3D Modeling and Animation (College)

by Wes Dennison

3D Modeling and Animation is an introductory college course that introduces students to 3D concepts and design. It could be part of pathways that might include 3D Animation, Game Design, Special Effects or Architectural Modeling, to name a few.
Students will learn the basics of 3D Modeling, how to create and apply realistic textures, lighting principles and techniques, camera types and their appropriate usage, and fundamental keyframing procedures.
Other topics covered include: storyboards, the traditional principles of animation, current industry trends and issues pertaining to rendering output for different mediums (film, video, Internet, etc.).

Program Information
Course Certification Elements
Course Competencies / Outcomes
  • Navigate and use a 3D program such as 3ds Max or Maya.
  • Create models using primitives and modifiers.
  • Use splines to create geometry.
  • Create and edit models using sub-object levels.
  • Refine models using editing tools like extrude.
  • Use existing and student-made materials and textures.
  • Animate models and objects.
  • Place and adjust lights.
  • Place and adjust cameras.
  • Render animations and still scenes.
  • Use 3D special effects such as hair, cloth and particles.
  • Storyboard a project.
  • Complete and present a final project.
  • Demonstrate proper work habits and attitudes.
  • Demonstrate job search techniques.
Course Work Based Learning Activities
  • Portfolio development
  • Collaboration with industry partners
  • Internship and/or job apprenticeship
  • Industry guest speakers
Course Materials
  • 3D software such as 3ds Max or Maya
  • 3D Animation Tutorials
Course Units (1 semester course)

Introduction to 3D Program Environment

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

This unit covers navigating the interface and how to use the user-interface elements

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Mastery of 3D program interface

Effective use of 4 viewport view

Demonstrate ability to manipulate objects in 3D space using XYZ axis

Create a storyboard

Work Habits & Job Searching

Unit Assessment

Teacher observation of student use of program interface

Storyboard

Basic Modeling Techniques

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit covers how to set up a scene and how to use primitive models

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Modeling using premade primitive objects & AEC objects

Applying modifiers to a model

Modeling with boolean operators

Using images to assist your modeling

Understand how to connect models with attach and link

Unit Assessment

Successful creation of a scene using basic modeling techniques

Creating and Manipulating a 3D Mesh

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit covers how static mesh models work and how to create them

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Converting primitives to meshes or polys

Using sub-object levels- vertex, line, polygon, element

Creating and editing spline objects

Using splines to create geometry with lathe, loft, etc.

Using Soft Selection

Using Containers

Aligning objects

Unit Assessment

Successful creation of meshes using sub-object modeling

Refining Mesh Models Using Editing Tools

Unit Length (Hours):

20

Unit Description:

This unit continues the previous unit and covers higher level operations with static meshes

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Setting up reference images (Creating a studio)

Using the Symmetry Modifier to produce a mirrored duplication of an object

Extending polygons using various editing tools such as extrude, inset, etc.

Creating details in meshes using editing tools such as cut, slice, etc.

Simplifying meshes using weld, remove, etc.

Fusing objects and filling spaces with bridge, cap, etc.

Unit Assessment

Successful creation of advanced meshes using editing tools

Modeling Project- Creating a 3D Scene with Mesh Models

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

In this unit students use the knowledge gathered to create their own 3D scene

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Time Management

Workflow

Unit Assessment

Modeling Project

Create an inside or outside stage for your production. As part of your stage, create a backdrop including a terrain if it is outside and walls and furnishings if it is inside. Create at least FIVE (5) simple objects to decorate your scene, using the modeling techniques you learned in this class (Extrude, Lathe, Loft, Attach, Link, Boolean, Sub-Object Modeling, etc.). Name EVERY object you create using a logical naming convention.

Create at least 2 fully formed characters (NOT the ones you created during the class) using the refining modeling techniques you have learned. These will be the characters that will interact in your final project. Please do not just duplicate one character and slightly modify it to create the second character, these characters must be distinct and each built from the ground up. If you need more characters, you may use previously made characters from the class, or use  characters created by someone else, AS LONG AS YOU GIVE PROPER CREDIT to the original creator. Be sure to clearly indicate which characters are the original ones you created for this class. To try to pass off a character created by another person as your own will be considered plagiarism and you will get a zero for this project. 

Make sure that all your project files are properly placed in your workspace folder. Archive your project and name the archive file as your last name and first name followed by the word “Models”. Example: if your name were John Smith, you would name your file SmithJohn-Models.zip. Turn in this archived zip file to your instructor. If time permits, you may be expected to present your project to the class.

Introduction to 3D Animation

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit introduces animation techniques such as keyframe animation, animation curves and squash and stretch.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Auto Key animation 

Set Key animation

Ghosting and trajectories

Using graphic editors in animation

Animating with paths and constraints

Unit Assessment

Starting with your Modeling Project from the previous unit, animate the characters according to your storyboard.

