Computer Science 39a : Schedule

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(red) Reading assignment
(vcr) Movie shown
(doc) Handout
(net) Online document
(mac) Computer demonstration
(who) Student Presentation

The Schedule

1. (We 99-08-25) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Introduction, student queries. We talked about enrollment issues, looked at the post-its from previous years and began a discussion of the reasons that made them work or not work.
(doc) 1. General Information
(doc) 2. HW #1 due 9/3 : Post-it animation and UNIX intro
(net)(vcr) "Squid" by Keren Albala (supervisor / writer), Westley Sarokin, HP Duiker, Corey Creasey, and Felix Chu
(net)(vcr) "Clumsy Kid" by James Pine (supervisor / writer), Alvin Moy, Lei Shen, Ryan Osborn, and Liz Saura
(net)(vcr) "Storyboard Joe" by Pei-Yiing Amy Lee (supervisor / writer), Thomas Jordan, Dan Tieu, and Tony Maul
2. (Fr 99-08-27) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Discussion of 2D versus 3D, perspective, camera angles (using the point of view for better readability and different audience perception), camera motion (panning the scene or circling the characters), posing and staging characters, symmmetry of the scene, silhouettes, and use of sound.

(doc) cs39a account forms
(vcr) "The Tetra-Pak Story" by Pixar
(red) Maestri: Chapter 5: Posing Digital Characters (Chapter 7 in the new edition) -- do not worry about the exercises for now. Concentrate more on the notion of posing characters and how to apply it to your 2D animations for now. You will implement characters in 3D later in the semester.
3. (We 99-09-01) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Keyframing (in the context of the Post-It assignment) and more on camera motions (dolly motion versus zooming). Discussion of things to keep in mind for the Post-It assignment.

(vcr) "Celmates - three Winnipeg animators (Brad Caslor, Cordell Barker and Richard Condie)."
4. (Fr 99-09-03) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Check out Post-It assignments. Talk about web pages and Stick Figure animation for assignment 2.
HW #2 due 9/10 : Stick Figure Animation and WWW
(vcr) "The Big Snit", 1985 Oscar nominee by Richard Condie
5. (We 99-09-08) Jonathan Luskin (Franz Inc.)
The production of a computer animated feature film typically involves 150 artists, 100,000 rendered frames, 2 terabytes of data, and multiple production locations. Managing data and workflow with standard computer file systems and communication software is extremely difficult.
The Bunny system, from Franz Inc., is an extensible software infrastructure for managing digital assets and workflow. Bunny production management features include versioning of assets, concurrent access control, multilayered permission and security, annotation of assets, change control, notification, and task tracking. Bunny uses a client/server architecture. A Java client permits access from remote locations and a variety of computer workstations. Meta data objects are managed using AllegroStore, which combines ObjectStore with CLOS, the advanced Common Lisp Object System. The Unix file system is used to store and retrieve the digital assets.
Franz Inc. is the world's leading vendor of dynamic object-oriented development tools featuring CLOS, the only ANSI-standard dynamic object-oriented language. The company's mission is to deliver leading-edge development products that enable corporate and independent software developers to build sophisticated, flexible and adaptive applications quickly and easily.
6. (Fr 99-09-10) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
General concerns in compositing. Key ideas in traditional animation (squash and stretch with volume preservation, anticipation, etc.). Timing-related issues including achieving smooth motion.
(doc) 3. Disney Animiation: The Illusion of Life
(vcr) "The Cat Came Back", 1988 Oscar nominee by Cordell Barker /TD>
7. (We 99-09-15) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
We talk about interpolation and see how to use the Morph program.

(net) HW #3 online due 9/22 : Morph yourselves to each other
(mac) Morph 2.5 demo
(vcr) "SIGGRAPH 99 Proceedings: A Morphable Model for the Synthesis of 3D Faces" by Volker Blanz and Thomas Vetter (Max-Planck-Institut fur biologische Kybernetik, Tubingen, Germany.
(vcr) "Hunger" by Marceli Wein, 1974 (mwein@WatCGL.UWaterloo.CA)
8. (Fr 99-09-17) Jeffrey B. Light, Motion Capture Supervisor (Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.)

