Assignment 2 – Make an Animation!

by Mike Gleicher on January 19, 2011 · 4 comments

in Assignments

I would like you to:

  1. Learn a little bit about some animation system. (Maya, 3D Studio Max, Maya)
  2. Try to use it to make a picture (to make sure that you get a sense of how to make it work)
  3. Try to use it to animate something (make some “creature” that moves in a way that conveys emotion).

I would like you to pick some “real” 3D animation system. Maya and 3D Studio Max are the two obvious choices (both are available on CS computers). Blender is an open source alternative (arguably, you’ll get what you pay for though – its capable, but not easy to figure out).

I’d like people to work in pairs: its probably best if we spread around the expertise (so that people who have experience using an animation tool work with someone who doesn’t).

Working through some of the tutorials is recommended – it will give you an idea of the basic workflow, as well as a little sense of the range of what these tools can do. If you find a particularly valuable resource, add it as a comment to this page so others can use it as well.

  1. Part A: Make a picture. You should use lighting and surface appearances, and have some “interesting” geometry. The picture should be “rendered.” Turn it in by creating a post with in the “Assignment 2A” category by January 31st (before class).
  2. Part B: Make an animation. A few seconds worth is probably enough. It does not need to be rendered (a playblast/screen capture is OK). The only requirement is that your animation has to have a “character” (it can be simple), that makes some movement. You should try to have the character convey some emotions (have it locomote sadly, or jump excitedly, …). Try to make use of animation principles. In a posting to category “Assignment 2B” you should post a single frame, as well as the movie (make sure the movie file is well compressed). We may have issues in posting movies to the website, so we’ll work it out. This is due by February 8. In your posting, describe what you were trying to achieve.

For B: Simple is good. Try to use the movements of the character to convey the emotions and intents.Very simple characters can be very expressive. A bouncing ball, or a walking triangle, or … I really want you to think about the movements, not making things look nice.

Note: we might run into mechanics issues with having people post videos on a web page. I’ll try to work this out beforehand, but expect hiccups.


Nathan Mitchell January 21, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Everyone – I’m posting here as a request for a partner. I’m a fair hand with Blender, but I haven’t worked with 3dsmax or Maya for many (!) years now. However, the functionality is the same (mostly), so its just interface issues. If anyone is not comfortable or never worked with these tools, I’d be glad to help out.

I’ve started fooling around with a concept I’m calling AngryBall – but I’m putting it on hold till I find someone else. Let me know if you are interested – I’m not completely tied to my idea and I’m willing to work on something else that’s cool.


Nathan Mitchell January 24, 2011 at 1:05 pm

Me again. Found a partner, but I wanted to post some nice links for Blender if anyone wants to use it:

Official Blender documentation – not bad, but very much documentation, not so much tutorials. Also not updated for 2.5beta at this time.

Awesome collection of tutorials for Blender <=2.49

Best consolidated resource I've seen so far on 2.5beta, these are a collection of feature tours and test demos and are fairly good even with no Blender experience.

rsawtell January 24, 2011 at 4:58 pm

I still need a partner for this project if someone doesn’t have one already.

Reid Sawtell

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