Elementary Animation

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Term 1
SCQF Level
Design and Informatics


The module is designed to introduce students to the mechanics of motion and the art of 2D animation. Through a combination of hands-on exercises, lectures, and discussions, students will learn the 12 principles of animation, as well as fundamental principles of physics, and the role of anatomy and form as they relate to animation. They will also develop skills in using hand-drawn animation techniques and analysis of existing motion to create a series of simple animations. The course will also explore the use of motion in different contexts and encourage students to apply their knowledge and skills in the creation of a final original animation concept. By the end of the module, students will have a strong foundation in the basics of 2D animation and the ability to analyse and evaluate motion in their own and others' work.

Through engaging with this module, students will develop the Intellectual, Personal, Professional, Digital and Active Citizen Abertay Attributes.

Intellectual: Students will be supported to develop skills in the subject of elementary animation. They will be supported to evaluate information critically and rigorously, and tackle uncertainty and information gaps with confidence and self-awareness.

Personal: Students will undertake independent and group activities as part of this module which will support them to be determined, ambitious, articulate, adaptable, self-reflective, resilient, practical, proactive, innovative, and enterprising.

Professional: Students will be supported to develop portfolios of professional development which will equip and motivate them to continue learning and professional development throughout their careers.

Digital: this module focuses on digital skill development as a tool for their analysis and practice. Students will be supported to develop digital fluency, knowledge, skills and confidence to embrace digital solutions. This will prepare them for the world of work and allow them to understand the likely impact of digital technology in their chosen subject and across contexts.

Be active citizens: the module will develop skills in observation and consider context of content created during a different time. It will support them to be inclusive, globally conscientious, and socially respectful, and self-reflective. We will maintain and continuously develop awareness of their civic, ethical and environmental responsibilities.


Aims: The aim of the module is to introduce students to the mechanics of motion and the art of 2D animation.

Learning Outcomes

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

  1. Learning Outcomes:Utilise traditional drawing techniques to understand and apply basic principles of physics, anatomy, and form in the creation of 2D animation, including concepts such as weight, momentum, and body mechanics.
  2. Students will be able to demonstrate proficiency in hand-drawn animation techniques and processes, through active iteration on their approach.
  3. Students will be able to analyse and evaluate the use of motion of 2D animation in various contexts, both in their own work and in the work of others.
  4. Students will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the 12 principles of animation and apply them in the creation of series of 2D animations.

Indicative Content

1 Drawing for animation:

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

2 Planning for Animation

Apply appropriate pre-production and planning techniques, including time charts, thumbnails and storyboards.

3 Timing for Animation

Experiment with timing to create clear, readable actions with consideration as to how these may be interpreted by an audience.

4 Body Mechanics

Analyse and practically explore believable weight and interconnectivity of aspects of an animated form.

5 Non-Character Based Movement

Apply force, weight and timing techniques to non-character-based animation.

6 Real-world/Animated Physics

Explore the difference between physical actions in the real world and in animated scenarios of varying levels of stylisation and exaggeration.

7 Basic audio

Analyse the effective use of audio to aid motion.

8 Application of Amimation

Define and practically explore the different applications of 2D animation.

9 Functional Animation

Develop an understanding of how animation context can affect approach to creation.

Teaching and Learning MethodHours
Supervised Practical Activity24
Unsupervised Practical Activity0

Guidance Notes

SCQF Level - The Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework provides an indication of the complexity of award qualifications and associated learning and operates on an ascending numeric scale from Levels 1-12 with SCQF Level 10 equating to a Scottish undergraduate Honours degree.

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 2023/4, and may be subject to change for future years.