ANI 230 3D Design and Modeling

Summer II 2012-2013
Class number: 42022
Section number: 501
TuTh 6:00PM - 9:15PM
DPAUL C106B Loop Campus


Summary Of Course

Course Number:ANI230

Course Title: 3D Modeling & Design

I. Instructor

Jason Hopkins

Email Address:


II. Course Description and Expectations

This course will provide an introductory exploration of 3D modeling, basic rigging, rendering, their principles and various techniques. Topics will go beyond simply making aesthetically polished virtual sculptures but will focus on proper technique, good geometric parameterization for later stages in the CG production pipeline. Our goals are to go beyond simply learning the technical interface, as we will also focus on learning principles of good visualization in preparation for both artistic and commercial endeavors. Accordingly, students will be evaluated on their creativity and diligence, as demonstrated by a final project consisting of a coherent, rendered animatic at least 30 seconds in length.

III. Course Materials

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. Flash drives are notoriously unreliable, and constantly being erased! Make backup copies and save your work on media besides the school?s 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 30 minutes late to any class will be considered tardy. Three tardies are equivalent to one absence.

V. Assignments

1. Brief presentations

Each student will be expected to give a brief 10-15 minute presentation of an animation/film(s) they deem particularly interesting and be able to explain why.

2. Weekly Demonstration of Technique

Each week, those of you who are new to the discipline will be expected to demonstrate that you understand the techniques discussed in the previous week?s class. How you do this is up to you. You may design a very short and specific piece that focuses on demonstrating a technique; or, you may show a part of your final project in progress that incorporates the technique. Note: Already familiar with a technique? You are more than welcome to demonstrate your knowledge during class on the day a technique is assigned, and I will check you off!

Grading Scale:

Students will receive:

1pt for each class attended

2pts for attending and adequately completing the assignment

3pts for each group member adequately completing the assignment?this means you get credit for helping out your peers (just like in the industry)!

I will assign letter grades during midterms (to let you know where you stand) and after your final critique. This class is the first production portion of the CGI pipeline. You will need the concept and assets you produce in this class to move on to ANI231 3D Animation so prepare and plan appropriately. Failure to produce your 3D animatic with adequate assets will require that you retake the course until you are prepared to move on.

Process for Evaluation: Students? efforts, not ability, will be evaluated according to their attendance, ability to meet deadlines, and time spent on their work.

Student Evaluation / Grading Policies: No extensions will be given on the final project. Attendance for the final critique is mandatory.

Classroom Policy: I don?t mind if cell phones ring, as long as I get to answer them.

Students with Disabilities:

If you are entitled to special accommodations under the approved Plus Program, please let me know how I can assist.

Attendance Policy: I value your attendance and participation above all else. If you miss a class, please contact a classmate for the material--you will be held responsible for it, as there are no excused absences.

Student Conduct Policy: I don?t take no guff.

Weekly Outline (subject to change)

Class 1:Intro to Maya. Interface. Dolly, tumble, track.Transformations. Scale. Proportion. Polygon primitives and ?the sacred cube.? Getting good reference material. Grouping, organization, duplication, and instancing. AO passes and composition.

Films: Kaena vs. Harvie Krumpet?concept out-weighs complexity

Walley B, Luxo Jr. vs. The End (Pixar vs. Chris Landreth)

Important Hot Keys: w-translate, e-rotate, r-scale, 4-wireframe, 5-smooth shade, 6-hardware texture, z-undo, f-frame object

In-class exercise: Box-modeling group project

Home Work Assignment: Render 3 AO pass stills (jpegs) from difference angles of an interior created entirely with appropriately scaled cubes. Submit your reference material for comparison on my instructor share as well. Getting proportional variation (large to small details) and good composition is your priority and will be the focus of our critique in Week 2.

Class 2:Utilizing other expedient polygon primitives. Input simplification. Grouping and naming objects in the Outliner. Object vs. Component mode: tweaking vertices, edges, and faces. Polygon theory: 2 pts determine a line, 3, a plane which = a tri, 2 tris = a quad. Model in quads.

