ART 384

Assignment A

Assignment B

Assignment C

Assignment D

Assignment E



Computer Animation
Art 384 (3 Credit Hours)
Spring 2016

Instructor: Ching Lau, B.F.A.,
Phone: (301) 520-7371
Office Hours: Call or Email and arrange

Course Description and Rationale:

This is the first 3D animation course at UMBC. In it, students should learn the basics of a computer modeling in Maya and prepare models for animation.

Students will learn something about all of the steps of making 3D models:

planning, modeling, materials assignments, rigging, lighting, and rendering.

They will also be encouraged to think about these activities as artistic activities, studying related work both ancient and recent and to also think outside the box when it comes to problem solving.

This is a gateway class. You must make a “B” or better in this class to move on in your AIM classes.


Textbook: N\A

Additional Texts, not required:
There are many, many “Mastering Maya 5” (or 8.5 or 4.5, or 3) books, or “Learning Maya 3.14” and the like, most by Alias, all more or less technically helpful.

The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams and The Animator’s Workbook by Tony White are fine books on how to do frame animation.

There are many books about the making of movies under the title set “The Art Of …” (X-Men 3, Monsters Inc.2 , Toy Story 12)-- good for knowing the field. Mostly they are advertising. Similarly, movies on DVD usually have “making of” extras that can have interesting information on them, securely embedded in nonsense about the director’s vision and genius. Take with grains of salt.

Maya Visual Effects: The Innovator’s Guide, by Eric Keller- nice, weird tutorials.

Advanced Maya Texturing and Lighting by Lee Lanier- the best guide to the hypershader, texture tools, and the advanced Mental Ray stuff that I’ve found.
Puppetry, by Eileen Blumenthal-- good for inspiration.


Prerequisites: You must have completed ART 212 and  ART 213 with a grade of C or better and the Visual Arts Milestone (portfolio review process) before taking this class.

Required Materials:

If you are going to use computers other than the ones in ENG005 to do your work, you must use at least Maya 2012. If you used Maya PLE or (somehow) a newer version than what is currently offered in the lab, you will not be able to use the lab computers to open your files, which is unacceptable, and, since you’ve been warned, your fault.

If you insist on using computers outside of ENG005, you take on sole responsibility for maintaining that hardware, even if you do not own it. For example, if you make your final project on your girlfriend’s computer, and it crashes, and you lose everything, you get a 0, because you chose to work outside of ENG005.

I recommend owning a flash drive (minimum 1GB). We’ll end up using vART disks, but having backup storage and transfer storage is very useful.

Lab Hours:

You will have swipe access to the lab, so there are no lab hours.
Special Assistance Notice (from the Americans with Disabilities Act):

If you have a disabling condition that will require an accommodation in tests or class structure, please advise the instructor or the department accordingly.

Course Requirements:
1) Attendance/Late Policy: I take roll every day. One of your grades is for attendance. Every time you’re absent, I take three points off this grade. Being late is the same as being absent.

To get an excused absence, send me an email no later than 1 hour before the start of class.

No Athlete may miss class for practice in any sport. If any athlete misses a class due to a game, he/she is responsible for contacting the instructor to make up work. One week prior to the class to be missed due to a game, the athlete is to present a form from the Athletic Department with the time and date of the contest signed by either the Athletic Director or the Assistant Athletic Director. If this is not done, the absence is unexcused.

2) Academic Integrity

"Academic integrity begins with respect for deep-rooted cultural and spiritual values. It builds on the moral support and guidance of our families and home communities, and, ultimately, results in countless decisions, large and small, that strengthen our community and enhance individual development and character. In sharp contrast, failures of integrity unfairly disadvantage members of our community, bring shame to our families and communities, and, in some cases, destroy the academic career of a member of our community. The linguistic relationship between “disintegrate” and integrity appropriately symbolizes these latter effects.

The precepts underlying academic integrity consist of clear directives (e.g., do not represent verbatim information without appropriate citation), as well as general principles (e.g., treat others as you would like to be treated). Universal adherence to these directives is a critical component of our path to academic integrity. Similarly, reliance on our core principles to guide consultation and discussion when we confront complex and novel ethical situations represents an equally important approach.


Plagiarism is the presenting of others’ ideas as if they were your own. When you write an essay, create a project, do a project, or create anything original, it is assumed that all
the work, except for that which is attributed to another author or creator is your own work. Word-for-word copying is not the only form of plagiarism.

Plagiarism is considered a serious academic offense and may take the following forms:
• Copying word-for-word from another source and not giving that source credit.
• Cutting and pasting from internet or database sources without giving that source
• Paraphrasing the work of another and not giving that source credit.
• Adopting a particularly apt phrase as your own.
• Reproducing any published or copyrighted artwork, both fine and commercial.
• Digitally duplicating or downloading any copyrighted software, programs, or files.
• Paraphrasing another’s line of thinking in the development of a topic as your own.
• Receiving excessive help from a friend or elsewhere, or using another project as your own.

[Adapted from the Modern Language Association’s MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers. New York: MLA, 1995: 26.]

Bottom Line: If you wish to use work that it not your own, give attribution.


Technical proficiency gets a B; good art gets an A. We are responsible, not only to the demands of academia, but to the demands of the industry. If you get an “A” in this class, for work that can’t get you a job, I have failed you.

All assignments are weighted equally.
Projects: There will be 5 projects. Each one counts equally toward your final grade.

Tentative Schedule

Week of:

Jan 25 Mon: Intro, Syllabus, 3D concepts Project A assigned

Jan 27 Wed: Basics to Maya's interface

Feb 1 Mon: Polygons: vertex pulling, selection modes, face operations

Feb 3 Wed: NURBS modeling A: lines, points, lofting, revolution.

Feb 8 Mon: Basics to the Uv Editor

Feb 10 Wed: Basics Photoshop

Feb 15 Mon: Project A due-- critique. Project B assigned

Feb 17 Wed: Edge Extrusion Practice and Principles.

Feb 22 Mon: Uv Layout Practices and Principles.

Feb 24 Wed: Zbrush or Mudbox

Mar 29 Mon: Texturing with Photoshop.

Mar 2 Wed: Tiling Textures vs Self contained Textures in Photoshop

Mar 7 Mon: Project B due-- critique. Project C assigned

Mar 9 Wed: Setting up an model for either rigging or animation with groups.

Mar 14-16 Spring Break

Mar 21 Mon: Basics to rigging. Includes the basics to bones and inverse kinematics (IK)handles.

Mar 23 Wed: Basic Camera Animations and Key framing Principles.

Mar 28 Mon: Project C due-- critique. Project D assigned

Mar 30 Wed: Basics to Lighting

April 4 Mon: Understanding Normal Maps and Bump Maps.

April 6 Wed: Review and Refinement in Texturing.

April 11 Mon: Polygon Review. Good time to see if there are any question need answering. Last minute modeling needs.

April 13 Wed:Quiz No2: Texturing a Premade Asset.

April 18 Mon: Project D due-- critique. Project E assigned

April 20 Wed: Setting up an image for Portfolio purposes.

April 25 Mon: Modeling Practices and techniques.

April 27 Wed: Polish Day. Good day for trouble shooting.

May 2 Mon: Polish Day. Good day for trouble shooting.

May 4 Wed: Polish Day. Good day for trouble shooting.

May 9 Mon: Project E due-- critique.