Assignments - Fall 2011 - ARTC 4430 - Bowling Green State University
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Turning in files
• Assignments are due in the Homework folder prior to the beginning of class.
• Revised project files are due exactly one week from the critique due date or they will receive a zero.
• When turning in assignments, use the following naming convention: username_project1, username_exercise1, etc.
Description Due Dates

Assignment: Abstract Animation

Create a 60 second particle animation that combines abstract particles with sound in a meaningful way. Your goal should be to express ideas using color, texture, shape, line, value, motion, and timing. You must develop a concept and think about the feelings you want to evoke from the audience. You should focus on a non-narrative piece without characters or plot. You can create entirely non-objective shapes and particles or combine recognizable shapes with abstraction. The piece must make effective use of compositing layers of rendered material.

Although your animation will not be a narrative story, it should have a beginning, middle and end. Timing will play an important role. You should use the elements of art effectively to convey the ideas and emotions (color, texture, line, motion, etc.)


Think about the concept of a journey and what that means to you. It can be a physical journey or a mental or emotional journey. Along the way, you will encounter tension and at other times you will feel relaxed. Your piece must reflect a variety of feelings that evolve - one into the other.

Technical issues and requirements:

Use at least 3 different files with different environments, particles, etc. in them. You will be putting the pieces together in post-production - do not attempt to create all the scenes in a single file. You should have multiple abstractions happening and cut or use cross-dissolves to go from one scene to the other. Think carefully about the editing of your film. You may need closeups, midshots, longshots, pans, zooms, etc. to convey the mood you are seeking. Each animation should have a minimum of 8 different shots (you can reuse the existing scenes but you should use different camera angles.)

Projects will be graded on quality NOT quantity - no animation longer than 1 minute!

Do not include human or animal-like characters.
You may include geometry, video, drawn images, etc.
Be careful with color - too many different colors can ruin a piece.
Use effective lighting, textures and effects.
You need consistency (with variety) in the graphic style and color.

3 Particle Tests (Due Aug 29)

Experiment with the different particle systems and create three 10 second tests combining fields and different styles of particles sytems. Each test must consist of MULTIPLE particle emitters. Do not worry about color for the first part of the Tests. Add color later.

5 Particle Tests REDONE (Due Sept 7)

Redo your three particle tests and create 2 new ones. You can modify existing files or start over. Use various methods of color to create interesting visual effects in your particle systems. You can include collisions, collision events, per particle attributes, etc. You MUST have multiple particle systems in each test.

Find 10 sounds (Due Aug 29):

Find 10 interesting sounds that are COPYRIGHT-FREE. You can capture the sounds using the sound recorder or other device, create the sounds using Garage Band, Fruity Loops, or other sound generating application, or you can find the sounds on the Internet.

NO .mp3 files are alllowed. You must create or find .wav files.

A good starting point is the links to Sound Effects websites in the RESOURCES.

Audio Soundtrack:

Start with the audio and synchronize your animation to the sound. The audio should be sound effects that have been manipulated to create a soundscape. You MUST use copyright free audio. You have a few choices:

  • Create your own audio sound track (it should be abstracted also) - use Midi or a sound generator
  • Find some copyright free audio clips and manipulate them to abstract them
  • Find sound effects on the Internet and combine and manipulate them
  • Find someone else to create your audio

Part 1:
Gather a collection of sounds. Either record sounds from the environment, find copyright free sounds off the internet (no MP3 sounds - they have been compressed and the artifacts will show up in your piece), or use a sound generator to make sounds.

You will need a minimum of 10 sounds to work with. A larger collection of shorter sounds will be easier to work with. Sound files should not be longer than 20 seconds. They should be AIF or WAV files. We will be using these sounds to compose a soundscape for the particle animation.

