For on-line syllabus go to http://JohnCraigFreeman.net and follow the Courses link.

 

Still from Liyu Cao.

 

PROFESSOR:           John (Craig) Freeman

EMAIL:                     john_craig_freeman@emerson.edu

PHONE:                     (617) 824-8862

OFFICE HOURS:     M,W 11:00 a.m., T 5:00 p.m. or by appointment in Ansin #1111.

 

CLASS MEETS:      Mondays and Wednesdays: 12:00 - 1:45 p.m. at 3DL Ansin #112.

 

PREREQUISITE:     None

 

 

 

 

 

 

DESCRIPTION:       This is the first course in the two-course computer animation sequence, introducing students to the fundamentals of three-dimensional modeling and animation and preparing them for the second course, Computer Animation 2. Students learn to develop concepts, produce storyboards, model, texture objects, compose and light scenes, animate, and add dynamics. Finally, they learn to render their animations into movies and to composite movies, audio, titles, and credits in post-production. In addition to these production skills, students will develop their conceptual understanding as well as their critical and creative thinking about the practice of computer animation.

 

                                    Class time is spent either in intensive instructional sessions, where we move through concepts as a group using hands-on examples; in discussion and critique; or in open lab production. Meanwhile, students complete a series of software training exercises and reading assignments outside of class as homework.

 

                                    Students will complete two minor projects based on instruction, reading and software training exercises. After mid-semester, students propose a final project. The proposals are presented to the class where we discuss them and make recommendations. Once the proposal has been approved, students will spend the remaining duration of the semester working on their final projects. The course culminates in the presentation and critique of all final projects.

 

OBJECTIVES:         ¥ To develop students' skills in three-dimensional modeling and animation

                                    ¥ To introduce students to artists that shaped and continue to shape animation history

                                    ¥ To assist students in further developing their visual literacy, critical thinking and communication skills

                                    ¥ To guide students towards discovering fundamental pictorial and animation principles through a series of specific exercises

                                    ¥ To apply these newly developed skills to express themselves creatively and critically

 

REQUIREMENTS:  ¥ Attend every class meeting

                                    ¥ Come to class prepared to work

                                    ¥ Complete all required reading

                                    ¥ Complete required software training

                                    ¥ Complete and presentation two minor project

                                    ¥ Propose, develop, and produce an original final project

                                    ¥ Present final project during scheduled exam

 

READING:                ¥ The Art of Maya: An Introduction to 3D Computer Graphics; 4th edition, by AutoDesk Learning Tools, ISBN 1-8971-7747-1. Please see the calendar below for the specific reading schedule.

 

SOFTWARE TRAINING: Students are required to complete portions of AutodeskÕs Getting Started with Maya 2011 software training. You will document your progress by taking detailed notes on the Software Training Notes document and handing in a version saved as lastname_firstname.docx with each project you turn in. Please see the calendar below for the specific software training schedule.

 

 

ASSIGNMENTS:     Project One

                                    Create a short animated movie based on the instruction sessions, the reading and the software training. Build a 3D scene and add objects using primitive geometry and basic polygonal and NURBS modeling techniques. Texture the objects, light the scene and animate the camera for a short flythrough. Your understanding of concepts covered in class must be evident in the work.

 

                                    The content of your project must come from direct experience, your memory and/or your dreams. You should be able to articulate the stories surrounding the features of the scene you choose to include, but avoid making the finished animation narrative for now. 

 

                                    Render the results and save it as a self contained QuickTime movie titled lastname_firstname.mp4 with the compression set to:

                                            Video: H.264 Decoder, 1280 x 720, Millions

                                            Audio: AAC, Stereo (L R), 44.100 kHz

                                            FPS: 24

                                            Data Rate: 5,000 kbits/s

                                    The movie along with your software training notes should be placed in a folder titled lastname_firstname and turned in at pages.emerson.edu/Courses/

                                    semesterYear/courseNumber/Assignments_In/Project_One folder prior to the critique.

 

                                    Projects that do not conform to these specifications or that are turned in late will result in a lower grade.

 

                                    Project Two

                                    Expand and animate the objects in your scene from Project One. Render a short movie and add audio, titles and credits in postproduction. Save it as a self contained QuickTime movie titled lastname_firstname.mp4 compressed with the settings above. You are also responsible for turning in a Maya project directory that has been optimized and includes nothing but the necessary files and folders. The movie and the project directory along with your software training notes should be placed in a folder titled lastname_firstname and turned in at the pages.emerson.edu/Courses/semesterYear/courseNumber/

                                    Assignments_In/Project_Two folder prior to the critique.

