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Northwest Vista College · - · ARTV-Multimedia Digital Video

3-D Animation I

  • Full Term Spring 2015
  • Section 001.15486
  • 4-3-2 Credits
  • 01/20/2015 to 05/16/2015
  • Modified 01/15/2015

Contact Information

Lab Room:    MLH 200           Instructor:  Don Allie
Office location: MLH 200       Email:  [email protected]
Phone:            210-486-4548

Office Hours:   M and W 12a-1p
                        T  2p-5p
                        R  12a-2:30p
                        F  2p-5p


Required Course Materials:
- 1 Flash USB Drive (128MB and up) or CDRW
- 1 Notebook or Binder and pen to take notes
- 1 Sketchbook or Print Paper (size A3 (11x17) or A4 (8.5 x11))
- HB, B and 2B pencils and eraser

3ds Max 2014 Bible (Paperback)

  • Author: Kelly L. Murdock
  • Publisher: Wiley; Book & DVD edition (2009) – 1252 pages
  • ISBN: 9780470471913
  • Optional

not mandatory


Introduction to 3ds Max, 3D Modeling and Animation, Texturing, Lighting and Cameras. Emphasis on Storytelling and Environment Development



This course is designed to provide experience and technical knowledge in the area of 3D production using 3D Studio Max. Lab work will consist of assigned projects and tutorials with specific issues and skills with relation to those areas covered in this course.
These assignments provide direction toward the use of 3D art for commercial application.

The areas to be covered in this course include the following  concepts: Introduction to the Max interface, fundamental concepts of a 3D coordinate system, 2D spline drawing, editing the spline. Creating with primitive objects, simple models. Modifying models, the Modify Panel, Modifier stack. Introduction to the Material Editor: materials libraries, creating and modifying materials libraries, creating and modifying materials, assigning materials. Creating lights and cameras, spotlights and cast shadows. Rendering the camera view. Saving the work.

1. Navigate comfortably through the 3ds Max User Interface
2. Understand and apply the processes of editing an object through3 dimensional coordinates
3. Create and edit geometry, splines, lights, cameras, helpers, hierarchies
4. Develop and render keyframe animations and path animations with sound integration
5. Understand and apply Modifiers and edit the Modifier Stack
6. Apply materials onto meshes from the material library or from custom textures
7. Adjust material coordinates through tiling and U,V,W placement.
8. Use 3d skills and tools towards the art of Storytelling
9. Work on projects individually and in a team environment
10. Enhance their artistic abilities through weekly drawing practices


1 Utilize animation software and production skills.

2 Develop a sense of weight and emotion in animated shots.

3 Develop animation for multi-media productions, games or simulations.

Course Policies

The "Value of Integrity" statement.
Northwest Vista College seeks to produce graduates who not only have an academic mastery of their subject, but also treasure lifelong learning, diversity, and personal and social responsibility. We believe true learning and personal growth are possible only in an environment where everyone shares common values. One of our values is integrity, which we define as honesty, trust, respect, and fairness. Our values facilitate intellectual inquiry, the open exchange of ideas and collaboration - all necessary for individual learning and social progress. We expect faculty, staff, and students to exemplify all our values. We embrace our values not out of fear of consequences, but out of a sense of commitment to families, peers, neighbors, our community and ourselves. Cheating on assignments, plagiarizing the work of others without proper citation, and collusion through unauthorized collaboration are not part of integrity. Penalties for academic dishonesty are serious and range from failing to expulsion. Please read the complete set of new policies and procedures regarding academic integrity on the Academic Integrity website.

