Course #: SMD-3838-A
Room: 311
Schedule: Wednesday 9-11:50am, 9.03.14 - 12.10.14

Overview: The course will be a study in advanced character animation in maya based on foundations laid out before us by classical 2d animation. We will start by going over the 12 principles of animation:

  • Squash and stretch
  • Anticipation
  • Staging
  • Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  • Follow Through and Overlapping Action
  • Slow In and Slow Out
  • Arcs
  • Secondary Action
  • Timing
  • Exaggeration
  • Solid Drawing
  • Appeal

We will then quickly move through some basic exercises in body mechanics; pushing, pulling, and lifting objects, etc. We will then move onto acting, including how to convey emotion and techniques in animating lip sync. Over the course of sememster we will study classical as well as modern 3d animation and what makes them succeed or fail. We will go over workflow techniques for completing shots under a production schedule. Students will learn how to critique each others work as well as take criticism about their own. Class will consist of a combination of lecture/demonstration and hands on animating.

School Policies: Three absences will result in a failure grade, excused or not. Lateness will not be tolerated. Every two times late to class results in one recorded absence. Students who leave the room during class without permission will be marked absent. No food or drink in the classroom.


  1. In class projects and homework: 30%
    (this includes delivering homework to the specifications below)
  2. Attendence and participation: 30%
  3. Final Project: 40%
  • Work is due as per the syllabus. Homework is expected to be delivered to the required specifications in the dropbox before class begins. Late assignments not ready for in-class critique lose all credit, yet must still be completed to pass the section. Work must be submitted for review in the faculty folder on the eve or immediately before class begins.

Homework Delivery: Homework will be delivered with the following specifications:

  1. 720p resolution
  2. 24 frames per second
  3. H.264 QT (.mov) format
  4. only geometry displayed (no controls curves, joints, etc.)
  5. current frame and focal length turned on
  6. no Overscan!
  7. named as follows:
    for example:
  8. filesize should not exceed 3MB/second

Accountability: All students are responsible for being prepared for each and every class. If the class notes are unclear it is up to the students to email the instructor questions in a timely manner. "I didn't understand what was due" will not be tolerated.

Academic integrity: Academic dishonesty, including plagiarism, will not be tolerated.  Students found to have committed an act of academic dishonesty will fail the assignment for which an infraction is suspected and substantiated.  More serious violations will be handled through the process enumerated in the SVA Handbook (p.8).  Put simply, make sure your work is your own.

Required Material:

  1. sketchpad
  2. character rigs found linked to the right under resources
  3. Richard Williams "The Animators Survival Kit" found linked below under required reading

Required Reading: The Animator's Survival Kit is the only "real" required book for SMD-3838-A.  The following two are strongly recommended.

  1. The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams
  2. The Illusion of Life by Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas
  3. Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair
  4. Character Animation Crash Course! by Eric Goldberg

Accepted Animation Rigs:  The following animation rigs are accepted for assignments in class and at home.  If a student wishes to use another rig for the class they must produce a demo showing the functionality of the rig in question and be prepared to discuss that functionality.

  1. Morpheus
  2. Animation Mentor Free Rigs
  3. Anim School Free Rigs
  4. Merry Project
  5. Squishy Ball
  6. Pendulum

Students with Disabilities: In order to receive academic accommodations due to a disability, a student must first register with the Office of Disability Services (ODS).  Students approved for accommodations will be given an ODS Accommodation Letter to submit to their instructors.  If a student does not provide an ODS Accommodation Letter to their instructor, they will not be eligible to receive accommodations in that course. All instructors are required to adhere to SVA's policies regarding accommodations for students with disabilities.  Students who have a need for academic accommodations, or suspect they may have a disability, should contact the ODS via telephone: (212) 592-2282, or visit the office: 23 Lexington Avenue, Mezzanine, in the George Washington Residence, or email: