Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:
1. Apply a typical professional production pipeline structure, and adhere to a production schedule.
2. Analyze 3D sets and characters from animated films and broadcast media, and synthesize methods for recreating these elements in their own projects.
3. Develop realistic and/or imaginary production designs and concept art for animated 3D scenes and characters.
4. Model new or reconstruct pre-existing 3D environments that include animated effects such as water, fire, clouds and dynamic components.
5. Create 3D character models of digital humans and/or creatures.
6. Use complimentary software like Adobe Photoshop and Autodesk Mudbox to produce custom textures and non-modeled geometry.
7. Build and apply skeletal control rigs to character models using standardized and custom-made bone systems.
8. Create facial animation systems for digital characters.
9. Output final imagery and animations in a variety of formats.
10. Repeating students will:
a. Update their skills on new software releases.
b. Utilize new toolsets and applications related to new software releases.
c. Increase the level of complexity and sophistication of their projects.
I. Survey of 3D environments, effects and characters from film, broadcast and games.
A. Analysis of animation elements and methods of execution
B. Review of strategies for recreating animations with 3ds Max and complimentary software
II. Introduction to production pipelines
A. Pixar production pipeline
B. Class Production Pipeline
1. Design visualization
III. Design Visualization
A. Story development
3. Voice and live action recording (optional)
5. Class scene requirements and limits
B. Concept art - characters, sets, visual effects
1. Visual Development versus Previs
2. Building image and texture libraries
C. Environment design parameters
1. Scale: microscopic to galactic
2. Atmospheric and animated elements: fog, fire, fluids, cloth, etc.
3. End-use & polygon counts
D. Character design parameters
1. Level of Realism: The Uncanny Valley and character design
2. Number and relative length of limbs and appendages
3. Clothing & personal props
4. Character sheets: T-poses, etc.
E. Effects research & design
A. Proceduralism and the modifier stack
B. Modeling Strategies
1. Modeling vs. texturing
2. Quads vs. n-gons
3. Appropriate level of detail: frequency vs. camera placement
4. Derivative modeling and cloning
C. Modeling Techniques
1. Review: spline, patch and box modeling
2. Modeling with reference to image planes
D. Intermediate Poly-modeling Techniques
1. Subdivision surfaces and edge loop modeling
2. Graphite modeling ribbon
3. Turbosmooth and Mesh smooth
4. Hard edge vs. organic/soft edge modeling
E. Non-modeled geometry
1. Bump maps
2. Displacement maps
1. Photoshop and Mudbox texture techniques
2. Creating and modifying UV layouts
a. The Unwrap UVW modifier
b. Pelt mapping
3. Texture mapping & painting
4. Baking maps, displacement maps, etc.
G. Rigging and avars (animation variables)
2. Custom rigs: Bones
a. Forward and inverse kinematics
3. Morphing: Wiring Parameters
4. Controls and custom UI elements
5. Character Animation Toolkit
1. Skin modifier vs. Physique
2. Skin wrap modifier and low-resolution meshes
I. Lighting design
1. High key vs. low key
2. Volumetric effects, light color, temperature and mood
3. Projection mapping, gobos, etc.
J. Set dressing and props
1. Shot layouts
2. Turntable animations
3. Character tests
B. Particles and space warps
E. Atmospherics and effects shots
B. Video post effects
VII. With Repeat:
A. New software releases
B. New toolsets and applications related to new software releases
C. Project complexity and sophistication
Note: These are representative assignments; actual projects will take into consideration new software features, class expertise, etc.
1. Texture library: students build an ongoing collection of images for backgrounds and materials (6 images or more).
2. Models and effects library: students build a collection of 3ds Max files for merging into other scenes (2 or more of each).
3. Storyboard: Simple hand-drawn panels illustrating the major components and events of the final project animation (1-2 pages).
4. Character sheet: Students create T-pose and orthographic drawings to be scanned into the computer for reference when modeling.
5. Modeling exercises: creating character components (2-5).
6. Texturing exercises: creating custom textures and displacement maps (2-4).
7. Rigging exercises (1-2).
8. 3D Environment: Students design and model a digital set.
9. Final project scene: Multiple single frames or a flythrough rendering of 3D environment with or without character model
10. Final character rendering (2-4 frames, turntable or short test animation).
11. Repeating students will accomplish assignments using new software features, and complete projects of increasing complexity.
How to Cheat in 3DS Max 2010: Get Spectacular Results Fast by Michele Bousquet, Focal Press, 2009
Poly-Modeling with 3DS Max, Todd Daniele, Focal Press, 2009
Instructor prepared materials