Course overview

This course is an introduction to principles of 3D computer animation and traditional animation components. The focus is on exploring the techniques and capability of Maya software package to shape artistic skill. In addition, students will be introducing to some basic sound and video compositing software, such as Adobe Audition and Adobe After Effect.

The topics will cover the art of storytelling, abstraction, metaphor, video/sound compositing, and narrative language. Class lectures will include demonstrations, discussions, videos, and technical exploration.


Required materials for this course

  1. Storage such as USB Thumb /flash drive (at least 4GB), Blank VHS tape, USB external hard/USB+Firewire drive any size, CD/DVD R/RW blank discs.
  2. Throughout the course, you will be expected to document your work by outputting completed animations on CD/DVD in quicktime H.264 and mpeg2v plus sound files.
  3. You will also be focusing on the enhancement of your portfolio throughout the course.


Recommended Reading

  • Online document under Maya help menu (highly recommended)
  • Autodesk Maya Press, Learning Autodesk Maya 2008; the Modeling & Animation Handbook
  • Autodesk Maya Press, Learning Autodesk Maya 2008; Foundation

Note* Due to the natural complexity of 3D Computer animation, you will need to work outside of the class to complete your products. You must be a self-motivated and please have fun with your project.

Requirement for each of the assignment and the final project

  1. Each period of class project, students must bring all the work progress to every class section until the due date.
  2. For all seven in class exercises, you will need to turn in only Quick Time movie (720x480pixels) with H.264 compression. Don't turn in Maya files.
  3. For all three projects and final project, you will need to turn in each project directory on CD, this includes Maya files (.mb), Quick time movie H.264 compression (720x480) and Mpeg2-DVD with PMC sound. and all relate contents (texture files and such). NOTE* don't need to turn in sequential images.
  4. The final output on all assignments and final project will be on DVD disc if the file size is larger than 700MB. 5. You are required to update your artworks on your digital arts student portfolio during this semester.


Approximate Grade Emphasis

7 in-class exercises: 14 points (2 points each exercise)
3 projects: 30 points (10 points each)
Final Project: 52 points


  1. Exercise one: Animopt (2 points)
  2. Exercise Two: The Physics of Motions, “The Mass and Weights” (2 points)
  3. Exercise Three: The Shots with a Rollercoaster (2 points)
  4. Exercise Four: A Ball Character: “Rigging and Animating” (2 points)
  5. Exercise Five: The Rollercoaster (2 points)
  6. Exercise Six: Robotic Arm: Rigging and Animating (2 points)
  7. Exercise Seven: A Sack: Rigging and Animating (2 points)

Term Projects

Project One: “Animopt” due January 24th (Quick Time H.264) (10 points)

Project Two: (10 points)

  • Project 2: First part, “IT BOUNCES - storyboard” due Feb, 5th (2 points)
  • Project 2: Second part, “IT BOUNCES – animatic with sound” due Feb, 7th (2 points)
  • Project 2: Final part, “It Bounces - final animation” due February 19th (8 points)

Project Three: (10 points)

  • Project 3: First part, "THE LOCOMOTION - Modeling Due February 26th (2 points)
  • Project 3: Second part, " THE LOCOMOTION - Sketches of your animation plans Due February 28th (2 points)
  • Project 3: Final part, “THE LOCOMOTION - Final Animation" Due March 18th (8 points)

Final Project: (50 points)

  • Final project part 1: “2 stories of What Could Happened If? “DUE March 25th (2 points)
  • Final project part 2: Storyboarding due March 27th (2 points)
  • Final project part 3: Rough Animatic QuickTime DUE April 1st (Scan your storyboard and make them into the motion including sound) (2 points)
  • Final project part 4: Model templates DUE DUE April 1st (5 points)
  • Final project part 5: The Initial shots, breaking down your shots of action on your story (Quick time movie) DUE April 3rd (6 points)
  • Final project part 6: The Blocking States of Your Animation which must have sound in order to correct timing and pacing. (Quick time movie) DUE April 8th (5 points)
  • Final project part 7: The Final animation and production (Quick Time H.264) DUE April 24th (30 points)

Grades are based on the quality and quantity of your work. I will also consider your participation, ambition, commitment and development of your work from one project to the next.

The following will be considered on grading:

  • Craft - Technical ability and craftsmanship
  • Concept - Visual thought process.
  • The ability to interpret course concepts inventively, the ability to search for and discover methods and ideas with insight, and the ability to organize clear visual relationships.
  • Ambition - The ability to study effectively during class hours, the ability to accomplish work on a weekly basis, and the ability to apply constructive discussion during the class.
  • Productivity - The amount of work completed and how complete the works are.
  • Development - How much of your work has been developed and improved since the beginning of the semester.

A = Outstanding, excellent work 100 - 90 points
B = Above average work 89 - 80 points
C = Average work 79 - 70 points
D = Below average work 69 - 60 points
F = Failing work 59 - 0 points


3d art is time extensive and the technology associated with it is always changing. Learning the fundamentals is a must. Techniques, concepts and ideas discussed in this class are essential for a 3d Artist. Because of these, attendance is essential.

1 absences = excused
2 absences = grade lowered 1 letter grade
3 absences = grade lowered 2 letter grades
4 absences = grade lowered 3 letter grades
5 absences = fail course.

Dropping course recommended Being late to class three times will be counted as one unexcused absence. Likewise, leaving class early will be counted as an absence unless approved by instructor.


Student Needs

Any student who wishes to discuss accommodations on the basis or a disability, please come and talk to me after class or during office hours.


Class and Lab Rules:

  • No food or drink in the lab.
  • No cell phones, or beepers on during class.
  • ALWAYS remember to turn off your cellphone before class.
  • No sleeping during class. • No using head/ear phones, chatting online, emailing, my space/facebook/ or other online surfing during class
  • No playing video games during the class time
  • Hardware: No student is permitted to disconnect, reconnect, or reconfigure any workstation without the permission of a digital arts instructor. Any problems with hardware or software must be reported to a digital arts professor, preferably by email. Report should include name of workstation and exact nature of problem.


If you do not obey the rules, you will receive a first warning. If it happens again, you will be asked to leave the classroom plus receive one half a letter grade drop and a third time you will receive a full letter grade drop on your final grade.