3D MODELING & MOTION
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DESMA 156: 3D MODELING & MOTION
University of California, Los Angeles
School of the Arts & Architecture
Department of Design | Media Arts
Tuesday + Thursday 2:00 pm - 4:50 pm
Broad Art Center | Room 4230
Instructor: Breanna Browning
Office hours: Thursday 12:45 pm - 1:45 pm | Room 4230*please make appointment here.
TA: Henry Yang
Office hours: by appointment
Introduction to theories of three-dimensional form, spatial design, and lighting, using three-dimensional visualization and video tools. Tools originally designed for motion to be used to construct form. Use of aspects of time, such as speed and duration, to contemplate form and interaction. Exploration of virtual versus real form.
In this course, students will:
• Master the fundamentals of 3D modeling using Maya and Blender
• Create motion using 3D visualization and video rendering tools
• Move and animate objects in 3D digital environments
• Translate between digital and physical constructs
• Explore creative/ experimental use of 3d modeling and visualization software to generate form through hybrid workflows
An open and experimental mindset is important for this course, as is a respectful attitude towards the diverse opinions and perspectives of your classmates.
Your success in the class will be measured by your growth in both technical proficiency and creative prowess using 3D design and animation tools. To excel, you should actively participate- engaging in discussions, posing questions, and contributing ideas during lectures and group discussions, as well as on our Discord channel. It is also crucial that you actively follow along during tutorials (utilizing the lab computers if your laptops can’t keep up). Completing your assignments on time and coming to class with all the materials you need (including tutorial files downloaded) will ensure you get the most out of the class.
If you are struggling in the course for any reason, please reach out to myself and our TA- we’re here to help!
Through lectures, group discussions, and (if we’re lucky) visiting artist talks, we’ll frame theories of constructing 3d form, explore ideas surrounding 3d representation and visualization, and investigate the complexities of real vs. virtual space. We’ll discuss tactics for constructing narratives and implementing those ideas in 3d projects.
We’ll have weekly tutorials where you’ll build the industry-standard technical skills that you’ll apply to your individual projects.
Weekly Homework Assignments
Homework will be assigned after most class sessions. These assignments set you up to use the skills you’ve learned in the week’s tutorials towards your projects. If you keep up with each of these assignments, your project will basically be completed by the time it’s due!
There will be two projects. The first project (in Maya), will last 6.5 weeks. This will be your “main” project – you’ll learn a range of technical skills that you’ll express creatively through individual narratives. Next, the second project (in Blender) will last 3.5 weeks. Now that you know the basics of 3d modeling, we’ll switch software and take a more experimental approach! This will be an opportunity to have fun and explore the possibilities of hybrid workflows.
*The timing of each project is subject to change, per needs of the class. Refer to our schedule*
Prerequisites + Required Equipment
Completion of course 101 or 104 required.
For equipment requirements, please refer to software / hardware page.
Any required readings will be provided at the time they are assigned. Supplemental readings will be added to the resources page.
To ensure the course aligns with the needs of the class, the schedule is subject to change. Please refer to the schedule page for the most updated information, including homework and project deadlines.
Syllabus overview, Introduction to 3D in creative practice.
3D Basics (getting started with Maya).
Intro to Project 01.
Bespoke modeling (Maya).
Materials + textures (Maya).
Kitbashing (theory and tutorial).
Experimental modeling techniques, novel ways to generate form.
Movement and animation basics (Maya).
Inverse Kinematics + Characters.
Guest artist talk.
Characters + Camera, continued (Maya).
Project 01 due (Feb 20) / CRIT WEEK.
Intro Project 02.
3D basics (Blender).
Bespoke modeling (Blender).
AI + Blender.
Guest artist talk + guest tutorial.
Special tools and workflows (Blender).
Project work session.
Project 02 due (March 14) / CRIT DAY.
No class this week :)
Weekly homework assignments = 18 @ 2.5% each = 45%
Participation and attendance = 5%
Project 01 = 30%
Project 02 = 20%
Extra credit = 2 @ 5% each = 110%
Total = 110%
> 90% = A
90-80% = B
80-70% = C
70-60% = D
< 60% = :(
Course Policies + Expectations
Communication and Contacting Me
You can reach me via email at any time, and I will make every effort to reply promptly. However, please be aware that my response time may vary due to travel and other commitments. If you have urgent concerns, I encourage you to also get in touch with the course TA. In addition to my availability via email, I can be contacted on our class Discord, which you can find in the Course links page.