Adding Materials and Textures to Mesh Models

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit covers the creation of materials and textures and the application of UVW maps, bump maps and multimaps

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Create, edit, and apply materials

Use mapping coordinates to modify materials

Control a material using a UVW map

Create and manipulate a bump map

Create Multi/Sub materials

Unit Assessment

Apply materials to the models in your project. Be sure to name your materials.

Adding Lights to Your Scene and Rendering the Completed Product

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

This unit covers lighting techniques and the types of lights used

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Understand the three point lighting method

Identify the differences between target, omni and directional lights

Modify attributes of lights

Use lighting techniques for daylight and nighttime

Unit Assessment

Create and place lights in your project. Be sure to name your lights.

Final Project

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

In this unit students use the knowledge gathered to create their own 3D animated movie or cartoon

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Time Management

Workflow

Unit Assessment

Successful completion of Final Project

Starting with the Modeling Project and storyboard you completed previously, create a THIRTY-SIXTY (30-60) second animation. Your project should be about 1000-2000 frames. It can be longer if your project requires it, but no less. Use a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). The creative development of the project is entirely up to the student. 

Build and apply a REALISTIC material to EVERY object in your scene. Most of these can be a simple color, but some should show advanced techniques, and at least one example should use a multi-material. Name EVERY material. Apply appropriate UVW Map modifiers as needed.

Create at least THREE (3) lights for your scene. Be sure to use both spotlights and omni lights. Name EVERY light. Apply shadows and attenuation as needed.

Create a camera for your scene. Although not required to do so, if it's appropriate (or needed) for your story, animate the Camera. If possible, have your Camera follow a path.

Animate your scene in whatever creative way you choose. You'll need to animate no fewer  than THREE (3) scene objects. Your Camera can count as one of those objects.

Render your scene in an AVI movie format (If it takes too long to render, lower the resolution). Save your rendered movie using your last name and first name followed by the word “Movie”- Example: If your name was John Smith, you would name your file SmithJohn-Movie.avi.

When your file opens for review, only the camera viewport should display in shaded mode.

Make sure that all your project files are properly placed in your workspace folder. Archive your project and name the archive file as your last name and first name followed by the word “Final”. Example: SmithJohn-Final.zip. Turn in the archived zip file and the rendered movie for your presentation and evaluation. If time permits, you may be expected to present your project to the class.

Course Summative Assessment

3D Animation Final Project

Create a stage for your production, which can be either inside or outside. As part of your stage, create a backdrop including a terrain if it is outside and walls and furnishings if it is inside. Create at least FIVE (5) simple objects to decorate your scene, using the modeling techniques you learned in this class (Extrude, Lathe, Loft, Attach, Link, Boolean, Sub-Object Modeling, etc.). Name EVERY object you create using a logical naming convention.

Create at least 2 fully formed characters (NOT the ones you created during the class) using the refining modeling techniques you have learned. These will be the characters that will interact in your final project. Please do not just duplicate one character and slightly modify it to create the second character, these characters must be distinct and each built from the ground up. If you need more characters, you may use previously made characters from the class, or use  characters created by someone else, AS LONG as you give proper credit to the original creator. Be sure to clearly indicate which characters are the original ones you created for this class. To try to pass off a character created by another person as your own will be considered plagiarism and you will get a zero for this project. 

Using your storyboard, create a THIRTY-SIXTY (30-60) second animation. Your project should be about 1000-2000 frames. It can be longer if your project requires it, but no less. Use a frame rate of 30 frames per second (fps). The creative development of the project is entirely up to the student. 

Build and apply a REALISTIC material to EVERY object in your scene. Most of these can be a simple color, but some should show advanced techniques, and at least one example should use a multi-material. Name EVERY material. Apply appropriate UVW Map modifiers as needed.

Create at least THREE (3) lights for your scene. Be sure to use both spotlights and omni lights. Name EVERY light. Apply shadows and attenuation as needed.

Create a camera for your scene. Although not required to do so, if it's appropriate (or needed) for your story, animate the Camera. If possible, have your Camera follow a path.

Animate your scene in whatever creative way you choose. You'll need to animate no fewer  than THREE (3) scene objects. Your Camera can count as one of those objects.

Render your scene in an AVI movie format (If it takes too long to render, lower the resolution). Save your rendered movie using your last name and first name followed by the word “Movie”- Example: If your name was John Smith, you would name your file SmithJohn-Movie.avi.

When your file opens for review, only the camera viewport should display in shaded mode.

Make sure that all your project files are properly placed in your workspace folder. Archive your project and name the archive file as your last name and first name followed by the word “Final”. Example: SmithJohn-Final.zip. Turn in the archived zip file and the rendered movie for your presentation and evaluation. If time permits, you may be expected to present your project to the class.