University of Technology Sydney

89202 3D Digital Animation 1

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2024 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Design, Architecture and Building: Design
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level:


Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject introduces students to 3D digital animation techniques based on standard practice within the animation industries. Topics covered include traditional principles of animation, 3D animation techniques with a focus on performance and character animation. In this subject, students participate in exercises that build a demonstrable knowledge of the design and production of 3D digital character animation.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

On successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

1. Develop an understanding of the theory of the design and production of 3D digital animation.
2. Point to and identify different styles of 3D digital animation in its various screen environments including non-entertainment applications.
3. Acquire elementary 3D digital animation skills using 3D animation software.
4. Demonstrate these skills in the design and production of a short 3D digital animated sequence featuring the digitally designed character or object.

Teaching and learning strategies

The learning experience for this subject incorporates a flexible range of teaching and learning strategies including lectures, tutorials and computer labs focussed on developing industry standard knowledge and skills computer animation software skills for 3D animation. Models of animation practice and design methodology are explored through in-class lectures and demonstrations, and hands-on computer lab workshops, group and individual exercises. Creative and reflective problem solving for 3D animation continues to underpin the learning experience. Self-selected peer learning groups and learning partnerships are encouraged in conjunction with lectures and tutorial / laboratory delivery.

Content (topics)

The subject is largely organised around the production of short animated work under supervision, covering the following topics:

1. Traditional principles of animation

2. 3D digital animation techniques

3. Performance in animation


Assessment task 1: Pose to Pose Stepped Animation

Weight: 20%

Assessment task 2: Pose to Pose Spline Animation

Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: Body and Facial Animation

Weight: 50%

Required texts

Introducing Maya 2011, Dariush Derakhshani, Sybex;ISBN-10: 0470502169

Maya for Games: Modeling and Texturing Techniques with Maya and Mudbox, Michael Ingrassia,

  • Focal Press; ISBN-10: 0240810643

Maya Professional Tips and Techniques, Lee Lanier Sybex, ISBN-10: 0470107405

Introducing Maya 2009, Dariush Derakhshani, Sybex, ISBN-10: 0470372370

The Complete Reference: Maya 8, Tom Meade, Shinsaku Arima. McGraw Osborne ISBN-10 0071485961

The Art of Maya: An Introduction to 3D Computer Graphics, Sybex ISBN 1894893824

Maya 6 Killer Tips, Eric Hanson, Kenneth Ibrahim, Alex Nijmeh, New Riders Press ISBN: 0321278534

Learning Autodesk Maya 2008: The Modeling and Animation Handbook, Alias Learning Tools, Sybex ISBN-10 1897177380

Digital Lighting and Rendering, Jeremy Birn, New Riders Press ISBN 0321316312

Digital Texturing and Painting, Owen Demers, Waite Group Press ISBN 0735709181

Mastering 3D Animation, Peter Ratner, Allworth Press ISBN 1-58115-345-7

Maya Character Animation, Jae-jin Choi, Sybex ISBN 0-7821-4328-8

Stop Staring: Facial Modeling and Animation Done Right, Jason Osipa, Sybex ISBN 0782141293

Acting for Animators, Ed Hooks, Heinemann Drama ISBN 032500580X


Beckmann, Patricia and Scott Wells. Exploring 3D modeling with Maya 6, Thomson/Delmar Learning, New York, 2004.

Capizzi, Tom. Inspired 3D modelling and texture mapping, Premier, London :Pearson Education, Rocklin, California, 2002.

Clark, Kyle. Inspired 3D character Animation, Premier, London/Pearson Education, Rocklin, California, 2002.

Danaher, Simon. The Complete Guide To Digital 3D Design, ILEX, Lewes, East Sussex, 2004.

Glassner, Andrew. Interactive Storytelling: Techniques for 21st Century Fiction, A.K.Peters, Ltd., 2004.

Greenebaum, Ken and Ronen Barzel. Audio Anecdotes: Tools, Tips, and Techniques for Digital Audio, A K Peters, Ltd, 2004.

Stripinis, David. The MEL companion [electronic resource]: Maya scripting for 3D artists, Charles River Media, Hingham, Massachusetts, 2003.