The Final Project requires you using a TEXT SOURCE for reference. Your reference may come from scientific, journalistic or literary realms (a novel, a fairy tale, etc.).  The text should involve at least one human-like bipedal character.

Choose and read your text.  In one page, summarize the text, identify its main idea, and its relevance in culture today.   In 2-4 sentences, write 3 different “pitches” for a short animated film (1-3 minutes)  based on the main idea/implication.  Email the summary and pitches to me before the beginning of class April 4th.  Be prepared to read the SUMMARY/PITCHES in class and get valuable feedback from the class regarding the pitches.
(In class April 4th:  lecture on treatment/script/storyboarding,  work session)

Choose the pitch about which you feel the most passionate, and further develop the idea.  Write a TREATMENT (a 1-1.5 page explanation of what happens in the film, (beginning, middle, & end), using primarily ACTION verbs.  Don’t describe what the character is feeling, describe the actions the character is doing, revealing his emotions in the process).  If you plan on using a lot of voiceover, or dialogue, you may instead write a SCRIPT.  (Please use standardized script formatting.)  In addition, please gather at least 3 VISUAL REFERENCE IMAGES (these can be photographs, paintings, drawings, etc., but only one may be an image from your own previous work) that will inform your character and background design.  Finally, thinking visually, in filmic terms, write a numbered SHOT LIST.  Email me the treatment/script, images, and shotlist, before the beginning of class April 11th.
(In class April 11th:  lecture on character design/shot design, work session)

Using your shot list as a guide, you will then develop a rough STORYBOARD for the animation.  You may draw the storyboard on paper or digitally, but for class April 21st you must have each board scanned as a separate digital image, and numbered in the order of the storyboard.    You must also conceive of a sound treatment idea and either begin gathering sound effects mp3s (easily downloaded from the internet), record a temporary voiceover/dialogue, or choose relevant music.
(In class April 21th:  animatic lecture, work session – we will begin assembling the animatic)

Week 4:  MOVE IT
This week you will take your scanned storyboard and gathered sounds and create an ANIMATIC accompanied by a SCRATCH TRACK (a fleshed out, yet not necessarily perfect sound design). It is like an animation without all the animation.

To finish the project, you have one of two options:
1.  Make a POLISHED animatic.  Revise/REDRAW/ink/reshoot your storyboard images, making them incredibly legible and descriptive.  Improve the sound design.
2.  ANIMATE 10-20 SECONDS of a character’s action.  Choose an action that really demonstrates the personality of the character.  Insert the animation into the rough animatic. Improve the sound design.
(In class April 25th:  work session)

DUE MAY 5th.
Criteria for grading:
1.You must demonstrate that you absorbed all key lessons of paraline and perspective drawing.
2.You must demonstrate your ability to draw a human figure (or human-like biped character) volumetrically (i.e. not just a flat outline from front or side views).
3.You must demonstrate that dressed human figures on your boards are three-dimensional solid objects that abide by the same perspective rules as those which are applied to architectural settings and props.
4.Each drawing must convey a single POV.
5.Your storyboards/animatics must have a variety of long, medium and closeup shots. Closeups must include face shots, demonstrating your skills in constructing human (or human-like) heads.
6. Solid construction of all drawn form is a must. Shading is not necessary, but is encouraged. If you decide to shade/color your boards, please retain a layer of construction drawings only.
The final should be submitted as a QT movie, 1280×720, H.264 compression.




As a reminder, this week you are revising/improving last week’s character assignment.

Ways to improve:

1. Fix movements that “didn’t work”, mentioned in class when we looked at the assignments
2. Make “flat” characters more volumetric, by turning them three-quarters, or adding overlapping lines, or adding muscle tone, or ground shadows
3. Add details like faces and clothing (to every drawing! Be consistent!)
4. Add to the length of your piece by adding more movements!
5. Clean up your previous drawings by redrawing/tracing them

We haven’t talked about color yet.  Please refrain from adding color unless you have already done steps 1-5.

Please have the assignment ready at the beginning of class Wednesday.



For next Wednesday the 21st, please draw a human character or body figure of your own creation, and have them perform a movement.  He/she could stand up from a chair, throw a ball, shrug, sneeze, etc.  You may use a character you’ve already drawn, or invent a new one.  I would prefer to see a realistically proportioned body, but you may draw an exaggerated body, if the exaggeration is purposeful, and enhances the character design/attitude.  You may draw entirely from  your imagination, or you may shoot video or photographs to use as a guide.  (You could also use the throw/punch/walk drawings we did of Jim as guides!)

THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT:  The drawings of your figure must show the body rendered VOLUMETRICALLY.    Your drawings must attempt to show the figure in 3-D, not flat.  Draw the body with mass and muscle, use lines or shadings to indicate volume.  If you are using your favorite stock character, and they have always only existed in 2-D, consider them now in 3-D – make them execute a turn in space or draw them from a three-quarters view, showing them from the side and front simultaneously.

For NON-Animators!!!   Also very important:  REGISTRATION.  In order to make the motion believable, some part of every drawing will need to be in the same EXACT place on each subsequent page.  For example, if the character only does a shrug, then his feet won’t move from their spot.  By tracing your previous drawing, you can make sure the feet stay in the same place each time.

Also, don’t feel like you need to make perfect drawings.  Consider this a “pencil test.”  Disney animators would create hundreds of rough sketch animations, getting the motion perfectly right, before inking in the final drawings.  Also, don’t get bogged down by thinking you need to making a super incredible awesome “character.”  A simple “figure” at this stage will suffice.  Just be consistent with your treatment of the character in every drawing.  (So if he/she has a face in one drawing, he/she should have a face in ALL of the drawings.)

Please draw 15-30 drawings to execute the motion.  Scan your drawings and sequence them in quicktime.  You may use 30fps, 15fps, 10fps, or 8fps, whatever looks best for the motion.  Please make the final .mov file 1280×720 pixels, and H.264 compression.

Here’s some pages from an animation book to reinforce the VOLUME idea:

And a fantastic animation for some inspiration (or just joy)

Orgesticulanismus, Matthew Labaye, Belgian, 2008, 10 min

William Kentridge Lectures in Cambridge

William Kentridge is a South African artist who animates his charcoal drawings. He constructs his animations by filming a giant drawing, photographing the drawing after each erasure and change. A single drawing creates an entire animation. These palimpsest-like drawings are later displayed along with the films as finished pieces of art.

He is coming to Cambridge for nearly two months to do a series of weekly lectures. The lectures are free, but you need to come get tickets for each lecture a few hours earlier each week at the Harvard box office (in the Holoyoke Center, near the Harvard T-station).

Info here:



Please create a 15 drawing animation, executing a “camera move” through space. This might be a camera pan (standing in one spot, looking from left to right, or right to left), or a tilt (like a head nodding up and down), or a track (a dolly shot: smooth linear movements forward, backward, or along the side of a scene. You could execute a walk down a street, or even a ride up an elevator.)

We spent a lot of time during our last class looking at, considering, and drawing horizon lines, vanishing points, and receding lines.  You may do your assignment entirely from your imagination, from actually walking through a space/street and drawing what you see, or by building a scale model (in the computer or real), and drawing that.  Whatever you do, draw small enough spatial increments so that he camera move is smooth.

Extra credit if you can conceive of a camera move in a loop.

Please submit a with H.264 compression, titled

Assignment is due March 14th at the beginning of class.