ANI 101 Animation for Non-Majors

Office: CDM 522
Fall 2016-2017
Class number: 41542
Section number: 402
MW 11:50AM - 1:20PM
CDM 00218 Loop Campus

Download syllabus


Suruchi Pahwa

Phone: NA


Office Hours: Mondays : 9:00 ? 10:10 in Room 522. You will need to call me using the house phones located in the hallway.

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


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?a must-read for the serious animation student.

Recommended: The World History of Animation by Stephen Cavalier

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 on D2L 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 school?s hard drives! Files can become corrupted.


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 one?s 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 below-mentioned criteria. The Liberal Studies program requires that you write up to seven pages of content?you will most likely be expected to write more.

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 needn?t 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 or to a future employer!

We will view and critique the final projects during Final Exam Week (Dates listed on D2L).

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

1) Drop off your rendered 720 x 480 QuickTime movie (properly compressed if its huge) on D2L on the above mentioned date. If I don?t 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. I?m not kidding.

4) Your brilliance (and grade) will be evaluated considering the following criteria: Aesthetic, Technique, Sound, and most importantly Social Importance/Criticism

Grading Scale:

Assignments: 80% of grade (assignments and participation)

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

Student must pass the Final exam to pass the class. Students are required to be present for the Final Critique for presentations.

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

No late submission accepted.

Attendance: Missing 3 classes results in a grade lower and missing a 4th class is an automatic Fail.

Academic Expectations

IV. Academic Expectations

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:

Attendance: Students are expected to attend each class and to remain for the duration. Coming 15 minutes late or leaving 15 minutes early constitutes an absence for the student. The overall grade for participation drops one-third after any absence. Three absences for any reason, whether excused or not, may constitute failure for the course.

Class Discussion: Student participation in class discussions will be measured in two ways. First, students are highly encouraged to ask questions and offer comments relevant to the day?s topic. Participation allows the instructor to ?hear? the student?s voice when grading papers. Secondly, students will be called upon by the instructor to offer comments related to the reading assignments. Students must keep up with the reading to participate in class discussion.

Attitude: A professional and academic attitude is expected throughout this course. Measurable examples of non-academic or unprofessional attitude include but are not limited to: talking to others when the instructor is speaking, mocking another?s opinion, cell phones ringing, emailing, texting or using the internet whether on a phone or computer. If any issues arise a student may be asked to leave the classroom. The professor will work with the Dean of Students Office to navigate such student issues.

Civil Discourse: DePaul University is a community that thrives on open discourse that challenges students, both intellectually and personally, to be Socially Responsible Leaders. It is the expectation that all dialogue in this course is civil and respectful of the dignity of each student. Any instances of disrespect or hostility can jeopardize a student?s ability to be successful in the course. The professor will partner with the Dean of Students Office to assist in managing such issues.

Cell Phones/On Call: If you bring a cell phone to class, it must be off or set to a silent mode. Should you need to answer a call during class, students must leave the room in an undisruptive manner. Out of respect to fellow students and the professor, texting is never allowable in class. If you are required to be on call as part of your job, please advise me at the start of the course.

Week 1: Four Attributes for Filmic Analysis:

1)Aesthetic ? How does it look and move?

Two conflicting yet synergistic aesthetics to consider:

a) Commercial ? sleek, sexy, higher budgets, work of many hands, technically complex, derivative, safe, easily accessible ? sells products/?sells out?, makes trendy

b) Avant-garde/ Fine/High Art ? breaking new ground/cutting edge, innovative, independent, gritty, inaccessible, low budget, technically limited, sells ideas, starts trends, feeds the commercial

2) Technical ? How was it made? Discuss examples of each type.

Types of animation: 2D ? hand drawn frame-by-frame, smudge, cut-out,

2.5D , 3D ? traditional stop motion, CGI, etc.

3) Sound ? 51% of the success of your film, not limited by aspect ratio, can bridge action, can define timing, provides greater punch

Two types to consider: diegetic ? sound in frame ? dialogue, foley

non-diegetic ? sound outside of the frame -- score, narrator, etc.

*4) Social ? time to get weighty, personal, specific, controversial, should resonate with humanity ? discuss historical background, racism, sexism, religion, politics, etc.

*this is were the ?A? student distinguishes him/herself -- the stuff by which Oscars are won. Great animation brings general education and the diverse interests of the artist into itself.

Films: (2D hand drawn work, classic and contemporary) -- discuss attributes of analysis

Warner Bros, Chuck Jones ? ?Long-Haired Hare??the battle between high and folk/pop art, Adult Swim -- ?Venture Bros ? Brisbee Land? (15 min clip) ? post-modern parody,

Windsor McKay -- ?Gertie the Dinosaur? ? vaudeville tradition, Fleischer?s Studio ? ?Bimbo?s Initiation? ? creepy pre-censorship/code, conformity, Don Herzfeldt ? ?Ah, La Amour!? ? the femme fatale, and ?Lily and Jim??male and female psyches from an animator who doesn?t really draw

Weekly Technical Assignments and Discussion: HAND DRAWN

On a post-it note pad or other stationary, tangibly hand in 30 drawings depicting the persistence of vision and be prepared to introduce yourself. Tell us your passion, your major, and something unforgettable.

