ANI 321 Animation Mechanics

Sarah Schmidt

Office: Daley 200B
Winter 2022-2023
Class number: 31497
Section number: 502
TuTh 3:10PM - 4:40PM
CDM 00722 Loop Campus


Students in this course will rigorously investigate the foundational aspects of animation through
traditional and digital methods. Basic principles, including timing, spacing and the abstraction of
movement, will be analyzed and questioned through experimentation. Students will experience
how the process of making work can be used to generate emergent ideas, and be challenged to
push the art form beyond the accepted conventions.

This class will focus on the abstraction and caricature of how the world works. We’ll use simple
hand-drawn animation in TVPaint to explore the methods developed by traditional and
experimental animators. Each class will follow a similar schedule:

? Critique of homework assignment
? Discussion of readings, viewings and concepts/techniques
? In-class exercises exploring concepts/techniques
? Assignment of homework assignment, which will incorporate concepts/techniques
explored in class

The animation concepts, techniques and exercises during this quarter will cover the following
Timing and spacing
Pendulum motion
Bouncing ball
Center of gravity
Straight ahead
Wave motion
Fluid motion
Follow through
Overlapping action
Exaggerating weight
Exaggerating impact
Moving holds
Comedic timing
Expressive walks
Winged flight
Creative breakdowns

Each topic will begin with a discussion and demonstration. Then everyone will work through the
process in class. After this we’ll look under the hood to see how each principle works and how
to make adjustments, and then try it out.

The reason we’re using hand-drawn animation is because it’s the fastest way to visualize the
concepts while allowing for easy adjustments. We’re not focusing on the drawing (stick-figures
will work), but on the principles that can be applied across all animation methods and media.


Required Texts:
? The Animator's Survival Kit (ASK), Second Edition, by Richard Williams. Faber, 2009.
? Timing for Animation, Second or Third Edition, by Harold Whitaker and John Halas.
Focal Press, 2009 or 2021.

Suggested Text:
? Tezuka School of Animation 1: Learning the Basics, Tezuka Productions. Watson-Guptill,
? Elemental Magic, by Joseph Gilland. Focal Press, 2009.
? The Illusion of Life, by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston. Disney Editions, 1995.


? 8-10% In-class work, in-progress work, pass/fail assignments
? 70-72% Out-of-class projects
? 20-22% Final project
A = 4.0, A- = 3.67, B+ = 3.34, B = 3.0, B- = 2.67, C+ = 2.34, C = 2.0,
C- = 1.67, D+ = 1.34, D = 1, F = 0
A indicates excellence, B indicates good work, C indicates acceptable work, D work is
unsatisfactory in some respects, F is unacceptable work.
Incompletes will not be given without documented proof of circumstances beyond your control.


ANI 201 (or ANI 101)

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.

All students are expected to abide by the University's Academic Integrity Policy which prohibits cheating and other misconduct in student coursework. Publicly sharing or posting online any prior or current materials from this course (including exam questions or answers), is considered to be providing unauthorized assistance prohibited by the policy. Both students who share/post and students who access or use such materials are considered to be cheating under the Policy and will be subject to sanctions for violations of Academic Integrity.

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