module specification

CU5004 - Advanced 3D Modelling and Animation (2023/24)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2023/24
Module title Advanced 3D Modelling and Animation
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   CW1 (Production1): Research and Design for 3D game assets and character, 5 x A4 pages; 3D game assets & character model
Coursework 60%   CW2 (Production2): advanced 3D character animation + In-Class work presentation;
Running in 2023/24

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Monday Afternoon

Module summary

This module is designed to give students a solid theoretical background and the underlying concepts for the advanced 3D Modelling and Animation. The main focus is on the 3D game assets/environment (further for short used as “game assets”) and character design, modelling, texturing, and animation using the appropriate workflow, tools and techniques.

In the first part of the module students will be introduced to the main concepts and techniques used to design, model, add basic texture to game assets as well as model, rig, and implement basic game character posing. Students will be using high-end modelling and animation industry standard software tools.
Students develop fundamental modelling, basic texturing, rigging, and animation skills, also apply these to create various 3D game assets, character(s), and relevant basic animations for a game (prototype).
During the first part BSc GAME course students will have a team work element with BSc GP course students. For more detail on a first part see section 13 for Assessment Strategy below.

In the second half of the module students will be introduced to the advanced techniques and will have to develop more advanced skills by creating much more complex variety of 3D character animations and behaviours (for example, interaction with or manipulating other game assets in the scene and relevant animation of character’s facial expressions while manipulating/interaction with an object). They will have to apply the theoretical concepts, creativity, skills and techniques to build more advanced 3D character animations for various applications (video clips, games, commercials, movies).

Prior knowledge and Skills: This module requires a successful completion of Level 4, i.e. basic knowledge and practical skills of the 2D/3D modelling and animation.

Year long.

Assessment will consist of the 2 coursework assignments, all pass on agregate.

The aim of the module is to provide an advanced level of knowledge and understanding as well as ensure students develop advanced level skills necessary throughout the entire 3D game assets and character implementation workflow (concepts, design, techniques for 3D game assets and character modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, and rendering). It also aims student to develop and apply relevant practical skills, tools and techniques as well as get experience in successful 3D game assets and character project implementation according to the requirements of the game quality in a variety of contexts and applications.
This module aims to:
- enable students to understand the fundamentals of 3D game assets and characters;
- implement the production workflow of 3D game assets and characters output from a relevant industry standard tool(s);
- develop communication skills with particular reference to 3D game assets and character development;
- equip students for employment in the CG, games, web and multimedia, design and publishing industries.

The module also aims to help students to continue development of a personal portfolio by adding a 3D work that demonstrates understanding of the key principles and capability to create a complete and fully rendered 3D game assets and characters.

Prior learning requirements

pre-requisite CU4009
co- requisite CU5007


> Pre-production (for creating a 3D game assets and character):
- research and design (3D game assets, game character’s type/role, concept art, model sheets, etc.)
- project setup and reference images/planes
> Modelling of a 3D game assets and character:
- game assets according to a design/blueprints
- character’s torso, arms, legs
- hands and feet details
- head and facial details
- cloth and accessories
> Deformation testing:
- skeleton setup and binding
- deformation testing and adjustment
> Texture preparation and painting
> Character rigging
> Animation of a 3D character:
- setup and test using variety of relevant techniques (splines, editors, IKs, FKs, constraints, blocking out animation, timing, …)
- creating animations and sequences (walk/run and etc cycles as well as interaction or manipulating an object(s) and other combined variety of animation sequences)
> Animation refinment (and editing)
> Character’s facial expressions animation matching interaction/manipulating an object(s)
> Animation rendering (cameras, lights, action)

LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

The key 3D game assets and character development concepts and theoretical material will be covered in the lectures and workshop based sessions (using tutorials and relevant examples).  Time will be devoted to the discussion and evaluation of problem solutions.  The student will be expected to spend an equivalent time in private study (research connected with the subject, directed reading, and developing their own modelling and animation style/techniques).  In addition to this, a substantial coursework will be set.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module, students will be able to:
LO1: understand the key concepts, creative and technical issues of 3D game assets and character production workflow including a teamwork (design, modelling, texturing, rigging, animation, editing and rendering);
LO2: demonstrate a capability to choose the appropriate advanced tecniques and tools as well as apply in practice the knowledge and skills to match project requirements and suggest effective problem solutions;
LO3: Use and integrate diverse tools and techniques at a professional level as well as implement creative ideas in CG.
LO4: Effective oral, visual and written communication skills via presentations, reports and demonstrations.

Assessment strategy

The assessment will consist of the two components: CW1 and CW2, all pass on aggregate. The tutor will set the subject.

CW1, the first assessment (40%) will ask student to research, design, and model basic 3D game assets (concept art/sketches/model sheets/blueprints, storyboard according to the assignment brief, implemented models). This will carry a teamwork element, where GAME students (modellers & animators in CU5004 module) will work together with at least one BSc GP student (game programmer in CU5006 module).

In the first assesment BSc GAME student will have to model 3D game assets and a character, texture them, create a rig for a character and create basic poses of a character accroding to a game design (for example: for walk/run cycle, jump, kick, punch, etc). The results of first assignment BSc GMAE student will have to pass to a BSc CGP student as a set of files using an agreed file formats. The implementation of models must be completely original and have relevant level of detail for a game prototype (project).

CW2, the second assessment (60%) will ask student to produce an advanced and refined 3D character’s animation (for example, walk/run cycle, interaction/manipulating an object(s) including secondary motions, facial expressions animation matching the manipulation or interaction with the game asset) according to the design in the first assessment.  In this last assignment student will also have to give a presentation of their work to the module teaching team. 

Note: The CU5004 module assessment results created by modellers/animators are expected to be used by programmers in a relevant module of BSc GP course. GAME students will need to test their work with CU5006 programmers prior to hand in.

All assessment assignments are designed so that student will have to demonstrate their capability and skills to use and apply various techniques they have used throughout the complete 3D game assets and character production workflow. Based on the assessment strategy, CW1 and CW2 assignments will have an individual and teamwork elements.

To reduce a student workload and ensure efficient and useful feedback to students all assignments will be spread in time throughout 30 teaching weeks. Students will have many opportunities for assessed and non-assessed feedback during entire module teaching time (see next section).

The formative and summative feedback will be provided to students according to University policy. Students will have a written feedback accessible on WebLearn for each assessment component according to the marking scheme and criteria. They also will have an opportunity to get an informal feedback during the workshops, by email, or by face-to-face meeting.


Core Texts (Latest up-to-date list will be provided in the module handbook):

Amin, J., (2015). Beginner's Guide To Character Creation In Maya. 3dtotal Publishing.

Additional reading:

Williams, W., (2009) The Animator's Survival Kit--Revised Edition: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet An. Faber & Faber.

Palamar, T., (2015). Mastering Autodesk Maya 2016: Autodesk Official Press. Sybex.