CS 231
Advanced Topics in Computer Animation

Winter 2015

MW 2:10 - 3:40
Winston Chung Hall 203

This survey and project class covers recent techniques used in technical computer animation both in production and research. The curriculum includes: character animation using keyframing, motion capture, IK, and dynamic simulation; deformable systems and other natural phenomena; facial animation; high-level behavior control; creature evolution; and procedural techniques.

Students will be required to propose and complete an indepth animation-related project as well as make presentations about state of the art techniques and their own work. Programming experience in C or C++ and knowledge of a graphics library, such as OpenGL is required. Prerequisites include Computer Graphics (CS 130 or CS 230) or professor permission.

The goals of this course are to provide a broad introduction to research questions in computer animation, familiarize students with previous animation results, and give experience in programming animation algorithms using standard software environments.

Victor Zordan
vbz at cs.ucr.edu
Winston Chung Hall 337
Office Hours: Thur and Fri 1-2pm or send email to schedule an appointment.

General Information

This course will cover current techniques in computer animation. By the end of the course, you should be familar with:

Text for the class:

Computer Animation - Algorithms and Techniques by Rick Parent (recommended as reference only).
Information will be supplemented by handouts in class.


The tentative schedule appears below. This syllabus is subject to change throughout the quarter, please see the online syllabus for the most up-to-date version of the schedule.

Week of Mon Wed
Jan 6 Introduction
Overview of Animation Techniques
Lecture Notes
Basics of Computer Animation
Procedural Animation
Lecture Notes
Jan 13 Inverse Kinematics
Motion Capture Hardware
Lecture Notes
Motion Capture I
Processing Motion Data
Lecture Notes
Jan 20 Motion Capture II
Editing Motion Data
Lecture Notes

Project proposals due

Planning and High-level behaviors
Lecture Notes
Jan 27 Physics Models
Lecture Notes
Physics Control
Lecture Notes
Feb 3 Automatic Control
Hybrid Simulation
Lecture Notes
Deformation models
Facial animation

Lecture Notes
Feb 10 Fluid Simulation

Lecture Notes
Feb 17 Paper Presentations
Paper Presentations
Progress reports due Friday 2pm
Feb 24 Paper Presentations
Paper Presentations
Mar 3 Paper Presentations
Paper Presentations
Mar 10 Advanced Topics
Final turn-in and Presentations

Final Turn-in: TBA Final presentation, report/program turn-in

Projects and Grading

Grades will be determined based on the following breakdown:

Programming project

  • Project proposal (5%)
  • Mid-term report (10%)
  • Final report/turn-in (25%)


  • Paper presentation (15%)*
  • Final presentation (10%)

    Examination (20%)

    Class Participation (15%)**

    Students will complete a project of their own design. Written project proposals (2-3 pages) are due as noted. A progress report (also 2-3 pages) is due mid-term. Exact dates are marked on the syllabus.

    A final presentation of the projects will be made in lieu of a final exam. A wrap-up report (4-6 pages) for the project will be due at the time of the final presentation as well as an electronic submission of the corresponding program source code (clearly documented). Grading will be based on the project, class participation, examination(s) and paper/final presentations.

    *Mid-quarter, the students will present a paper from the literature (usually related to the project) and a project update to the class. The slides for the paper presentation (in ppt, unless otherwise arranged) will be due Monday the week of the presentation.

    **Class participation is determined based on class attendance, attention and participation in group discussion, and proper preparedness for the literature paper presentations lead by other class members. At the instructor's discretion, short in-class 'pop' quizzes may be administered to assess the preparedness of students for their peer's paper presentations - these scores will count toward the participation grade. (This is unlikely if the overall class participation remains at a satisfactory level.)

    Some suggestions for projects

    Additional Information and Interesting Links

    Will add links online throughout the quarter.

    Siggraph paper archives/links:

    Contact Information:

    Victor Zordan
    vbz at cs.ucr.edu
    Dept of Computer Science
    Bourns College of Engineering
    University of California, Riverside