 

                                    Projects that do not conform to these specifications or that are turned in late will result in a lower grade.

 

                                    Final Project

                                    Propose, develop and complete an original, portfolio ready short animated movie. You will be evaluated based on the projects originality, expressive creativity, conceptual depth and technical expertise. It can be narrative or abstract but should be rich in interpretive possibility. You may choose to continue work on the content from Project One and Project Two, or you can develop an entirely new project. The content, however, must still be derived from lived experience and you should add some reference to a current public policy issue that you feel strongly about. This reference can be direct or oblique. You are free to explore the narrative possibilities of your idea at this point.

 

                                    Finished movies must be saved as a self contained QuickTime move titled lastname_firstname.mp4 compressed at the settings above. All movies must include audio, titles and credits. The movie, along with your software training notes should be placed in a folder titled lastname_firstname and turned in at the pages.emerson.edu/Courses/semesterYear/courseNumber/Assignments_In/

                                    Final_Project folder prior to the critique.

 

                                    Projects that do not conform to these specifications will result in a lower grade.

                                    Each student will present the finished project during the scheduled final exam time. Late final projects will not be accepted.

 

SUPPLIES:                ¥ Mobile FireWire or Hi-Speed USB 2.0 removable hard drive. I recommend LaCie. Minimum requirement is 40GB of storage space. 7200 (RPM) speed is preferable. Thumb/flash drives are not recommended for this course. Options can be found at: http://www.lacie.com/

                                    ¥ CD-R or DVD-Rs as needed.

 

GRADING:               The final grade will be determined according to the following criteria based on the corresponding percentages.

 

                                    ¥ Project One: 20%

                                    ¥ Project Two: 20%

                                    ¥ Software Training: 10%.

                                    ¥ Participation and Attendance: 10%.

                                    ¥ Final Project: 40%

 

                                    I will meet with each student individually at mid-semester to evaluate performance up to that point. An Incomplete will only be issued if there are extenuating circumstances related to illness or critical personal emergency and only after administrative notice has been received.

 

POLICIES:                Attendance and punctuality is required at all class meetings and will be reflected in the final grade. According to College policy, unexcused absences beyond five will result in a failing grade. Everyone must come to class prepared and engaged and everyone must participate in discussions and critiques. Your undivided attention is required during all discussions and critiques. No email, web browsing or other computer work will be allowed during these times if it does not support the discussion at hand.

 

                                    Students should be aware of the College policies regarding creative and academic dishonesty and the penalties for plagiarism and software piracy. While it is accepted that there may be occasion for stylistic or historical inspiration, influence and reference, the student will be asked to produce original work from ones own study and investigation.

 

                                    If you have a disability that warrants accommodations in this course, please register with the Disability Service Coordinator at 216 Tremont Street, 5th Floor, (617) 824-8415.


 

COURSE CALENDAR: Subject to changes as necessary.

 

Wed. 01/19/11            Introductions:

                                    Syllabus: http://johncraigfreeman.net

                                    Assignment: Get book, hard drive and supplies

                                    Software Training: Chapter 1 Overview

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, 3D Computer Graphics, 3D Computer Animation, Technical Creativity, The Animation Pipeline. pp. 15-23

                                    Lab Operations: Lab policies

 

Mon. 01/24/11            Lesson 01: Software Training, Reading, Courses Wiki, Demo Files, 3D Space

                                    Software Training: Chapter 2 Maya Basics, Lesson 1: The Maya user interface

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya Time and Space, 3D Space, Time, Bitmap Space, Color Space. pp. 25-33

                                    Assignment: Project One (see above), Image Research

 

Wed. 01/26/11            Lesson 02: File Management

                                    Due: Image Research

                                    Presentations and Discussion: Image Research, Critique Strategies

                                    Software Training: Chapter 2 Maya Basics, Lesson 2: Creating, manipulating, and viewing objects

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Exploring Maya, The Workspace, File Management, Viewing 3D Scenes. pp. 35-41

 

Mon. 01/31/11            Lesson 03: Objects and Components

                                    Software Training: Chapter 2 Maya Basics, Lesson 3: Viewing the Maya 3D scene

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Objects and Components, Dependency Graph. pp. 42-45

 

Wed. 02/02/11            Lesson 04: Project Research, Modeling

                                    Software Training: Chapter 2 Maya Basics, Lesson 4: Components and attributes

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Transformations, Duplication. pp. 46-49

 

Mon. 02/07/11            Lesson 05: Shading

                                    Software Training: Chapter 3 Polygonal Modeling, Lesson 1: Modeling a polygonal mesh from a reference image

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya Snapping, Artisan, Scripting in Maya. pp. 50-55

 

Wed. 02/09/11            Lesson 06: Cameras, Lighting

                                    Software Training: Chapter 3 Polygonal Modeling, Lesson 2: Sculpting a polygon mesh

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Animation Techniques, Setting Keys. pp. 57-61.

