Elementary Animation | Abertay University

Elementary Animation


This module will focus on developing the student's art skills and visual awareness of time based dynamic art forms. Technical and aesthetic factors central to the generation of convincing animated objects will be introduced.


The aim of this Module is to provide the student with: a predominantly experiential approach, substantiated by theory, to extend the understanding of motion and its application to digital imagery, in order to convey a convincing illusion of life in animated objects.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

1.  Utilise traditional drawing skills to extend understanding of anatomy, balance, force and movement with reference to animation.

2.  Illustrate ability to communicate and develop conceptual and narrative ideas through appropriate animation pre-production techniques.

3.  Define and apply the classical principles of animation, physical laws and mechanics of motion in the creation of an animated digital art piece.

Indicative Content

1 Drawing for animation:

Extend understanding of anatomy, form and movement through life drawing to create dynamic poses for animation purposes.

2 Principles of Animation & The Illusion of Life:

Explore the Principles of Animation practically to bring objects and characters to life through experimentation with animation techniques. Explore the history of animation and relevance of historical techniques to current practices in animation.

3 Physical Properties VS. Animated Physics:

Define and utilise properties of physics in relation to motion and explore the differences between physical actions in the real world and in animated scenarios of varying levels of stylisation and exaggeration.

4 Timing for Animation:

Experiment with timing to create clear, readable actions in animated movements, considering how it might be interpreted by an audience.

5 Developing story worlds:

Conceive, refine and visually develop environments, characters and narratives for animated scenarios.

6 Visualising Narratives:

Apply animation pre-production techniques, including storyboarding to visualise and iterate upon narrative.

7 Adding Time to Stories:

Experiment with the addition of time and where appropriate, audio to storyboards to create animatic versions which explore clarity of action, narrative and character for an animated sequence.

8 Verbal vs. non-verbal Storytelling:

Practically explore how to tell stories and express emotion through voice, gesture, posture and facial expressions.

9 Sound in Animation

Analyse and practically explore the use of sound as a narrative device in animated sequences.

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

Students will attend a mix of lecture sessions, seminar groups, technical labs and drawing studio sessions to enhance their understanding and exploration of the subject matter. Students will present work in progress sketchbooks demonstrating development in life drawing for animation, and narrative development of a concept during a structured feedback session mid-semester. A portfolio of animation planning and drawn visual research work will be submitted alongside a completed animated sequence at the end of the semester to demonstrate achievement of the learning outcomes.

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 9
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 27
Unsupervised Practical Activity 0
Assessment 84
Independent 80

Guidance notes

Credit Value – The total value of SCQF credits for the module. 20 credits are the equivalent of 10 ECTS credits. A full-time student should normally register for 60 SCQF credits per semester.


We make every effort to ensure that the information on our website is accurate but it is possible that some changes may occur prior to the academic year of entry. The modules listed in this catalogue are offered subject to availability during academic year 2018/19 , and may be subject to change for future years.