Over view

This course is an introduction to principles of 3D computer animation. The focus is on exploring the techniques and capability of the Maya software package to help develop artistic and animation skills. In addition, students will be introduced to basic sound and video compositing software such as Adobe Audition and Adobe After Effects. The course will cover the art of timing, storytelling and the elements and principles of animation.

Class lectures will include demonstrations, discussions, videos, and technical exploration.

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

Required materials for this course

  1. USB external hard/USB+Firewire drive at least 250GB and up!
  2. Stop watch
  3. Optional for addition carry on storage; such as USB Thumb /flash drive (at lest 4GB)
  4. Several CD/DVD R/RW blank discs

Required materials for this course

  • USB external hard/USB+Firewire drive at least 250GB and up!
  • Stop watch
  • Optional for addition carry on storage; such as USB Thumb /flash drive (at least 4GB)
  • Several CD/DVD R/RW blank discs

Assignments and Critiques

  • Turning in Projects
    • Projects are due in the Class folder prior to the beginning of class.
    • Revised projects are due the next class period after the critique due date unless the assignment is due on Monday, then the revised project is due the following Monday. I do not accept late revised projects and you will receive a zero on the revised project if it is NOT turned in on time.
  • Critiques
    • If you miss a regular critique, the project for that critique will receive an F for the critique grade. Critique grades are based on the amount of progress not quality or content.
    • During critiques, I expect each student's full attention and respect. Monitors will be TURNED OFF during critiques. Critiques begin promptly at the beginning of the class.
  • Final Critique
  • Attendance at the Final critique is mandatory. Missing the final critique will result in an F for the Final Project. NO late Final Projects will be accepted!

Each student is expected to complete all projects, exercises, in-class exercises, the required readings, and the final animation. Details of the various assignments will be discussed in class. By the end of the semester, the animations you produced in class need to be added to your web portfolio.
During class time, students are expected to engage in meaningful classroom participation.


There will be screenings of animations that students are required to attend. The animations will be shown in room 1101 and the dates will be posted on the website. Exercises, assignments and/or class discussions may be based on material shown at the screenings. Attendance will be taken at the time of the screening

Recommended Reading

3D animation

  • Online document under Maya help menu (highly recommended)
  • Auto Desk. Learning Maya 2009 series.
  • Birn, Jeremy. Digital Lighting and Rendering. New Riders Publishing

Concept and Principles of Animation

  • The Animator Survival Kit, Williams, Richard and Sutton, Imogen
  • The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas
  • Hooks, Ed. Acting for Animation. Heinemann publishing, 2003
  • Developing Digital Short Films by Sherri Sheridan


  • Storyboards: Motion in Art, Second Edition by Mark Simon

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

Approximate Grade Emphasis (see above)

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 more that 15 minutes will be counted as one unexcused absence. Likewise, leaving class early will be counted as an absence unless approved by instructor.


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 cell phone 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.

Student Projects

Projects created in any Digital Arts course may be used by the ART department for the purpose of promoting the student, the department and/or the university in general. These materials may also be used by the ART department for instructional purposes in future courses. Please inform the instructor if you do not want your projects used.