CS125 FAQs

FAQs

How can I find out more about CS125?
How do I get permission to take CS125?
I can’t make the first class because I’m shopping another class that meets at the same time. What should I do?
How do you select students who will be in the class?
Why is CS125 offered over two regular class periods?
I have another class that meets during half of CS125. Can I attend just half of the classes?
I am taking cs123 at the same time. Will this be too much work?
I have never used any of the software listed in the syllabus. Will I be able to learn it quickly enough?
I tried to teach myself Maya once and it was just too overwhelming. What if I can’t do it?
I have never taken another computer science course before. Is that okay?
I am not very artistic and/or don’t have much experience making art. Is this a problem?
Will I learn enough in CS125 to be able to get an internship at Pixar next summer?
Can I skip CS125 and just take CS128 (Intermediate Animation) in the Spring?
I have more questions. Who should I ask?

How can I find out more about CS125?

Check the rest of the course website, especially Course Missive. If you still have questions, email the professor, Barbara Meier: Barbara_Meier@brown.edu or (during the fall) the TAs: cs1250tas@lists.brown.edu.


How do I get permission to take CS125?

You must come to the first class and fill out a card that we provide. Those that turn in cards will receive an email application. This is due the next morning at 9am. The application may be available before classes begin to allow us more time to read them; submitting the application before classes begin is helpful to us, but does not offer you an advantage for getting into the course and you still must attend the first day. The class list will be available by the following Monday morning at 9am (or earlier). Students who submit late applications are considered after those that submit on time. Admitted students are given Banner permission to register. We maintain a waitlist for about two weeks. If you are on the waitlist, you may keep coming to class and do the assignments. Students often choose to drop off the wait list. It is hard to predict what will happen in a particular year, but we can usually give you an idea of your chances of getting in a day or two after we announce the class list. We know it is uncomfortable to be in this position, but it has paid off for many students in the past.


I can’t make the first class because I’m shopping another class that meets at the same time. What should I do?

We understand shopping period is hectic. In 2017, the first class will be 50 minutes long and will be given both at noon and at 1pm so you only need to attend one of those sessions. If this is still a problem, you should email the professor with your specific circumstances.


How do you select students who will be in the class?

There are no formal prereqs for CS125, but we ask that you have some background in computer science, computer graphics (including game design and development), related production areas like filmmaking, or in visual art. The course moves quickly and those who don’t have some background tend to get lost. If there are more students than spaces in the course, then we evaluate the student applications based on seniority, previous experience, enthusiasm, and the extent to which the student might use what they learn in this course in the future. We intend to leave some spots open for juniors and sophomores though this depends on who applies.


Why is CS125 offered over two regular class periods?

One of our main uses of class time is to critique student work. We need enough time to look at everyone’s work in a single meeting. We also do in-class projects and labs that require more than one class period.


I have another class that meets during half of CS125. Can I attend just half of the classes?

No. This is not like a regular CS lecture course in which you go to class when you feel like it. CS125 is a seminar and studio course and you cannot miss the in-class projects, critiques, and discussions. Attendance is mandatory. We are sorry, but we don’t have control over when the class is offered. Unless you want to meet from 8-9:50am. Right. Didn't think so.


I am taking cs123 at the same time. Will this be too much work?

No, not if you are careful with managing your time. Many students take CS123 and CS125 concurrently and find that they complement each other well. Since both courses have big final projects, we strongly suggest you make sure your other classes don't ALSO have big final projects. Both are time-consuming courses, so you should plan the rest of your schedule accordingly.


I have never used any of the software listed in the missive. Will I be able to learn it quickly enough?

Most students have no or little experience with the software. You will learn it by doing tutorials and projects.


I tried to teach myself Maya once and it was just too overwhelming. What if I can’t do it?

You can do it! Maya is overwhelming at first, but by taking it one step at a time, you can learn it. We have fabulous TAs that will help you past any stumbling blocks. Everyone who has taken CS125 has learned enough Maya to work on a final project with a team of other students.


I have never taken another computer science course before. Is that okay?

Yes. There are no CS prereqs for this course. It is helpful to have basic skills in Photoshop and Premier. Some of the best CS125 students in the past took it as their first CS course. Some were even convinced to go on to concentrate in CS. Who knows? You might just love it!


I am not very artistic and/or don’t have much experience making art. Is this a problem?

No. One of the aims of the course is to help you develop your artistic eye – to help you know what you like, what is working (or not) artistically, why, and how you can achieve your artistic goals. Making pictures is a skill like writing, it just takes practice and you will get lots of practice in CS125!


Will I learn enough in CS125 to be able to get an internship at Pixar next summer?

If you are a Brown student and want to work at Pixar as a TD intern, then you need computer science and computer graphics background (i.e. cs123) and CS125. CS128, the follow on course to CS125, will be very helpful as well. Pixar also offers PUP internships (Pixar University Program) to students without extensive CS experience. All internships at Pixar are extremely competitive. There are other internships available that may have fewer requirements. Pixar (and most production studios) are looking for enthusiastic students who have strong technical backgrounds and have demonstrated the ability to create polished results. If you are interested in production internships, Barb can give you a realistic assessment of your chances and help you prepare resume and portfolio materials.


Can I skip CS125 and just take CS128 (Intermediate Animation) in the Spring?

Under extremely rare circumstances, this might be permitted but you must contact Barb and submit a portfolio of work. There are several reasons why we discourage this. CS125 covers much more than just learning software and CS128 assumes this experience and knowledge. It is difficult for students who didn't take CS125 to catch up, and it can make CS128 more difficult to teach if students don't share the same background. Introductory Maya classes at other schools are usually not an adequate background.


I have more questions. Who should I ask?

Before the semester begins, email Barb, the professor (Barbara_Meier@brown.edu). After the semester begins, contact Barb or the TAs (cs1250tas@lists.brown.edu).