Project 1

Short Clips

This first project will familiarize you with a current modelling/animation package. This will start to give you an idea of the power (and complexity) of these tools and set the stage for talking about current research that may become part of these tools in a few years.

The software that we are going to make use of is Anim8tor:

Its a windows only program, but its free, very compact (less than 2 meg in a single .exe file) and straight-forward to learn. If you don't have a windows macine handy, the machines in the ACCC windows labs should work fine.

There are other free programs out there like Blender (, and Maya ( has a personal learning edition, but I think the learning curve on those can be steep. So we are going to start with something simpler. But if you are interested in playing with some more powerful packages, then definitely check them out.

Once you have downloaded anim8tor you should go through a couple of the tutorials.

by the end of these you should be able to create simple models, work with a skeleton, and do some key-frame animation. Here is a snapshot of something I quickly put together after going through the tutorials:

animtor screen capture

Save regularly as the program seems a bit unstable ... especially during saving.

Once you have finished the tutorial, you get a chance to be creative. You should create your own 60 second animation piece (at 24 or 30 frames per second.) Be creative. However, you should only use models, textures etc which _you_ personally create. Note that this is probably a good time to think about drawing some storyboards. You need at least one character, which does not need to be very polygonally complex, but should have some personality. The character should encounter a problem (i.e. there should be a bit of drama), and the character should overcome that problem. Its optional to add the 'twilight zone' twist ending.

In the 'Old Schedule' link you can see snapshots from some of the short animations that were done in the last animation courses where the main character was just a sphere, who bounced through a flaming hoop (the standard maya tutorial) and then went on to a short adventure.

You should also create a web page. The web page should include a screen shot showing what you created in each of the tutorials, and then it should describe what you did in the project beyond the tutorials. Create an animation for your piece and make it available on the web via that web page. You should then send email to andy giving the location of your web page, along with a small 320x240 snapshot of your work to be included on the course web page.

Each person will give a short 10 minute presentation on what they did in their project (most likely making use of the web pages that you created) and get feedback from the rest of the class. Be prepared to show your animation, and discuss why you did what you did and how you did what you did.

last revision 9/1/06