Courses in the core curriculum at Northwest Vista College seek to foster the growth of students in areas that the faculty has termed Attitudes, Skills, and Knowledge (ASK). While individual courses are not likely to address all of the outcomes, it is the hope of the faculty that, when you complete the core curriculum at NVC, you will have grown significantly in these areas. Those outcomes in bold will be addressed in this course:
*Behave with integrity and practice personal and social responsibility
*A commitment to lifelong learning and wellness
*An acceptance of change, nuance, and uncertainty
*Value diversity and differences in people
*Communicate effectively (visual, verbal, written and listening)
*Cooperate and collaborate effectively
*Think critically  and creatively
*Use technology appropriately and effectively
*Set goals and assess progress
*Understand various ways of knowing, and how individual disciplines investigate and interpret the world

You are the one who must manage your growth and learning, and these are important attitudes, skills, and knowledge for you to have a successful life. Our role is to help you with that growth through the courses we offer you, through the opportunity to work closely with your fellow students, and by the co-curricular services and opportunities available at NVC.
We hope you will demand excellence from us and from yourself.

Attendance and Participation Policy (Professionalism):
You are responsible for everything said and done in each class session. Absences will affect your participation grade. More than three absences during the semester will result in the loss of a full letter grade. If you miss five or more classes prior to the withdrawal deadline, I may decide to drop you from the class. While in class you should spend all your time on class related work or research. Participation in class is vital for success, keep good communication lines with your instructor and you peers so you can feel free to ask for help when needed as well as be helpful to others. By respect for others you also want to keep the lab in as a good working environment by keeping low levels of noises and voices.


Tardiness: Class begins and ends on the scheduled time. Because of the disruption you might cause by arriving late and leaving early, they will also affect your participation grade.

Late assignments: No late assignments will be accepted without prior discussion with the instructor.

Drop Date: If you miss more than 5 classes I may decide to drop you from the class, or not… Ultimately, it is your responsibility to officially drop from the class to avoid failing the class (F). Students may drop this class without academic penalty if they drop before the deadline.

Special Accommodations Policy:  As per Section 504 of the Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, if a special accommodation is needed, please contact Sharon Dresser in the Access Office in the Student Success Center at 486-4466

Academic expectation: Students will be expected to develop a sense of personal responsibility and work ethic and will need to commit to in order to successfully complete the class.
Since this class is of technical nature as well as artistic and creative nature, the students are expected to buy a sketchbook and practice their drawing skills weekly.
It is the student’s responsibility to show regular weekly progress to the instructor.

Cellular phones and beeper:  I find cell phones extremely irritating when they disrupt my class. Turn off your phone and answer when the class is over. (Yes, you can wait.)
Having your phone ring during class will result in -5pts of your final course grade.

There is absolutely no eating or drinks allowed in the lab. Any student caught eating or drinking any beverage other than water will be asked to leave the lab and may be suspended from using the lab or have their lab privileges permanently revoked.

Respect the equipment. During the course of the class you may become frustrated with the computers when you cannot figure something out. This is the nature of Computer Graphics, please do not take your frustration out on the workstations!

Do not log into the machines on any account other than the Student account.
Any students who log in as another user without direct permission from the instructor will be asked to leave the lab and may be suspended from using the lab or have their lab privileges permanently revoked.

Never remove anything from the lab that you did not bring in with you.
Any students caught removing equipment or software from the lab will be removed permanently from the lab an appropriate action will be taken against that student.
All of this equipment is provide for your education, however, it does not belong to you.
Please treat it that way.


