ANI 230 3D Design and Modeling

Fall 2013-2014
Class number: 11240
Section number: 402
MW 3:10PM - 4:40PM
CDM 00527 Loop Campus

Download syllabus


ANI 230

Autumn 2013
Instructor: Joel D Benjamin (or
Office hours: Monday/Wednesday/Thursday 4:20-5:40 (room TBD)

This course covers introductory 3d modeling and design techniques required to construct 3D objects and scenes to be used for animation and gaming. Topics to be covered include: clean low polygon modeling; 3D object design; and brief introduction to texturing, cameras, lighting and rendering.


After completing this course, students will have:

1. Gained basic concepts and understanding of tools related to 3D production.
2. Become comfortable with basics of modeling, lighting, texturing and rendering.
3. Understand the fundamentals of strong 3D design.

Things to know:

All things animation are WORK! It takes time ? significant amounts of time. You can think of it the same way as learning an instrument ? the more you put into it and the more you practice the better you will get. If 3D modeling and design/animation is what you want to do, expect to spend hours upon hours sitting in front of the computer (this is in addition to outside research, inspiration, LOOKING at the world and design and sleeping).

If you don't want to spend 4-5 hours assignment, this class is not for you. Especially because we only have 10 classes, we will be covering a lot of ground in a short period of time.

We are working with computers. Computers suck. They crash, they fail, they eat your work and generally hate the user. Expect to lose progress at some point!
How to deal with this:

? Unfortunately, the instructor cannot go back and save your work for you.

? Save. Save often. Save constantly. If you make a change, save your file!

? Save incrementally. Meaning ? save your files in versions, like BenjaminJoel_project1.mb, BenjaminJoel_project2.mb, BenjaminJoel_project3.mb, etc etc.

    • Back up your files onto a flash drive at the end of each work session. Buy a couple of em, they're cheap. Do NOT expect your work to be saved onto the school's computers ? it's possible the files won't be there later.

    • HOWEVER ? NEVER work directly off of a flash drive! They are cheap and die and are slow. They should ONLY be used to back up and transport information, never as the sole means of storage.

1) Copy your files from the flash drive to the computer.

2) Remove the flash drive.

3) Work work work animate work.

4) Then when you're done, put the flash drive back in, copy the files back over to the flash drive. NEVER work directly off of those USB drives!

Want to get a good grade?
Your grade will depend on the following criteria:

  • Meeting Project Deadlines: It is important to have your work available for critique- work unavailable for critique will be lowered one full grade (10%). Not turning in assignments will SIGNIFICANTLY hurt your final grade!

  • Creativity and personal input into execution of project

  • Coming prepared to class, including any assigned reading and assignments

  • Effective visually aesthetic solutions to all problems assigned

  • Taking initiative to work outside of class and research.

  • Attend class! If you miss, you will be counted as absent, and you will miss out! We cover a lot of technical stuff and you may fall behind if you miss a lecture.

  • Hard work and sweat! Assignments WILL take ON AVERAGE around 4-5 hours to complete. Some will take less, but some will require MORE!!

Participation in critiques and discussions is essential. If you sit quietly every class, you will not only be unhelpful to your classmates, but you will also miss out on your participation grade, which counts for 10% of your final grade. Many teachers say this matters and ignore it in the end ? I do NOT ignore whether or not you participate. Everyone is expected to speak up in class ? when discussing films and animations we watch as well as giving comments (critical and praising) on your classmates' work.

If there is assigned reading, do it! It's not for the instructor's benefit that reading is assigned, it's for yours. If you want to improve and do well in 3D in or out of this class, you must do the work for YOURSELF!

1) No specific book will be required ? HOWEVER, you WILL benefit from a Maya book. Emailing the instructor with questions will usually result in an answer, but a book on your desk is MUCH faster and easier! Plus you will often find new tricks/tips by accident while browsing through a book.

Get one of the ?Introducing Maya 20xx? books. Any version after 2012 will be perfectly fine ? few of the changes in recent versions will affect our class.

This is a design class. We will be learning lots of technical stuff, but we won't be doing it without purpose. Technically successful 3D is easy to come by. (Look at Shrek, or Ice Age, or Land Before Time 23-405)... Technically successful animation that's also excellently designed is what our class will aspire to.

2) A flash drive or three, or a larger (and probably faster) firewire drive. 2-4 GB should suffice for our projects but something larger isn?t terribly more expensive.

3) account. This is a free account to upload / store / share large files. This will likely be necessary for some assignment submissions.

Schedule *This schedule is subject to change at any point throughout the quarter without notice.

? Week 1 ? Intro to 3D modeling/design, Maya

  • Week 2-3 ? Modeling simple Objects and Basics of 3D Design.

  • Week 4-6 ? Architecture, modeling and design, lighting & texturing.

  • Week 7-10 ? Character design and modeling ? human and otherwise

If the instructor feels that a certain area needs more or less attention, the plan will change according to students' needs!

Some people will find the pace too fast, some too slow. If you're struggling with something in particular, let the instructor know! Regular feedback is a good thing.

Student absences are not expected to exceed more than 10% of the number of the classes scheduled for the quarter. Each absence after that will subtract 10% from your final grade! If you are tardy (arriving after teacher has taken attendance), this counts as half an absence! DO NOT BE TARDY.

The student is responsible for any lectures or assignments missed. If an assignment is due a week that you are absent, it is
your responsibility to make sure it still arrives on time. This is for your benefit. A good portion of our class time will be spent doing hands on tutorials, screening films, and critiquing work. Lecture notes will not make up for these missed learning experiences.