Making a sphere and cylinder with smooth for easy re-use

Modeling method:

?Pick an efficient polygon primitive (no default spheres or cylinders)

?Manipulate your input options to add or remove detail?go for low poly, check hotkey 3 (smooth mesh preview)

?Teak components (verts, faces, edges), delete faces

?Name and group

?Set pivots (hotkey-insert)

?Freeze transformations, delete history (clean up)

Films: Knick Knack, Red?s Dream vs. Bingo

Siggraph 2008 ? Box Race, Siggraph 2003 intro & Dawn

Home Work Assignment: Model and submit 3 AO rendered props (as jpegs) utilized in your storyboard. Create appropriately scaled, grouped, and named polygon primitives. Tweak components for variation. Please include reference imagery for accountability with your submission on instructors share.

Class 3:Tools vs. Actions?insert edge loop, crease tool, and extrude! Use ?Vertex Faces? to watch out for faces on faces. Discussion of edge flow and good topology and edge weighting.

Smooth Mesh Preview = hotkey 3. Group, don?t combine. Model modularly (separate organized pieces). No sharp edges. Normals?hard and soft images. Non-linear deformers.

Pitch your storyboard and final project concept to your group?critique each other?s work, hand in a sheet summarizing each project.

Films: Snow Man, Bert, Tin Toy, Eat Your Peas, Polygon Family

Home Work Assignment: Using these new found creative processes, make and render out 3 more sophisticated props.

Class 4:Interiors. Blueprints and architectural design. Fill hole and bridge. Extrude along a curve. Merge vertices.

Films: Birthday Boy, 90 Degrees

Home Work Assignment: From existing architectural reference, model and render out at least 3 jpegs of an interior you?ve designed. Place your props inside.

Class 5:Midterm Critique of Interiors. Exteriors. Ground planes, sky panoramas, and basic paint effects. Sculpt poly tool.

Home Work Assignment: Make the exterior of your interior. Make sure paint effects are only used as an aesthetic garnish, never the main subject.

Class 6:Animal modeling. Anatomy and skeletal reference?look for analogous forms.

Keep eyes, teeth, nails and tongue as separate pieces. Model on grid axis. Use split poly tool, mirror geometry, negative instancing, or subdiv proxy. Don?t forget to freeze transformations and delete by type history.

?Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny??form and function. Analogous vs. Homologous forms.

a) model on axis

b) create a skin mesh, keep disparate textural elements separate

c) use sculpt geo tool to refine

Films: Creature Comforts, Krapooya, Big Buck Bunny

Home Work Assignment: Research and study the skeletal and muscular anatomy of your animal. Research its behavior and habitat. Then make drawings stylizing and simplifying your creature?utilize good design principles. Model and render out 3 AO stills of the animal.

Class 7:Humanoid Modeling and T-pose. Discussion of proportions, age, and gender. 4-heads from crown to crotch, arms come to mid-thigh, make thighs long enough, get inner thigh clearance, s-curve of spine, put bend in knees and elbows, skull proportions, sub-div proxy (half, flip axis, keep). Anatomical pitfalls. Avoid boxiness with average vertices.

Home Work Assignment: Model a stylized bipedal character following professional pipeline guidelines. Render out 3 solid AO jpegs. Focus on the body, block out the face.

Films: The Cathedral, Fallen Art, and The Pier

Class 8: Modeling the head. Discussion of the facial expressions and blend shapes.

The Seven Basic Emotions: Do you know them?

Humintell?s emotion recognition training features images of individuals portraying the 7 basic emotions: Anger, Contempt, Fear, Disgust, Happiness, Sadness and Surprise. But what exactly are basic emotions and where do other emotions such as shame, guilt and pride fit in? Read on to learn more?

Basic emotions are emotions that have been scientifically proven to have a certain facial expression associated with it.

