FIT3001 Animation and FX , Unit Information Guide (Semester 1, 2006)

Chief Examiner Derrick Martin
Berwick : Derrick Martin

ASCED Discipline Group classification: 020115 Computer Graphics

This unit is designed to complement the skills developed in FIT2015 Foundations of 3D relating to 3D design, theory and execution. Students will gain planning, texturing, rigging, lighting, animation and compositing skills in order to undertake advanced 3D animation projects. Students will also be introduced to the concept of a production pipeline and pre-visualisation techniques designed to streamline the animation process. The unit will focus on advanced theories and techniques of 3D animation and creating special effects using 3D software packages.

Objectives Knowledge and Understanding

At the completion of this unit students will have a theoretical and conceptual understanding of:

  • organic character animation techniques;
  • the techniques applied to facial animation;
  • compositing 3D special effects for video, television and film;
  • 3D surfaces, mapping, texturing and lighting theory suitable for 3D characters and scenes;
  • an extended understanding of the 3D spatial environment and the taxonomy of 3D.


Attitudes, Values and Beliefs

At the completion of this unit students will have developed attitudes that enable them to:

  • appreciate the physiology in the use of organic animation systems;
  • appreciate the different animation systems for the creation of organic motion;
  • appreciate the theories and practices adopted for complex 3D modelling and animation techniques including production pipelines;
  • identify characteristics of the native scripting language which supports animation techniques in the 3D environment.


Practical Skills

At the completion of this unit students will have the skills to:

  • replicate the movement of organic structures in electronic 3D form;
  • reproduce physical materials for photo realistic modelling;
  • imitate real world animation in the virtual 3D world.


Relationships, Communication and TeamWork

At the completion of this unit students will have further developed the teamwork skills needed to:

  • understand the importance of communication skills for the presentation of ideas and methods to peers
  • appreciate criticism and feedback from a network of peers
  • contribute ideas and methodologies to a network of peers.


Prerequisites Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed FIT2015, or its equivalent.

Unit relationships FIT3001 is an elective unit in the Multimedia major of the Bachelor of Information Technology and Systems. Before attempting this unit you must have satisfactorily completed FIT2015, or equivalent.
Texts and software

Required text(s)

Kerlow, Isaac V., “The Art of 3D Computer Animation and Effects”, 3rd Ed., Wiley, NJ, 2004, ISBN: 0-471-43036-6

Text books are available from the Monash University Book Shops. Availability from other suppliers cannot be assured. The Bookshop orders texts in specifically for this unit. You are advised to purchase your text book early.

Software requirements:

Maya, version 6.5, Autodesk, 2005

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

Hardware requirements:

Students studying off-campus are required to have the minimum system configuration specified by the faculty as a condition of accepting admission, and regular Internet access. On-campus students, and those studying at supported study locations may use the facilities available in the computing labs. Information about computer use for students is available from the ITS Student Resource Guide in the Monash University Handbook. You will need to allocate up to 8 hours per week for use of a computer, including time for newsgroups/discussion groups.

Recommended reading


  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Character rigging and animation. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Dynamics. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Foundation. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Maya unlimited features. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Modeling. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Alias. (2004). Learning Maya 6. Rendering. Toronto, Ont. : Alias/Learning Tools.
  • Beckmann, Patricia. (2004). Exploring 3D modeling with Maya 6. New York : Thomson Delmar Learning.
  • Brinkmann, Ron. (1999). The Art and Science of Digital Compositing. San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Choi, Jae-jin. (2003) Maya character animation. San Francisco, Calif. ; London : SYBEX.
  • Derakhshani, Dariush. (2004) Introducing Maya 6 : 3D for beginners. San Francisco, Calif. ; London : SYBEX.
  • Maraffi, Chris. (2004) Maya character creation : modeling and animation controls. Indianapolis, Ind. London : New Riders.
  • Meade, Tom. and Arima, Shinsaku. (2004) Maya 6 : the complete reference. Emerville, Calif. : McGraw-Hill/Osborne.
  • Murdock, Kelly. (2004) Maya 6 Revealed. Boston, Mass. ; London : Thomson/Course Technology.
  • Park, J. E. (2005) Understanding 3-D animation using Maya. New York : Springer.
  • Paolini, Marco (2004). Shake 3 Professional Compositing and Special Effects, Apple Pro Training Series. Berkely, CA: Peachpit Press.
  • Petitot, Luc. (2003) Maya ultimate workshop : with 18 workshops on CD-ROM. New York : McGraw-Hill.
  • Ratner, P. (2003) 3-D human modeling and animation / illustrations and text. 2nd Edition. New York : John Wiley.
  • Riddell, D. (2004). Maya 6 for Windows and Macintosh : visual quickstart guide. Pearson
  • Watkins, A. and Neuhahn. Chris, (2004) Maya 6 handbook. Charles River Media.
  • Wright, Steve. (2002). Digital Compositing for Film and Video. Burlington, MA: Elsevier.

