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ARTV2004     Sub-Major 2. Computer Animation

Six hours per week for one semester.

Sub-Major I


  • To gain practical experience in 3D computer animation and video presentation.
  • To learn about the history of computer animation in the context of both the arts and the sciences.
  • To acquire computer programming techniques for computer animation.
  • To develop a detailed understanding of the fundamentals of 3D computer animation, its language and techniques.

Animation Seminar: Analysis of the compositional and algorithmic techniques used in computer animation with emphasis on perceptual and aesthetic characteristics, including fractals, particle systems, behavioural and procedural modelling.

3D Computer Animation

  • Three-dimensional modelling and rendering techniques for animation.
  • Exercises in motion scripting and animating hierarchies, cameras and lights.

Computer Animation Theory

  • 3D raster graphics fundamentals, including wire frame displays and hidden surface removal. Rendering using lighting and shading models, mappings, ray-tracing and radiosity.
  • An introduction to 3D geometry, including projective geometry and homogeneous coordinates, polyhedra, splines and patches, analytic geometry of parametric and implicit curves and surfaces.
  • Animation geometry, including motion paths, hierarchical motion and metamorphisms.

Computer Programming

  • Numeric conversion and bit logic.
  • The structure of a FORTH multitasking environment. Recursion.
  • File 1/0.
  • Dictionary searching and vectored execution. User variables.
  • Vocabularies.
  • Extending the compiler.
  • A FORTH assembler.
  • Creation and manipulation of data structures for musical and/or animation composition.
  • Case study of an music or animation application.
  • Design and implementation of a simple music or animation application.

Students are required to prepare and submit one discussion paper on an aspect of animation (an animator, a work or a technique), and present a 30-minute talk on the topic. They are also required to keep a journal of seminar notes. The first half of the semester will be spent doing short exercises to be presented together in a folio. Students are required to prepare a major work for performance during the last half of the semester. There will be periodic exercises and assignments.


Brodie, L., Starting FORTH, 2nd edn, Prentice-Hall, 1987.
Tanenbaum, A.S., Structured Computer Organization, 2nd edn, Prentice-Hall, 1984.


Brodie, L., Thinking FORTH, Prentice-Hall, 1984.
Chandor, A., The Penguin Dictionary of Microprocessors, Penguin, 1988.
Durrett, R., Color and the Computer, Academic Press, 1987.
Foley, J., van Dam, A., Feiner, S., and Hughes, J., Computer Graphics: Principle and Practice, Addison-Wesley, 1989.
Laybourne, K., The Animation Book, Crown Publishers, 1979.
Lewell, J., Computer Graphics: A Survey of Current Techniques and Applications, Orbis Publishing, 1985.
Newman, WM., and Sproull, R.E, Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics, McGraw-Hill, 1981.
Rogers, D.F., and Adams, J.A., Mathematical Elements for Computer Graphics, McGraw-Hill, 1976.
Malina, EJ. (ed.), Kinetic Art: Theory and Practice: Selections from the Journal Leonardo. Dover, 1974.
Speed, A.H., Desktop Video: A Guide to Personal and Small Business Video Production, Harcourt, Brace, Jovanavich, 1988.
Software manuals as appropriate.


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