Using photoshop with document settings at 12 fps, make a 30-drawing digital flipbook, varying brush type and thickness. Make your movements as fluid as possible, and export to a quicktime movie, compressed using H.264.

Week 2: Films: (ROTOSCOPING, classic and contemporary)

Fleischer?s Studio ? ?Minnie the Moocher? ? they invented the technique, Disney ? ?Snow White and the Seven Dwarves? ?uninteresting prince vs. amazing dwarves, Richard Linklater ? ?Waking Life? clips and ?Scanner Darkly? intro ? Why animation and not just live action? Fluid but often lacks exaggeration.

Weekly Technical Assignment: ROTOSCOPING (or some other url ripping device). Download a video clip from online, bring it into Photoshop, adjust the frame rate, and roto over it using video layers. Render out a quicktime in Photoshop. Review and critique digital flipbooks on instructor share and allow for lab time to work on rotoscoping. Week 3: Films: (SMUDGE TECHNIQUES, classic and contemporary)

In Class Exercise and Discussion 1 -- Ryan Larkin?s ?Syrinx? and William Kentridge?s ?Felix in Exile? -- Love that Never Meets Fruition, background in Greek history, Debussy, Apartheid, ?white guilt?, metaphorical work vs. traditional Hollywood plot arc: intro, conflict, resolution

Weekly Technical Assignments: SMUDGE

Create 30 digital drawings utilizing the smudge tool in Photoshop as demonstrated in class. Upload your assignment to COL using H.264 compression. You will be evaluated on fluidity, brush variation, and length (30 drawings at 12fps). Week 4: Films: (PARALLAX, classic and contemporary)

Disney ? ?The Old Mill,? ? Iwerks invention of the multi-plane camera, ?Bambi? intro ? slow methodical, for art?s sake, ?Tarzan? Son of Man clip ? fast-paced, Phil Collins music video, Yoshiaki Kawajiri ? ?Vampire Hunter D ?Bloodlust? clips part 1

In Class Exercise and Discussion 2 ? The Profane and the Sacrosanct ? compare and contrast the aesthetic, technical, sound, and social aspects of Disney?s ?Night on Bald Mt.? with that of Alexeieff and Parker?s

Weekly Technical Assignments and Discussion: PARALLAX

Using three or more drawn or photo-retouched layers, utilize transformations (position, rotation, scale, and opacity) in After Effects to convey a convincing sense of motion parallax as described in class. Week 5: Films: (Principles of Animation, classic and contemporary)

Chuck Jones ? ?The Dover Boys? ? exquisite exaggeration and satire

Richard Williams ? ?Thief and the Cobbler??animated on ones, wild graphic look

Disney?s ? ?Pinnochio? musical clips ? mastery of the traditional animation principles ? romantic, dark, German-expressionist aesthetic, moral parable ? differs markedly from contemporary Disney individualist attitude,

Weekly Technical Assignments and Discussion: BOUNCING OBJECT (ball)

The following principles John Lasseter extracted from Disney should be emphasized:

Discuss Newton?s 3 Laws of Motion (F= ma) as well as formulas for Potential (PE = mgh) and Kinetic Energy (KE = 1/2mv^2) ? classic pendulum?s a good example

1. Squash and Stretch - defining the rigidity and mass of an object by distorting its shape during an action (have someone jump in class from a standing position)

2. Timing and Motion - spacing actions to define the weight and size of objects and the personality of characters

3. Anticipation - the preparation for an action

4. Staging - presenting an idea so that it is unmistakably clear

5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action - the termination of an action and establishment of its relationship to the next action (have someone with long hair head bang at a rock concert)

6. Straight Ahead Action and Pose-to-Pose Action - The two contrasting approaches to the creation of movement

7. Slow In and Out - spacing of the in-between frames to achieve subtlety of timing and movement (have someone throw a fake punch and have another react to that punch)

8. Arcs - the visual path of action for natural movement

9. Exaggeration - Accentuating the essence of an idea via the design and the action (show high speed punches on

10. Secondary Action - the action of an object resulting from another action

11. Appeal - creating a design or an action that the audience enjoys watching

Personality in character animation is the goal of all of the above.

Using the principles of animation we discussed in class, animate a bouncing object. Your goal is to exaggerate while appealing to principles of physics using anticipation, action, and follow-thru (squash and stretch, etc) using position, rotation, and scale transformations in after effects. Make the movement as interesting as possible while avoiding CG "floatiness."

Films: (Non-Linear Animation, classic and contemporary)

Ub Iwerks ? ?Skeleton Dance? ? ?rubber hose? aesthetic, irritating loops

Paul Robertson ? ?Pirate Baby Cabana Battle? ? video game based mayhem with ultra-violent pop-culture detritus

Yoshiaki Kawajiri -- ?Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust? clips part 2, economy through complex cycles.

