15-465 and 60-414 Assignments
Turning in assignments
Turn in all assignments on the class vimeo site.
Assignment 1: Animating in Maya
- Build at least two objects by manipulating polygonal primitive shapes provided in Maya.
- Create a rendered animation that uses at least one nonlinear deformer in 150-300 frames and render it with lights, shadows and textures. There should be no compression on the images.
- Make your frames into a movie using the H.264 codec.
use of deformer:
effective for the piece
level of difficulty
appropriate motion for the character
motion is motivated by the character's actions
light and shadow
resolution and color of shadows
allows the action to be seen
camera motion (optional)
if used, does it add to the impact of the scene
appropriate for the scene
consistent in look and feel
texture resolution and mapping
appropriate design for character
In Maya help these paths will be useful
Learning Resources>getting started with Maya>Maya Basics
Learning Resources>getting started with Maya>Polygonal Modeling
Learning Resources>getting started with Maya>Animation (lessons 1 and 4)
Learning Resources>getting started with Maya>Rendering (lessons 1, 2 and 3)
Additional paths in Maya help that apply to this lesson for more advanced
Using Maya>Modeling;Polygonal Modeling
Using Maya>Animation, character Setup, and Deformers>Nonlinear deformers
Using Maya>Rendering and Render Setup>Lighting>Basics of Lighting
Using Maya>Rendering and Render Setup>Shading>About shading and texturing
Using Maya>Rendering and Render Setup>Rendering
For this project you will have to render your files out and create a movie.
Below are instructions for rendering so that your images will play back
correctly. When you are looking at your files be sure to have the playback
set to '30fps realtime', rather than 'play every frame', while working on your
animation. Otherwise your animations will end up playing back too fast.
To render frames:
1) Go to the "Render Global Settings" Window
(Window->Rendering Editors->Render Globals)
2) Go to the "Image File Output" tab (should be open already) and
verify/Change the following settings:
File Name Prefix: (not set; using filename)
Frame/Animation Ext: name.###.ext
Image Format: We suggest jpg.
Frame Padding should be set as follows:
If you have 1-9 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 1
If you have 10-99 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 2
If you have 100-999 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 3
If you have 1000-9999 frames in your animation - Frame Padding = 4
3) Go to the "Resolution" tab (should be open already) and goto the
"Presets" pulldown and select "1280x720" (HD720).
4) Set any other settings, such as quality, etc. Then goto the "Rendering"
menu set and select Render->Batch Render.
5) Test your frames as a movie to make sure that you are happy
with the speed of your animation.
6) Then create a movie from your frames and upload it to vimeo for viewing in class
using the instructions presented in class.
Assignment 1: Technical Assignment
You will be able to choose one of the following topics.
You will create a short animation using the assigned technology. You
will present the animation in class during the crit. Come prepared
to describe how you used the technology for your animated sequence.
Make an effort to fully exercise the technology so that you develop a
good understanding of what is possible, what is not possible and what is
easy/hard with this technology so that you can convey that information
to the class during the crit.
N-mesh, cloth and cloth colliding with cloth
Trax editor + Expression editor/MEL
N-Particle systems + Soft/Rigid bodies and dynamic constraints
Fluids + Dynamic effects (Fire, smoke, fireworks, lightening, shatter)
Bifröst (Foam, guided liquid simulations)
N-Hair, Fur, Strokes, XGen and shading nodes
Animation editor with mocap from mocap library
Sculpting toolset, Mud box + Referencing
Advanced rigging: facial rigs + using set driven keys with skeletons
Render Layer editor and AfterEffects compositing + Mental ray rendering
Stretchable character models. Delta Mush deformer
Advanced Materials, layered materials, materials editor and subsurface scatter.
Depth of exploration
Success of exploration
Conveying the functionality of the tech feature to the audience (primarily Tech Assignments 1 and 2)
Applicability to the team project (Assignment 3)
Each student will pitch a story.
You will need to create
5-10 essential storyboard images. You may use any software (or
pencil and paper) to create them.
The first image should be a title card and include
the name of the person who made it. Create a two minute animation of your story board with pacing appropriate for your pitch (rehearse your pitch to check the timing).
Upload your animation to vimeo in the storyboard channel.
Come to class prepared to pitch your story.
fits in 2 minutes
number of characters
number of environments
Is Animation critical to the piece?