1- Jan. 18 -  Syllabus- Windows LOGIN  and 3DS Max BASICS
2- Jan. 23 -  3DS MAX USER INTERFACE (UI)- PART I –  Menus
3- Jan. 25 -  3DS MAX USER INTERFACE (UI)- PART II – Navigation Tools
4- Jan. 30 -  3DS MAX USER INTERFACE (UI)- PART III – Create Panel/ Geometry
5- Feb. 1 -  3DS MAX USER INTERFACE (UI)- PART IV – Modify Panel  (Census Date)
6- Feb. 6  - Time controls, Sound Import
7- Feb. 8 -   Rendering- Output options
8- Feb. 13 -   Pivot, Autogrid
9- Feb. 15 – Align- Group- Link/ Helpers
10- Feb. 20 Cameras
11- Feb. 22 - Compound Objects – Display Panel - MIDTERM REVIEW 
12- Feb. 27 -    MIDTERM
13- Feb 29 -   Shapes, Splines - Motion Panel and Path Animation
14- Mar. 5 -    Layers, Snap, Select by- Spline Modifier 1- Spline Modifier 2
15- Mar. 7 -  Extrude 1- Edit Spline
Spring Break – Mar.12 – Mar. 18 (Campus is Closed)
16- Mar. 19 -  Extrude 2- Edit Poly
17- Mar. 21 -  Extrude 3- UVWmap- Mat ID
18- Mar. 26 – Modifiers, Video Post
19- Mar. 28 -  Finish Projects for 2nd Semester
20- Apr. 2 - Introduce Final Group Project
21- Apr. 4- Work on Group Project for Presentation
22- Easter Holiday – Apr. 6 Apr. 8 (Campus is Closed)
23- Apr. 9 - Work on Group Project for Presentation (Last Day to Withdraw)
24- Apr. 11 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
25- Apr. 16 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
26- Apr. 18 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
Fiesta Holiday Friday Apr.23 (Campus is Closed)
27- Apr. 23 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
28- Apr. 25 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
29- Apr. 30 - Work on Group Project for Presentation
30- May. 2- Work on Group Project  for Presentation
31- May. 7 to May 12 – Final Week – Final Group Presentation Day and Time TBA

Institutional Policies


A. Attendance:

Effective Spring Term 2010, student absences will be recorded from the first day the class meets. Regular and punctual attendance in all classes and laboratories, day and evening, is required. Students who are absent for any reason should always consult with their instructors. Course syllabi must provide specific information regarding attendance, including, for courses involving the internet, online activity that constitutes “attendance.” Also, both tardiness and early departure from class may be considered forms of absenteeism. In all cases, students will be held responsible for completion of course requirements covered in their absence.

Additionally, it is the student’s responsibility to drop a course for nonattendance. Course instructors establish policy with regard to attendance in their respective syllabi and may drop a student for excessive absences. Absences are considered excessive when more than 12.5 percent of the total contact hours of instruction in a semester, including lecture and lab, are missed. For example, in a three-credit-hour lecture class, students may be dropped after more than six contact hours of absences. In a four-credit-hour lecture/lab class, students may be dropped after more than eight contact hours of absences. Absences are counted regardless of whether they occur consecutively.

In special programs with additional accreditation or certification standards, additional attendance requirements may be enforced but faculty must clearly explain these policies in their syllabi. Students who stop attending class for any reason should contact the instructor and the college registrar to officially withdraw from the class. Students may be required to consult with an advisor or designee before dropping.

Failure to officially withdraw may result in a failing grade for the course. It is the student’s responsibility to withdraw officially from a class by submitting a completed Withdrawal Form to the Admissions and Records Office.

B. Student Responsibility for Success (Alamo Colleges Policy F.6.2):

As members of the Alamo Colleges learning community, students, faculty, staff and administrators all share the responsibility to create an atmosphere where knowledge, integrity, truth, and academic honesty are valued and expected. A clear acknowledgment of the mutual obligations of all members of the academic community emphasizes this implicit partnership in fostering the conditions necessary for student success.

In this relationship, the Alamo Colleges provides institutional policies, procedures, and opportunities to facilitate student learning that encourage interaction, involvement and responsible participation. Inherent in the academic climate is the expectation that students will assume responsibility for contributing to their own development and learning. Academic success is directly tied to the effort students put into their studies, the degree to which they interact with faculty and peers, and the extent to which students integrate into the campus life.

1. Engagement

  1. Create connections and build relationships with faculty, staff and students (visit during office hours, join clubs and organizations, participate in student activities, etc.);
  2. Stay informed of policies, procedures, deadlines and events for academic and co-curricular activities;
  3. Complete all requirements for admission, registration, and payment by deadlines;
  4. Apply for financial assistance, if needed, complying with all federal, state and local regulations and procedures;
  5. Meet all federal, state and local health care regulations.

