Narrative Animation | Abertay University

Narrative Animation


This module aims to develop students understanding of the relationship between written story, performance and visual storytelling in animated sequences. Students will explore narrative and acting theory in relation to the creation of an animated performance, and will test these ideas through the creation of and iteration upon animated sequence(s). The module is primarily aimed at animation practitioners wishing to develop expressive animated character performances.


The aim of this Module is to develop students understanding and practical execution of animated character performance as an expressive contextualised form of communication.

Learning Outcomes

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

1.  Demonstrate critical understanding of relationships between narrative context, character and performance for animation purposes

2.  Examine, evaluate and synthesise animation and acting techniques which imbue personality upon a digital character through visual enquiry and iterative practice

3.  Generate a portfolio that demonstrates development of complex personalities within an animated context

Indicative Content

1 Narrative Context

Explore and apply narrative concepts and processes relating to story development for an animated character performance.

2 Animation Context

Explore and develop an animated character performance in a narrative context.

3 Observational Context

Develop and apply skills for observation from life to an animated performance.

4 Pre-Production

Develop appropriate pre-production documentation to support the development of a character performance in a narrative context, such as story beats, storyboards and animatics.

5 Believable Movement

Express believable motion, weight, balance and expressive potential through drawing, planning thumbnails and in 3D animated performances.

6 Performance-Animator as Actor

Explore the thinking character through observational drawing and performance. Develop technical and conceptual abilities to apply these concepts in the creation of 3D animated performances.

7 Non-Verbal Communication

Explore the use and varying degrees of exaggeration of body language, gesture, and facial expression as communicative devices within an animated performance

8 Dialogue

Explore the development, utilisation and refinement of effective and convincing dialogue in an animated performance.

9 Acting for Camera

Demonstrate the dramatic use of the visual frame within which the performance occurs. Apply directorial camera techniques demonstrating understanding of film language and cinematography to visually support the performance.

10 Presentation

Iterate upon, finalise and compile animated performance(s) to best showcase contextual understanding and practical skills development

Statement on Teaching, Learning and Assessment

The module will make use of a mix of lectures supported by practical labs and longer lectorial/workshop sessions. The lecture series introduces theoretical concepts relating to animated performance within a narrative context. These concepts are reinforced through technical labs where students will explore conceptual and technical application in the development of animated sequences. Lectorial/workshops will take the form of three hour classes where students will explore and participate within complementary practices such as observational drawing and acting classes. These provide concrete connections between relevant areas of practice such as writing, observational drawing, animation and performance. Throughout the module, students work as individuals and in small group exercises where they actively develop their ideas in collaboration with others. The assessment will take the form of a submission of a portfolio of work, showcasing planning, production and final animated outcome(s).

Teaching and Learning Work Loads

Total 200
Lecture 10
Tutorial/Seminar 0
Supervised Practical Activity 26
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.