CS 294-7, Fall 2006: The Art of Animation

Time and place:

The class is on Mondays from 3 pm to 6 pm, in 380 Soda Hall. The first class is August 28, 2006, and the last class is December 4, 2006. There will be no class on 4 September 2006 (Labor Day). Information on the location of the computer labs can be found on the Resources page.

Course summary:

Hard at work.

This hands-on course is intended for students with a computer science background who would like to improve their sense of observation, timing, and motion through the art of animation to create believable animated pieces. A good understanding of motion is an important foundation for using computers and technology to their full potential for the creation of animation. This class also emphasizes artistic and aesthetic creativity, encouraging students to push the boundaries of the imagination and to familiarize them with visual storytelling. Some time will be spent screening various documentaries and animated shorts for inspiration and to learn a variety of styles and techniques.

Still working.

Lectures will be accompanied by simple step-by-step exercises on paper in which students will practice creating believable movement through the use of weight, speed, and timing.

In this class, students will learn:

During the second half of the semester, each student will develop a project of his or her own with a story line. Since animation is time consuming, it is not advisable to attempt to create a piece that is too long or too complex. Instead, students should concentrate on projects that are challenging but can nonetheless be done successfully.

Students are encouraged to be open minded and willing to experiment in order to fully appreciate this class.

Class structure:

This is a three hour class. The first hour or two will comprise a review of student exercises, as well as lecture and screening; then the remaining class time will be devoted either to a workshop where the students will animate simple exercises with one-on-one advice and critiquing or to doing improvisation, acting, or writing exercises.


Ongoing assignments include reading, discussion, animation exercises, presentations, and other class work as appropriate. Each student will present a topic related to animation, as well as a final animation project. Students are expected to spend 8 to 10 hours a week outside the class working on their assignments and reading the material (but it is difficult to estimate the time requirement). For further details, see the Assignments page.

Textbooks and art supplies:

See the Materials page.

Grading criteria:

All weightings are approximate.