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



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.



Please do the following drawings:

1. a copy of a master drawing (in the Art of Europe hallway or the Works on Paper room)
2. a dancing shiva (motion over time)
3. 3 different drawings of an ancient sculpture, head to toe, from 3 positions, rotating around the sculpture


Back at home, following our guest Peter’s demonstration, please draw the architectural scene outside of your windown, using pen on acetate.

Bring the drawings to class on Wednesday.

Assignment #3


In preparation for the next two weeks of life drawing, please execute a series of drawings, recapping the drawing techniques we’ve explored thus far.

Create a still life out of the white geometric objects given to you in class.  Draw the types of drawings listed below.  Execute each drawing on a separate piece of paper.  You may move the objects around from one drawing to the next, or work with the same composition the entire time.

1. (5 mins)  Blind contour, still life outline only

2. (5 mins) Blind contour, this time lines running around the objects AND across the objects, mapping their volumes

3.  (20 mins) “Sighted” Measured Line Drawing – show guidemarks.  Angles and Proportions between objects correct

4. (30 mins) “Sighted” Measured Line Drawing #2

5. (40 mins) Tone drawing showing a range of values from highlights to midtones to shadows.  You may either begin with a new line drawing and add tones, or begin by applying midtone to the whole drawing, and then erasing to get highlights and darkening areas of shadow.

The drawings are due at the beginning of class Wednesday.

Assignment #2



This week, you will return to your still life.  You will perform an analysis of the forms of your still life objects.  Please make sure your still life still has three different objects.

From Francis Ching’s Design Drawing:

“Unlike contour drawing, in which we proceed from part to part, analytical drawing proceeds from the whole to the subordinate parts and finally the details. Subordinating parts and details to the structure of the overall form prevents a piecemeal approach that can result in faulty proportional relationships and a lack of unity.”

1.  Using light, freely drawn lines, block out a transparent volumetric framework for your forms.  Imagine a transparent box whose sides touch the front, back, top, bottom, and both sides of an object, establishing the objects boundaries.  These lines are also called regulating lines.  We can use these lines to locate points on surfaces, find centers, express perpendicular and tangential relationships, and establish offsets.  These lines do not only map the exterior boundaries of the objects, but as they are imaginary, they can cut through forms and extend through spaces as they link, organize, and give measure to the various parts of an object or composition.  Since these lines are very very light, they can be confirmed or adjusted as you continue with the drawing.  Do not erase these lines.  They are the trace of your eye’s investigation.  They reveal the constructive process.

From Ching's Design Drawing. Showing two stages of bottles drawn with regulating lines.

2.  Begin to draw the contours of your objects, using the volumetric blocks as guides to proportion and placement, and gauges for angles.  Through this method you should be able to convey a convincing sense of volume occupied by the form.  Working in this way prevents the appareance of flatness that can result from concentrating too much on surface rather than volume. Now, if you’d like and know how, (but this is not necessary, as we will look at tone in future classes) you may add some shading to further render the appearance of volume.

3.  Rotate your still life as you did last week, creating 12 drawings, using steps 1&2 above.  Make sure the center of your still life is also the center of rotation.  Mark on the drawing where the center of your still life’s rotation hits on the table, and transfer that mark to each drawing. Create oval guides touching the corners of your construction boxes.  From one drawing to the next, the edges of your still life will follow these oval paths.   Be sure to register your drawings, making sure the proportions of the objects are consistent from drawing to drawing, and the still life’s position on the page does not drift.  Make sure the drawings complete a full rotation, and the position of the first drawing matches the position of the last.  When looped, we should not be able to detect which drawing you made first.  In other words, it should create a seamless loop.

4.  Scan your drawings and export a quicktime.  Make sure you scan them in a consistent way so you do not unintentionally create drift.  When you make your quicktime, you will be either be exporting your drawings at 720×540 pixels (a 4×3 format), or 1280×720 pixels (a 16×9 format), so be sure your drawings fit within one of those dimensions.  You can bring them into Photoshop and size them there, again making sure you do it consistently.  (In Photoshop, you can even color-correct or tweak minor drifting if you so choose.)  Make sure your images are labeled chronologically.  Using Quicktime Pro 7, open an image sequence, select your first image, and open at 15fps.  Finally, export a .mov of your still life:

File > Export > Movie to Quicktime Movie
Options:  Settings:  Compression: H.264
Frame Rate:  15fps
Size: 1280×720 or 720×540
Uncheck sound and prepare for internet streaming

Please label your .mov and put it in your folder.

Also, please get a sketchbook for class if you do not have one yet.



Assignments are due at 5pm next Wednesday, submitted in the class folder. We will begin the next class by watching your homework assignments.  Create your own folder within the class folder labeled with your first and last name ( folder/yourfolder)
You should have 3 things in your folder for next week:
1. Chair Rotation QT
2. a photo of your still life
3. Still Life Rotation QT

Also, please bring a sketchbook to class from now on, to do your in-class work in.

For next week:

1. Scan your in-class chair rotation drawings.  Be consistent in how you register your drawings on the scanner bed. Rotate the drawings if necessary to achieve the correct orientation. Be sure the image file names are numbered in proper chronological order. Using Quicktime Player 7 > File > Open Image Sequence, select the first number in your image sequence, at 15fps.  Export your sequence using the following settings:

File > Export > Movie to Quicktime Movie
Options:  Settings:  Compression: H.264
Frame Rate:  current (or 15fps)
Size: current
Uncheck sound and prepare for internet streaming

Please name your file  Please create a folder with your first and last name in the class Assignments_In folder on the Emerson course server, and put the assignment in there.

2. Assignment:  Still life Rotation.

Create a small table-top still life out of three objects.  At least one object must have curves, and one object must be boxy with sharp edges. Cut a perfect circle out of paper or cardboard large enough for your still-life to sit upon. Mark 12 equidistant marks around the circumference of the circle (like the numbers on a clock).  Place your circle on the table with your still-life on top of it.  Using small pieces of tape, at 12,3,6,and 9 o’clock, create guide markers for your circle. (As you rotate your circle, the markers will enable you to keep your circle steady.) Take a photo of your still life, and put it in your folder on the sever. Rotate your still life in a complete circle, drawing your still life 12 times, maintaining a consistent POV.  You do not move, your still life moves in a 360 circle.

Note:  Please do not create a CGI virtual still life, and use frame grabs to make your drawings.  Frame grabs are already flattened to 2D space – the point of the exercise is for YOUR EYES to do the work flattening the 3D objects into a 2D image.

Scan your 12 drawings, sequence them in the correct order, and Export a Quicktime Movie following the same parameters as in Part 1.  Name it and put it in your folder on the server.

GRADING:  for a total of 5 points

Chair Rotation Animation – full circular loop, drawings in order, orientation correct: .5pt
Chair Rotation Animation – .mov file at parameters listed above: .5pt
Sketchbook in class: .5pt
Photo of still life: .5pt
Three objects, One curved object, one sharp object: .5pt
12 drawings of still life: volumes accurate rendered, relationships proportional: 1pt
12 drawings of still life: ground plane and POV is consistent in all drawings: 1pt
Still Life Rotation Animation – .mov file at parameters listed above: .5pt