Course Title: 3D Character: Create and Animate and Special Effects

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: 3D Character: Create and Animate and Special Effects

Credit Points: 12.00


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


City Campus


345H Media and Communication


Sem 2 2006,
Sem 1 2007,
Sem 1 2008,
Sem 2 2008,
Sem 1 2009,
Sem 2 2009,
Sem 1 2011,
Sem 2 2011,
Sem 2 2012,
Sem 2 2013

Course Coordinator: Adam Nash

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 2598

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities

GRAP2169 Imaging and Animation
Co-requisite GRAP2324 Adv Imaging in 2D & 3D

Course Description

This course principally builds upon Imaging & Animation (GRAP2169). It will provide the advanced 3D skills necessary for the creation and animation of characters specifically for games. Additionally, the course will provide instruction and practice in the creation and animation of Special Effects (FX).
The course also examines the issue of character in older cultural forms particularly in painting, film, animation, poetry and the novel. These established forms will provide an illustration of broad character examples and a foundation from which students can develop their own 3D characters. Appropriate case studies will be analysed to extract and critique the character elements within them.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Specific knowledge and  skill-sets to be explored:

Character modelling and surfacing skills.
The ability to originate new concepts and ideas in the form of character.
A knowledge of human and animal movement and anatomy.
Knowledge of cause and effect in everyday physics.
Refined analytical, critical and reflective skills.

Understand the relationship and influences between cause and effect in physical effects.
Analyse the conventions of character, character animation and special effects and be able to communicate them to other diverse practitioners.
Acquire knowledge of and critically evaluate major aesthetic, cultural and theoretical developments in Western, Asian and newly emerging aesthetics of characters.
Analyse some of the key characters that populate electronic games, to understand their appeal and identify their demographic.
Understand and apply anatomical and locomotive principles in the creation of realistic animation
Apply technical skills in the creation and use of bones and of Inverse Kinematics to produce the required animation.
Use special effects functions and software to produce appropriate effects to brief.

Overview of Learning Activities

This course is offered as a series of weekly hands-on tutorials preceded or followed by group discussions. There will be showings of film clips, animations and games at regular intervals in the semester as prompts for discussion or topics for analysis.

To develop your aesthetic and analytical skills, you will be expected to present character examples, including your own, and act as advocates for the character.

Overview of Learning Resources

Notes will be available at the end of each lecture that summarise the key aspects of the class. However it is important that you also engage in self directed learning activities outside of class. Such activities involve further reading, research, reflection, planning, preparation, practice and the development of your assignment.

Furthermore it is recommended that you have access to current (educational) versions of the software used in the course as well as appropriate portable data storage media.

Overview of Assessment

Assessment is based on one progressive assessment brief to create a short character animation of up to 20 seconds length. In completing the assessment brief, you will demonstrate the knowledge acquired through the planned learning experience.

The progressive assignment is broken down as follows:
Project Development (20%)
Modelling, Lighting, Texturing and Materials (40%)
Animation (40%)