Wednesday, 18 September 2019

DA701 - Animation Mechanics Starts on 30 Sept

DA701 PR1 "School Run" by Lee Caller
DA701 Animation Mechanics is the first module that our MA students will encounter at Bucks.

DA701 is taught primarily in Autodesk Maya, and deals with animation basics, such locomotion and mechanics.

It starts with simple actions such as a bouncing ball, and builds up to simple physical actions, such as jumps and throws.

DA701 Animation Mechanics
Animation Mechanics is an introductory module (worth 30 credits) in which students learn the basics of 3D animation. The module begins with a basic introduction to the Maya interface, and is followed by basic mechanics exercises such as the bouncing ball. Students then tackle lomocotion, starting with walks, character walks, and runs, and then move onto more complex physical actions such as jumps, weight shifts, and exercises in flexibility. The module culminates in an assessed locmotion exercise.

DA701 Assessement
There are two assessed assignments to submit:
  • DA701 PR1, a practical assignment, worth 70% of the marks in the module
  • DA701 CW1, an academic assignment, worth 30% of the marks in the module
"Circus Comes to Town" by Neil Whitman
Character Locomotion
DA701 PR1 is an exercise based on character locomotion. The brief is to create a number of character walk cycles and then combine them into one shot to create a performance.

Suggestions might include a parade, a Sunday stroll, an army on the march, or people commuting. Ideally there should be a story-telling element, and the piece should include sound effects and music. The piece should be around ten seconds long.

Formal classes begin on 30 September, though students are encouraged to start earlier by reading the core text "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams, and start to learn the Maya interface online.
Student work
To see some examples of assessed work in this module, watch the videos below.

Circus Comes to Town by Neil Whitman
Neil Whitman animated "Monty" as a parade of circus clowns, in the imaginative piece below.

School Run by Lee Caller
Lee Caller animated a series of alien characters heading off to school one morning. 

Zombie parade by Amedeo Beretta
Amedeo Beretta imagined this exercise as a zombie walk

Assignment submission- How to Submit
DA701 PR1 is due on Friday 13th December at 11pm. Submission is via upload to Vimeo, with the link emailed to your tutor. Students are also assessed on their development and pre-production work, so students should submit a single PDF document showing evidence of planning, such as thumbnail skteches and/or live action reference. This can also be done via your blog or website.

Assesssment Criteria
Creativity & Pre-Production– 25% 
Powers of imagination – powers of invention/innovation both practical and visual – ability to generate a broad range of ideas – ability to select the best idea and refine it ready for production. Is the idea selected appropriate for the brief? Thumbnail sketches, storyboards and/or live action reference.

Production – 25%
Does the animation show an understanding of the twelve principles of animation? Does the shot have weight and flexibility? Has the animator given a performance? Have cameras been used appropriately? Is the animation correctly lit, and have appropriate textures been used?

Post-production – 25%
Has a successful final render been created? Have titles and credits been used appropriately? Has sound and/or music been applied successfully? Is the sound clear?

Quality of Outcome – 25%
Fitness for purpose – does the outcome answer the brief – Economy of means used (effective use of software) – Practicality – Complexity or Ambitiousness

Late Submissions
We strongly encourage all our students to submit their assignments on time, ideally well before the deadline. Students can get feedback at our Facebook Classroom at any time, and are strongly encouraged to send work in progress to your tutor (that's me) for review, prior to the submission date. If you are late (please don't be), you will need to apply for Mitigating Circumstances. To find out more, read this post.


For more on the experience of studying at Buckinghamshire New University, come and visit us at one of our Open Days, take a virtual tour of one of our animation studios, check out what our students think of our course, and see why we're ranked in the top 12 creative universities in the UK.

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