"The Animator's New Toolkit"

Motion capture, dynamic simulations and procedural animation techniques are changing the way animation is created for feature films. It is becoming possible to render more complex photorealistic imagery due to faster and cheaper processors, but the emerging challenge is to make it MOVE realistically and expressively. Motion capture techniques allow for the acquisition of realistic motion, but it must be carefully directed and nearly always requires additional manipulation by a skilled animator. Is it worth the trouble? Dynamic simulations employ physics equations to determine the trajectories of particles and flying debris, but how difficult is it to get what the director wants?
These new tools have been a challenge both technically and emotionally for animators to embrace. "Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace" and "The Mummy" will be used as example cases to demonstrate the problems and partial solutions to these challenges that face computer animators today.

Jeff Light joined Industrial Light & Magic in 1990 as a software developer in the scanning department. There he served on the team that developed the Kodak/ILM input scanner which received a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in 1994. Over the last several years, Light has spearheaded both the research and development of ILM's motion capture department, where he served as the department's manager.
Light received his Bachelors of Fine Arts and Masters of Art degrees in Cinema from Ohio State University. In addition to his studies at Ohio State, Light has also taught both film and classical/computer animation there. Light has also worked at Cranston/Csuri Productions in Columbus, Ohio as a computer graphics artist.


1999 STAR WARS: EPISODE I The PhantomMenace - Motion CaptureSupervisor
1999 THE MUMMY - Motion Capture Supervisor
1997 SPAWN - Motion Capture Supervisor
1997 STAR WARS TRILOGY SPECIAL EDITION - Motion Capture Supervisor
1996 DRAGONHEART - CG Animator/Technical Director
1995 CASPER - Supervising Animator
1993 JURASSIC PARK - Technical Director
1992 DEATH BECOMES HER - Technical Director
1991 HOOK - Technical Director
1991 TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY - Software Developer (Scanning Dept.)
9. (We 99-09-22) Dan Garcia
We will have a crash-course in three dimensions, see how to draw an articulated figures, understand hierarchies, and talk about forward and inverse kinematics. We discuss how to do the next assignment. See a SPAM demo.
(doc) 4. The Conventional Keyframe Animation Process
(doc) 5. Hierarchical Articulated Figure
(net) HW #4 online due 9/24 : Experiment with SPAM, a forward-kinematics application
(mac) SPAM demo
(red) Maestri: Chapter 2: Modeling Bodies for Animation pp.26-34 (Chapter 6 pp. 117-128 in the new edition) and Chapter 7: Walking and Locomotion (Chapter 9 in the new edition).
10. (Fr 99-09-24) Dan Wexler (PDI)

Global Illumination in Production?

Global illumination techniques for complex scenes have advanced to the point where they are just becoming practical for use on feature film production. The film Antz had an average scene complexity measuring in the tens of millions of primitives, and our next feature Shrek may average over a hundred million primitives. We must render tens of thousands of test frames each week and final frames must include depth of field, motion blur, volumetric effects and must render in under eight hours. These requirements alone would daunt even the newest global illumination techniques, but this talk will show why, despite advances in algorithms and computing power, the production industry may forever eschew physically correct lighting algorithms. The aesthetic requirements of an animator often require violating physical laws and success is often achieved by providing a tool which is more controlable and understandable for non-technical artists.

Dan Wexler spent the last four years developing a new rendering and shading system for Pacific Data Images used on a variety of feature film projects including Antz and the upcoming feature, Shrek. He attended the University of Californa at Berkeley where he studied radiosity algorithms before working Sun Microsytems and Xaos Tools. His research interests include complex scene management, image based rendering, and shadow algorithms, but most of his time is spent fixing aliasing problems and listening to animators complain about the renderer.

11. (We 99-09-29) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
We talk about and demonstrate the basics of a 3D software program: Basic Interface, Modeling (adding, editing, deleting simple objects), Hierarchies (creating links and the different coordinate systems), Simple Surface Properties and Texture, Basic Lighting, Animation (using snapsnots and event markers in the sequencer), and Deformation using the example program Infini-D on the Macintosh. We learn how to animate our articulated figure using the sequencer, create a movie, and flatten it using Quicktime Pro.
(mac) Infini-D / Quicktime Demo
(net)(vcr) "Infini-D Links Demo"
(net) HW #5 online due 10/6 : Create a 3-D articulated figure
12. (Fr 99-10-01) Michael Collery (Pacific Data Images)

The Making of Antz

This talk will outline the stages of production, the various departments involved and the flow of work from story to final render, and will also discuss special techniques developed by PDI for the film.

