Academic Catalog


Foothill College Course Outline of Record

Foothill College Course Outline of Record
Heading Value
Units: 4
Hours: 3 lecture, 3 laboratory per week (72 total per quarter)
Degree & Credit Status: Degree-Applicable Credit Course
Foothill GE: Non-GE
Transferable: CSU/UC
Grade Type: Letter Grade (Request for Pass/No Pass)
Repeatability: Not Repeatable

Student Learning Outcomes

  • A successful student will be able to create conceptual digital art specific to digital 3D-Animation for film and animation visual storytelling and design using introductory levels of hardware, software combined with original student generated conceptual development sketches and stories, and research and written briefs based on existing live-action and feature animated films
  • A successful student will be able to demonstrate beginner level digital 3D-animation methods and techniques specific to 3D-Animation for film and animation using appropriate hardware and software.
  • A successful student will be able to discuss and critique digital 3D-animation using contemporary vocabulary and terminology specific to film and animation, combined with research and written briefs.


Introduction on how to create believable movement by applying the traditional principles of animation to the 3-D digital environment, and using the computer as a tool to animate characters, creatures, and simple props related to live-action and animation film. A wide variety of current industry standard software, and traditional principles of animation will be used to animate simple 3-D animation art assets and characters. Topics include an overview of the traditional principles of animation, and how to apply them to basic 3-D digital animation. Emphasis on body mechanics, with attention on the building blocks of an animated scene, and the workflow from planning phase to final animation for live-action and animation film, will also be explored.

Course Objectives

The student will be able to:
A. Digitally produce 3-D animation sequences, utilizing the traditional principles of animation.
B. Employ emotional expression, clarity of ideas, and a definite point of view.
C. Demonstrate facility with digitalizing modeling tools and rendering surface textures.
D. Utilize contemporary and industry style animation trends.
E. Display familiarity with 3-D animation tools and software.
F. Show a sensitivity to multicultural populations responding to 3-D animation concepts, themes, and designs.
G. Critically evaluate, define and discuss his or her own projects, and the projects of student peers.

Course Content

A. Introduction
1. Introduction to the principles of traditional animation (Lec)
2. 3-D animation occupations (Lec)
3. Animation story boards (Lec)
4. Animation (Lec)
5. Character development (Lec)
6. Culturally-diverse viewership (Lec)
B. Interface overview
1. Establishing work routines (Lec)
2. Overview of digital animating software interface (Lec)
3. Interface tutorial (Lec)
4. Playing with shapes, colors, scaling and moving things around; timing and spacing (Lec)
C. Animation interface
1. Graphic editor and dope sheet (Lec)
2. Planning for animation (Lec)
3. Weight, gravity, speed, timing and spacing in animation (Lec)
4. Curves and tangents in the graph editor: spline, flat, stepped, linear (Lec)
5. Staging and design (Lec)
6. Pacing (Lec)
D. Digital 3-D animation
1. Traditional principles of animation (Lec)
2. Staging and design (Lec)
3. Pacing (Lec)
4. Animating simple objects and props (Lab)
5. Animating objects and props that employ emotional expression, clarity of ideas and a definite point of view (Lab)
6. Animating simple objects and props that demonstrate facility with hand tools and rendering surfaces (Lab)
7. Animating simple objects and props that utilize contemporary style trends (Lab)
8. Animating Basic Walk Cycle (Lab)
9. Animating Personality Walk Cycle (Lab)
10. Animating simple objects and props that show a sensitivity to multicultural populations responding to 3-D animations (Lab)
E. Critique and presentation (Lab)
F. Presenting digital 3-D animations for peer review (Lab)
G. Evaluation of content, context, form and technique (Lab)

Lab Content

A. Assignments and exercises that explore a range of animation fundamentals, such as squash & stretch, anticipation, and secondary action.
B. Assignments and exercises related to body physics, movement, and mechanics.

Special Facilities and/or Equipment

A. A lecture room equipped with instructional computer, high resolution color monitor, software; projection system, and lighting suitable for displaying projected media.
B. An integrated or separate facility with student workstation configurations, to include hard drives, color monitors, mice, keyboards, digitalizing drawing tablets and stylus, and software.
C. When taught via Foothill Global Access: on-going access to computer with java-script enabled Internet browsing software, media plug-ins, and relevant computer applications.

Method(s) of Evaluation

Evaluation methods may include, but are not limited to:
A. Evaluation of 3-D animations: each 3-D animation will be evaluated for technical ability, craftsmanship, and personal creative and conceptual approaches.
B. Portfolio review: create a demo reel of all course projects, and showcase to peers how projects fulfill the parameters and goals of the assignment throughout the academic term.
C. Written or oral critiques.
1. Reading, research and writing assignments.
2. Written participation in lectures of historical and contemporary 3-D animations.
3. Revisions of 3-D animation assignments and projects.

Method(s) of Instruction

A. Lecture.
B. Discussion.
C. Electronic discussion forums.
D. Laboratory.
E. Live demonstrations.
F. Face-to-face and online critiques.

Representative Text(s) and Other Materials

Williams, Richard. The Animator's Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet Animators. Faber and Faber, 2012.

Murdock, Kelly. Autodesk Maya 2017 Basics Guide. SDC Publications, 2017.

Although one or more text is older than the suggested "5 years or newer" standard, it remains a seminal text in this area of study.


Types and/or Examples of Required Reading, Writing, and Outside of Class Assignments

A. Reading assignments:

1. Assigned textbook.

2. Handouts.

3. Internet research sites.

B. Writing assignments:

1. Writing articles for 3-D animation.

2. Writing portfolio and artist's statements.

3. Writing research reports.



Graphic Arts