    Library access You may need to access the Monash library either personally to be able to satisfactorily complete the subject.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.
    Study resources

    Study resources for FIT3001 are:

    The FIT3001 web site on MUSO, where lecture slides, weekly tutorials, assignment specifications, links and supplementary material will be posted.

    Structure and organisation



    Study Guide

    Key Dates

    1 Character Development Process
    2 Rigging and constraints
    3 Binding and skinning
    4 Advanced texturing
    5 Lighting and environmental effects
    6 Scripting and Expressions Assignment 1 due
    7 Large project management
    8 Render management and compositing
    9 Face rigging and blend shapes
    10 FX and Paint FX
    11 Dynamics
    12 Animation post-production
    13 Review and presentations Assignment 2 due

    The timetable for on-campus classes for this unit can be viewed in Allocate+


    Assessment for the unit consists of 2 assignments with a weighting of 100%. Read this section VERY carefully.

    Assessment Policy

    To pass this unit you must:

    obtain a minimum mark of 50% overall for all assignments

    Your score for the unit will be calculated by:

    Final grade = (A1 + A2)/2






    Assessment Requirements


    Due Date


    Character rigging 7th April 2006 30 %
    Advanced animation and FX 29th May 2006 70 %

    Assignment specifications will be made available on the FIT3001 MUSO website. Information about assignments will be published on the Unit's Notices Newsgroup.

    Assignment Submission Methods

    Assignments will be submitted by CDROM submission to assignment dropbox at the entrance to the staff offices. Assignments must have the appropriate cover sheet correctly filled out and attached. 

    Extensions and late submissions

    Late submission of assignments

    Assignments received after the due date will be subject to a penalty of 10% per day.  For example, a student submitting an assignment 1 day late who receives 62% will have their results reduced to 52%.

    This policy is strict because comments or guidance will be given on assignments as they are returned, and sample solutions may also be published and distributed, after assignment marking or with the returned assignment. 


    It is your responsibility to structure your study program around assignment deadlines, family, work and other commitments. Factors such as normal work pressures, vacations, etc. are seldom regarded as appropriate reasons for granting extensions. 

    Requests for extensions must be made by email or in person to the lectuer at least two days before the due date. You will be asked to forward original medical certificates in cases of illness, and may be asked to provide other forms of documentation where necessary. A copy of the email or other written communication of an extension must be attached to the assignment submission.

    Grading of assessment

    Assignments, and the unit, will be marked and allocated a grade according to the following scale:

    HD High Distinction - very high levels of achievement, demonstrated knowledge and understanding, skills in application and high standards of work encompassing all aspects of the tasks.
    In the 80+% range of marks for the assignment.
    D Distinction - high levels of achievement, but not of the same standards. May have a weakness in one particular aspect, or overall standards may not be quite as high.
    In the 70-79% range.
    C Credit - sound pass displaying good knowledge or application skills, but some weaknesses in the quality, range or demonstration of understanding.
    In the 60-69% range.
    P Pass - acceptable standard, showing an adequate basic knowledge, understanding or skills, but with definite limitations on the extent of such understanding or application. Some parts may be incomplete.
    In the 50-59% range.
    N Not satisfactory -  failure to meet the basic requirements of the assessment.
    Below 50%.