Michael Collery is currently Digital Matte Painting Supervisor on PDI's next feature film "Shrek". He holds a BFA in Expanded Arts and an MA in Computer Animation from Ohio State University, and has over 20 years of experience in the computer animation field.
(net) HW #6 online due 10/13 : Design a Rube Goldberg scene

13. (We 99-10-06) Professor Brian Barsky
Meet the Faculty Day (606 Soda)
14. (Fr 99-10-08) Bret Mogilefsky (Sony Computer Entertainment America, Research and Development)
  • Game engine constraints and prior work
  • How the backgrounds work
    • Artists' work in Softimage
    • Camera data for "matchmove"
    • Output and truncation of the z-buffer
    • Alternate method: pop-up planes with masking
    • Object states, top and bottom layers
  • How the characters work
    • Softimage animation of rigid meshes
    • Blending animations
    • Limb tags in node hierarchy
    • Priority channels attached to tags avoid unwanted blends
    • Choreography tool
  • What we'd do differently
15. (We 99-10-13) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Student Rube Goldberg design presentations. Organization of modeling responsibilities. We learn about creating and editing spline and mesh objects and how to add textures. We learn how to grab clip-objects and textures from the Infini-D CDROM.
(mac) Infini-D
(net) HW #7 online due 10/20 : Model all your Rube Goldberg objects
16. (Fr 99-10-15) Miguel A. Fuertes, Computer Graphics Animation Supervisor (Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.)

... the importance of bouncing ball to obtain weight.

  • What spacing, timing and sqash and stretch does to animation, and how to get them in computer graphics.
  • How to communicate an idea using those tools.
  • The importance of interpretation of reality to communicate the idea.
  • An overview of the two levels of animation:
    1. Movement and the basics of it.
    2. Acting and how to use the tools of movement to achieve it.

... the importance of the bouncing ball concept for obtaining weight in computer (and all sorts of) animation.

  • The importance of spacing and timing.
  • What squash and stretch does to animation and how to obtain it with rigid computer models.
  • The importance of exageration (or interpretation ) of reality to communicate an idea.
  • Some of the tools and concepts animators use to communicate and stage their idea better.
  • Basically, an overview of the two levels of animation:
    1. Movement and the basics of it.
    2. Acting and how to use the tools of movement to communicate.

Miguel Fuertes joined Industrial Light & Magic in 1994 to work on the film Casper. He is a graduate of The Information & Sciences University in Madrid, Spain. Prior to ILM, Fuertes worked as an animator, storyboard artist and camera operator for Hanna Barbera on a number of animated projects including The Flintstones, The Jetsons, Smurfs, various television specials, features and his own mini-series for children. In 1989, Fuertes joined Amblimation, Steven Spielbergs animation studio in London, as a classical animator on the films, Fievel Goes West, Were Back and Balto. In addition to his career as animation supervisor at ILM, he has been teaching classical animation at the Animation Workshop in Denmark.


1999 STAR WARS: EPISODE I The Phantom Menace - Lead Animator
1997 THE LOST WORLD: JURASSIC PARK - Computer Graphics Lead Animator
1996 DRAGONHEART - Computer Graphics Animator
1994 CASPER - Computer Graphics Animation Supervisor
17. (We 99-10-20) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
We learn how to add more interesting lighting, use various cameras, and use different animation techniques on Infini-D. We find out how to include sound effects. We discuss how to animate the Rube Goldberg scenes.
(mac) Infini-D
(net) Protozoa Animations
(net) HW #8 online due 10/27 : Animate your Rube Goldberg scene
18. (Fr 99-10-22) Ed Catmull, Executive Vice President and Chief Technical Officer, Office of the President (Pixar Animation Studios)
Dr. Catmull is a co-founder of Pixar and serves as the companys vice president and chief technical officer of Pixar since the incorporation of the company. In 1979 Dr. Catmull brought his high-technology expertise to the film industry as vice president of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm, Ltd. During that time, Dr. Catmull managed four development efforts in the area of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio. He was also a key developer of RenderMan, the Academy Award-winning program that creates realistic digital effects for computer graphics and animation. Dr. Catmull was awarded the Scientific and Technical Engineering Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his work. He also won the Coons Award, which is the highest achievement in computer graphics, for his lifetime contributions. Dr. Catmull is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts andSciences and the Science and Technical Awards Committee. Dr. Catmull earned his Ph.D. in computer science in 1974 from the University of Utah.
19. (We 99-10-27) Usual teaching staff (Lillian Chu)
We look at the Rube Goldberg animations. Discuss what was easy and what was difficult. We also talk about the final projects and paper presentations.
(net) Final Project Storyboards due 11/03
(net) Paper Topics and Groups due 11/03
20. (Fr 99-10-29) Cary Phillips, Software Engineer, Computer Graphics Software Group (Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.)

