ARTC3120 Intro 3D Digital Animation
Class section: 1003(11898)

Time: TuTh 11:30AM - 1:50PM
Room: Wolfe Center 246
Instructor: Saritdikhun Somasa
Office Hour: Wednesday 1:30-4:30pm (please email me to make appointment)
Fine Art: RM 127
Phone 419-372-4550

Course overview

This course is an introduction to principles of 3D computer animation, which translate traditional animation components. The focus is on exploring the techniques and capability of Maya software package to shape artistic skill in3D animation. In addition, students will be introduced to basic sound and video compositing software, such as Adobe Audition and Adobe Premier.

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.

Course Objective

Students will produce 3D computer animation and sound effect. Students will understand aspects the process of 3D computer art animation, game production and animation. This can create the potential to extend student knowledge and help to move into another filed in film, virtual reality and video game.

Goals are:

  • To understand the principles of motion, physics, dynamic motion and action
  • To improve visualization and understanding of the hierarchy of components which make up systems in 3D virtual objects’ complex motion (for example, to animate a bicycle in movement, the frame, handles, tires, chains, pedals, etc. will all be in motion, some components following the movements of others)
  • To understand the animation principle in three-dimensional virtual space.
  • To understand the storytelling process
  • To explore the cinematic concepts in animation.
  • To explore contemporary methods of video and sound

Required materials for this course

Storage: Recommend a least 1TB USB external hard drive.

Students will be expected to back up all work on external hard drives. Students will focus on the enhancement of portfolios throughout the course.

Recommended Reading

  • Online document under Maya help menu (highly recommended)
  • Richard Williams, "Animation Survival Kits", Faber & Faber publisher, 2002
  • Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation", Disney Editions; Rev Sub edition publisher, 1995
  • Derakhshani, Dariush. Introducing Autodesk Maya 2016, Publication: Autodesk Official Training Guides/Sybex, May 28, 2013, ISBN-10: 1119059631, ISBN-13: 978-1119059639, Edition: 1

Requirement for each of the assignment and the final project

  1. Name Convention Format
    • (your name)_ (project name).ext
    • Example:
      • Saritdikhun _ animopt.m4v
  2. For each project, students must bring all the work in progress to every class until the due date.
  3. For all in class exercises, students will need to turn in only Quick Time movie in Full HD 720p (1280×720 pixels) with H.264 compression. Don't turn in Maya files.
  4. Students are required to update artwork on digital arts student portfolio throughout the semester.
  5. Credit Format on all QuickTime movies (m4v)
    • Project Name
    • Student Name
    • Course/Class Section/Semester
    • Instructor Name
    • University
  6. See individual project writeups for the exact list of items that need to be turned in on the indicated due dates. Below is the basic list of items on each project:
    • Maya project directory including
      • Maya models
      • Textures
      • Final composite video of your completed animation (yourname_project*.m4v)
    Do not turn in rendering sequence images
  7. Presentation to the class for each project on the Critique Day is required.

Approximate Grade Emphasis

  • 10 in-class exercises: 20 points (see note on exercise section below)
  • Project 1 (40 points)
  • Project 2 (60 points)
  • Final Project (80 points)
  • Attendance 20% of total grade

Term Projects

Project 1 - AnimOpt: (40 points)

DUE Feb. 7th

Students will create a 45 second to 1 minute visual abstract animation that merges audio, visuals and timing in an effective way.

To do:

  1. Research: Due on Jan. 17th
    • Find examples of animation that shows visual abstract with sounds (1 point)
    • Find examples of Optical Arts or any related to visual abstract animation/video. (1 point)
  2. Sketching out the design and rendering colors in Photoshop (2 point)
  3. Final animation (16 points)


  1. Animation must have a beginning, a middle and an ending. (Think of the Three-Act Structure.)
  2. Create an original soundscape using copyright free audio and Sound Booth (or another application)
  3. Animate the objects using translation, rotation, scale, path animation, deformations and/or animated color transformations.
  4. Create an aesthetic connection between the audio and animation using a combination of the following relationships:
    • Direct Synchronization (key points of the audio should relate directly to actions of the visuals)
    • Supporting relationship Object visual kinematic, such as slow, soft, dynamic, robust, etc.)
    • Contrasting relation anticipation and following through
    • Singular focus (audio with no visuals or visuals with no audio)
  1. Animation should be composit and re-rendered out using Adobe Premier in order to get the sound on final output using Quicktime H.264 and must be named "" or  "yourname_animopt.m4v"

Criteria for Grading:

  1. Good timing (ease in and out and variation in timing to compliment the music)
  2. Good Visuals Composition over time
  3. Good Color composition - flat 2D look
  4. Beginning, middle and end
  5. Title and Credits
  6. Optional: Good use of post effects

Facebook Posting

When the final version of the animation is completed, students will post the animation on the class FB group and on BGSU canvas.


