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 : Friday, 24-May-2013 22:13:56 PDT

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 Mon 2013.01.21   NO CLASS    
Wed 2013.01.23 All Review work done over break, Discuss Semester Goals    
Fri 2013.01.25 Alishea + Olivia + Dan Intro Art Direction    
Week 2 Mon 2013.01.28   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.01.30 Megan Gritzfeld, telltale games Art Direction + Critique   Initial Color Script
Fri 2013.02.01 Dan Color: Intro to Color + Critique 3DSFP: Chapter 4  
Week 3 Mon 2013.02.04   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.02.06 Fran Kalal, Pixar Simulation: Cloth + Hair    
Fri 2013.02.08 Jeremy Color: Color Spaces + Critique   Revised Color Script
Week 4 Mon 2013.02.11   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.02.13 Peter Compositing 1: Intro + Nuke Demo 3DSFP: Chapter 20  
Fri 2013.02.15   Critique   Cloth & Hair
Week 5 Mon 2013.02.18   NO CLASS    
Wed 2013.02.20   Critique    
Fri 2013.02.22   Critique   Renders & Compossiting
Week 6 Mon 2013.02.25 Greg Niemeyer, UCB Shading 1: Texture Maps 3DSFP: Chapter 13  
Wed 2013.02.27 Paul Kanyuk, Pixar Shading 2: Procedural Shading + Guest Critique    
Fri 2013.03.01 Dan Armendariz, UCB Lighting 1 + Guest Critique 3DSFP: Chapter 18 Textured Models
Week 7 Mon 2013.03.04   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.03.06 David Jackson, EA Critique    
Fri 2013.03.08   Critique   Improved Shading
Week 8 Mon 2013.03.11   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.03.13 Brendan Bolles, fnordware Compositing 2 + Guest Critique 3DSFP: Chapter 21  
Fri 2013.03.15   Critique   Lighting 1
Week 9 Mon 2013.03.18   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.03.20 David Wallace, NextBus, formerly of ILM Lighting 2: Practical Lighting Tips and Lessons Learned + Guest Critique (slides & examples)    
Fri 2013.03.22   Critique   Lighting 2
Week SP Mon 2013.03.25   NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK    
Wed 2013.03.27   NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK    
Fri 2013.03.29   NO CLASS: SPRING BREAK    
Week 10 Mon 2013.04.01   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.04.03 Matt Wong, Pixar Effects 3DSFP: Chapter19  
Fri 2013.04.05   Critique   Lighting 3
Week 11 Mon 2013.04.08   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.04.10 Laura Grieve, Dreamworks Guest Critique    
Fri 2013.04.12   Critique   Effects 1
Week 12 Mon 2013.04.15   Open Lab    
Wed 2013.04.17 Dan Foley + Guest Critique    
Fri 2013.04.19   Critique   Effects 2
Week 13 Mon 2013.04.22   Critique    
Wed 2013.04.24 Vince De Quattro, 32TEN Studios Critique    
Fri 2013.04.26   Critique   Foley
Week 14 Mon 2013.04.29   Critique    
Wed 2013.05.01 Profs Brian Barsky and Carlo Sequin Critique    
Fri 2013.05.03   Critique   Polish
Week 15 Mon 2013.05.06
  Critique (RRR Week)    
Wed 2013.05.08   Critique (RRR Week)    
Fri 2013.05.10   Critique (RRR Week)    

Tue 2013.05.14 11:30-2:30pm

  Screening and Wrap Party and HKN forms in 306 Soda    
Visits 2013.05.23   Leave Berkeley at 11:30am (Google Maps says trip takes 48m)
EA (12:45 - 2pm), (EA directions to 250 Shoreline Dr, Redwood City)
Dreamworks (2 - 4pm) tours at 1400 - A Seaport Blvd, Redwood City
K1 Speed ($26 arrive-and-drive vs $50 party (4:30pm-) at 160 Beacon St, South San Francisco CA
Visits 2013.05.24   ILM (10am - 12:30pm) (ILM directions to One Letterman Drive, San Francisco),
Telltale Games (1pm-3:45pm) tours at 4000 Civic Center Drive, San Rafael


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, 777 Soda

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

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