This subject covers traditional 2D and stop motion, however the emphasis in lectures and tutorials is placed on digital 3D, which can be grouped into the following categories:
• Advanced Animation Principles;
• Modelling, Rigging and Texturing;
• Technical Direction;
• Advanced Camera, Lighting and Rendering.
Knowledge of the traditional principles of animation is reinforced and extended from work undertaken in previous studies. Basic principles such as anticipation, squash and stretch and cause and effect are consolidated, while more complex principles including secondary animation, overlapping action, timing to indicate weight, size and force, wind resistance and friction are examined in depth.
Students are taught fundamental principles of modelling, rigging, texturing and animation for games and multimedia. Emphasis is directed toward strong character design, incorporating low polygon models Animation principles focus on strong character animation, using minimal keyframes for integration with game engines. Advanced texturing techniques such as normal mapping, are taught to demonstrate the use of textures for low polygon models simulating high-resolution images for a games environment. Character rigging using bones, Inverse and Forward Kinematics and Set Driven Keys have an emphasis on the need for efficiency in setup for integration with game engines
Students model and rig a digital 3D bipedal model for use in screen productions. Where the emphasis for games and multimedia is geared toward polygon, rigging and texture efficiency, students are encouraged to explore the possibilities of detailed models using subdivision geometry whilst maintaining an efficient workflow for rendering in a screen production pipeline. In practical settings students use this single model to create a range of walk and run cycles expressing various character and emotional traits.
Using a high-resolution model, students create morph shapes for facial expressions and lip synch animation. Whilst character performance remains at the core of animated sequences, lip-synching and facial performance is incorporated. Students use pre-recorded dialogue and using dope sheets, plan and animate their characters accordingly.
Virtual camera and lighting techniques, including replication of traditional three point lighting set-ups as well as a more comprehensive exploration of various alternative digital lighting models are covered. Students are required to gain an understanding of raytraced, shadow-mapped and radiosity lighting models and extend on these principles using Global Illumination, and Ambient Occlusion lighting and rendering techniques. Point lights, spot lights, distant lights, area lights, globals and self illuminated surfaces are utilised and the appropriateness of their application discussed.
In studio workshops students examine camera animation techniques using noise controllers, null or dummy object linking, and graph based controls in order to develop an aesthetic for the animated characters they create and the moving camera.
Working in groups, students examine examples of programming and technical direction. Students are shown how to create scripts/lingo that they will be able to implement into projects for games, multimedia and screen productions.
Using actual/hypothetical case studies, students analyse examples of various items of documentation and draft their own comparable versions. The case studies used include model sheets, concept artwork, timing sheets and tracking charts.
Students breakdown scripts into timing (dope) sheets and tracking charts. The documents created are then utilised by students in small groups in the creation of animation in various mediums.