Project 1

Ginger Tale

This first project will familiarize you with a current modelling/animation package by creating a key-frame animation. 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 we are going to make use of is blender:

Blender is free, multi-platform, and very powerful. It also has a slightly steep learning curve, so there are a couple tutorials you should go through.

To learn how to do simple animation this is a good (and recent) two-part tutorial that begins here:

by the end of that two-part tutorial you should be able to create simple models, work with a skeleton, do some simple key-frame animation, and have created a cute gingerbread man.

You may also want to look through the more advanced tutorial that talks about some more ways to animate your figure and introduces you to some of the other windows like the action editor:

and this tutorial may also be helpful:

Once you have finished the tutorials, you get a chance to be creative. You should create your own 30-60 second animation piece (at 24 or 30 frames per second with minimal repetition) featuring your gingerbread person Be creative. Be sarcastic. Think Warner Brothers cartoons rather than Disney.

Some possibilities:
Note that you should only use models, textures etc which _you_ personally create. This is probably a good time to think about drawing some storyboards. In the 'Old Schedule' link you can see snapshots from some of the short animations that were done in the last couple animation courses.

You will probably want to minimize the amount of scenery/landscape that you need to create, so it would probably be good if all the action takes place in one location. Then you can move the characters and the camera around  that single location to get different shots.

Your piece should also have credits, though the credits do not count towards the 30 or 60 second total unless they are superimposed over the action.

You should also think about audio. You could make use of music (and if so be sure to cite what piece of music you are using and who wrote and performed it.)

Remember to leave enough time to render your final animation before the due date; people have run into trouble with this in past courses.

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 (in text and screen snapshots) what you did in the project beyond the tutorials to create your final animation. What was difficult for you to do? What problems did you solve? Create an animation for your piece and make it available on the web in some common animation format 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 final animation to be included on the course web page.

In general the grading will be:
C - creation of several decent models, and 30 seconds of rough/simple animation
B - creation of several nice models and 30 seconds of good animation
A - creation of several nice models and 60 seconds

Each person will give a short 10-20 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 11/26/07