UC Berkeley CNM 190 : Advanced Digital Animation

UC Berkeley CNM 190 : Advanced Digital Animation

Dan Garcia, Jeremy Huddleston Sequoia, and Peter Tsoi with guest lecturers from industry
Last Updated : Thursday, 29-Nov-2012 10:42:17 PST

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, 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, 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 Spirng semesters.

The course is held in 606 Soda Hall, WF 2-4.

Reserved lab time in 200 SDH is on Monday from 2-4, but this time may be used for guest lecturers depending on their availability.


Weeks Date Instructor Lecture Topic Readings Due Assignment Due
Week 1 Wed 2012.08.22   NO CLASS  

Fri 2012.08.24 Dan & Jeremy Course Overview Syllabus
Week 2 Mon 2012.08.26 Dan Storytelling Story Spine
Using the Story Spine
Designing A Pixar Film
The Art of Storytelling
The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar

Wed 2012.08.29 Dan Storytelling 2 And Storyboards I3DSFP: Chapter 5: Storyboard

Fri 2012.08.31   Critique I3DSFP: Chapters 1-2 Story Pitches (Initial 44)
Week 3 Mon 2012.09.03   NO CLASS: HOLIDAY  

Wed 2012.09.05   Critique   Storyboard (Surviving 24)

Fri 2012.09.07   Critique   Polished Storyboard (Remaining 13)
Week 4 Mon 2012.09.10 Dan Storyboarding, Camera, Timing, Animatics, and Blocking

I3DSFP: pp 236-243: Camera
I3DSFP: Chapter 10

  Wed 2012.09.12 Ketrina Yim, PhaseSpace Character Design + Guest Critique I3DSFP: Chapters 3-4 Animatic (Final 6)

Fri 2012.09.14   Critique   Polished Animatic (Final 6)
Week 5 Mon 2012.09.17   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.09.19 Jeremy Infrastructure (guide) + Crit I3DSFP: Chapter 7 Polished Animatic (Final 4)

Fri 2012.09.21 Story Artist Rad Sechrist
DWA Site Visit!
Critique   Polished Animatic (Final 4)
Week 6 Mon 2012.09.24   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.09.26 Megan Gritzfeld, telltale games Modeling + Guest Critique I3DSFP: Chapter 12  

Fri 2012.09.28   Critique   Character Sheets, and Animatic Polish
Week 7 Mon 2012.10.01   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.10.03 Dan Procedural Modeling (slides)    

Fri 2012.10.05   Critique   Blocking, Initial Model Turntables
Week 8 Mon 2012.10.08   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.10.10   Critique I3DSFP: Chapter 14  

Thu 2012.10.11 Gary Wu, ILM (7-9pm) Rigging, Critique    

Fri 2012.10.12   Critique   Updated Models
Week 9 Mon 2012.10.15   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.10.17 Mike Ross, DWA Set Dressing    

Fri 2012.10.19   Critique   Rigged Models
Week 10 Mon 2012.10.22   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.10.24 Rex Grignon, DWA Animation 1: Fundamentals of Animation I3DSFP: Chapter 16  

Fri 2012.10.26   Critique   Layout Reel: Dressed Sets with Camera Paths
Week 11 Mon 2012.10.29   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.10.31 Dan Animation 2: Walk Cycles and Autonomous Motion    

Fri 2012.11.02 PhaseSpace Motion Capture Site Visit Critique   Low Frequency Animation
Week 12 Mon 2012.11.05   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.11.07 Tarek Elaydi, Animal Logic Critique    

Fri 2012.11.09   Critique   Primary Hero Animation 1
Week 13 Mon 2012.11.12   NO CLASS: HOLIDAY    
  Wed 2012.11.14   Critique    

Fri 2012.11.16   Team Meetings (No Instructors)   Primary Hero Animation 2
Week 14 Mon 2012.11.19   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.11.21   Critique    

Fri 2012.11.23   NO CLASS: HOLIDAY   Secondary Hero Animation
Week 15 Mon 2012.11.26   Open Lab    
  Wed 2012.11.28   Critique    

Fri 2012.11.30   Critique   Background Animation
Week 16 Mon 2012.12.03   Open Lab (RRR Week)    
  Wed 2012.12.05   Critique (RRR Week)   Polish

Fri 2012.12.07   Critique (RRR Week)   Polish

Thu 2012.12.13

  Critique / Party / Screening in 306 Soda    


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


First Semester:

Inspired 3D Short Film Production Required: Inspired 3D Short Film Production
MEL Scripting for Maya Animators Useful: MEL Scripting for Maya Animators
Complete Maya Programming Useful: Complete Maya Programming

Second Semester:

Advanced Renderman Required: Advanced Renderman
Digital Lighting & Rendering Required: Digital Lighting & Rendering
The Renderman Companion Useful: The Renderman Companion



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

Jeremy Huddleston Sequoia
- OH: F 1-2, 3XX Soda

Peter Tsoi
- OH: M 2-4, Open Lab