UC Berkeley CNM 190 : Advanced Digital Animation

UC Berkeley CNM 190 : Advanced Digital Animation

Dan Garcia and Jeremy Huddleston, with guest lecturers from industry
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Table of Contents


This year-long course is targeted at students with backgrounds in art, film, or computer science who intend to work in the visual effects, animation, and entertainment industries. It will build upon students' knowlege from related courses to guide them through the digital animation production process in an environment similar to industry production houses. We will survey many advanced topics and allow students to focus on a subset they find interesting while collaborating with their team to develop a 30-second animation piece. The course will be enhanced with industry guest lectures.

In the fall of 2010, the topics will include story and character development, manual and procedural modeling, advanced character rigging, set design, manual and procedural camera animation, and manual, procedural, AI-driven, and data-driven animation.

In the spring of 2011, the topics will include visual art design, sound and foley design, visual effects, shading, lighting, rendering, optimization, and advanced image composition.

In order to take this course, you need to have taken atleast two courses from the following list:

If you sign up for this course, you are committing to taking it in both the Fall and Spring semesters.

The course is held in 606 Soda Hall, MW 1-3


Weeks Date Instructor Lecture Topic Readings Due Assignment Due
Week 1 Mon 2011.01.17   NO CLASS    
Wed 2011.01.19 All Review work done over break, Discuss Semester Goals    
Week 2 Mon 2011.01.24 Dan Art Direction + Critique   Color Pallette Ideas
Wed 2011.01.26 Dan + Jeremy Color: Physics and Science of Color (colorspaces slides: pdf) 3DSFP: Chapter 4  
Week 3 Mon 2011.01.31   Critique   Colored Frames
Wed 2011.02.02 Dan Effects 1 3DSFP: Chapter19  
Week 4 Mon 2011.02.07   Critique   Effects
Wed 2011.02.09 Matt Wong (Pixar) Effects 2 + Guest Critique (repo)    
Week 5 Mon 2011.02.14   Critique   More Effects
Wed 2011.02.16 Jeremy RenderMan & Compositing 1 (repo) 3DSFP: Chapter 20  
Week 6 Mon 2011.02.21   NO CLASS    
Wed 2011.02.23   Critique 3DSFP: pp370-377  
Week 7 Mon 2011.02.28   Critique   Composited Effects
Wed 2011.03.02 Greg Niemeyer (Art) Shading 1: Texture Maps 3DSFP: Chapter 13  
Week 8 Mon 2011.03.07   Critique   Textured Models
Wed 2011.03.09 Dan Gallagher (DWA) Lighting 1 3DSFP: Chapter 18  
Week 9 Mon 2011.03.14   Critique   Improved Shaders
Wed 2011.03.16 Paul Kanyuk (Pixar) Shading 2: Procedural Shading + Guest Critique    
Week SP Mon 2011.03.21   NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK    
Wed 2011.03.23   NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK    
Week 10 Mon 2011.03.28   Critique   Lighting 1
Wed 2011.03.30 Tarek Elaydi (MPC) Compositing 2 + Guest Critique 3DSFP: Chapter 21  
Week 11 Mon 2011.04.04   Critique   Lighting 2
Wed 2011.04.06 David Wallace (ILM) Lighting 2: Practical Lighting Tips and Lessons Learned + Guest Critique (slides & examples)    
Week 12 Mon 2011.04.11   Critique   Lighting 3
Wed 2011.04.13   Critique    
Week 13 Mon 2011.04.18 Will Files (Skywalker Sound) Foley + Guest Critique    
Wed 2011.04.20 Adam Chin (DWA) Lighting 3 + Guest Critique    
Week 14 Mon 2011.04.25   Critique   Polish
Wed 2011.04.27   Critique    
Week 15 Mon 2011.05.02
  Critique (RRR Week)    
Wed 2011.05.04   Critique (RRR Week)    
Fri 2011.05.06   Critique (RRR Week)    

Tue 2011.05.10

  Screening and Wrap Party    
Visits Tue 2011.05.17
Leave Berkeley at 0730 Lucasfilm Visit    
Wed 2011.05.18
Leave Berkeley at 0800 DWA Visit    
Wed 2011.05.18
  Phasespace Visit    


The final grade will be based upon weekly homework assignments, participation in critiques, and confidential peer evaluation (each contributing to 1/3 of the grade). In addition, the final group deliverable can bump everyone in the group up or down a +/- level. Feedback (including current grades) will be provided mid-semester.

Homework grades are based on work done by the individual that week. Most assignments are group based and presented in class, so the homework submission will just be a text document describing your individual contributions with supporting links. Homework grades are based on a 10 point system with a penalty for being late as follows:

  1. You are given 3 slip days to use during the semester.
  2. After exhausting your 3 slips, every day (or portion there of) that an assignment is late will take off 1 point.
  3. Your lowest HW score will be thrown out


Inspired 3D Short Film Production Required - First Semester: Inspired 3D Short Film Production
Advanced Renderman Required - Second Semester: Advanced Renderman
Digital Lighting & Rendering Required - Second Semester: Digital Lighting & Rendering
MEL Scripting for Maya Animators Useful - First Semester: MEL Scripting for Maya Animators
Complete Maya Programming Useful - First Semester: Complete Maya Programming
The Renderman Companion Useful - Second Semester: The Renderman Companion



Dan Garcia
- OH: F 1-2, Soda Hall 777

Jeremy Huddleston
- OH: M 3-4, Soda Hall 535

Sally Ahn