Creature Software for Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace

The making of "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" involved creating almost 100 different species of organic creatures, including the four major talking digital actors, Jarjar Binx, Boss Nass, Watto, and Sebulba. The modelling and animation of so many creatures with such complex skin, many of which had speaking roles that required great subtlety of facial expressions, was an enormous challenge. To accomplish this, ILM used a combination of commercial software packages and proprietary in-house tools. The software engineers at ILM maintain a very close relationship with the artists who use the tools. It is our goal to provide the tools necessary for the artists to bring the creatures to life and move them through the animation process as quickly and as efficiently as possible.

Cary Phillips came to Industrial Light & Magic in 1994 after spending three years as a software engineer at Pacific Data Images. He holds a Ph.D. in Computer Graphics from the University of Pennsylvania, where he studied with Dr. Norman Badler, and has MSE and BES degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Johns Hopkins University. Notably, Phillips developed the facial animation software for the talking dragon in Dragonheart and the monkeys in Jumanji. He is one of the principal developers of ILM's current digital system for describing and animating complex skinned creatures. This ILM proprietary animation software, called "Caricature," now plays an instrumental role in all character animation done at ILM.


1999 STAR WARS: EPISODE I The Phantom Menace
1998 FROST
1997 RETURN OF THE JEDI: Special Edition
21. (We 99-11-03) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Student storyboard presentations. We decide what the final project groups will be. Paper presentation groups will also be finalized.
22. (Fr 99-11-05) Jonathan Gibbs (Pacific Data Images)

Crowd System

Crowds were a key story point in the film Antz. After all, you can't really have a movie about a colony of ants without seeing thousands of them! However, the animation and rendering of thousands of ants can be a pretty daunting task, especially when the director starts talking about situations as diverse as battling termites, a crowded bar, and ants gathering together to form construction equipment. In order to do these scenes, we developed the PDI crowd system. I will talk about this system, how it was developed and how it was used on the film. I will also discuss the role of the Effects department and the Effects animator on an all-CG film.

Jonathan Gibbs has been at PDI for just over two years. He was a lead Effects animator on the film Antz, and spent most of his time developing the PDI crowd system. Jonathan is currently working on PDI's next feature film, Shrek. On Shrek he is spending most of his time working on various rendering problems such as skin, hair and fur as well as continuing to improve the crowd system. Before joining PDI, Jonathan recieved his MS degree from UCSC and his BS degree from Principia College both in Computer Science.

23. (We 99-11-10) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Final project object check.
(mac) Infini-D Animation Tips
24. (Fr 99-11-12) Douglas Smith (Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.)


Storytelling in print or on film is a sequential medium. The art of storytelling is what information is presented and how one arranges the order of presentation. Staging is the presenting of information in the most effective manner possible. Each shot in a film relies on the information that has already been presented so good staging is essential to building a good story. In short, "Is the audience looking in the right spot?" The elements of staging are myriad and include composition, contrast, lighting, motion and posture. Understanding how these interrelate to communicate an idea is essential to effective storytelling.

Douglas Edward Smith. Native of Brampton, Ontario, Canada. Attended two years of Classical Animation program (1988-1990) at Sheridan College before joining animation industry full-time.
Worked as an in-betweener during the summer between 1st and 2nd year, at Lightbox Studios on several television spots. Worked exclusively as an animator after second year on numerous animated television shows including Tiny Toon Adventures, Goof Troop, Pirates of Dark Water, Fish Police, Wish that Changed Christmas, Mumfie the Elephant and others even more embarassing to mention. In 1993 I was in Taiwan as the overseas supervisor for the second season of Eek the Cat and the Terrible(!) Thunder Lizards.
Began career in CG animation in 1994 with production of Casper at ILM. Subsequent work included DragonHeart and Jurassic Park:the Lost World which included significant character setup in addition to my animating duties. More recent work has included extensive pre-production on Hulk (cancelled), Mighty Joe Young and further pre-production on an all CG feature.

