Description: Arch 5420 is a small workshop/seminar that explores moviemaking through exercises in computer animation. All classes will be hosted live on Zoom. Approximately five independently developed short animations constitute the work of the term culminating in a one to five minute time-length final movie project. An interdisciplinary group of students admitted to the seminar will bring perspectives from across the arts and sciences, and design and engineering. Movie projects may range in creative subject areas. For example, built and landscape architectural places may be experienced according to our own changing eye point of view, the transformation of light and objects, as well as the movement of other people. In addition, objects found in architecture and nature reveal formal, tectonic and spatial orders that can be understood through animated sequences that depict varying intervals of time.Storytelling, whether by means of simple character animation or more complex scene description, may be related to these contextual aspects of either real or imagined environments. An in-depth exploration of NURBS three-dimensional modeling and rendering will be the basis for representing built and natural environments, sculpting characters and creating complex geometrical forms. Subject areas for individual projects may range from short narrative movies to the analysis of mico-scale environments or larger scale architectural and landscape architectural settings. The work of the seminar is informed by screenings and the diverse subjects of student work and of other movies. Discussion of perceptual phenomenon provides a framework for the development and critique of individual work.

Enrollment: Registration is by instructor permission. It is open to all graduate students at any level and to undergraduate students (typically second year and beyond) with some weight given to expressions of interest on SIS. There are otherwise no prerequisites. The instructor has a background in moviemaking that includes film/video production and computer graphics animation. 

Technology: The principal software is Maya, a professionally used product in computer animation and movie production. Other  related products may be introduced this term as time allows for animation, including special software focused on sound editing and production in collaboration with the Digital Music Center. Maya provides an advanced set of animation techniques, such as instantiated motion, inverse kinematics, compositing, fluid dynamics effects, hair and clothing simulation and other special effects. Also used in the term will be software for digital video editing, compositing, morphing, sound capture and editing. Maya will be available on Apple and Windows computers throughout the school. Free educationally restricted copies of Maya are available for degree students who have access to a personal computer.  We will have access to inertial motion capture equipment for full-body motion capture and work with motion capture data. The V-Ray Next plugin to Maya, academy award winning advanced global-illumination and light simulation program, is integrated into advanced rendering tutorials in the class. More information about personal copies under a pilot program established with Chaos Group will be announced in class. The class will take advantage of higher performance Vritual Workstations with all the software included. On grounds computer resources for independent use are also available in Campbell 105 and other locations to be announced subject to social distancing policies.

Course Sequence: This subject is more exclusively focused on 3D animation as a means to creative moviemaking as compared with Arch 5424: Direct Cinema Media Fabrics typically taught by the instructor in the spring term.

* Frame from animation produced by Chris Shusta (from a previous listing of the class under Arch 545/444)