Video / Animation techniques | Course MD 504

Instructors: Sebastian Kraft | Mona Diab
Teaching Assistant: Norhan Kamal

Course Contents:

The `Principles of Animation` in theory and practice. Introduction to important stages in the history of animation. Analysis of various animation styles and techniques. Animation practice. Animation exercises in group-work projects.

Contents Overview

Historical developments in the field of animation The twelve basic principles of animation Introduction to cell animation. Stop motion animation (Clay, Wire, etc.). Animation via rotoscoping. Digital solutions.

Course Goals:

Theoretical knowledge to the historical development of animation. Base knowledge to various animation techniques. Capability of analyzing animation styles. Understanding of workflows and common methods of animation. Experience in the practical processes of animation.

Keywords: Animation Principles, History, Techniques.

Course Grading:

The course grade depends on:

  • Assignments (in-classroom and homework)
  • Midterm Character Analysis Presentation + Handout
  • Project Development Presentation
  • Final project presentation

Updates & Deadlines

BONUS ASSIGNMENT 12.11.2015 (G2)

Pick an After Effects Online Tutorial, e.g. Video Copilot, Lynda, Creative COW, etc. And create your own version of the tutorial.

FINAL PROJECT: The Pixar 7 Sentence Storyline

1. Once upon a time__, 2. And everyday__, 3. Until suddenly__, 4. And because of this__, 5. And because of this__, 6. Until finally__, 7. And ever since that day__.

  • Following the Pixar 7 Sentence Storyline.
  • Minimum of 1.5 minutes.
  • Groups of 2 to 3.
  • 1 Main Character (Optional: 1 Side Character)
  • Analog or Digital techniques: Stop-motion (Pixelation, Claymation, Paper animation, Replacement animation), Cel Animation (Traditional frame-by-frame, Rotoscope), AE Motion Graphics (Character Rigging)
  • 720p (or 1080p) 24fps, Quicktime, H.264

    • 1st Pre Production: Synopsis + Main Character Description (G1 01.11, G2 05.11)
    • 2nd Pre Production: Storyboard + Final Animation Technique (G1 08.11, G2 12.11)
    • 3rd Pre Production: Animatic + Visual Aesthetic Moodboard + Sound Design (G1 --, G2 19.11)

Dancing & Character Rigging Assignment by 15.11.2015 (G1)

Create a 5 second video of a character dancing using regular Parenting on AE, or using the DUIK plugin.

Walk cycle & Character Rigging Assignment by 12.11.2015 (G2)

Create a walk cycle with one attribute/emotion, for example a sad or a walk. You only need to create the keys essential for the character to make 2 strides/steps and then it can be looped. Time limit depends entirely on the style of walk since it is different. You are allowed to do it using regular Parenting on AE, or using the DUIK plugin.

Download the plugin from this link: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1Xs_-tosyKIdEc1QUVfWk9OQk0/view?usp=sharing


Date: 22.10.2015 (Both Groups)
Required: 1. Presentation of your assigned character 2. Hard copy of Character analysis template
Duration: Exactly 5 minutes. (Timed, so be as selective as possible)
Time: Group 1: 12:30 to 3:45 | Group 2: 8:30 to 12:00
Note: The first 15 minutes will be for you to put your presentation files on one computer. The door will be closed and the presentations will start at 8:45 and 12:45 SHARP. The main focus of the presentation is on the relationship between the visual appearance and the movement of the character, please avoid filling the presentation with facts or history. Attendance of your fellow colleagues' presentations is mandatory. Please make sure all your files (video files & presentation files) are in one folder and make sure it works.

"Bouncing Ball (Graph Editor)" Tutorial

Character Analysis (G1 + G2)

Start doing your research on your assigned character by watching videos and filling in the template. (Attached bellow) You are encouraged to use your personal observations on the characters movement in relation to its personality. Please make your focus on the characters' personality, appearance, movement, and how they're linked together. Don't focus too much on the history of your character or the design development (unless it is relevant to what you're saying!).

Late Assignment Rules:

  • Assignment handed in on time: 100% MAX
  • Assignment handed in one day late: 75% MAX
  • Assignment handed in any time later: 50% MAX


Group 1: SUNDAY 4TH & 5TH

Group 2: THURSDAY 2ND & 3RD

Class Schedule:

1 13.09.2015


Introduction, Course Goals, Assessment definition, Character-Hand-out. Equipment: Clay, Camera+Tripod Attach:VA_WS2015_CharacterList_UPDATED.pdf
2 20.09.2015

24.09.2015 OFF DUE TO EID

Movie-Analysis, "Principles of Animation", Claymation Excercise Finishing the Cube Claymation
3 27.09.2015 01.10.2015 Continuation Animation Theory Finish the Claymation Assignment Attach:VA_Cube_CharacterSB.pdf
4 04.10.2015


Rotoscoping Movie Examples, PS + AE Rotoscope Tutorial Work on the Rotoscope Exercise - Submission of Claymation (G1) Attach:VA_Template_CharacterAnalysis.pdf


5 11.10.2015

14.10.2015 (4th & 5th Comp.)

Character Analysis + Principles, AE Animation Graph Exercises, Prepare for Character Analysis

Presentation & Template handout

Submission of Claymation (G2)
6 18.10.2015


MIDTERM PRESENTATIONS & HANDOUTS Submission of Rotoscope assignment @ Norhan's Office. (G1) 19.10.2015
7 25.10.2015


AE Animation Graph Exercises (Group 2) / AE Character Rigging (Group 1) Finish AE Animation Graph Tutorial Submission of the AE Animation Graph Tutorial (G1) Submission of Rotoscope (G2)
8 01.11.2015


Walk Cycle + DUIK Character Rigging Create a Walkcycle with an attribute 1st Final Feedback: Synopsis & Main Character Description
9 08.11.2015


Introduction to Preproduction + What is an Animatic? Continuous Pre-production Development BONUS Assignment Deadline (G2) Char. Rig Submission (G2)
10 15.11.2015


Animation Styles (Directors) + Project Development Continuous Pre-production Development Submission of Char. Rig (G1)
11 22.11.2015


Concept & Preproduction Presentation (5-6 mins) PRESENT IMAGES ONLY
12 29.11.2015


Movie development & in-class consultations
13 06.12.2015


Movie development & in-class consultations
14 13.12.2015 Final Movie Presentations

Deadline for the final project: 13.12.2015

No consultations after the last lecture week.