This course is designed to teach students the fundamental techniques of character animation, and to provide experience in the design, setup, animation and production of the cutting edge in computer generated characters. The course will feature guest lectures from Academy award nominated animator/director Chris Landreth. As a graduate course in the Department of Computer Science, a solid background in computer science and computer graphics is expected and an artistic sense desirable. We will make all efforts to make the lectures and materials accessible to graduate students from other disciplines in particular those with an arts and animation background without compromising on a technical level. This will be accomplished by making the course project intensive and pairing students with complementary skills. The course will attempt to strike a balance between art and science and we are committed to make the lectures and projects interesting and challenging to all.
The course format is 13 weeks of one meeting a week. Roughly half the meetings will be lectures and half will involve paper presentations by the students. The students will be graded on their technical and creative contribution to an animation project (done in groups of 3 or less) that will account for 50% of the grade. A project report will account for 10% of the mark. The animation system Maya will be used as the platform of instruction for the course and a small character animation assignment will be worth 10%. The remaining 30% will be based on the presentation of a research paper in class.