Project Two: “Obstacle” (60 points)

DUE March 21st.

Students will create a short animation of a personified ball facing an obstacle on the path of his/her goal. The animation should be a minimum of 45 seconds long.

  • Act one: Set up
    • Creating a must or a need for the ball to take off
      • Something causes the ball to move
    • Climax: decision
  • Act Two: confrontation
    • Obstacle: Physical
      • Block, stairs, or levels
      • Level decline and incline (curved or straight)
      • A Ball physique that causes the ball to slow down and to stop
    • Obstacle; Emotional
      • Something causes the ball to slow down and to stop
    • Hesitation and final decision ( THIS IS THE HIGHEST POINT)
      • Analyzing and calculating the possibility
      • Desperation
      • Climax: Finale (there is no way to get out of this, it is time for action)
  • The outcome (success, or failure)

To do:

  • Research part 1, the obstacle Course online: Due Feb.  (1 point)
  • Research part 2, Storyboard:Due Feb.  (2 points)
  • 3D scene design (Baes on your storyboard): full rendering: Due Mar.  (5 point)
  • Rough extreme key poses (timing) Due March  (3 points)
  • Sound effects (2 points)
  • Final animation (20 points) Due March


  • Your animation should be composite and re-rendered out using Adobe Premier to get the sound on final output using Quicktime H.264 and must be named "" or "yourname_obstacle.m4v"
  • You may do more than this - this is the bare minimum.
  • Facebook Posting 
  • When the final version of the animation is completed, post it on the class Facebook group.

Facebook Posting

When the final version of the animation is completed, create a Youtube account and post the animation on YouTube. Then also add a blog entry that talks about the process and post a link to your YouTube AnimOpt animation.

Final project:
Two Legs, “How I Get There!” or " How I Got Here!" (80 points)

Due April 27th

This final project can be an individual, or a group project. 

If students pair up and collaborate work on this animation project, each student will the other to create a scene and animate character(s). Student teams should consist of a strong modeler and a strong animator. Each student will work on all tasks; including modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and rendering (not only one portion of the project). The modeler and animator will get a chance to learn from and teach each other, drawing on the other’s strengths and will end up with a well-rounded production. However, expectations will be higher on group projects.

Students will write a narrative of an event using a flash fiction, a nanofiction or hint fiction technique on the idea of How I Get There. This is not a full story, but it is a narrative fraction of an event that can be self-contained.

Example: Hint fiction by Robert Swartwood

"Many terms for this category exist, including micro fiction, micro narrative, micro-story, postcard fiction, short short, short short story, and sudden fiction, though distinctions are sometimes drawn among some of these terms. For example, sometimes 1000 words is considered the cutoff between "flash fiction" and the slightly longer short story "sudden fiction". The terms "micro fiction" and "micro narrative" are sometimes defined as below 300 words,[2] and include these diminutive subcategories: the drabble (100 words), nanofiction (55 words), and Twitter fiction, aka twitterature (140 characters, or about 23 words). - Wikipedia"

Students will translate their idea into a very short script and storyboard, then create a short animated story (45 to 90 seconds) of a two legged character. The story guideline is how the character will succeed in reaching his/her goal. (Look into the concept of nanofiction)

To do:

  1. Brainstorm of Flash fiction, Nanofiction, or Hint fiction on" How I Get There" or " How I Get Here" will be posted on the class facebook page.
    • Post a few drafts on facebook of some different scenarios but in the same action and idea
    • Try to draft your short with one of these:
      • Focusing on rising action: What lead to an action
      • Setting conflict or interruption in an environment
      • Conflicting of character itself
      • Point of view
    • Please read the article on links below for more information of Flash Fiction :


  1. Short scripting

  1. Rough Animatic with rough sound QuickTime April 12 (2 points)
  2. The Blocking States of your animation. The animation must have sound in order to correct timing and pacing. (Quick time movie) DUE April 19 (2 points)
  3. The Final animation and production (Quick Time H.264) DUE April 29 (30 points)


Sequences include a "Grade of C or higher" in…:

  • ARTC 2210 – required to move on to any ARTC courses
  • ARTC 3110 – required to move on to ARTC 3120
  • ARTC 3120 – required to move on to ARTC 4130 and 4430
  • ARTC 3310 – required to move on to ARTC 4330
  • ARTC 3440 – required to move on to ARTC 4440

Where to find official course descriptions:

All projects will be graded on the rubric chart attached to the project page. A grade for Participation will be calculated as a sum of the student's involvement in class and the general helpfulness that the student offers to fellow classmates. In-class Projects and Readings are mostly graded on a pass or fail basis. Your final grade will be calculated from these three scores.

