This course introduces students to digital 2D animation techniques and processes through hands-on lab projects. Emphasis is on creative content, experimentation, critical thinking and collaboration. Through a series of tutorial, screenings, and discussions, this class will explore contemporary trends in animation and character design, and expose students to tools such as Adobe After Effects, Photoshop, and Flash/Animator.

> Class' Vimeo Account

Term: Spring 2016
Course number: 60426
Classroom: CFA 318 - CFA 307
Days / time: Tuesday Thursday 06:30PM - 9:20PM
Professor: Paolo Pedercini - paolop [at] andrew [dot] cmu [dot] edu
Office: School of art 419A - 4th Floor
Office hours: By appointment

Upon completion of the course students will be able to:

> Master the basic techniques of two-dimensional animation.

> Produce animations with a variety of digital tools such as digital cameras, Premiere/Final Cut Pro, Adobe After Effects, Flash.

> Situate their works in the context of new media art and in relation with pop culture.


All students are required to have a FireWire 800 hard drive to store their media files on (NOT a USB key or drive). The recommended portable drive is this one:
OWC Mercury Elite Pro mini
And the power adaptor
This will allow you to capture video directly to your drive and save you lots of time. And you'll have a good hard drive for other projects.

> Attendance: three or more unexcused absences result in the drop of a letter grade.

> Absences: you are responsible for what happens in class whether you’re here or not. Organize with your classmates to get class information and material that you have missed.

> Participation: you are invited, encouraged, and expected to engage actively in discussion, reflection and activities.

> Net addiction: you can exist for few hours without tweettering, facebooking, chatting, texting or emailing. Any device for mediated communication is banned during theory classes, crits and discussions. A .5% grade reduction will result from being found using them.
During the lab hours you will be allowed to network as long as your behaviour is not disruptive.

> Assignments: late assignments are only accepted with permission of instructor. You lose 10% of your points per day late up to a max of 7 days late.

Every unit revolves around an assignment and certain technical skills. Units typically have a screening closely related to the techniques covered and a thematic program more losely related. Units might change according to the class response, what follows is a work in progress and a best case scenario.


Make a short top-motion animation using small objects, cut-outs or a sequence of drawings.
The action must take place on a flat plane (no claymation, lego-mation, pixilation or everything that employs a 3D perspective).

Technical requirements: Duration around 1 minute. Animation on twos (12 frames per second). Resolution 640 x 480 px or HD - set your digital camera accordingly!

Screenings: The Bead Game - Ishu Patel , Meat Love - Jan Švankmajer, Jeff Keen - Irresistible Attack, Fireworks - PES, Forming Game - Malcolm Sutherland (and making of), MUTO - Blu, The Collagist - Amy Lockhart , The Seed - Johnny Kelly, The Deep End - Jake Fried, Hadacol Christmas - Brent Green.

Texture and medium: Mothlight - Stan Brakage, Stereoscope - William Kentridge, Dreams and Desires Family Ties - Joanna Quinn, Kuchao/A GUM BOY - Masaki Okuda, Wild Life - Wendy Tilby & Amanda Forbis, Volgens de vogels According to Birds - Linde Faas, Fast Film - Virgil Widrich.

Daily Routine of Facebutt from Kyna McIntosh on Vimeo.


Starting from the provided photographic sequence, create a seamless walking loop using the rotoscoping technique. The leg movements should follow the original material closely but the rest of the body can (and should) be re-imagined.

Technical requirements: Duration and resolution: same as the original footage

Screenings: The Doodle Project, Superman Jungle Drums - Fleischer Studios , Betty Boop Bamboo Isle - Fleischer Studios, Waking Life - Richard Linklater , Range Ton Bazar - Mathias Lachal, A Family Portrait - Joseph Pierce, Orgesticulanismus - Mathieu Labaye, Slurb - Marina Zurkow, Bradley Manning Had Secrets - Adam Butcher.

Character design: Quasi at the Quackadero - Sally Cruikshank, Atsushi Wada - In a pig's eye, Eau vive - Mary Oldlife, Howard - Julia Pott, I'M FINE THANKS - Eamonn o Neill, Lebensader - Angela Steffen, Somewhere - Nicolas Ménard, The Astronomer's Dream - Malcolm Sutherland, This one time... - Nelson Boles .

Rotoscoping Cat from 2D Animation CMU on Vimeo.


In this exquisite corpse assignment you have to draw 2 (disembodied) faces. The drawing will be randomly reassigned and you'll have to generate the intermediate frames between these two keyframes.

Technical requirements: 2 Morphings, one second each. Resolution HD: 1920x1080 px.
Animation on twos (15 frames per second). A template will be provided.

Screenings: The Hasher's Delirium - Emile Cohl, Malice in wonderland - Vince Collins, The Comic That Frenches Your Mind - Bruce Bickford, Walk for Walk - Amy Lockhart, Land - Masanobu Hiraoka, PLUTO 3000 - Fabio Tonetto, Fehérlófia - Marcell Jankovics's, Robes Of War - Michèle Cournoyer, One minute puberty - Alexander Gellner.

Beyond anime, independent Japanese animation: Aos - Yoji Kuri, HAPPY BOGEYS Takashi Kurihara, Atsushi Wada - The Mechanism of Spring, Ketsujiru Juke - Sawako Kabuki, Cat Soup - Tatsuo Sato.

The result

Face Melting 2014 from 2D Animation CMU on Vimeo.


