Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Advanced Modelling and Character Animation

Course summary

Course code: COMP1473
Level: 6
Credits: 30
School: Architecture, Computing and Hums
Department: Computing and Information Sys.
Course Coordinator(s): Damon Daylamani-Zad


Pre and co requisites

COMP1289 - 3D Animation.


This course aims to provide students with a chance to identify an area of the animation industry they would like/want to work in, and develop a showreel of work to help them into their chosen industry. To achieve this, exampleswill be shown of other projects (professional and student) to help identify the areas of work that currently exist. This will range from games modelling and animation through to motion capture.

Key areas of focus include:
Use of advanced techniques (especially those employed in industry) to develop character modelling and/or animation skills;
To provide an advanced and comprehensive understanding of modelling;
To develop the student's use of modelling techniques related to character development and design;
To highlight and discuss current trends in the animation industries;
Use digitising techniques to aid the development of 3D models;
Discuss and evaluate animation styles to communicate intended meaning;
Understand and work through the motion capture process in detail, from basics such as aligning markers, to more advanced techniques such cleaning data in software such as MotionBuilder and Maya.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this course a student will be able to:

1 Appraise a variety of modelling and/or animation methods
2 Compose pre-production materials that are focused on a specific area of the animation industry
3 Construct modelling, animation and the development of ideas through the creation of a product
4 Research, critically evaluate and apply advanced character modelling techniques and methods.

Indicative content

This course will cover a range of subject areas, including but not limited to:
Investigation of appropriate 3D Animation programs (e.g. 3D Studio Max, Maya);
Investigation of 2D animation methods and programs (ToonBoom, iStopmotion);
Effective character design methods using both pencil and computer;
Traditional drawing and 3D Design;
Investigation of a scripting language and expressions to control movement and animation;
Advanced features of the NURBS and SPLINE editing systems;
Use of software to create a short animation (on time and meeting specified requirements);
Animation futures and trends - using critical techniques;
Motion capture and digitising theory and practice;
Group work and collaboration;
Lectures/demonstrations to highlight techniques used in industry.

Teaching and learning activity

The learning and teaching activities will be a mixture of theoretical and practical aspects each week. Lecturers will cover theories related to modelling and animation processes/techniques. Some lectures will include discussions and idea generating sessions. Extensive examples will be shown, and critically assessed by students. Demonstrations will take place in lectures where student will be expected to take notes and apply the skills in tutorial sessions. Students are expected to contextualise information presented in lectures into their own work (methods and techniques). Material will be introduced in lectures and practised in tutorial and laboratories.

Alongside the formal contact hours students will have extra resource in the form of electronic recording of teaching materials (such as some lectures), podcasts of important exercises, regular additional help sessions (LABS+) and feedback and support from the teaching team over a range of communication routes (including but not limited to Twitter, eMail, Skype, Phone and IM).

Learning Time (1 credit = 10 hours):

Scheduled contact hours:
Note: include in scheduled time: project supervision, demonstrations, practical classes and workshops, supervised time in studio or workshop, scheduled lab work, fieldwork, external visits, work-based learning where integrated into a structured academic programme.
Lectures 20;
Seminars 20;
Supervised practical sessions 20;
Tutorials 20;
Formative assessment 20;
Other scheduled time 20.

Guided independent study:
Note: include in guided independent study preparation for scheduled sessions, follow up work, wider reading or practice, revision.
Independent coursework 155;
Independent laboratory work 20;
Other non-scheduled time 5.

Placements (including work placement and year abroad) 0.

Total Hours (should be equal to credit x 10) 300.


Methods of assessment: coursework 1; grading mode - numeric; weighting% - 15%; pass mark - 40%; word length - 2,000; outline details - written assignment: A research and evaluative essay on animation scripting languages, including comparisons between different languages and critical evaluation of their use; learning outcomes assessed - D.

Methods of assessment: coursework 2; grading mode - numeric; weighting% - 25%; pass mark - 40%; word length - n/a; outline details - portfolio: Independent Learning Plan, containing a proposal (pre-production work) for an element of animation with an investigation and examples of various methods for creating the identified element; learning outcomes assessed - A,B,C.

Methods of assessment: coursework 3; grading mode - numeric; weighting% - 60%; pass mark - 40%; word length - 1,500; outline details - product output: creation of a product related to 3D Animation, based on the work completed for Coursework 2, including an evaluation; last item of assessment - yes; learning outcomes assessed - C,D.

Students are required to pass all components in order to pass the course.