Teaching Assistants play a crucial role in the classroom and greatly enhance the educational outcomes of students. In this course, our TA will act in the following capacities:
Monitoring attendance and participation (part of your grade in the course)
- Offering technical support during tutorials, assisting in answering questions about software/ skills
- Confirming and cataloging on-time submissions for all homework and project assignments
- Providing feedback on assignments
- Assisting in communication and troubleshooting any course-related issues that may arise
Technology should be used during class for taking notes, participation in in-class
activities, running software or participating in tutorials, research relevant to class topic /
discussion. Use of AI is allowed unless indicated otherwise in assignment briefs.
Late work will not be accepted. As the skills that you will be learning each class build on each other, it will be very difficult to be successful in the course without completing each of the homework assignments. Students should complete each assignment on time, with submission before class on the date it’s due.
Should extenuating circumstances arise,
please alert me to the situation and we will work together to find a solution. Additionally, there are two extra credit assignments that can be used to make up any points missed for late/incomplete work throughout the course of the quarter.
Students should be attentive during class and following along during tutorials. Asking questions, engaging in class discussions, and participating in critiques is expected, and will contribute to final grades.
Physical and mental health comes first. Medical notes (of all types) will be accepted. However, there will be a limit of 2 excused medical absences. Contact me with extenuating circumstances, such as prolonged illness.
Unexcused absences will lower your grade. 3 unexcused absences will lower your grade by 1 letter. A total of 6 or more absences of any kind will result in an Failing grade for the class.
Copying or using another's ideas, writing, or work (including 3D models, images, sound, data from the internet) without proper acknowledgment, is strictly prohibited. This policy applies to all course-related projects, assignments, and submissions.
Other Resources + Information
Students must adhere to the current campus directives related to COVID-19 mitigation, and refusal to do so may result in the student being asked to leave the classroom or referred to the Dean of Students. For more information about COVID-19 requirements on campus, please visit: https://covid-19.ucla.edu/information-for-students/.
The University of California, Los Angeles occupies the ancestral, traditional, and contemporary Lands of the Tongva and Chumash peoples. Our ability to gather and learn here is the result of coercion, dispossession, and colonization. We are grateful for the land itself and the people that have stewarded it through generations. While a land acknowledgment is not enough, it is first step in the work toward supporting decolonial and indigenous movements for sovereignty and self-determination. Read more about what land you’re occupying: https://native-land.ca/
Committment to Diversity and Safer Spaces
We understand the classroom as a space for practicing freedom; where one may challenge psychic, social, and cultural borders and create meaningful artistic expressions. To do so we must acknowledge and embrace the different identities and backgrounds we inhabit. This means that we will use preferred pronouns, respect self-identifications, and be mindful of special needs. Disagreement is encouraged and supported, however our differences affect our conceptualization and experience of reality, and it is extremely important to remember that certain gender, race, sex, and class identities are more privileged while others are undermined and marginalized. Consequently, this makes some people feel more protected or vulnerable during debates and discussions. A collaborative effort between the students, TA, and instructor is needed to create a supportive learning environment. While everyone should feel free to experiment creatively and conceptually, if a class member points out that something you have said or shared with the group is offensive, avoid being defensive; instead approach the discussion as a valuable opportunity for us to grow and learn from one another. Alternatively if you feel that something said in discussion or included in a piece of work is harmful, you are encouraged to speak with the instructor or TA. *Statement adopted from voidLab at: https://github.com/voidlab/diversity-statement
Center for Accessible Education (CAE)
Students needing academic accommodations based on a disability should contact the Center for Accessible Education (CAE) at (310) 825-1501 or in person at Murphy Hall A255. When possible, students should contact the CAE within the first two weeks of the term as reasonable notice is needed to coordinate accommodations. For more information visit www.cae.ucla.edu.
Undergraduate Writing Center
The Undergraduate Writing Center is a free service for all UCLA students, providing one-on-one appointments. Appointment topics include course papers, capstone projects, senior thesis papers or application materials (resumes, CVs, statements of purpose or cover letters).
UCLA’s Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion provides resources, events and information about current initiatives at UCLA to support equality for all members of the UCLA community. I hope that you will communicate with me or your TA if you experience anything in this course that does not support an inclusive environment. You can also report any incidents you may witness or experience on campus to the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion on their website (https://equity.ucla.edu).
