Tuesday, September 4, 2012

WEEK 1: Motion Studies (formerly Animation Direction 1)

Welcome to Motion Studies!

Please have a look at the outline for the course and familiarize yourself with the academic policies. Please sign in at every class - and if you can't make it, you can use this form to let me know.

Classes may need to be rescheduled from time to time - please fill out the survey at the bottom of this post so we can plan the best time for the most people.

We'll be doing a lot of drawing in this course so always bring sketchpads and pencils.  Later on we'll be shooting some video reference to guide the animation process so be ready to act in front of your peers.

story sketch from Limbo
Motion Studies gives you lots of practice at animating short sequences of human movement in 3D in preparation for working with more complex sequences using motion capture data.  

Choosing 2-3 brief actions from the list of 100 Animation Exercises, you're going to create  a short animated sequence using professional techniques like thumbnailing and storyboarding to plan the animation, then in 3D blocking, rough and finally clean animation. 

See if you can invent a backstory for your character to make the acting more believable. 

Storyboard pitch session Fairly Odd Parents
thumbnails from Ratatouille
We'll be exploring some of the key ways animation sequences are planned before ever opening a computer.

Story sketching, story boarding, and thumbnailing are all common methods of planning animation. We'll talk about the differences and see some examples of how they bring animated sequences to life.

ADIR1136 Assignment 1: Planning a simple animated sequence of between 5-10 seconds 
using storyboards and thumbnails
% of final grade: 15%
Assigned: Friday, Sept 7th
Due: Friday, Sept 21st before class

Please submit all work via DropBox (info to follow) SAVE your work uncompressed (PSDs recommended)
SEND me only JPGs
Please keep files under 2000 px wide, and use compression settings that will keep the file size under 2MB


Plan a short animated sequence using storyboards and thumbails. The sequence should be planned around actions on the list of 100 Animation Exercises. The  character may interact with simple props or a basic environment. Drawings need not be clean but they should be clear, dynamic, and detailed.

Keep your ideas simple. The graphic style should be very easy to sketch.

(1) Storyboard sequence: Keep it brief -- 6 panels should be sufficient. Pick any section of the story you like and show the action graphically in clear, greyscale boards. Use text to further describe the action.
(2) Thumbnails: Draw some of the key poses for your actions. Keep the drawings loose and rough, in the style of the examples shown in class. Emphasize elements that help the action read well such as the line of action and the sillhouette.


Exemplary - Highly polished showing a unified style and an inventive premise showing a deep exploration of challenges presented by the original story. Detailed movement study of animation sequence showing all major actions with some personality.
Excellent - Detailed, well-organized presentation describing a clear and consistent design style well-suited to a creative premise. Simple study of most of the planned actions for the animated sequence.
Acceptable - Simple collection of required sketches showing key features and a solid premise.
Not Acceptable - Sparsely detailed and/or incomplete collection with an unclear concept. Contains only a few of the key poses of the animated sequence.

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