Particle Systems Tutorials and Free Sound Files

Due: Mon Aug. 29
Collection of sounds (10 minimum)

Due: Mon Aug. 29
3 Particle tests (10 seconds each)

Due: Wed Sept. 7
3 particle tests REDONE with color

Due: Wed Sept. 7
Sound Track completed

Due: Mon Sept. 12
3 scenes together with audio (or half done)

Due: Mon Sept. 19
3/4 done

Due: Mon Sept. 26
Abstract Animation complete

Due: Monday Oct. 3
Abstract Animation revised

Description Due Dates

Small Group Effects Presentations

In groups of 2, research your assigned Maya Effect and create a demonstration of how it can be be used (include variations to show how the parameters change the look of things).

Write a step by step tutorial for others to use. Number the steps.

Include information about the parameters and options. Include screen captures if it helps to explain it better to others.

Due: A group presentation approximately 15 minutes in length. One set of instructions for the other students that can be posted on the web. Save the file as a HTML, TXT or Word file.







Curve Flow and Surface Flow

Due: Wednesday Oct 3
Group Presentations
Description Due Dates

Assignment: Juxtapositioning of Unusual Elements - Earth/Wind/Smoke/Cloud/Fire - Realistic Particles

Create a 10-15 second particle animation that combines realistic particles with some objects that you would not normally find combined with that type of effect. For instance, you could have a garden hose squirting out dust or a apple tree with smoke and ash coming out of each apple. The combination of elements must be unusual and thought provoking.

Think about the earth and how wind effects the landscape. Wind has the capacity to carve mountains, picks up debris (including things as large as a house), it can obscure vision, it can disorient you and it is unpredictable. How can clouds and smoke also be used in an unusual context?

Your animation must not include a traditional Sci-Fi or Fantasy effect (no wizards with sparks coming from their finger tips). Model your environment and apply textures to it realistically. DO NOT try to tell a story using the traditional beginning, middle and end approach. Your combination of unusual elements should tell a story or get me thinking about the possible meaning of the piece.

Research DUE Oct 18: Find videos or images of special effects and objects you will be including in your assignment. You should have at least 6 different images to use as reference. Post these onto your blog.

Do not include characters.

Use effective lighting, textures and shadows.

BE UNUSUAL - take risks - create a combination no one expects.

Due: Wednesday Oct 19
10 second animation with textures and lighting

Due: Sept. 28
Ideas for animation

Description Due Dates

Assignment: Metaphor Animation

Create a short animation that explores a theme in a metaphorical way. In other words, you should use objects as symbols to represent other things. Do not tell a literal narrative story that gives the viewer all the answers. Make the viewer think and contemplate the issues. It is all right if the animation can be interpreted many ways but be careful, there is a thin line between an animation that makes absolutely no sense and one that can have multiple interpretations. The animation should be very experimental. Do not think of a narrative in the traditional sense. Play with the structuring of time, place and events.

Focus on creative uses of the tools, effective use of timing, and the principles of animation. Use cuts and transitions in the piece, NO straight camera flybys will be accepted. When planning for cross dissolves, render an extra 1 to 3 seconds of animation on both ends of the transition. You may work with combining 2d images created in Photoshop or Painter or digital video and composite them together.

Technical Components:
The final animation must include particles and compositing! You may create realistic particles or create experimental effects with particles. You must use the tools and techniques taught in class this semester. The piece will be graded based on its advanced use of textures and shading, lighting, motion, composition, color, modeling, as well as the inclusion of the advanced dynamics (particles), expressions, rigid bodies, soft bodies, etc. we have learned in class.

Story and character design:
If it can be done in live action, it is not appropriate for this animation assignment.
All characters must be inanimate objects that are personified or characters that are constructed in a very unique way thus not needing IK to perform correctly (no 2 or 4 legged creatures)

The story must have conflict and resolution and a beginning, middle and end
The story must be non-literal and explore an idea using metaphor

Due Dates:

Nov 7: Three shots

Nov 14: Third done

Nov 21: Six shots

Nov 30: 9/10 done

Dec 5: Metaphor animation done

Dec 7: Finished animation on DVD and revised Proj 1-2. Also turn in QT versions