Art IS 408: Computer Animation and Visualization

Steven Herrnstadt  Office: Design 580   294-3928




Course Goal:  This course will explore the potential of computer-assisted animation in communication of concepts and data.  The semester long project will be created as part of a team. In this course we will strive for a balance between technical, perceptual, and conceptual considerations. 




·         Develop a solid foundation in the digital work flow.

·         Learn to express abstract ideas or processes in a visual format for clarity.

·         Gain ability to express ideas critically about your own work and others work in a critique setting.

·         Demonstrate an understanding of basic digital capture processes (use of flatbed and film scanners, as well as using digital and analog input);

·         Demonstrate the use of soundtrack information when necessary.

·         Finish an animated piece communicating the concepts of the sound track provided.

·         To be able to create and keep current a meaningful project book including design documents and timelines.


**Subliminal message**
Back up your files to a separate CDR NOW!Responsibilities:

·         It is assumed that you are familiar with 3D modeling and animation techniques. There will be review in class as to some of the basics. You are to take advantage of tutorials and texts.

·          Never miss a critique.  If you miss class, it will be your responsibility to catch up—make sure you have another student’s contact information.  Demos will not be repeated, and missed classes may affect your evaluation.

·         Participation in class discussions and critiques, which include asking questions, bringing up topics of interest and sharing work, as well as keeping up to date with readings;

·         Assignments must be turned in on time; if work is not completed, bring work in progress.   All material turned in must be typed as appropriate and turned in on CDR. Turn in a COPY ONLY, you are to keep originals!!!

·         Be prepared and show weekly progress as part of project meetings held with the class

·         You and your team will keep an up to date project document.

·         You will turn keep and turn in individual project books and documentation in addition to the team project documents. These may be requested at any time.


Grading:  Grades will be based on the quality (technical, perceptual, and conceptual elements), timely completion of each assignment, the technical exercises, and the final portfolio.  I grade on individual effort, how well the requirements have been fulfilled, and the level of creativity.


Course Website TBA.


Required text: TBA as appropriate

Recommended text: Instant Maya,  The Cinema 4D R8 Handbook Adam Watkins.



·         Your time. Plan to spend a lot of time outside class. Digital inkjet printing via 4th floor copy center.


Supplies: Humour and patience,  sketch books, pencils, tracing paper, CDRs for archiving and back ups. 


Suppliers:  University Bookstore, Best Buy, Staples, etc.



·         Assignments:  I expect assignments and readings to be done on time.  All papers to be turned in to me must be typed.  We will be looking at and talking about work on a weekly basis.  If you are unable to finish work, I expect you to bring in “work in progress”. I expect everyone to be in class regardless of the status of their own work or hangover


Be prepared to work on your images during every class.


Critiques:  Criticism is to your advantage, that includes “nice” comments as well as “harsh” comments.  It is designed to help you see and learn how to better your art.  Do not be afraid to speak your mind during critiques; however, no personal attacks will be tolerated.  All opinions are welcome and have merit, but I retain ultimate control of the direction and management of the class. If for some reason you are offended please let me know. However, realize that there is a difference between being offended and harassed especially when it pertains to the arts and opinion. You are free to leave the class if you find the subject matter too offensive for your tastes. Bear in mind that this is a university and, as such, all types of inquiry and opinion, short of harassment, are welcome.  Racial, religious, etc. slurs will NOT be tolerated for any reason.


When in doubt, ask the question! Do not worry about making mistakes and feel free to play. It is the fastest way to learn.


Calendar (approximate and due to change)


Week One                            January 12

Intro to class.

What is the difference between art and visualization?




Assignment 1:

Find, explain and crit and example of technical/scientific visualization to the class. Presentation of 5 to 7 minutes.



Week Two                             January 19

Presentation of assignment 1.

**Subliminal message**
Back up your files to a separate CDR NOW!



Discuss semester project

Split into teams


Week Three                         January 26


Discussion of work flow and documentation needs

Team meeting prepare ideas



Team meeting prepare ideas

Sketch out concepts

Discuss two to three concepts with class as teams.

Story boarding/sound track


Week Four                           February 2

Finish story boards




Storyboards and pitch presented to class (perhaps visiting panel)



Week Five                             February 9/11

Exercise 2 due!

Discuss Organic Studies articles.

Video: American Photo Part 2

Read Adobe Photoshop Master Class: Chapter Excerpt: Soft Proofing


Week Six                              February 16/18




Week Seven                         February 23/25


Begin reading Tufte



Week Eight                          March 1/3





Week Nine                           March 8

Midterm crit /presentation



Midterm crit /presentation



Assignment 2 given. In depth analysis of visualization

**Subliminal message**
Back up your files to a separate CDR NOW!


Team meetings


Spring Break!                      March 15 thru 19



Week Ten                             March 22/24





Week Eleven                        March 29/31





Week Twelve                        April 5/7





Week Thirteen    April 12/14





Week Fourteen    April 19/21





Week Fifteen                       April 26/28





Final Exams                          March 3-7

Study for other classes. Wrap up loose ends.