Computer Science 110
The Art & Science of Computer Graphics

Mount Holyoke College
Spring 2010

Studio/Lab 8: Animation
Due: 11:59 PM, Wednesday, April 21, 2010

For this, your last regular lab assignment, you will create a model with one or more dynamic features, which you will demonstrate by creating a short animated clip. You will have the next two weeks to work on this. Following this lab, your efforts for the remainder of the semester will focus on your final projects. Please note that the models you are developing for this lab and for the final project should be substantially different; your final project cannot be a straightforward extension of this lab.

Procedure and Requirements

Your model need not be especially complex. You should create at least one brand new object (ideally to be made available as a shared model), but you are also encouraged to make use of objects from your previous labs, from class examples, and from the shared model repository (all with appropriate citation, of course).

You will need to follow these steps:

  1. Construct a new Mead model in the standard way, following a good model hierarchy, using good names, and with appropriate documentation. In designing your model, be sure to keep in mind your ultimate goal: change. Your model may have features that change position or shape, or materials may change over time.
  2. Think about the key points in your animation, where the dynamic behavior is discontinuous. For example, if you are modeling the motion of a billiard ball, the ball changes direction when it bounces off the edge of the table. The pictures of the model at these key points are called key frames.
  3. Determine which objects change during each segment between the key frames. These objects will be the subject of an adjustment function you will write for each segment of your film. Next, determine how each object changes during the segment. Are these changes relative or absolute?
  4. Write the adjustment function for each segment of your film. The values you need to determine the intermediate states of each dynamic object will become parameters to your adjustment function. Determine the start and stop values for each parameter. The film message you send to the camera will morph from the start values to the stop values.
  5. Determine how long each segment should run, in steps, keeping in mind that the frame rate is 25 frames per second. At this point you have everything you need for your camera's film message.
  6. Set your environment and image variables appropriately and shoot your film.

What To Submit

Submit your nicely-formatted and appropriately commented model file, any needed auxiliary files such as shared models and surface images, and the movie (not the individual frames) it generates in a folder named with your last name and "Lab8". For example, I would submit a folder "TerescoLab8". When you have your model file and your generated movie ready in that folder, you can drag it to the submit folder.

Also, upload selected still images and your movie to the wiki, and add a new section ("Animation") to your wiki page that includes the images, a link to the movie, and a brief description of your model (include both "artistic" information about what you're trying to model and technical information about how you convinced Mead to do it). Don't be afraid to go into some detail!


Your submitted model and image will be graded out of 30 points. Your grade will be based on how well the model meets the requirements, documentation, and presentation on your Wiki page. Documentation (comments) in your submitted Mead model should include your name and a brief description of the model at the top, and descriptions of sections of the model that might not be clear to someone trying to understand it.

Grading Breakdown

At least one new object 4 points
Programmed animation 14 points
Code organization and style 4 points
Model documentation 4 points
Image, movie, and model description on wiki page 4 points

A Reminder About Rendering Times

And finally, a quick reminder: animations can be very expensive to render. Please plan ahead! You might consider using a lower image quality when developing your models, increasing it only when you wish to generate final images and animations. Please take advantage of Clapp 202, your own computers and the bootable Mead CDs to do long renderings so as not to tie up our limited lab resources unnecessarily.