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FIT3001 Animation and FX - Semester 1 , 2008

Unit leader :

Derrick Martin

Lecturer(s) :


  • Derrick Martin


Unit synopsis

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 and special effects 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.

Learning outcomes

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 special effects scenes;
  • an extended understanding of the 3D spatial environment and the taxonomy of 3D.

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.

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.

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.


For on campus students, workload commitments are:

  • two-hour lecture and
  • two-hour laboratory (requiring advance preparation)
  • a minimum of 2-3 hours of personal study per one hour of contact time in order to satisfy research and assignment expectations 

Unit relationships


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


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.

Continuous improvement

Monash is committed to ‘Excellence in education' and strives for the highest possible quality in teaching and learning. To monitor how successful we are in providing quality teaching and learning Monash regularly seeks feedback from students, employers and staff. Two of the formal ways that you are invited to provide feedback are through Unit Evaluations and through Monquest Teaching Evaluations.

One of the key formal ways students have to provide feedback is through Unit Evaluation Surveys. It is Monash policy for every unit offered to be evaluated each year. Students are strongly encouraged to complete the surveys as they are an important avenue for students to "have their say". The feedback is anonymous and provides the Faculty with evidence of aspects that students are satisfied and areas for improvement.

Student Evaluations

The Faculty of IT administers the Unit Evaluation surveys online through the my.monash portal, although for some smaller classes there may be alternative evaluations conducted in class.

If you wish to view how previous students rated this unit, please go to http://www.monash.edu.au/unit-evaluation-reports/

Over the past few years the Faculty of Information Technology has made a number of improvements to its courses as a result of unit evaluation feedback. Some of these include systematic analysis and planning of unit improvements, and consistent assignment return guidelines.

Monquest Teaching Evaluation surveys may be used by some of your academic staff this semester. They are administered by the Centre for Higher Education Quality (CHEQ) and may be completed in class with a facilitator or on-line through the my.monash portal. The data provided to lecturers is completely anonymous. Monquest surveys provide academic staff with evidence of the effectiveness of their teaching and identify areas for improvement. Individual Monquest reports are confidential, however, you can see the summary results of Monquest evaluations for 2006 at http://www.adm.monash.edu.au/cheq/evaluations/monquest/profiles/index.html

Unit staff - contact details

Unit leader

Mr Derrick Martin
Assistant Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 47131

Lecturer(s) :

Mr Derrick Martin
Assistant Lecturer
Phone +61 3 990 47131

Contact hours : Monday 10-12, Thursday 2-4

Additional communication information

Contact is acceptable via phone, email or in person.

Teaching and learning method

This unit will be delivered via lectures and laboratory classes.

Lecture: During the lecture, your lecturer will introduce key theoretical concepts and demonstrate various methodologies related to animation and FX.

Laboratory: During the lab, the class will jointly work through exercises led by the tutor.

Communication, participation and feedback

Monash aims to provide a learning environment in which students receive a range of ongoing feedback throughout their studies. You will receive feedback on your work and progress in this unit. This may take the form of group feedback, individual feedback, peer feedback, self-comparison, verbal and written feedback, discussions (on line and in class) as well as more formal feedback related to assignment marks and grades. You are encouraged to draw on a variety of feedback to enhance your learning.

It is essential that you take action immediately if you realise that you have a problem that is affecting your study. Semesters are 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.

Unit Schedule

Week Topic Study guide Key dates
1 Animation Theory Pg 35-65  
2 Advanced Animation Pg 397-415  
3 Non-Linear Animation    
Mid semester break
5 Rigging Pg 125-135 Assignment 1 due
6 Advanced Rigging    
7 Binding and Constraints Pg 136-143  
9 Particles and fields Pg 397-415 Assignment 2 due
10 Rigid Body Dynamics    
11 Render Management and Composition Pg 367-396  
12 Soft Body Dynamics   Assignment 3 due
13 Review and presentations    

Unit Resources

Prescribed text(s) and readings

Flaxman, Tereza, "Maya character modeling & animation: principles and practice", Charles River Media, 2006, ISBN 1-58450-440-4

The textbook will be available in limited numbers at the on-campus bookshop and from the library to loan.

Recommended text(s) and readings

Maraffi, Chris, "Maya Character Creation", Pearson, 2004
ISBN: 0-7357-1344-8

Wilkins, Mark, "Mel Scripting for Maya Animators", Elsevier, 2005
ISBN: 0-12-088793-2

Petitot, Luc, "Maya Ultimate Workshop", Editions Eyrolles, 2003
ISBN: 0-07-142169-6

Ratner, Peter, "Mastering 3D animation", 2nd edn, Allworth Press, 2004
ISBN: 1-58115-345-7

Ratner, Peter, "3D Human modeling and animation", Wiley, 2003
ISBN: 0-471-21548-1

Park, J. E. "Understanding 3-D animation using Maya", Springer, 2005
ISBN: 978-0387001760

Required software and/or hardware

Maya 2008, Autodesk, 2008

Software may be:

  • purchased at academic price at good software retailers

Equipment and consumables required or provided

On-campus students 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.

