won Oscars for their work on Disney's Big Hero 6. Read about it here.

Construction - Building Information Modeling

With a few keystrokes and construction knowledge, you can create a 3D model for a building and view it from inside or out, from all angles, or even with an extra floor or two.This computer-generated model helps a construction team create detailed documentation and you become an integral member of the team. When you focus your talents on construction graphics (or Building Information Modeling - BIM), you can be part of the next generation of designers revolutionizing the construction industry. This major includes courses in computer graphics, computer technology and programming, and construction materials and methods. Prepares students to be practitioners and managers of computer graphics in the field of architecture, engineering, and construction. The graduate will have the ability to master 3D modeling of architectural concepts as well as communicating or marketing them through the use of animation, interactive multimedia, the web, and video.

Effects Technical Direction

The Effects Technical Direction (FX TD) major is a new offering leveraging the current technology innovations in the areas of technical animation and technical direction as applied to the production of entertainment computer graphics for episodic television, commercials, and game cinematics. The major includes an increased amount of mathematics, as compared to the standard computer graphics technology major. While the degree covers some of the same topics as those in traditional science-based computer graphics, the focus of the degree is the application of those topics via the lens of production tools and techniques. In short, the focus is on production techniques as opposed to creating computer graphics tools for the industry.

Game Studies

Whether you want to develop the next big indie game, contribute to blockbuster AAA titles, research breakthroughs in virtual reality, or use games to help address society’s most pressing problems, Purdue University’s game studies major has a place for you. CGT at Purdue is a leader in preparing students for careers in computer game development. Alumni have worked at EA Games, Volition Inc., Riot Games, Crystal Dynamics, and many more. The program’s multidisciplinary approach incorporates elements of technology, software engineering, animation, human centered-design, psychology, the humanities, and project management. Using the college’s project-based learning approach, you will work as part of a team to create unique and compelling gaming experiences. These projects will expose you to a variety of skills and talents that mirror industry operations.
See examples of student work at www.gamesinnovation.org.

Human-Centered Design and Development

Human-Centered Design and Development (HCDD) is a process for creating digital products that are easy and fun to use. By placing the user at the center of the design process, we ensure that the products we create meet users’ needs, are easy to learn, and easy to use. Human-Centered Design and Development is used in any type of product with a graphical user interface including web sites, mobile applications, desktop applications, ATM’s, vehicle dashboards, smart watches, and more. Job titles include User experience (UX) designer, usability engineer, information architect, interaction designer, user experience architect, user experience researcher. Most HCDD courses are taught in studio environments, where students are actively engaged working on projects. The major has a series of Experience Studios where students work on client projects. By the time they graduate, HCDD students will have 3.5 years of working experience on real client projects. UX jobs are some of the top-25 in demand, high paying jobs in the US.

Virtual Product Integration

Virtual Product Integration (VPI) prepares students to be practitioners and managers of computer graphics to support the engineering design and manufacturing processes. Use the latest computer technology to design anything, from automobiles and aircraft to hip joints and heart-lung machines.From initial design sketches through the manufacturing process, you will build, test and implement products in a virtual environment. You will work primarily with product lifecycle management (PLM) software tools for simulation, computer-aided design (CAD), and product data management (PDM). You will have the opportunity to work in industry and be an integral part of teams that implement and utilize these technologies. PLM integration specialists are knowledgeable and skilled in wireframe, surface, and parametric 3D solid modeling, industrial graphics standards, and in database management strategies.  The curriculum combines lab-based technical skills with classroom-based knowledge to prepare graduates who are able to contribute immediately and effectively to those employers who are engineering design graphics and database users, service providers, or consultants.

Visual Effects Compositing

The Visual Effects Compositing (VFX Compositing) major focuses on the application of compositing techniques specifically to the visual effects and 3D animation arenas for the episodic television, commercials, and game cinematic markets. The coursework focuses on the tools for visual effects compositing and not motion-graphics.

Web Programming and Design

Before most web sites and mobile applications are launched, there is a huge amount of planning, programming and testing that takes place. From design elements to databases, and from business logic to browser compatibility, web programming and design requires a broad base of knowledge and experience. As a web programming and design major at Purdue University, you will work in teams and individually to learn how to create products that are functional, secure, and user-friendly. From PHP and open source MySQL to the Microsoft and ASP environments, you will gain a broad spectrum of programming capabilities and concepts that will allow you to prosper and adapt in this constantly changing industry.