Electrical Engineering
      and Computer Sciences

Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences


UC Berkeley


2009 Research Summary

Advanced Digital Animation Curriculum Development

View Current Project Information

Jeremy R Huddleston, Dan Garcia, Greg Niemeyer, Brian A. Barsky, Randy Nelson1 and Michael Fong2

UC Berkeley Doreen B. Townsend Center for the Humanities GROUP Grant

This curriculum development research is a collaborative effort between the Art and EECS departments under the umbrella of the Center for New Media and with assistance from Pixar University to create a new series of courses designed to prepare students technically and artistically for work in a visual effects or computer animation studio. It blends the best practices learned through Art 175: Advanced Computer Graphics Production, Dan Garcia's UC Berkeley Undergraduate Graphics Group (UCBUGG) [3], and Pixar's internal training entitled "Pixar University" [4]. The series will take students through the animation production pipeline to reflect what they will encounter at an animation production company.

The first course (CNM 190) was launched in fall 2006 and spring 2007. It was a two-semester course designed for graduating seniors with sufficient levels of experience. The course took students through the pre-production stage: pitching ideas, forming groups, storyboarding, modeling, character rigging, animation, set design, camera motion, sound design, and basic editing. The students worked in teams of approximately 6 students, and at the end of the course, each team produced a 1-minute digital short.

Current research is going into revising CNM 190 for a second offering in fall 2008, developing lower division courses in this field, and developing upper division specialty courses which will focus on key areas of the pipeline.

Figure 1
Figure 1: The main curriculum concept map

Figure 2
Figure 2: The production pipeline map

Figure 3
Figure 3: Storyboard image (for the animated short "Hot Dog") by Art Practice undergraduate James McCarthy

Figure 4
Figure 4: Procedurally modeled grass (for the animated short "Safari Love") by L&S CS undergraduate David Wallace

W. J. Lee, "Computer Graphics and Theatre," Educators Program from the 30th Annual Conf. Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, San Diego, CA, July 27-31, 2003. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/965106.965115.
P. Hogarth, G. Zimmerman, C. Sylvester, and K. Curry, "Producing a Real-World Student Group Project," Educators Program from the 30th Annual Conf. Computer Graphics and Interactive Techniques, San Diego, CA, July 27-31, 2003. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/965106.965122
T. A. Davis and J. Kundert-Gibbs, "The Role of Computer Science in Digital Production Arts," Proc. SIGCSE Conf. Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education,Bologna, Italy, June 26-28, 2006, ACM Press, New York, NY, pp. 73-77. DOI= http://doi.acm.org/10.1145/1140124.1140146
UC Berkeley Undergraduate Graphics Group (UCBUGG), http://ucbugg.berkeley.edu.
Pixar: How We Do It, http://www.pixar.com/howwedoit.