Study resources

Study resources we will provide for your study are:

lecture slides, weekly tutorials, assignment specifications, links and supplementary material posted on the FIT3001 web site on MUSO.

Library access

The Monash University Library site contains details about borrowing rights and catalogue searching. To learn more about the library and the various resources available, please go to http://www.lib.monash.edu.au.  Be sure to obtain a copy of the Library Guide, and if necessary, the instructions for remote access from the library website.

Monash University Studies Online (MUSO)

All unit and lecture materials are available through MUSO (Monash University Studies Online). Blackboard is the primary application used to deliver your unit resources. Some units will be piloted in Moodle.

You can access MUSO and Blackboard via the portal (http://my.monash.edu.au).

Click on the Study and enrolment tab, then Blackboard under the MUSO learning systems.

In order for your Blackboard unit(s) to function correctly, your computer needs to be correctly configured.

For example :

  • Blackboard supported browser
  • Supported Java runtime environment

For more information, please visit


You can contact the MUSO Support by: Phone: (+61 3) 9903 1268

For further contact information including operational hours, please visit


Further information can be obtained from the MUSO support site:


If your unit is piloted in Moodle, you will see a link from your Blackboard unit to Moodle at http://moodle.med.monash.edu.au.
From the Faculty of Information Technology category, click on the link for your unit.


Unit assessment policy

Assignments make up 100% of assessment in this subject.

You must obtain a minimum mark of 50% overall in the total mark from the assignments in order to pass this unit.

Assignment tasks

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Creating a walking cycle

    Description :

    Weighting : 40%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Due date : 3pm Monday, Week 5, March 31st

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Rigging and Binding

    Description :

    Weighting : 30%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Due date : 3pm Monday, Week 9, April 28th

  • Assignment Task

    Title : Special Effects

    Description :

    Weighting : 30%

    Criteria for assessment :

    Due date : 3pm Friday, Week 12, May 23rd

Assignment submission

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. 

Assignment coversheets

Coversheets are available at the student services desk, or online at the faculty website (http://infotech.monash.edu.au/resources/student/assignments/)

University and Faculty policy on assessment

Due dates and extensions

The due dates for the submission of assignments are given in the previous section. Please make every effort to submit work by the due dates. 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. Students are advised to NOT assume that granting of an extension is a matter of course.

Requests for extensions must be made to the unit lecturer at least two days before the due date.  You will be asked to complete a formal extension request document, and to provide an original medical certificate in case of illness or other forms of documentation where necessary.  These documents must be attached to the assignment submission.

Late assignment

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%.

Return dates

Students can expect assignments to be returned within two weeks of the submission date or after receipt, whichever is later.

Assessment for the unit as a whole is in accordance with the provisions of the Monash University Education Policy at http://www.policy.monash.edu/policy-bank/academic/education/assessment/

Plagiarism, cheating and collusion

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 (http://www.infotech.monash.edu.au/about/committees-groups/facboard/policies/studrights.html) 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.

Register of counselling about plagiarism

The university requires faculties to keep a simple and confidential register to record counselling to students about plagiarism (e.g. warnings). The register is accessible to Associate Deans Teaching (or nominees) and, where requested, students concerned have access to their own details in the register. The register is to serve as a record of counselling about the nature of plagiarism, not as a record of allegations; and no provision of appeals in relation to the register is necessary or applicable.

Non-discriminatory language

The Faculty of Information Technology is committed to the use of non-discriminatory language in all forms of communication. Discriminatory language is that which refers in abusive terms to gender, race, age, sexual orientation, citizenship or nationality, ethnic or language background, physical or mental ability, or political or religious views, or which stereotypes groups in an adverse manner. This is not meant to preclude or inhibit legitimate academic debate on any issue; however, the language used in such debate should be non-discriminatory and sensitive to these matters. It is important to avoid the use of discriminatory language in your communications and written work. The most common form of discriminatory language in academic work tends to be in the area of gender inclusiveness. You are, therefore, requested to check for this and to ensure your work and communications are non-discriminatory in all respects.

Students with disabilities

Students with disabilities that may disadvantage them in assessment should seek advice from one of the following before completing assessment tasks and examinations:

Deferred assessment and special consideration

Deferred assessment (not to be confused with an extension for submission of an assignment) may be granted in cases of extenuating personal circumstances such as serious personal illness or bereavement. Information and forms for Special Consideration and deferred assessment applications are available at http://www.monash.edu.au/exams/special-consideration.html. Contact the Faculty's Student Services staff at your campus for further information and advice.