SHE Level 2
SCQF Credit Points 20.00
ECTS Credit Points 10.00
Module Code M2W222970
Module Leader Stephen Anderson
School School of Computing, Engineering and Built Environment
Subject Applied Computer Games
  • B (January start)

Pre-Requisite Knowledge

Introduction to 3D Modelling or equivalent

Summary of Content

This module provides the student with an introduction to the 3D Animation process and gives the student an opportunity to develop the skills required to produce a short 3D computer animated sequence. Students will focus on creating realistic motions for rigid and soft body models and explore appropriate modelling, rendering and animation techniques. Students shall also explore creation of appropriate character bone rigs and skinning and weight application. Basic techniques for creation of full body motion and facial expression will be studied.


The syllabus will cover the following areas: Pre-production design workflow process: Storyboard creation and planning. Gathering reference for mood, environment materials and lighting Project planning and scheduling. Identifying and applying principles of animation. Morph targets for facial animation Key frame animation techniques. Animation curves and developing expression. The development and construction of a bone based character animation rig and attachment to a 3D character mesh. Inverse and forward kinematic techniques for animation.

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:1. Research and develop an appropriate solution to a design brief including, preparation of pre-production assets for use within an animation pipeline.2. Develop storyboard from concept to production workflow to include production of PreVis and evaluation of sequence as part of workflow.3. Demonstrate an understanding of the history and development of 3D computer animation and design.4. Produce a range of 3D models with attention to form and structure, with attention on animating the completed model to show knowledge and understanding of Rules of Animation.5. Develop a 3D Character Animation and create a control rig to allow realistic animation. Focus on realistic character weights, timing of motion and consideration of motion and expression.

Teaching / Learning Strategy

The University 'Strategy for Learning' documentation has informed the learning and teaching strategy for this module. The course will be presented as a programme of lectures supported by tutorials and associated practical lab work. Students are directed to planning skills throughout the course, further enhance their creative and technical skills through practise and improve communication skills through oral presentations, group based discussions and critique sessions. Tutorials and laboratory exercises will help students develop their technical skills using industry standard tools and improve techniques through practise. Will further explain, elaborate and put in to practise certain concepts covered in the lecture material. Lectures, lab exercises and video tutorials will be made available for the students on GCU Learn. Additional online digital video material will enhance support via GCU Learn and encourage flexible student learning and encourage students to engage with alternative digital resources. Student will receive formative feedback throughout the programme, further feedback and grades will be provided for the coursework assignment undertaken as part of the module.

Indicative Reading

Palmer, Todd (2015) Mastering Autodesk Maya 2016: Autodesk Official Press ISBN-10: 1119059828 Williams, Richard (2009) The Animator's Survival Kit, London, Faber and Faber. ISBN 0571238343 Steve Roberts (2004) Character Animation in 3D, : Use traditional drawing techniques to produce stunning CGI animation (Focal Press Visual Effects and Animation), Focal Press. ISBN 0240516656 Thomas, Frank (1995) The illusion of life: Disney animation, New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0786860707 Brooker. Darren, "Essential CG Lighting Techniques with 3ds Max" 2008, Focal Press ISBN 024052117X Maestri. George, "Digital Character Animation 3, Essential Techniques" 2006, New Riders Press, ISBN 1562059300 Kelly. Doug, "Character Animation In Depth: The Complete Expert's Guide to Professional Character Animation" 1998, Coriolis Group Books ISBN 1566047714 Allen et al. Eric, "Body Language: Advanced 3D Character Rigging" 2008, Sybex, ISBN 0470173874 Reatner. Peter, "3-D Human Modeling and Animation" 2003, Wiley, ISBN 0471215481 Ghertner, Ed. "Layout and composition for animation" 2010, Focal Press/Elsevier, ISBN:9780240814414 Wells, Paul, "Drawing for animation" AVA Academia, 2009. ISBN:9782940373703 Williams, Richard, "The animator's survival kit: a manual of methods, principles and formulas for classical, computer games, stop motion and internet animators" 2009 ISBN:9780571238347

Transferrable Skills

Time management: organising, prioritising and planning work Independent working and self-reliance Reviewing and evaluating own learning, strengths and weaknesses Presentational skills Commercial Awareness Team working and Interpersonal Skills Computer literacy Self confidence, self discipline & self reliance (independent working) Awareness of strengths and weaknesses Creativity, innovation & independent thinking Knowledge of international affairs Appreciating and desiring the need for continuing professional development Reliability, integrity, honesty and ethical awareness Entrepreneurial, independence and risk-taking

Module Structure

Activity Total Hours
Independent Learning (FT) 122.00
Assessment (FT) 18.00
Practicals (FT) 48.00
Lectures (FT) 12.00

Assessment Methods

Component Duration Weighting Threshold Description
Coursework 1 n/a 100.00 40% Final Coursework submission