For example, the basic emotion of ?Anger? can be recognized by this picture all around the world, no matter what age, religion or gender you are, or what language you speak. Anger can be characterized by these characteristics below:

Similarly, Fear is also a basic emotion. Fear is recognized all around the world by this facial expression of emotion, with the characteristics which can be seen below. Its important to note that other words describing fear are also expressed by this same face (or portions of this face). Emotions such as scared, mortified, horrified and petrified all have characteristics of this expression.

There are other basic emotions such as disgust, contempt, happiness, sadness and surprise. Their characteristics can be seen below:

We often get asked about emotions such as shame, pride, jealously and guilt. While these emotions are important ones, they are still not considered part of the basic emotions set. For example, there is no scientific evidence showing that there is a universal expression of shame that is recognized around the world as shame. Be weary when you see or hear people labeling expressions as emotions not in the basic emotion set. There is little evidence backing up their claims.

Class 9:Basic camera animation (camera, aim, up, angle of view), using joints to pose, and discussion of 3D Animatic based on your storyboard. Aspect ratio (720x480) . Rule of 3rds. Staging. Titles. Credits (name, school, copyright, date--read comfortably twice). Transitions. Watch shots without depth, abuse of the mid shot, and bad staging.

Compositing wireframe and AO. Sound, editing, composition and staging review.

Home Work Assignment: Model and assign at least 4 blends to your mesh: ?ooh?, brow raise, blink, mouth closed (mouth should be in ?aah? shape). Render out 4 AO passes showing these expressions off.

Class 10:Work in class on 3D Animatic?be prepared to individually show me your cumulative progress.

Final Project Rubric for Assessment

Exceptional (A, A-)

Adequate (B+, C)

Unacceptable (C-, F)

H.264 compressed 720x480 Animatic with diegetic and non-diegetic sound that enhances and exhibits a clear and appealing narrative?on time

Running time: 30s-1min ?good pacing

Titles and credits exhibit good typography and design choices

Models presented in wireframe composited with AO overlay demonstrating low poly, viable edge flow for animation and rigging incorporating elements of design based on drawings from photo-reference

Showcases diversity?props, interiors, exteriors, animals, and bipeds with at least four blendshapes: brow-raise, ?ooh?, ?ahh,? blink, and mouth closed. These expressions are used throughout the animatic and characters exhibit good posing and contra-posto.

Shots demonstrate cinematic depth and good staging, clear silhouettes, rule of thirds.

Student has archived and organized the maya files for entrance into 3D Animation

File too big for easy playback?sound present, but contains empty space, story difficult to read?student scrambling to get project up during crit

Short: <30s, but >20s ? pacing slightly off-

Titles and credits poorly thought out?missing name, institution, or year and copyright

Missing wireframe to determine poly-count and edge flow?demonstrating CG ?boxiness?

Reference not informative or second-hand (from more CG)

Not show-casing the breadth of models demonstrated in the course

Spaces look too clean or not lived in,

Characters are decently designed and recognizable but are not posed or expressionless

Shots suffer from overabundance of mid-shots, are flat and serve to confuse the viewer at times

Final project maya files are disorganized, inappropriately named but present for entrance into 3D Animation

Files not properly presented as an animatic, solitary jpegs, improper aspect ratio, late submission, no sound, directionless story

No titles or credits considered

Asset creation driven by maya?s inherent learning curve with little thought to design or reference

Invalid topology

Characters not in T-pose ready for rigging

Environments and models lack design, recognition, and appeal

No harmony of aesthetic

Fewer than 20 elements were created over the quarter

Shots are confusing and lack camera consideration, break the illusion of the stage (i.e. where the sky plane ends, etc)

Lost maya files?will need to retake the course

Critiques of 3D Animatic?ATTENDANCE is MANDATORY. Using After Effects, render out your AO/wireframe Animatic, complete with sound, titles and credits at 720 x 480, H.264 compression. Have these project on my instructor share before final critique begins. Failure to do so will result in failing the class. I do not accept late final projects. Submitting something incomplete is better than nothing at all.

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