Look and feel
After the initial pitch storyboards will be narrowed and students will be
partnered to develop the ideas further.
One member of your team is responsible for uploading the revised storyboard to Vimeo. It should be a two minute video with timing that works for your pitch. Both team members should participate in the pitch.
Assignment 2: Modeling in Maya
Create a fully articulated character model of your own design and animate it using a rigged skeleton with IK/RK controllers. Output to a movie on Vimeo. Your character should convey personality through its gait in 150 to 300 frames.
For assistance the LEARNING AUTODESK MAYA text book has tutorials:
for building skeletons and skinning pp 229 - 259
for animating using IK and trax editor pp. 275 -331
For assistance from online tutorials:
Go to Maya help
In the Search box type "Walking"
Animation, Character Setup, and Deformers
43. Examples: Working with full body IK
There are three examples in this exercise for humanlike body movement
Example 1: Bending over to touch the floor.
Example 2: Crawling on hands and knees across the floor.
Example 3: Walking across the floor.
Modeling Cartoon Characters in Maya
Character Rigging in Maya
Animating Cartoon Characters in Maya
Working with HumanIK Rigs in Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya with George Maestri
same as Assignment 1 with the following additions
foot contact with ground
contact appears to be propelling character forward
Assignment 2: Technical Assignment
You will be assigned a second topic from the list provided for Assignment 1 Technical
Assignment 3: Technical Element
Create a short animation (150-300 frames) that focuses on a technical
element from those listed in Assignment 1: Technical Assignment.
should discuss each individual's choice for this assignment and use this as an opportunity to test out potential methods
for creating a technical element for your animation project.
Grading Criteria: same as Assignment 1: Technical Assignment.
The animatic should be done entirely within Maya (no hand drawn scenes or
video). It should block out all of the scenes and give you a fairly precise
sense of the timing of the piece. You can create the animatic by moving
unrigged preliminary versions of your models (blocky characters) and
coarsely animating the key actions. Choose the camera angles and animate the
camera moves that you expect to have appear in the final piece. Put in cubes
or other simple shapes to represent the static elements of the scene. Make
sure that the characters move at approximately the right pace so that the
timing of the piece is realistic. For example, you might not animate a
walking cycle but make sure that your character slides along the ground at a
reasonable walking pace. If sound is critical you should have at least an
initial soundtrack to use as an editing reference. Your animatic should
become a "living document" where you add in scenes and characters as they
reach a more complete state for each critique during the rest of the
The animatic video should be uploaded by a member of your group to the animatic Vimeo channel.
- Is the narrative or sequence of events fully nailed down?
Are the camera angles and movement for all of shots resolved?
Are there solutions for the critical technical elements?
Is the look and feel resolved?
"Making Of" video:
Each team will put together a "Making Of" video for their project that will serve
as an archival record of your progress. At a minimum, the video should include:
The "Making Of" video must be turned in on Vimeo channel at the final crit.
pictures of the members of the team
model sheet for your characters showing them in key poses and being "exercised"
each iteration of the animatic that is presented in class or critiqued
The final projects will incorporate technical elements.
We will collect ideas for elements of the animations that might be
enhanced in this way throughout the semester. Here is a preliminary
- Incorporating motion capture data
- Non-photorealistic rendering techniques. See this site for sample scripts.
- Homegrown simulation of passive elements
- Extensive use of fluids, cloth, or fur
- Controllers that use audio to create animation in models.
- Grouping behaviors
The final videos (both the animation and the "Making Of" video) must be uploaded to the Vimeo channel in advance of the Final Crit.
Use a high quality and common codec such as H264
Each student should also independently send the instructors an
email with a list of what each member of the team contributed to the project
(including their own contribution).
Setting Things Up
You should be able to log into the machines in either CFA or Gates with your andrew ID.
The keys are different under linux than under windows. You can fix some
of these problems by following the instructions here:
go to help/library menu in maya
go to User notes
go to Linux desktop configuration
follow the instructions from there
We expect you to use box to store your files and to coordinate among your team members.
You must render to the hard drive on the Windows machines, the default render is set to your andrew user account. You must also move the files off of the hard drive before you log out, they will not stay on the hard drive after logout.
You can render to /tmp on the linux boxes. Those are periodically deleted so do NOT leave
your frames there long term.