Sunday, August 6, 2017

Animation School Syllabus - The Course Outline

Animation School by ClaarToons -- Syllabus

 Beginning level revised  August 2017.  Originally written 10/14/15.                                                                 Teacher: Tony Claar,

Here is the class, in syllabus form. A more detailed explanation of the week-by-week schedule can be found under the tab "Week-by-Week Schedule: an approximate calendar" tab near the top of the page.

Drawing exercises will apply the 12 fundamental traditional animation principles from the Walt Disney Studio. Students will also learn professional animation software, Digicel Flipbook.  These timeless principles were discovered by the animators at Walt Disney Studios in the 1930s & apply to any kind of animation today: clay, drawing, cut-outs, pixels, or "pixelation"; humans frame-by-frame

Definition: Animation is:motion pictures created frame-by-frame over time & through space .
Guideline: Technology changes constantly, the principles of art & animation never change.(Tom Sito)

Drawing Animation: Beginning Materials:
1. Pencils designed for animation: Col-erase blue or red.  HB or no. 2 black pencil.
2. Punched animation paper: 8.5 x 11", 500 sheets, Professional  grade: at Cartoon Colour: $18.
    Professional punched animation paper: 10.5 x  12.5", 500 sheets, $75.
3. Animation software: Digicel Flipbook:
4. Plastic peg bar for animation paper registration;
5. Light table with plastic or glass & light bulb, area to tape down peg bar.
6. OR Wacom electronic tablet & pen.
7. Scanner for recording animated drawings into software.
8. OR  webcam or video camera.

After this class you will be able to animate on paper, or inside a 2D software app like Flipbook.

30 Exercises Total (Students can do at least 20 exercises (2 per week), depending on time and progress:
1. Timing in daily life: How much time does it take for you to do something?
--1. creating x-sheets; chopstick or straw (light) For a pipe (heavy object)
--2.  How do characters, objects, things move?
--3. Introduction to Flipbook
2. Working with Lines, straight & curved:
--1. Animate a light object falling (pencil, straw, or chopstick) (light)
--2. A cannon ball falling (heavy, with impact V.E.)
--3. A tennis ball bounces (medium, flexible)
3. Working with Shapes, the 4 basic forms:
--1. Sphere, cube, cylinder and cone; draw each keeping volume consistent
--2. Create an animation in which one shape bounces off another
--3. Create an animation in which one shape crushes or breaks another
4. The Wave Principle: These are cycles that repeat drawings in loops.
--1. Animate seaweed
--2. A balloon (or bubble) floats then pops!
--3. A cat or dog waves tail
--4. A flag waves in the wind.
5. Eyes & Emotions:
--1. Make a set of eyes express an emotion
--2. Another emotion, add eyebrows, experiment with timing
--3. Two sets of eyes react with each other
6. Heads & Expressions:
--1. Create a character head, animate all elements of the face
--2. Another version, with different attitude, tone, nose, other variables
7. Mouths & Dialogue:
--1. Make or find a short recording of 1 person talking.(about 2-5 seconds)
--2. Animate a mouth speaking it
--3. Change your animation drawings to change the emotion (but not the track)
8.  Hands & Arms: Motion
--1. A character waves
--2. Waving with their entire arm.
9. The Body & Poses
--1. Use the entire body, striking different postures (from one point to the other)
--2. Your character sits down and relaxes.
--3. Your character sits and crosses his/her legs
10. The Walk Cycle. Design a simple stick figure.
--1. Draw simple legs walking in (2) drawings (simplest).
--2. Draw simple legs walking in (4) drawings (medium)
--3. Draw simple legs walking in (8) drawings (advanced)
--4. Add a body on top of stick figure on a higher level.

Homework (while not required, I may ask to see your work outside the exercises from time to time. Practice and constant thinking about animation will make you a better animator!)
1. Timing exercises from your daily life: Time:
--1. estimate
--2. Actual
--3. Difference.
2. Drawing practices for professional animators:
--1. rough
--2. clean up and
3. Drawing practice
--1. straight
--2. curved
--3. wavy lines
4. Drawing the four basic forms of art in motion while maintaining the volume.
5. Character design of your choice. It must be simple in design, not complicated.
6. “Eye Story” storyboard of your original story about two pairs of eyes interacting.
7. Film study: Chuck Jones: “Extremes and In-betweens”.”The Dot and the Line”.

Grading is optional for this On Line Course. Most "classroom" interactions will be over email and occasional phone calls and screen-share sessions as needed. Your enthusiasm, timely submission of exercises, and curiosity about the process and your progress counts more than anything!

If you want grades, I will give them.
Roughly, I'm judging your participation by the following: Attendance/timeliness in responses: 25%; "Classroom" participation/engagement: 25%; Homework (or evidence of having done homework): 25%; Submitted exercises: 50%. Yes, that adds up to more than 100%. I'm not a mathematician.

Totals: Appropriate progress or percentage near the top=A, less enthusiastic progress or participation=a lower grade. We will be talking throughout the class and know where we stand at all times.

Books you should be familiar with: 
Strongly recommended:
1. Animation 1 by Preston Blair. This is a famous book for students of animation drawing.
2. Timing For Animation by John Halas. Focal Press, 2nd edition.

* Supplies are available at Cartoon Colour (Culver City, Ca)

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