ANI 101 Animation for Non-Majors

Winter 2013-2014
Class number: 20533
Section number: 503
TuTh 10:10AM - 11:40AM
CDM 00206 Loop Campus

Summary Of Course

Animation 101

I. Instructor

Jason Hopkins
Phone: (312) 961-7551

II. Course Description and Expectations

Animation is an art form that predates cinema itself. It provides a unique form of expression that can incorporate an almost unlimited variety of disciplines: drawing, photography, sculpture, music, poetry, narrative, game design, math, dance, etc. Animation has always had an attraction for college-age students, and this interest is stronger today than ever before.

Films, critical texts, research, lecture and discussion will be utilized to study the theory and practice of creating sequential images in motion. Through experimentation and the study of historical examples from a variety of countries and cultures, the course examines the expressive strategies potentially usable in the creation of manipulated moving image art forms: image and object construction, performance through inanimate objects, composition, narrative, sound, and timing. Students will engage in written analysis and critiques that will develop their visualization and cinema literacy skills and build their analytical/critical vocabulary. Material, expressive and stylistic experimentation are encouraged through projects that allow students to put theory into practice.

ANI 101 is included in the Liberal Studies program as a course with credit in the Arts and Literature Domain. Courses in the Arts and Literature Domain ask students to extend their knowledge and experience of the arts by developing their critical and reflective abilities. In these courses, students interpret and analyze particular creative works, investigate the relations of form and meaning, and through critical and/or creative activity to come to experience art with greater openness, insight, and enjoyment. These courses focus on works of literature, art, theatre, or music as such, though the process of analysis may also include social and cultural issues. Students who take course in this domain choose three courses from such choices as literature, the visual arts, media arts, music, and theater. No more than two courses can be chosen from one department or program.

By the end of the course, students should be able to analyze animated cinema in terms of formal structure, thematic elements, plot, composition, performance, genre, sound, and visual style, and communicate this analysis in writing. Students should also be able to utilize these concepts in their own work and will be evaluated on their creativity and diligence in applying the course tools to produce cogent and polished shorts. Our goals are to go beyond simply achieving technical proficiency, as we will also focus on learning principles of good digital filmmaking in preparation for both artistic and commercial endeavors.

III. Course Materials

Textbooks Recommended: The Animation Bible by Maureen Furniss is a good overview text it covers a variety of methods and mediums.

Recommended: The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams should be suggested as must-reading for the serious student.

I strongly recommend that you purchase an external hard drive. Students are responsible for having their work available for viewing in class during weekly class critiques. You do not need to submit your work to me on any kind of disk or storage device as long as I can view it in class. Note: hardware problems are no excuse for late or missing work. The hard drives of the computers are notoriously unreliable, and constantly get erased! Make backup copies and save your work on media besides the schools hard drives! Files can become corrupted.

IV. Attendance

Attendance is mandatory. Three absences will result in a loss of credit for the course. Students arriving more than 15 minutes late to any class will be considered tardy. Four tardies are equivalent to one absence.

V. Assignments

1. Technical Exercises:

Each week students are expected to complete a technical exercise as explained in lecture and submit it under the assignment tab on Ideally these assignments could work toward ones final project. Assignments will be graded according to aesthetic appeal, technical excellence, use of sound (when pertinent), and social importance.

2. Papers:

Papers will be assigned at random, may be given as in-class exercises, and will generally compare and contrast the above mentioned criteria.

3. The Final Project:

The final project for this class must demonstrate an understanding of the concepts discussed in the course. The guidelines are extremely flexible: you should show that you understand the techniques and software discussed, that you can incorporate principles of good animation, and that you have the creativity and dedication to produce a sophisticated piece. You neednt produce a catalog of every single concept we discussed in class. I am most concerned that you produce a thought-provoking and personal piece, one that you can really be proud of as an artist. The final result should be a piece that you would be proud to show at a film festival!

We will view and critique the final projects during Final Exam Week (TBA). But


To receive credit for this course you have merely to complete the following simple tasks:

1) Drop off your rendered 720 x 480 QuickTime movie (properly compressed if its huge) in the designated folder of the instructors terminal of our classroom on the above mentioned date. If I dont receive the .mov file on the computer by the designated time, credit will not be given!
2) It must be at least one minute in duration (no cutting corners with lengthy credits)
3) It must have sound. Perhaps dialog or sound effects. I do not want cheesy music slapped onto your piece in simple music video format. Im not kidding.
4) Your brilliance (and grade) will be evaluated considering the following criteria: Aesthetic, Technique, Sound, and most importantly Social Importance/Criticism

VI. Class Schedule and Assignments

Week 1:
Introduction to After Effects and Photoshop
Discussion: Principles of Good Animation, Types, and Criteria for Analysis
Technique Assignment: Tangibly draw at least 30 drawings in a flipbook that morph.

Week 2:
Frame-by-frame straightforward animation in After Effects
Smudge techniques
Technique Assignment: Create and render a frame-by-frame digital flipbook utilizing both techniques

Week 3:
Smudge Techniques. Non-linear frame-by-frame animation: idle holds, back-and-forth, loops
Alpha channels, backgrounds
Technique Assignment: Continue developing your frame-by-frame skills utilizing the three new techniques discussed. Render out a twenty-second movie.

Week 4:
Motion Parallax
After Effects: Transformations (Position Scale Rotation Opacity)
Technique Assignment: Set up a simple establishing shot, utilizing the principles of parallax. Ten seconds or so should be fine. Start on rough storyboards for final project.

Week 5:
After Effects: Bouncing Ball --Squash and Stretch
Parenting Hierarchies
Cut-out Animation
Technique Assignment: Make a ball bounce using all mentioned transformations

Week 6:
FINAL PROJECT MIDTERM CHECKPOINT: Please be prepared to present your storyboard to the class!

Week 7:
After Effects: Character Animation
Secondary Motion
Motion Blur
Looping Action
Technique Assignment: 1) Set up a looping walk cycle, and have the character demonstrate aspects of secondary motion. 2) Bring in sound clips of dialogue. Please try to bring WAV or AIFF formats.

Week 8: After Effects: Sound
Body and Lip Sync
Phonemes jaw hinge, scaled-mouth, frame-by-frame
Technique Assignment: Sync a character up to sound. Display both body/sound sync and lip/dialogue sync.

Class 9: Review and Troubleshoot

Technique Assignment: Keep working towards your final! Prepare a rough animatic of your final project. You should be able to clearly indicate to me which techniques you will be using in your final animation, even if those techniques are not fully implemented at this point. Feel free to use any combination of techniques you feel best adds to your project.

Class 10:
Presentation and Critique of Final Projects!

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