ANI 231 3D Animation

Winter 2014-2015
Class number: 20446
Section number: 801
W 5:45PM - 9:00PM
CDM 00532 Loop Campus


Summary Of Course

In this course, students will be introduced to the art of animating in 3D through the use of traditional animation principles. Topics will include: principles of animation, storyboarding, transformations and deformations of 3D objects, rigging, camera and light animation. Emphasis will be placed on using the computer as a tool to create animation for cinema and game applications.


After completing this course, students will have:

1. A solid base in animation fundamentals.

2. The ability to use Maya?s animation tools to apply fundamentals to animation


3. An understanding of how camera and lighting affect animation, and how they

can be used together to tell story.

4. A broad understanding of all animation styles and techniques, and how they

apply to and can aid animation in 3D.



Grading Policy

Assignments 80% of grade

Final Project 20% of grade

Total 100%

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

Standards for Achievement:

Grade A:

Student performs in an outstanding way. Student exhibits achievement and craftsmanship in all work. Design criteria is exceeded and student challenges him/herself in project design. Student exhibits commitment to expanding ideas, vocabulary and performance.

Grade B:

Student performs beyond the requirement of the project. Student exhibits above average progress and craftsmanship. A design criterion is exceeded. Student exhibits above average interest in expanding idea, vocabulary, and performance.

Grade C:

Criteria of assignment is met, and all requirements are fulfilled. Student shows average quality work and minimum time and effort on projects. Student shows moderate interest.

Grade D:

Student performance is uneven and below average. Requirements for projects are only partially fulfilled. Minimal interest is shown and attendance, participation and involvement are inadequate.

Grade F

Student fails to meet minimum course requirements and shows no interest. Levels of participation and craftsmanship are extremely poor. Student?s attendance is inadequate.

Requesting an incomplete grade:

An incomplete grade may only be assigned to a student if the student has experienced an extenuating circumstance near the end of the term, the student is in good standing in the class, and the request is made before

Attendance is Mandatory for your Final Presentation.


Textbooks and Printed Resources

Recommended TEXTS:

?The Animators Survival Kit?

Richard Williams, Publisher: Faber and Faber Inc. 2001, Cost $30.00.

?Introducing Autodesk Maya 2013?

Derakhshani, John Wiley & Sons, 2011. ISBN: 978-0470900215

Reference Websites



Assignments must be handed in on time. On time is submitted through COLWeb BEFORE class starts on the date that the assignment is due. Students who use class time to finish assignments the day they are due will forfeit the right to hand in that assignment.?

Late work will not be accepted unless approval is granted PRIOR to the class.

Digital Assignments: All assignments handed in digitally must be in the following format

All your assignments will be Rendered and submitted as a QuickTime.

Class Work


* Must be handed in on time. On time is submitted through ColWeb one hour BEFORE class starts. 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.

Late work: Late assignments will be accepted on teacher discretion only unless approved of PRIOR to the class in which it is due or accompanied by a valid medical excuse, 1 point will be deducted for each day the assignment is late.

Emergency Late Pass: You are allotted one ?LATE PASS? per term that allows you to turn in ONE late assignment for full credit IF the assignment is turned in WITHIN ONE WEEK of the original due date . You only get one of these per term. All other late assignments are subject to deduction of points..

The ?Re-do? policy. Animation is one of those disciplines where persistence really does pay off. Here is a great quote by Disney animator Milt Kahl that really sums it up :
To be a really good animator, then, you have to be a jack of all trades. I don?t mean to say that I?m all of these things, but I try hard. I got accused over the years of being a fine draftsman. Actually, I don?t really draw all that well. It?s just that I don?t stop trying as quickly.