Chris Sullivan?s ?The Beholder? ? stream of consciousness cycles, recording street experience

Weekly Technical Assignment and Discussion: Idles, Back-and-Forth, Loops, and Cycles ? Non-Linear Animation

Compare and Contrast the attributes of Jim Trainor?s ?The Bats? vs. Eric Yearwood?s ?My Masters.? Existentialism/nihilism vs. Theism, clash between Left and Right ideologies. What can be classified as art? Does religion still have a place in today?s art-world? Cross-culturally it created the work of the past.

Revisit frame-by-frame animation ? this time, in After Effects: Interpret footage ? Main ?Loop. Extend time using looping, idling, or oscillating techniques.

Week 7: Films: War and Racism

WB ? ?Herr meets Hare? ? de-humanizing and demonizing the enemy through idiocy, racial slurring part of animation?s tradition ? think Betty Boop?s immigrant parents

WB ? ?Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips? ? stereo-typing of the East (mention Japanese Internment)

Disney ? ?Song of the South? clips ? shuffling ?Uncle Tom?/ Remus (content with lot as slave)

Bob Clampett ? ?Coal Black and de Sebben Dwarves? -- as technically accomplished as it is jabbing -- race/ war propaganda. Discuss racial stereotypes: Uncle Tom, the over-sexed mulatto, the mammy, the pimp ? the concept of Civil Rights in this country is really only 50 years old!

Disney ? ?Education for Death? ? frightening war propaganda itself, emotionally manipulative

Weekly Technical Assignments and Discussion: Intro to Cut Out Animation

Juri Norstein ? ?Hedge Hog in the Fog? and selections from Lotte Reineger?s ?Adventures of Prince Achmed? -- brilliant traditional use of the technique

Introduction to simple hierarchies in After Effects ? make a character jump and introduce students to sound recording and bringing sound clips into After Effects for synch, discuss layers of audio

Week 8: Films: African American Animation

Bill Cosby ? ?Fat Albert? Playing Hookey episode ? economic animation for TV, moral lessons

MLK speech ? is the black man free? Chris Rock stand-up comedy ? civil war between black folk ? Education is liberation

Aaron McGruder ?Boondocks:? The Itis and Return of the King episodes ? banned by BET, discuss character profiles, scathing perspective on contemporary culture

Weekly Technical Assignments: Cut-out Animation Continued

Anthony Lucas -- ?The Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello? ? Romantic sensibility vs. Post-modern

Josh Raskin -- ?I Met the Walrus? ? hybrid of digital techniques we?ve explored with content every bit important today as it was in the 60s and 70s.

Show and discuss student examples: ?The Neighbor? and ?BAMTNP? ? avoid ?the fight scene? even though Feras did it well

Using After Effects and Photoshop, make a more complex cut-out character do a walk cycle remembering the 4 essential components:

a) arms move opposite to legs, shoulders opposite to hips (contrapposto)

b) rise and fall (think Jim Hensen?s muppets) -- lowest at points of contact

c) forward lean ? walking is controlled falling

d) toe lift ? human machine is efficient, foot shouldn?t raise too high

Puppet Tool.

Show Ryan Larkin?s ?Walking? ? non-narrative, contemplative, wide range of expression through a repeated mundane gesture

Disney?s ? ?Icabod and Mr. Toad? ? Ichabod?s hilarious cycle

Week 9: Films: Women in Animation

Richard William?s ?Who Framed Roger Rabbit? ? Jessica Rabbit?s intro contextualizes this lecture nicely ? the male fantasy contrasted by:

Caroline Leaf ? ?The Street? ? paint on glass, incredible insight into the human psyche

Nicole Van Goethem ? ?A Greek Tragedy? ? caryatids holding up a crumbling

patriarchal order

Joanna Quinn ? ?Girls Night Out? ? role reversal

Suzan Pitt?s ? ?Asparagus? ? if you dare

Is there a Feminine Aesthetic? (there?s a rejection of ?Boopism?) How do women represent themselves? (as subjects not objects) How do they represent men? (emotionally detached)

Week 10: Editing, Titles, and Credits

Yoshiaki Kawajiri ? ?Ninja Scroll? intro ? lighting quick editing results in an action ambiguity and narrative tension, secondary action ? ?visual herons? aren?t critical but are lyrical and punctuate action

Check out movie trailers for title animations ? less is more, make sure you can read words comfortably twice, choose a tasteful font, discuss serif and sans, sometimes creating your own hand-written font is best for a grittier aesthetic, use spell check and have some else proof read!

Show student work ?Ex-Patriots? followed by ?Kung Fu Panda? or ?Wall-E?s? ending credits ? keep credits short, avoid gratuitous self-promotion (ex] directed by Billy Bob, animated by Billy Bob, sound design Billy Bob, dedicated to my dog Butcher, etc.), provide your name, e-mail, your school?s name, a copyright symbol and year ? credits shouldn?t make up a third of your film unless you can justify them creatively.

Week 11: Final Critique! Students are to create a one-minute, 720 x 480 compressed Quicktime movie (under 50 MB), utilizing good animation principles with sound synch using any or all of the techniques discussed in the course. Students should be aware of this from day one and be encouraged to direct their weekly technical assignments toward this goal. No late projects accepted?no exceptions.

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