READ THIS: You may not miss the final class date. Doing so will automatically forfeit a grade for your final project. If for some reason you cannot make one of these days you must contact your instructor BEFORE the class that you must miss. Excuses given after the fact will not be accepted. There is no final exam but we will have final critique on the set-aside time. Check the school's calendar for final exam dates.

No incompletes will be given without documented proof of circumstances beyond your control. An incomplete grade is given only for an exceptional reason such as a death in the family, a serious illness, etc at the end of the quarter where a student has been otherwise doing well. It does NOT mean that a student has been slacking or missing class and then suddenly wants to catch up at the end! Any incomplete request must be made at least two weeks before the final, and approved by the Dean of the College of Computing and Digital Media. Any consequences resulting from a poor grade for the course will not be considered as valid reasons for such a request.

This class is project-based and work-intensive. 90% of your grade will be based on projects. Do work, have fun. Work more. Get tired.

All assignments and grades will be listed on our Course Online site:

NOTE: COL only allows file submissions up to 20mb (sometimes). If the file is larger, you must upload it to and submit a link on COL in the comments section to the dropbox file.

They must be handed in on time. On time is submitted through COLweb by the specified time on the due date. Students who use class time to finish assignments the day they are due will forfeit the right to hand in that assignment. Class time is for working with the material at hand, not finishing late assignments.

If an assignment is turned in late, there will be a 10% reduction in grade for each date late (the counter starts after the due time).
If the assignment goes past the next class meeting, it will not be able to be turned in for a grade.

Name your files using this format. If you continuously do NOT do so, the ?Following instructions? part of your grade will be reduced for each project you do not name the files correctly.


example: BenjaminJoel_TreeProject01.mb

The reason this is important ? if you name your file ?myFinalBird.mb? I will not know it is yours. Sometimes I need to download the files individually from COL and it doesn't put your name on the file if I have to do it this way.

Special Accommodations: If you have any special considerations please see the instructor.

  • BACK UP YOUR WORK: Failure of computer software and or Hardware will not be accepted as an extenuating circumstance for late projects or incomplete grades so back up your work daily.


10% Participation in class (critiques, screenings, discussions, etc)
90% Projects

Letter grades are assigned by the following point values:
A = 100-93, A- = 92-90, B+ = 89-88, B = 87-83, B- = 82-80, C+ = 79-78, C = 77-73, C- = 72-70, D+ = 69-68, D = 67-63, D- = 62-60, F = 59-0.

Students do NOT receive an ?A? by default.

? An ?A? indicates total excellence. Not only were directions for assignments followed successfully but the student went above and beyond to create something truly fantastic.
? A ?B? grade indicates good work, but could use some improvement in some area or another.
? ?C? indicates average, uninspired work. If the directions were followed and the assignment was completed
successfully, no extra effort or love was applied to raise the grade above Average.
D work is unsatisfactory,
? F is really, really bad.

Other important technical/legal stuff:
If you need to get in touch with the instructor, emailing is the best way.

Academic Integrity Policy:
This course will be subject to the academic integrity policy passed by faculty. More information can be found at

The university and school policy on plagiarism can be summarized as follows: Students in this course should be aware of the strong sanctions that can be imposed against someone guilty of plagiarism. If proven, a charge of plagiarism could result in an automatic F in the course and possible expulsion. The strongest of sanctions will be imposed on anyone who submits as his/her own work any assignment which has been prepared by someone else. If you have any questions or doubts about what plagiarism entails or how to properly acknowledge source materials be sure to consult the instructor.

Resources for Students with Disabilities
Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.

To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted either:

  • PLuS Program (for LD, AD/HD) at 773-325-4239 in SAC 220

  • The Office for Students with Disabilities (for all other disabilities) at 773-325-7290 Student Center 307

School policies:

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary during the quarter. If a change occurs, it will be thoroughly addressed during class, posted under Announcements in D2L and sent via email.

Online Course Evaluations

Evaluations are a way for students to provide valuable feedback regarding their instructor and the course. Detailed feedback will enable the instructor to continuously tailor teaching methods and course content to meet the learning goals of the course and the academic needs of the students. They are a requirement of the course and are key to continue to provide you with the highest quality of teaching. The evaluations are anonymous; the instructor and administration do not track who entered what responses. A program is used to check if the student completed the evaluations, but the evaluation is completely separate from the student’s identity. Since 100% participation is our goal, students are sent periodic reminders over three weeks. Students do not receive reminders once they complete the evaluation. Students complete the evaluation online in CampusConnect.

Academic Integrity and Plagiarism

This course will be subject to the university's academic integrity policy. More information can be found at If you have any questions be sure to consult with your professor.

Academic Policies

All students are required to manage their class schedules each term in accordance with the deadlines for enrolling and withdrawing as indicated in the University Academic Calendar. Information on enrollment, withdrawal, grading and incompletes can be found at

Students with Disabilities

Students who feel they may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss their specific needs. All discussions will remain confidential.
To ensure that you receive the most appropriate accommodation based on your needs, contact the instructor as early as possible in the quarter (preferably within the first week of class), and make sure that you have contacted the Center for Students with Disabilities (CSD) at:
Lewis Center 1420, 25 East Jackson Blvd.
Phone number: (312)362-8002
Fax: (312)362-6544
TTY: (773)325.7296