 

Mon. 02/14/11            Lesson 07: Rendering, Movies

                                    Software Training: Chapter 4 NURBS Modeling, Lesson 1: Revolving a curve to create a surface

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Animation Curves, Hierarchical Animation. pp.62-65

 

Wed. 02/16/11            Due: Project One

                                    Critique: Project One

                                    Assignment: Project Two (see above)

                                    Software Training: Chapter 4 NURBS Modeling, Lesson 2: Sculpting a NURBS surface

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Motion Path Animation, Non-linear Animation. pp. 64-69

 

Mon. 02/21/11            President's Day (no classes)

 

Tue. 02/22/11              (Tuesday) Monday class schedule

                                    Critique: Project One

                                    Software Training: Chapter 4 NURBS Modeling, Lesson 3: Lofting curves to create a surface

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Reactive Animation, Rigid Body Dynamics. pp. 70-

 

Wed. 02/23/11            Studio: Work on projects

                                    Software Training: Chapter 5 Subdivision Surfaces, Lesson 1: Modeling a subdivision surface

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Modeling, Geometry Modeling Techniques. pp. 75-79

 

Mon. 02/28/11            Lesson 08: Post-production, Project Optimization

                                    Software Training: Chapter 6 Animation, Lesson 1: Keyframes and the Graph Editor

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Working With Curves, NURBS Surfaces. pp. 80-83

 

Wed. 03/02/11            Studio: Work on projects

                                    Software Training: Chapter 6 Animation, Lesson 2: Set Driven Key

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Trims and Booleans, Joining Surfaces. pp. 84-87

 

03/05-13/11                 Spring Break (no classes).

 

Mon. 03/14/11            Mid-semester Evaluations: Individual Meetings

                                    Software Training: Chapter 6 Animation, Lesson 3: Path animation

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Patch Surfaces, Polygon Modeling. pp. 88-91

 

Wed. 03/16/11            Mid-semester Evaluations: Individual Meetings

                                    Software Training: Chapter 8 Polygon Texturing, Lesson 1: UV texture mapping

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Subdivision Proxy Modeling, Construction History, Modeling for Animation. pp. 92-97

 

Mon. 03/21/11            Due: Project Two

                                    Software Training: Chapter 9 Rendering, Lesson 1: Rendering a scene

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Deformations, Deforming Objects, Non-linear Deformers. pp. 99-103

Wed. 03/23/11            Lab Operations: Render Server

                                    Studio: Work on final projects

                                    Software Training: Chapter 9 Rendering, Lesson 2: Shading surfaces

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, Deformers, Simulated Deformations. pp. 104-107

 

Mon. 03/28/11            Lesson 09: Setting Keys, Graphing Animation, Path Animation, Set Driven Key

                                    Software Training: Chapter 9 Rendering, Lesson 3: Lights, shadows, and cameras

                                    Reading: The Art of Maya, pp. 104-107

 

Wed. 03/30/11            Studio: Work on final projects

                                    Software Training: Chapter 9 Rendering, Lesson 4: Global Illumination

 

Mon. 04/04/11            Lesson 10: Expressions, Nonlinear Animation, Dynamic Simulations

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Wed. 04/06/11            Studio: Work on final projects

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Mon. 04/11/11            Lesson 11:  Sound Sync, Order of Operation, Global TRS

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Wed. 04/13/11            Studio: Work on final projects.

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Mon. 04/18/11            Patriot's Day (no classes held).

 

Wed. 04/20/11            Studio: Work on final projects.

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Mon. 04/25/11            Studio: Work on final projects.

                                    Software Training: Advanced topics as needed

 

Wed. 04/27/11            Studio: Work on final projects.

                                    Due: All late work must be turned in or it will not count on final grades

 

Wed. 05/04/11            Required: Final Critique

1:00 – 3:00 pm.           Due: Final Projects    

Final Exam Schedule