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Academy of Technical and Art Applied Studies

School of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Computer Animation I Course code: 161407 | 6 ECTS credits

Basic information
Level of Studies: Undergraduate applied studies
Year of Study: 3
Semester: 5
Requirements: No requirements
Goal: The goal of the course is introduction with Maya 3D work-flow, character animation rules, as well as mastering of basic character animation tools, with skeletons and deformers, and the whole process of planning and working in short animations.
Outcome: Students are going to get a chance to know character animation basics, acting and body language, to master biped character animation in 3D environment, to animate lip sync according to prerecorded sound, and apply animation principles through poses and movements.
Contents of the course
Theoretical instruction:
  1. Introduction, concepts, terminology, and technology of computer animation. User interface in Maya 3D, organizing node system, work environment, three-dimensional coordinate system and transformations in it, basic transformations (translation, rotation, scaling), views.
  2. Computer animation technologies, terminology. Movement, timing, extremes and key frame animation
  3. Terminology – extremes, frames, axis of action, line of action... Graph editor, animating with interpolation control between key frames.
  4. Motion path animation. Hierarchy.
  5. Introduction to principles of animation objects controls, as well as deformers and their attributes
  6. Character rigging.
  7. Character of objects, application of animation principles in order to express character features. Weight.
  8. Bipeds, anatomy, animation and design. Character animation basics.
  9. Character features expressions through animation. Pose, movement, timing.
  10. Idea, synopsis, script, storyboard, character design. Preparations for the final project. Acting expressions. Animating stylized walk.
  11. Animating character in specific situation.
  12. Work on final tasks.
Practical instruction (Problem solving sessions/Lab work/Practical training):
  1. Basic Maya 3D animation tools. Project organisation. Hierarchy and animating objects in groups.
  2. Graph editor. Deformers. - Set-up and animating bouncing ball.
  3. Timing and weight. - Animating heavy ball.
  4. Graph editor, interpolation, animating curves. - Animating ball hitting a wall.
  5. Character animation. Use of reference. Skeleton, skin binding, rigging. Controls. - Animating a biped jump.
  6. Animating walk cycle in place.
  7. Differences in various characters, gender differences in anatomy and movement. - Animating parallel walk cycle for two different characters.
  8. Cartoons, stylized animation. Animating stylized, "cartoony" walk in space.
  9. Facial expressions. Blend shapes. Sound, importing and preparing. - Speech animation.
  10. Animating biped character lifting heavy object.
  11. Animation layers. Body language in animation. - Animating character walking up the stairs.
  12. Individual projects solving problems. Work on final tasks
Textbooks and References
  1. B. Dovniković, Mala škola crtanog filma, Zagreb, 1983.
  2. R. Williams, The Animator`s suvirval kit, Faber and Faber, New York, 1995.
  3. G. Maestri, Character animation 2 - Volume 2: Advanced Techniques, New Riders, Indiana, 2002.
  4. Harold Whitaker, John Kalas, Timing for animation, Focal Press, 2002.
Number of active classes (weekly)
Lectures: 3
Practical classes: 2
Other types of classes: 0
Grading (maximum number of points: 100)
Pre-exam obligations
activities during lectures
activities on practial excersises
seminary work
Final exam
Written exam
Oral exam