To see the students' completed assignments, visit the gallery.
The course culminates in the development of your own animation piece. This can be done individually or in groups of two or three students; in the case of a group project, the duration of the piece should be at least one minute. Other than that, remember to keep it as simple and short as possible. The story for your final project is of your choosing; however, Prof. Barsky must approve the topic idea after you present it.
- 30 seconds to 1 minute of animation
- Line test quality (pencil, no color)
- Personal or group project (1 or 2 or 3 students)
- Group projects will be one minute of animation minimum
- 2 characters maximum
- include title and credits
- include soundtrack
In addition to sketches for your pitch, think about how to describe your story in a concise, compelling manner. Provide some description of each character. Think about what each character needs and what struggles there will be for him/her trying to get it.
- Nov. 6: pitch your idea (thumbnail sketches to visualize the story)
- Nov. 13: storyboard (character design with two views: front and profile)
- Nov. 20: layout and animation
- Nov. 27: editing
- Dec. 4: presentation
Exercise 0 - Flipbook
This is a group project. Each of you will draw a simple image on a 5"x8" index card. Then you will animate some sort of transition to the image of the student seated to your right; the last student will animate a transition to the image of the first student. Each transition should be approximately six seconds long. Those are the only constraints; feel free to experiment and be creative!
Exercise 1 - Falling Lines
You will make three separate animations depicting 'falling lines'. The first line should fall like a feather, the second like a string, and the third like a tree trunk. Draw only a simple line, not the actual object. The idea is to portray motion, not do complex drawing. Use paths to figure the animation. Show what happens when each line hits the ground. Use momentum to express weight, speed and texture.
(Williams: pp. 35-40, 260-1)
Exercise 2 - Bouncing Ball
In this classic animation exercise, you will depict a ball bouncing along a flat surface. The intent is to utilize spacing, timing, and squash and stretch to create a believable sense of motion and weight.
(Williams pp. 35-40, 93-5)
Exercise 3 - Two Squares
Animate two squares crossing the screen. One square should be heavy; the other should be light. Preferably show only one square on screen at a time. The squares should exhibit personality and feel like characters; show anticipation, action, reaction, what happens when they stop, and why they stop. Exaggerate the action and make it amusing. Before animating, draw some thumbnail sketches for your extremes.
(Whitaker pp. 26-37, Williams pp. 256-284)
Exercise 4 - Walk Cycle
Animate the character walking in place (as if on a treadmill) in the middle of the screen. It should be a profile view with a ground plane on which the figure will walk. Usually, one step is 8 drawings and the whole cycle is 16 drawings. Use a simple jointed figure (such as the one in the middle of page 108 in the Williams book), and use different colors or shading to distinguish the foreground and background limbs. Concentrate on mechanics, locomotion, and weight. Be careful that the volumes and body masses are consistent. This exercise is a cycle, so draw the frames such that they can loop seamlessly when repeated.
(Williams pp. 108-166)
Exercise 5 - Sack Pantomime
Animate a flour sack with two opposite expressions; for example, happy/sad, shy/flamboyant, lethargic/hyperactive. Concentrate on weight, texture and timing. Think about the composition -- how it appears on the screen. Create at least three seconds of animation for each expression. Have the sack move around on the screen, and not just stay in the same spot.