2. Communication

  1. Seek guidance from faculty, advisors or counselors for questions and concerns in regards to degree plans, major selection, academic status, grades, and issues impacting college success;
  2. Develop a peer support system to identify student contacts for questions, group assignments, etc. regarding academic and co-curricular activities;
  3. Communicate with College personnel promptly regarding academic or co-curricular concerns and assistance requests;
  4. Carefully consider the information provided by College personnel and make decisions using that information;
  5. Check the Alamo Colleges’ Web Services regularly for emails, holds, student records, financial aid status and announcements;
  6. Submit disability documentation if seeking services and request academic accommodations in advance of each semester.

3. Academic Success

  1. Complete courses with passing grades and maintain in good academic standing (2.0 GPA) status;
  2. Read and follow all syllabi;
  3. Purchase textbooks and required supplies in a timely manner;
  4. Attend classes regularly and on time, with as few absences, late arrivals, and early exits as possible;
  5. Arrive to class with all needed materials and completed assignments for that class period;
  6. Be attentive in class and actively participate as appropriate;
  7. Devote sufficient time for studying;
  8. Ensure integrity in all aspects of academic and career development;
  9. Accurately represent one’s own work and that of others used in creating academic assignments. Use information ethically and exercise appropriate caution to avoid plagiarism on all assignments;
  10. Notify faculty in advance or as soon as possible about absences and provide documentation as appropriate;
  11. Consult faculty members in advance when unable to complete projects, assignments, or take examinations as scheduled.

4. Self-Responsibility and Responsibility to Others

  1. Maintain accurate and complete degree/certificate major selection and contact information including name, address, phone number and emergency contact;
  2. Balance personal obligations and educational pursuits. Work with a counselor / advisor to design a realistic schedule that dedicates adequate effort to be successful in college studies;
  3. Know and follow the regulations and guidelines outlined in the Student Code of Conduct and Student Handbook;
  4. Maintain respectful and appropriate behavior within and outside the classroom;
  5. Ask for help when needed. Use all available resources and facilities provided by the College to enhance the learning experience;
  6. Attend scheduled advising sessions, tutorials, and other appointments. Cancel or reschedule only with good reasons as early as possible;
  7. Arrive prepared for tutorial sessions, bringing all needed materials (books, syllabi, rough drafts, calculators, assignment sheets, etc.).

C.  Textbook Availability

A student of this institution is not under any obligation to purchase a textbook from a university-affiliated bookstore. The same textbook may also be available from an independent retailer, including an online retailer.


A comprehensive final evaluation, not to exceed three hours in length, shall be given at the end of each course at the official scheduled final exam time. Any exceptions to this requirement must be approved by the appropriate Dean. Other evaluations are given at the discretion of the instructor.

A student who must be absent from a final evaluation should petition that instructor for permission to postpone the evaluation. A student absent without permission from a final evaluation is graded "0" on the exam.

Incomplete Grades.  The conditional grade of “I” may be issued to a student having a passing average on all completed coursework but for a justified reason, such as illness or death in the family or by providential hindrance, has been prevented from taking the final examination or completing other required coursework. The “I” becomes an “F” in one hundred twenty (120) calendar days from the end of the term unless the student completes the balance of the coursework with a performance grade of “D” or higher. Re-enrollment in the course will not resolve the “I.”  The student and faculty must fill out an Incomplete Contract, clearly defining the work remaining to be finished.

College Policies


A. All of the Alamo Colleges are tobacco free.

B. Alamo Colleges DPS Emergency Phone Numbers:

Emergency Phone (210) 485-0911

General Phone (210) 485-0099

Weather Phone (210) 485-0189 (For information on college closures)

C. Students are required to silence all electronic devices (e.g., pagers, cellular phones, etc.) when in classrooms, laboratories and the library.


Disability Access Statement – In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, it is the responsibility of the student to self-identify with the campus Disability Services office. Only those students with appropriate documentation will receive a letter of accommodation from the Disability Services office. Instructors are required to follow only those accommodation and/or services outlined in the letter of accommodation. For further information, please contact the Disability Services office at (210) 486-4466 or visit the office located in the Cypress Campus Center, Rm. 204. If you have specific needs, please discuss them privately with your instructor.