Given a 4 color palette make an animated loop that one of Disney's principles of animation.

Technical requirements: Duration: 3 seconds, 350x350px, loop, animated gif.
30 frames per second in twos.

Screenings: Steamboat Willie - Walt Disney-Ub Iwerks, 1927, The Skeleton Dance - Walt Disney, 1929, Red Hot Riding Hood - MGM-Tex Avery, 1943, Dumbo 1941 Pink Elephants on Parade. File no.4 - Patrick Doyon - 2010. Animade lernz.
Loops: Socialist Circle - Pansak Bas, Bloody Dairy - Min Liu,loopdeloop
Abstraction and synestesia: Heider Simmel - Attribution of causality - Empathy , Oskar Fischinger - Studie No 7 1931, Norman McLaren - Dots, Passer Passer by Louis Morton, Collision by Max Hattler, koukou - takashi ohashi, Timbre Z - Mirai Mizue, Light Forms by Malcolm Sutherland.

[ SVÉLGERØUROBØROS ] from Alex Lee on Vimeo.


In this assignment we introduce video compositing with After Effect.
Produce a short animation involving a relationship between two characters. Use visually consistent found images assembled archival sources OR hand drawn material.
Technical requirements:30 frames per second. Resolution HD: 1920x1080 px.

Screenings: Cows cows cows - Cyriak 2010, Terry Gilliam - Monthy Python animations, Lotte Reiniger - The Adventures of Prince Achmed, Frank Film - Frank & Caroline Mouris, Yard Work is Hard Work - Jodie Mack, Melting Man - Jennifer Levonian, Optimizer customizer - Jan van Nuenen, Cyriak - cows cows cows, The elegant gentlemans guide to knife fighting - animations - Jungleboys.

Scratch and Sniff from Justin Lin on Vimeo.


Find an interesting spoken word audio source - it can be an original recording. Design an original character (close up) that is either meaningfully related or humorously non-related to the audio and make a credible mouth-sync animation.

Technical requirements: Duration: around 1 minute. 30fps animation on twos or threes. Resolution: 1280x720px.

Screenings sync: Nick Park - Creature Comforts, MARCEL THE SHELL WITH SHOES ON - Dean Fleischer-Camp, Sita Sings the Blues - Nina Paley, Animation Masks - Jordan Wolfson, Where’s My Keys? - Max Halley, Phil Mulloy - The Christies, She was the one - The Rauch Brothers, Dan Deacon Liam Lynch - Drinking Out of Cups, Hidden - Hanna Heilborn David Aronowitsch.

Narration: Jim Trainor - the moschops, The Orange - Benjamin Rosenbaum Nick Fox-Gieg, Bill Plympton - how to make love to a woman, The Cameraman - This American Life Chris Ware John Kuramoto, Dock Ellis & The LSD No-No by James Blagden, Missed Aches - Joanna Priestley, Outside the box - Joseph Pelling, Teat Beat of Sex by Signe Baumane, The Girl with short hair - Maryam Mohajer.

Wood from Eden Weingart on Vimeo.


Devise a unique style for your final project, produce proof of concepts of the art, characters and backgrounds and 2 seconds of animation in the chosen style with the final level of polishness you are aiming to.

Extra: 99% invisible noble effort + Beep Prepared by Stephen Gray.

Technical requirements: Still image, digital. HD video.

Screenings: Fantastic Planet - René Laloux, UPSTAIRS by Matthias Hoegg, Eye Liner - Eye Liner Joanna Priestley, Carnival of animals - Michaela Pavlatova, Gorge by Thomas Knowler, Lizard Planet Tomoyoshi JOKO, ECHO - Merlin Flügel, Half Wet - Sophie Koko Gate , Last minute by Linda Yurdakul Audyová .


The final assigment consists in the pre-production, production and post-production of a short animation video.

In preparation of the final project you have to:
1) Watch at least one of the following feature lenght movies:

Waking Life - Richard Linklater 2001
Fehérlófia - Marcell Jankovics's 1981
Sita Sings the Blues - Nina Paley 2008
Persepolis - Marjane Satrapi & Vincent Paronnaud 2007
Fantastic Planet - René Laloux 1973
The Secret of Kells - Cartoon Saloon 2010
The Illusionist - Sylvain Chomet 2010
Mind Game - Masaaki Yuasa 2004
Porco Rosso - Studio Ghibli Hayao Miyazaki 1992
The Adventures of Prince Achmed - Lotte Reiniger 1926
A Town Called Panic - Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar 2009

2) Choose a scene that relates to your project and analyze it, deconstructing it shot by shot and recreating a storyboard.
3) Present the scene and your findings to the class.

Screenings:Chroniques de la poisse - sticky ends by osman cerfon, Plunge by Jan-Joost Verhoef, Red River, Song Hong - Leroy Lansaque, the meaning of life - Don Hertzfelt, The muscular princesses - Júlia Farkas, The Tongueling - Elli Vuorinen, OUT TO LUNCH - Joseph Bennett.

Technical requirements: Depending on the project.

2D Animation - Spring 2014 - CMU from 2D Animation CMU on Vimeo.

The Name of the Game Is _____ from Gina Smith on Vimeo.

The Kissing Game from christina lee on Vimeo.

What You Eat (2012) from Allison Huey on Vimeo.


10% Stop motion
10% Walking loop
10% Tweening
10% Squash and stretch
10% Mouth Sync
10% Collage
30% Final Project