Academic Integrity and Information on Student Conduct
UCLA is a community of scholars. In this community, all members including faculty, staff and students alike are responsible for maintaining standards of academic honesty. As a student and member of the University community, you are here to get an education and are, therefore, expected to demonstrate integrity in your academic endeavors. You are evaluated on your own merits. Cheating, plagiarism, collaborative work, multiple submissions without the permission of the professor, or other kinds of academic dishonesty are considered unacceptable behavior and will result in formal disciplinary proceedings usually resulting in suspension or dismissal. As specified in the UCLA Student Conduct Code, violations or attempted violations of academic dishonesty include, but are not limited to, cheating, fabrication, plagiarism, multiple submissions or facilitating academic dishonesty. When a student is suspected to have engaged in academic dishonesty, Academic Senate regulations require that the instructor report the allegation to the office of the Dean of Students. For more information, see the UCLA Student Conduct Code.
UCLA prohibits gender discrimination, including sexual harassment, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. If you have experienced sexual harassment or sexual violence, there are a variety of resources to assist you.
You can receive confidential support and advocacy at the CARE Advocacy Office for Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, 1st Floor Wooden Center West, CAREadvocate@careprogram.ucla.edu, (310) 206-2465. Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) also provides confidential counseling to all students and can be reached 24/7 at (310) 825-0768.
You can also report sexual violence or sexual harassment directly to the University's Title IX Coordinator, 2241 Murphy Hall, email@example.com, (310) 206-3417. Reports to law enforcement can be made to UCPD at (310) 825-1491. These offices may be required to pursue an official investigation.
Faculty and TAs are required under the UC Policy on Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment to inform the Title IX Coordinator—A NON-CONFIDENTIAL RESOURCE—should they become aware that you or any other student has experienced sexual violence or sexual harassment.
PSYCHOLOGICAL HEALTH, WELL-BEING AND RESILIENCE
UCLA is renowned for academic excellence, and yet we know that many students feel overwhelmed at times by demands to succeed academically, socially and personally. Our campus community is committed to helping all students thrive, learn to cope with stress, and build resilience. Remember, self-care is a skill that is critical to your long-term success. Here are some of the many resources available at UCLA to support you:
• Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS): https://www.counseling.ucla.edu/ Provides counseling and other psychological/mental health services to students. Walk-in hours are Monday-Thursday 8am-4:30pm and Friday 9am-4:30pm in John Wooden Center West. Crisis counseling is also available 24 hours/day at (310) 825-0768.
• Ashe Student Health and Wellness Center: http://www.studenthealth.ucla.edu Provides high quality and accessible ambulatory healthcare and education by caring professionals to support the academic success and personal development of all UCLA students.
• Healthy Campus Initiative (HCI): https://healthy.ucla.edu Provides links to a wide variety of resources for enhancing physical and psychological well-being, positive social interactions, healthy sleep, healthy eating, healthy physical activity and more.
• Campus and Student Resilience: https://www.resilience.ucla.edu/ Provides programs to promote resilience and trains students to help support their peers.
• UCLA Recreation: https://www.recreation.ucla.edu/ Offers a broad array of services and programs including fitness, yoga, dance, martial arts, meditation, sports, and much more.
• Equity, Diversity and Inclusion: https://equity.ucla.edu/ Committed to providing an equal learning, working and living environment at UCLA and supports a range of programs to promote these goals campus-wide.
• UCLA GRIT Coaching Program: https://www.grit.ucla.edu/ GRIT stands for Guidance, Resilience, Integrity and Transformation. In this program, UCLA students receive individualized support from trained peer coaches to manage stress, fostering positive social connections, set goals, and navigate campus resources.
Resources for Students Dealing with Financial Stress
• Economic Crisis Response: https://www.studentincrisis.ucla.edu/Economic-Crisis-Response provides support and guidance to students who have self-identified, or are identified by UCLA faculty or staff, as experiencing a financial crisis that impacts their academic success at UCLA.
• Bruin Shelter: http://www.bruinshelter.org/ provides a safe, supportive environment for fellow college students experiencing homelessness by fostering a collaborative effort between universities, community-based organizations, and service providers.
• The CPO Food Closet: http://www.cpo.ucla.edu/cpo/foodcloset/ provides free food for any UCLA student who may be experiencing hunger and/or struggling to attain food due to financial hardships.