25. (We 99-11-17) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)

(mac) Using Adobe Premiere
26. (Fr 99-11-19) Laurence Arcadias, Animation Film Maker / Interaction Designer (Kodak Imagination Works)

After I failed my Art school degrees in France, I started to work in Paris as an illustrator and animation filmmaker.

I created a few short films for T.V., and I directed "Alex" an animation series for channel A2 in France. It was given the best short TV series award at the Annecy film festival 1988. The series was bought and broadcast all over Europe and Japan (NHK).

I received a Grant from the French government (BOURSE LAVOISIER) and an invitation from Apple 's ATG graphics group where I spent 2-1/2 years. I produced an animation film, "The Donor Party" shown in international festivals, released by Canal Plus France, Channel 4 in London and distributed by Manga entertainment.

I joined Berkeley System in 1993 and designed screen savers: Bad Dog is now the main character of a TV series on Fox. Then I worked for different game companies: Convivial, Illumina, Purple Moon as animator/ animation director and character designer.

Then I decided to use my skills as an animator in a different industry. I worked for "Kodak Imagination Works" as an interaction designer, designing and building a few prototypes for the entertainment industry. Recently I spent a few months at IDEO on a R&D project thinking about new ways of doing prototypes.

Now I am part of Celery Design developing projects for different clients. I plan to teach some animation workshops in Europe next spring.

I’ll show some examples of my work, from linear to interactive animation, and I’ll try to explain how animation can be used as a tool to convey ideas in different fields.

27. (We 99-11-24)

No class.

28. (We 99-11-26)

Thanksgiving Holiday!

29. (We 99-12-01) Usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Student paper presentations.
  • Bonnie, Helen, Johnny -- "A Computer System for Movement Schemas"
  • Seema, Mike, Vickie -- Video Game Paper
  • Liane, Colleen, Josh -- "Composition of Realistic Animation Sequences for Multiple Human Figures"
  • Bedros, Oscar, Jen -- "A Robot that Walks: Emergent Behaviors from a Carefully Evolved network"
  • Badi, Brent, Chris -- "Motor Programs as Units of Movement Control"
30. (We 99-12-03) John Andrew Berton Jr., Visual Effects Supervisor (Industrial Light & Magic, a division of Lucas Digital Ltd.) and usual teaching staff (Prof. Brian Barsky and Lillian Chu)
Final Project Screening and Wrap Up.
John Berton will be our guest film critic.

John Berton joined Industrial Light & Magic's computer graphics team in 1990 to work on the feature film "Terminator 2: Judgment Day." He most recently supervised the visual effects for Universal Studios' "The Mummy." He holds a B.A. degree in Communications and Film from Denison University in Granville, Ohio and an M.A. in Art Education/Computer Graphics from The Ohio State University. Prior to ILM, Berton created computer animation and electronic music for both commercial and artistic productions including Cranston/Csuri Productions, The Ohio Supercomputer Center, The Ohio State University and Mental Images GmbH.


1999 THE MUMMY - Visual Effects Supervisor
1997 DEEP RISING - Visual Effects Supervisor
1996 MEN IN BLACK - Computer Graphics Supervisor
1996 STAR WARS TRILOGY SPECIAL EDITION - Computer Graphics Supervisor
1995 CASPER - Supervising Digital Effects Artist
1994 THE MASK - Computer Graphics Department Operations Manager
1994 BABY'S DAY OUT - Computer Graphics Department Operations Manager
1994 THE FLINTSTONES - Computer Graphics Department Operations Manager
1993 JURASSIC PARK - Computer Graphics Department Operations Manager
1992 DEATH BECOMES HER - Computer Graphics Department Operations Manager
1991 STAR TREK VI - Computer Graphics Animator
1991 TERMINATOR 2: JUDGMENT DAY - Computer Graphics Animator

Lillian Chu (

UC Berkeley | Computer Science | CS39a