3D Modeling and Animation (Grade 11)

by Wes Dennison

This course is a concentrator high school course that introduces students to 3D concepts and design. It could be part of pathways that 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 Standards
California's 2013 CTE Standards (16)
Course Competencies / Outcomes
  • Demonstrate understanding of current trends in 3D Animation technology.
  • Demonstrate mastery of 3D art techniques and multimedia.
  • Understand the general procedures, documentation and requirements of large scale 3d animation projects.
  • Identify career goals and develop a career plan.
  • Explore career opportunities in the 3D animation field.
  • 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
  • Guest speakers
  • Field trips
  • Portfolio development
  • Collaboration with industry partners
  • Internship and/or job apprenticeship 
  • SkillsUSA Competition
Course Materials
  • 3D software such as 3ds Max or Maya
  • 3D Animation Tutorials
  • Ploor, D. Michael. Video Game Design Foundations. Goodheart-Willcox Company, 2014.
  • Ploor, D. Michael. Video Game Design Composition. Goodheart-Willcox Company, 2014.
Course Units (180 hour course)

Introduction to 3D Animation

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

A brief history of the evolution of computer graphics to its current state of 3D animation used in computer games, cartoons, movies and special effects.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Define 3D Animation and the larger field of 3D computer graphics.

Understand the historical and current state of computer graphics.

Understand the technology underlying the 3D animation field (computer systems, processors, graphics cards, memory requirements,etc).

Unit Assessment

Essay- History of Computer Graphics

3D Animation Careers

Unit Length (Hours):

5

Unit Description:

A brief overview of possible 3D animation careers and how to apply for them.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

List the industries 3D Animation is most used in:
- Entertainment (Film, Television, Video Games, Advertising)
- Scientific (Medicine, Law, Architecture, Product Visualization)
- Other ((Art, Augmented reality, Projection Mapping, Virtual Reality)

Understand the possible positions found on a 3D animation team:
- Producer in charge of Budgeting and Scheduling
- Animation Supervisor
- Animator (2D or 3D)
- Writer and Storyboard Artist
- CG Modeller
- Compositor
- Materials and Texture Artist
- Lighting Technical Director
- Assistants to other positions, etc.

Unit Assessment

Set up a LinkedIn account and find three possible 3D Animation-related jobs that you might be interested in applying for. List the qualifications you would need for each of these jobs and the steps you would need to apply for them.

Introduction to 3D Program Environment

Unit Length (Hours):

10

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):

20

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


Terrains and Staging

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit covers creating terrains for outside scenes and stages for inside scenes

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Creating terrains using modeling techniques

Creating terrains using modifiers and height maps

Unit Assessment

Create a terrain for an outside scene and a stage for an inside scene. Place your models in the scene of your choice.

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

Introduction to Refining Models Using Editing Tools

Unit Length (Hours):

10

Unit Description:

This unit covers how to create details in static meshes using editing tools

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Setting up reference images (Creating a studio)

box modeling vs plane modeling

Selecting suitable primitives as beginning points for advanced meshes

Using the Symmetry modifier to produce a mirrored duplication of a symmetrical object

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

Unit Assessment

Successful creation of complex meshes using editing tools

Modeling Project

Unit Length (Hours):

20

Unit Description:

In this unit students use course knowledge gathered thus far to create their own 3D scene.

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Time Management

Workflow

Unit Assessment

Modeling 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. 

Make sure 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.

Advanced Mesh Modelling Using Editing Tools

Unit Length (Hours):

20

Unit Description:

This unit continues the introductory modeling unit and covers higher level operations to produce realistic details in static meshes

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

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.

Using containers and grouping

Unit Assessment

Successful creation of realistic detailed meshes using editing tools

Introduction to 3D Animation

Unit Length (Hours):

20

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

Adding sound effects

Unit Assessment

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

Advanced 3D Animation

Unit Length (Hours):

10 

Unit Description:

This unit introduces advanced animation techniques such as animation along a path and using graphic editors in animation

Unit Competencies/ Outcomes

Animating with paths and constraints

Using graphic editors in animation

Walkthrough animations

Using, saving and reusing built-in and student created animation templates

Unit Assessment

Starting with your beginning animation project from the previous unit, add complex animations to your 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 multi-maps.

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):

10

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

Setup the video render engine

Identify different rendering techniques and engines and their best uses

Unit Assessment

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

Render the current project into a movie

Final Project

Unit Length (Hours):

20

Unit Description:

In this unit students use the knowledge gathered throughout the course 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.