    We will aim to have assignment results made available to you within two weeks after assignment receipt.

    Feedback Feedback to you

    You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This feedback may be provided through your participation in tutorials and class discussions, as well as through your assignment submissions. It may come in the form of individual advice, marks and comments, or it may be provided as comment or reflection targeted at the group. It may be provided through personal interactions, such as interviews and on-line forums, or through other mechanisms such as on-line self-tests and publication of grade distributions.

    Feedback from you

    You will be asked to provide feedback to the Faculty through a Unit Evaluation survey at the end of the semester. You may also be asked to complete surveys to help teaching staff improve the unit and unit delivery. Your input to such surveys is very important to the faculty and the teaching staff in maintaining relevant and high quality learning experiences for our students.

    And if you are having problems

    It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem with your study. The semester is short, so we can help you best if you let us know as soon as problems arise. Regardless of whether the problem is related directly to your progress in the unit, if it is likely to interfere with your progress you should discuss it with your lecturer or a Community Service counsellor as soon as possible.

    Plagiarism and cheating

    Plagiarism and cheating are regarded as very serious offences. In cases where cheating  has been confirmed, students have been severely penalised, from losing all marks for an assignment, to facing disciplinary action at the Faculty level. While we would wish that all our students adhere to sound ethical conduct and honesty, I will ask you to acquaint yourself with Student Rights and Responsibilities and the Faculty regulations that apply to students detected cheating as these will be applied in all detected cases.

    In this University, cheating means seeking to obtain an unfair advantage in any examination or any other written or practical work to be submitted or completed by a student for assessment. It includes the use, or attempted use, of any means to gain an unfair advantage for any assessable work in the unit, where the means is contrary to the instructions for such work. 

    When you submit an individual assessment item, such as a program, a report, an essay, assignment or other piece of work, under your name you are understood to be stating that this is your own work. If a submission is identical with, or similar to, someone else's work, an assumption of cheating may arise. If you are planning on working with another student, it is acceptable to undertake research together, and discuss problems, but it is not acceptable to jointly develop or share solutions unless this is specified by your lecturer. 

    Intentionally providing students with your solutions to assignments is classified as "assisting to cheat" and students who do this may be subject to disciplinary action. You should take reasonable care that your solution is not accidentally or deliberately obtained by other students. For example, do not leave copies of your work in progress on the hard drives of shared computers, and do not show your work to other students. If you believe this may have happened, please be sure to contact your lecturer as soon as possible.

    Cheating also includes taking into an examination any material contrary to the regulations, including any bilingual dictionary, whether or not with the intention of using it to obtain an advantage.

    Plagiarism involves the false representation of another person's ideas, or findings, as your own by either copying material or paraphrasing without citing sources. It is both professional and ethical to reference clearly the ideas and information that you have used from another writer. If the source is not identified, then you have plagiarised work of the other author. Plagiarism is a form of dishonesty that is insulting to the reader and grossly unfair to your student colleagues.


    Students may communicate with the lecturer either after the lecture, in the tutorial, via email or by arranging consultations times.


    Notices related to the unit during the semester will be placed on the General Newsgroup in the Unit Website. Check this regularly.

    Failure to read the Notices newsgroup is not regarded as grounds for special consideration.

    Consultation Times

    Consultations should be arranged at least the day before the consultation times.

    Students may consult with Derrick in room 1130 on Tuesdays between 10am and 3pm.

    If direct communication with your unit adviser/lecturer or tutor outside of consultation periods is needed you may contact the lecturer and/or tutors at:

    This person's profile is not available.Image of this person is not available.

    This person's profile is not available.Image of this person is not available.

    This person's profile is not available.Image of this person is not available.

    All email communication to you from your lecturer will occur through your Monash student email address. Please ensure that you read it regularly, or forward your email to your main address. Also check that your contact information registered with the University is up to date in My.Monash.

    Last updated: Mar 21, 2006