A (100-90%)
Excellent - Above and beyond, artistically AND technically

B (89-80%)
Very Good - Beyond requirements, artistically OR technically

C (79-70%)
Average - Met the basic requirements

D (69-60%)
Did not meet requirements

F (59-0%)
Project not turned in or completely insufficient

Grades are based on the quality and quantity of your work. I will also consider your participation, craftsmanship, conception, ambition, productivity, and development of your artworks. The following will be considered on grading:

Craftsmanship: Technical ability and craftsmanship
Conception: The thought process and expression of idea behind artwork, which was created
Ambition: The ability to go beyond the class materials and to invest on research on all subject was given.
Productivity - The amount of completed artwork.
Development - How much of your work has been developed and improved since the beginning of the semester.


3d animation 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 animator. 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.


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. The goal of the Disability Services for Students Office is to help provide equal access and reasonable accommodations to BGSU students with disabilities. Students wishing to discuss their eligibility for such accommodations are encouraged to contact their office at 372-8495 (413 South Hall).
Academic Honesty
Students are expected to maintain the highest level of integrity in their academic work. From time to time, however, issues such as cheating, fabrication or plagiarism in an academic exercise arise. The original jurisdiction and penalty both vary depending on the offense and when it is discovered. Also, there are specific requirements for record-keeping and for notification of the student and academic dean. The complete policy is available in both the Student Handbook (Codes of Conduct) and the Faculty Handbook (Academic Charter).


  • 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(accept research of requesting period)
  • 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 or film instructor. Any problems with hardware or software must be reported to a digital arts or film professor, preferably by email. Report should include Workstation ID# 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.


This syllabus is subject to revisions / changes at any time by the Instructor, however students will be notify in advance of any changes.

Course schedule

Student can access some materials of in-class exercise on BGSU Canvas.


Jan. 10
Intro to class and materials
Watch: Animated Motion by Norman McKlanken
Animation Tools (Maya)
Working with Key Frames, Animation Preference
Working with Play Blast

Jan. 12
Basic Animation Principles: Sliding Boxes (Maya)
Conceptual: Timing, Spacing, Easing in/out, and Moving Hold 
Animated Colors
Project 1: Animopt


Jan. 17
Animating objects in hierarchy
Project 1: Animopt Research Due

Jan. 19
Working with Sound (Adobe Audition with Maya)


Jan. 24
Animating objects Deformers

Jan. 26
Animating lights with sounds
Working with Video editing ( Adobe Premiere Pro )


Jan. 31
Animating lights with sounds
Working with Video editing ( Adobe Premiere Pro )

February 2
Work Section


February 7

  • Single Bouncing ball
  • Two different weight balls (light/Heavy)
  • Ball Rotation formula:

N = 360 x (Distance/(2╥R))
Circumference = 2╥R 
N = Number of degree rotation 
╥ = 3.14 R = Radius

Assignment Project 2: Obstacle Course

February 9
Due Project 1: Animopt
Watch: Broadcasting Camera Techniques Video

  • Collision of two different weight balls (light/Heavy)
  • Path animation with camera setting.


February 14
Pendulum Rigging
Pendulum Animating

A simple pendulum: A body suspended from a fixed support so that it swings freely back and forth under the influence of gravity, commonly used to regulate various devices, especially clocks.
February 16
Pendulum Animating


February 21
Three Chains Pendulum Rigging
Three Chains Pendulum Animating
Overlapping and following through
February 23
Work Section


February 28
Due Project 2: Obstacle Course
March 2
Assignment Final project: Two Legs, “Gotta get there?”
Two Legs: Rigging
Arc and Path animation 


March 6 - 10: Spring Recess - No Classes


March 14
Two Legs: Rigging cont'
March 16
Two Legs: Walking


March 21
Two Legs: Walking
March 23
Two Legs: Running


March 28
Two Legs: Running (final)
March 30
Two Legs: Jumping


April 4 – 6
Two Legs: Jumping (final)
Work Section


April  11 – 13
Work Section


April 18 – 20
Work Section


April 25
Work Section
April 27
Final Due and last day of class
Last Day of the Class


Final Examinations / No class
ALL materials are due by Thursday 5