FRS 107: Computer Animation

Computer Science Department
Princeton University
Spring 2002

Instructors: Adam Finkelstein & Grady Klein

Mon 7:30-9:30 (lab) Friend Center Lab 017
Wed 1:30-2:50 (discussion) Computer Science Building Room 301

Animation is the process of giving life to lifeless objects. Throughout history, animators have brought life to drawings, puppets, and even mechanical parts. During the 20th century artists refined a set of principles of animation -- ways to suggest lifelike movement and emotion through gesture, shape, and timing. In the 1980's and 1990's the computer emerged as a viable medium for animation, resulting in recent blockbuster movies such as Shrek and Monsters, Inc. Meanwhile, computer animation has also empowered the recent evolution of the games industry, by making possible interactive 3D environments.

This seminar will be about animation, focusing on the use of computers for animation, but also touching on aspects of traditional animation in a variety of media. We will address a range of topics including the production pipeline, artistic principles of animation, and graphics technology applicable to animation. We will investigate both off-line animation for creating movies and real-time animation for immersive environments. As part of the seminar, we will create and render animations using both commercial production tools (e.g. Lightwave, Shake and RenderMan/BMRT) and cutting-edge research technologies developed here at Princeton (e.g. Jot). We invite students with backgrounds in the graphic and theatrical arts, as well as those who are technically inclined. Our goal is to apply these differing skills in a collaborative setting to produce a fully-realized animation that tells a compelling story.