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Computer Animation:  2018-2019



There will be three practicals.

Assessment will be by a take-home assignment, which will include a significant practical element.

The animation system used for the practicals will be Blender..

Learning outcomes

  • Basics of key-frame animation.
  • Use of a modern software package for animation.
  • Use of animation and simulation in other domains.
  • Principles of collision detection and response.
  • Skill extension through mini-project.


No specific pre-requisites, other than familiarity with basic operations on matrices and vectors. Basic knowledge of 3D transformations is useful (e.g., from the Computer Graphics course), but not essential. Rigid-body dynamics will be covered, for which some earlier experience would be useful.


  1. Introduction. Traditional animation. Use of computer animation. [1]
  2. Scene Composition. Revision of rigid-body transformations (notes provided for those who haven't seen this before in, e.g., computer graphics). Information required to render rigid objects. Transformation chains. Scene graphs. Scene description languages. [3]
  3. Basic animation. Time-varying transformations. Interpolation and interpolation functions. Use of quarternions for smooth rotation interpolation. [3]
  4. Frame-based animation. Use of the animation program. [4]
  5. Moving the camera. Animation tricks. [2]
  6. Collision detection and response. Dealing with simple geometries. The GJK algorithm. Dealing with large scenes. Physical response models. [5]
  7. Challenges and the future of computer animation. [2]


Basic ideas of scene composition in 3D. Time-varying scenes; animation; animation frames and interpolation. Use of cameras. Animation tricks. Other uses of animation and simulation. Collision detection and response. Advanced topics. Challenges and the future.

Reading list

Course text

  • Computer Animation: Algorithms and Techniques, ISBN 0125320000, Rick Parent

Supplemental Reading

  • Learning Blender:  A Hands-On Guide to Creating 3D Animated Characters, ISBN 0133886174, Oliver Villar
  • Character Animation: 2D Skills for Better 3D, ISBN: 0240520548, Steve Roberts
  • Ideas for the Animated Short: Finding and Building Stories, ISBN: 978-0240808604, Karen Sullivan, Gary Schumer and Kate Alexander
  • Collision Detection in Interactive 3D Environments ISBN: 155860801X, Gino van den Bergen