In light of this, and to encourage people to turn in work even if it?s a bit of a disaster, I do allow students to resubmit or ?re-do? up to 3 assignments per quarter so that they may better their skill set and, in turn, their grades. There are a few guidelines to the ?re-do? policy:

You must clear the ?re-do? with me ahead of time.
You must inform me when you have re-submitted (the Colweb does not show this automatically) in writing via e-mail
All re-do assignments must be handed in by the last day of class during week 8. I want you to spend those last few weeks focused on your final project
* DIGITAL ASSIGNMENTS: All assignments handed in digitally must be in the following format (please note upper and lower case usage)

o lastnameFirstname_projectname.extension


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


Unless I tell you otherwise, assigned work must be completed and submitted through ColWeb by the specifc time and date listed with the assignment on ColWeb. In genreal, I will be asking you to turn in all assignments by 10:45 am on the due date of the assignment so I have time to review the work before class, run the discussions accordingly and keep us from wasting valuable class time. In most cases you will be handing in either a Maya file (.ma or .mb) or a Quicktime. I request that you use QuickTime format unless discussed with me previously. Handing in something unfinished is always better than nothing at all. Due to the large size of our class, and the limited class time, not everyone?s work will get a full review during class. I do try to give fairly in depth reviews of the work in the grading section but if you?d like more feedback, arrange to discuss your work with me during my office hours. We will view and discuss everyone?s final project during the last class.

* BACK UP YOUR WORK AND SAVE OFTEN WHILE WORKING: Computers crash, systems go down, power goes out. Having to start from scratch is painful so back up your work daily.

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.


Use of cell phones in the class and the lab is prohibited. Please turn your phone off before entering class. All phone conversations should be conducted outside the class ? don?t disturb those working in the lab and put others in an uncomfortable situation.


Whether working with sound in your project, or simply listening to music while working, you need to be considerate of others and wear headphones. Be aware that if the volume is high enough, others can still hear what you?re listening to despite the headphones.


Students are expected to attend every class. We cover an enormous amount of material in every class, and missing even one can be a huge setback. Three absences will result in the lowering of your final grade one full letter. Any student missing 4 classes will be given a grade of ?F? for the semester.        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. 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. You may not miss the final class critique. Doing so will equal an automatic two letter grade reduction of your final grade. If for some reason you cannot make this class contact your instructor BEFORE the class that you must miss. Excuses given after the fact will not be accepted. No incompletes will be given without documented proof of circumstances beyond your control.


One of the best ways to learn in a classroom environment is through active participation in discussions and critiques. In general, we will be following a pattern of creating animation and then discussing it in critique in the following week. When I open up the floor for you to speak, please make the effort to voice your honest and constructive opinion. You are likely to find that this will greatly improve your overall learning process.



Introduction to 3D Animation



Bouncing Ball Observation and Diagramming

Watch Ani Survival Kit 02: Timing and Spacing.

00:00 to 22:30

Assignment: Animate a bouncing ball frame by frame.

3 Ball Blocking. Technical concepts we will be covering Channel Box, Attribute Editor,Splinophilia: further nuances of the graph editor, non linear deformers. Render settings in Maya and how to export a Quick Time.

Assignment: Animate three bouncing balls Introducing Character

Intro to working with rigs


Stepping through an animation

Self-propelled ball

Assignment: One legged up/down jump/ pause.

Watch Ani Survival Kit 12: Anticipations and Accents

00:00 to 9:17 Introduction to simple rigs


Basic Skinning


Component Editor

Creating a simple character

Assignment: Rig the Appendage. Exercises:

Tail Wag

Extended Spine


Balance and Weight

Assignment :Course with Tail Intermediate Inbetweening

Breakdown Poses

Basic Splining

Assignment: Fist Pound
Watch Ani Survival Kit 08: Flexibility

13:52 to 34:33 Full Body Character Rigs

Good rig operation

Parented Rigs

Adding Attributes

Creating Blend Shapes Introduction to walks

Advanced foot rigs

Hip and foot movement

Assignment: Walk Cycle

Watch Ani Survival Kit 05: Building Walks

00:00 to 26:00 Blocking for full body character animation

Creating a ?key all? function

Experimenting with timing

Assignment: Character Action Block Out Advanced Splining Techniques

Camera Moves

Assignment: Breakdown poses for Character Action Assignment

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