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82221 Context: Introduction to 3D and 2D Hybrid Animation

6cp; 2 x 1hpw (lecture), 2 x 2hpw (studio)
There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to theories and practices of 3D CGI for animation. It is primarily a skill-based subject, focused on understanding the basic technical fundamentals of animation as expressed through industry-standard 3D software. Students in this subject learn the fundamentals of 3D animation in Maya and gain an understanding of the complex interface of the 3D environment. Although underpinned by the same fundamental principles as 2D animation, this subject brings a new set of challenges. The technical complexity of the CGI interface demands a patient and thorough approach, and students are required to keep a subject-specific notebook. There is also the challenge of how to invest performance in 3D digital animation with the human feel that is crucial to generating empathy. Students should be mindful that digitally generated animation can often appear sterile and cold, and an over-reliance on software-led movement must be avoided. Although it is possible to generate movement very quickly in 3D, it takes a surprising amount of time to refine this movement into a believable and sympathetic form.

There are aspects of this subject that reiterate principles and conventions from 82121 Context: 2D Animation Introduction. The technical demands and the major differences in work creation between 2D and 3D necessitate this process.

This subject also introduces the idea of a production workflow in 2D with an emphasis on using multiple software platforms for 2D digital animation production, such as the Adobe Creative Cloud Suite and Apple's Final Cut Pro editing software. It supports this interaction between programs by the development of simple narratives that are carried through the process step-by-step and also by demonstrating how each of these stages of software production can help add to the overall communication of the student's ideas. Different processes and ways of working are explored with an emphasis on taking the first steps towards exploring a uniquely personal visual style that draws on the student's capabilities from their other animation subjects and studio. To support the focus on character design in the primary studio subject, this subject additionally looks at environment design and colour as part of the creative and technical process of communication in cinema. By the end of this subject, students are able to set up correctly and use After Effects from a technical and creative viewpoint. They are able to import files from Photoshop, Illustrator and Harmony, and process them further using compositing and effects to help communicate a story effectively. They are able to export these shots from After Effects and edit them together in Final Cut Pro with a basic understanding of editing conventions and simple audio post-production. They also understand the technical requirements for delivering movie files using different forms of compression and learn to make an animatic that communicates their ideas. Finally, they have begun developing their narrative storytelling process while simultaneously developing their unique personal style.

Detailed subject description.

Access conditions

Note: The requisite information presented in this subject description covers only academic requisites. Full details of all enforced rules, covering both academic and admission requisites, are available at access conditions and My Student Admin.