Animation Basics

September 15, 2015 in Uncategorized



Assignment 01 Chalk Talk

Virtual Environment Design

September 11, 2015 in Uncategorized

ARTD 3471 Virtual Environment Design



Michael McCarthy

Office Hours:

Tuesday 10:00AM-1200PM

Thursday 7:00AM-8:00AM 11:30-1:30



“Animation can explain whatever the mind of man can conceive. This facility makes it the most versatile and explicit means of communication yet devised for quick mass appreciation.”
Walt Disney


Description of Subject:

ARTD 3471 “Virtual Environment Design” 4SH

Utilizing elements of story and gameplay, students will design both 2D and 3D environments integrating architecture, landscape and set-dressing. Subject content will range from historical accurate and contemporary, hyper-realistic to stylized and fanciful. 


Subject Prerequisite:

ARTF 1120, ARTD 2370


Subject Objectives:


The course offers an opportunity for the application of animation technologies and practice in both the game development environment as well as for animated film. Students are exposed to existing production pipeline methods for both linear and real-time output.


The student is expected to begin to develop a thematic approach and individual expression and style.


Student Learning Outcomes:


  • Demonstrate a comprehensive knowledge of  virtual environment design, prop and asset creation
    • As evidenced by an ability to relate historical and stylistic genres in the design of artworks for games and animated films.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of practices and concepts of the 3D modeling of virtual environments
    • As demonstrated by the ability to create effective and different levels of complexity in 3D models.
    • As evidenced by the use of texture mapping, and surface treatments appropriate for games an animation
  • Demonstrate knowledge of animation pipelines and production methodologies
    • As evidenced by the appropriate use of project planning, workflow, management of assets
    • As evidenced by the successful creation of finished assets that can be integrated into game and animated film production.


Topical Outline of the Subject Content:


  • Practice based research that results in initial stages of a body of work that shows thematic development and style
  • Developmental research in the style, look and feel of environments that are appropriate to the narrative.
  • Continued survey of fundamental critical, theoretical and philosophical issues related to key concepts and practice of animation.
  • Introduction pipelines and production methodologies
  • Mastery of modeling and animation equipment and software.


Teaching Methods:

The subject will be conducted in a “studio” based method where short lectures and demonstrations are presented. There will specific assigned projects and tutorials given with briefs on outcomes and expectations. The student will work in class and in lab outside of class to develop the projects and tutorials assigned. There will be conversations and critiques with individual students and groups of students in the formal class meetings during and at the end of each project phase.


Beginning with drawn visualizations, the student learns to understand the design process, and develops the ability to provide appropriate visual develop that is in line with an overall conceptual and narrative framework. Through a concentrated critique and review process the student enhances and develops the creative ability to design and produce complete, highly original and innovative art assets for games and animated films.


Working in a mentored environment the students will also develop and pitch a project that will be developed as a team based project, where roles and responsibilities for production are shared among team members.


  • This section will be a studio subject
  • Review of the work will occur during regular class meetings and special critiques sessions


In class lecture and demonstration will average 1 – 3 hours per week.

In class lab or tutorial time will average 1– 3 hours per week.

The student is expected to work independently outside of class approximately 6 – 8 hours per week.


Methods of Student Assessment:

Final grade will be determined according to the following percentage allocations:


40% Conceptual development

20% Practice and performance

30% Final Project

10% Others: Attendance and Class Participation

*Attendance is mandatory, failure to attend and consistent late attendance will result in lowering of the final grade.


Grading will be based on the following criterion: concept (creativity and ingenuity of your ideas), exploration (how open you are to new ideas, how well you develop, apply and pursue your ideas), technical proficiency (no bugs – everything works), aesthetic quality of your work, professionalism, class participation (oral and written), and attendance and punctuality.


  1. All readings must be completed and ready to be discussed during the class sessions.


  1. Your work must be prepared and ready for review by the class and instructor on a weekly basis, whether complete or not. If you fail to present work during in class presentations, you will receive a “Fail” for that project, tutorial or assignment. The student will complete all work by the end of the semester for review during examination/revision period.


  1. Incomplete grades will not be given unless there are documented medical or family reasons. Failure to complete assignments for any other reason will result in a drop in your final grade.



Homework is due each week. Critiques, lectures, and demonstrations will dominate our weekly classes and there will be limited time for in-class work. Projects will be presented on date due to receive full credit. Late work will not be accepted. The lab utilizes a sign-in process that documents each student’s time spent out-of class on projects.  It is your responsibility to accurately enter the time you have invested.  I will be checking the log for final grading purposes.



Attendance is required. Absences and lateness will affect your grade. Arriving late or leaving early will be perceived as signs of lack of interest or lack of respect for your colleagues. It is your responsibility to seek out missed assignments. If you must be absent (documented excuse) please contact me. No incomplete will be given except in a case of incapacitation or other extraordinary circumstances. Three unexcused absences will result in automatic failure of the course regardless of any work completed during the quarter.



Any materials or tools needed for assignments will be specified at the introduction of each project. Materials may sometimes depend upon a student’s concept and will vary. Prompt acquisition of the proper materials and tools will enhance your ability to be prepared for class and will improve your odds for successful completion. Class time is not the appropriate time to collect the needed tools and materials.


Academic Honesty:
University condones no form of plagiarism—defined as the use of another’s words, ideas, visual or verbal material as one’s own without proper permission or citation. Students who violate the standards of academic honesty face serious disciplinary consequences, including letters documenting the incident in their permanent record, immediate course failure and/or dismissal from the University.

Deletion/Destruction of Student Work:
The deletion or destruction of digital files, another student’s artwork or University property is considered a serious offense. All students must refrain from altering work that does not belong to them, regardless of the date the piece was created or location. Students who violate this policy face serious disciplinary consequences.

Disability Resources:
Northeastern University strives to provide academic accommodations to students with documented disabilities.  Accommodations are approved by the Disability Resource Center (20 Dodge Hall; Students need to register with the DRC and bring their instructors a letter from that office stating approved accommodations.


Suggested Readings, Texts, and Objects of Study:


Title: Creating the Art of the Game, Matthew Omernick

Publisher: New Riders, 1 edition (April 2, 2004)

ISBN-10: 0735714096

ISBN- 978-0735714090


Title: Visual Storytelling: The Art and Technique, Tony C. Caputo

Publisher: Watson-Guptill

ISBN: 0823003175


Animation from Script to Screen, Shamus Culhane

Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin (August 15, 1990)

ISBN-10: 0312050526

ISBN-13: 978-0312050528


Title: Digital Art, Christiane Paul,

Publisher: Thames & Hudson

ISBN:  0500203989

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