Computer Science (COMP) 232

Graphics Design (Revision 1)

COMP 232

Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Science

Prerequisite: None

Faculty: Faculty of Science and Technology

Centre: School of Computing and Information Systems

COMP 232 has a Challenge for Credit option.

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**Note: Students who are concerned about not meeting the prerequisites for this course are encouraged to contact the course coordinator before registering


Graphics design is an art for visual communication that combines images, ideas, and even words to convey information to an audience, especially to produce a specific effect. This course covers various concepts of graphics design, with an emphasis on video game arts. These concepts include visual grammars of classical arts, such as lights, volume, proportions and perspectives, theory of depth, composition, gravity, movement, and artistic anatomy. In this course, you will learn how to apply the above concepts to design characters and character-centric environments in video game development.

The overall goal of this course is to engage you in the study of individual graphics design elements and enable you to practice these elements in the right context. There are six assignments and one final project to test your progress and competence in game graphics design. There is no final exam, because your learning experience cannot be measured in a written exam.

Graphics design typically results in pictures. You will use paper and pencil, as well as computer drawing software of your preference (e.g., GraphicsGale, GIMP, Illustrator, etc.).


This course comprises the following ten units:

  • Unit 1: Drawing Fundamentals
  • Unit 2: Advanced Drawing Concepts
  • Unit 3: The Human Figure
  • Unit 4: Anatomy: Foot, Leg, and Pelvis
  • Unit 5: Anatomy: Spine, Ribcage, Shoulder Girdle, and Arm
  • Unit 6: Anatomy: Hand, Head and Neck, and Facial Expressions
  • Unit 7: Elements of Design
  • Unit 8: Character Design
  • Unit 9: Environment Design
  • Unit 10: Color and Digital Tools

Learning Outcomes

Students successfully completing this course will be able to

  • apply basic concepts of graphics design, e.g., proportions, perspectives, volume, lights, and shadow;
  • demonstrate advanced concepts of volume and lights to create illusion of depth;
  • draw human figures and apply concepts of gravity and movement in visual art;
  • arrange elements in an image to manipulate a scene;
  • model 2D/3D characters/sprites and create model sheets;
  • design a character-centric environment; and
  • use different drawing media and software tools.


To receive credit for COMP 232, students must achieve a course composite grade of at least D (50 percent), including a grade of D (50 percent) on each assignment and at least D (50 percent) on the final project. The weighting of these grades is as follows:

Assessment Due Date Weighting
Assignment 1 Week 2 10%
Assignment 2 Week 3 10%
Assignment 3 Week 5 15%
Assignment 4 Week 7 10%
Assignment 5 Week 8 10%
Assignment 6 Week 10 15%
Final Project Week 14 30%
Total   100%

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Solarski, C. (2012). Drawing basics and video game art: Classic to cutting-edge art techniques for winning video game design. New York: Watson-Guptill.

Other Materials

The remainder of the learning materials for COMP 232 is available online. These include

  • course notes for each unit;
  • assignments and instructions; and
  • links to other Web-based resources.

Special Course Features

COMP 232 is an elective in all School of Computing and Information Systems programs (e.g., B.Sc. in Computing and Information Systems).

Challenge for Credit Overview

The Challenge for Credit process allows you to demonstrate that you have acquired a command of the general subject matter, knowledge, intellectual and/or other skills that would normally be found in a university-level course.

Full information about Challenge for Credit can be found in the Undergraduate Calendar.

Challenge Evaluation

To receive credit for the COMP 232 challenge registration, you must complete three (3) assignments and a final project assigned to you after your registration for the challenge, and achieve a grade of at least D (50 percent) on each assignment and at least “D” (50 per cent) on the final project.

The weighting of these grading are the following:

Assessment Weighting
Assignment 1 20%
Assignment 2 20%
Assignment 3 20%
Final Project 40%
Total 100%

Undergraduate Challenge for Credit Course Registration Form

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 1, March 14, 2017.