University of Southern California
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Courses of Instruction

Animation (CTAN)

CTAN 101 Introduction to the Art of Animation (2, Fa) Theory and practice of graphic imagery in all its ramifications with emphasis on self exploration. Open to freshman animation majors only.

CTAN 102 Introduction to the Art of Movement (2, Sp) Theory and practice of graphic imagery using short animation projects including Zoetrope, drawing, painting and flipbooks. Emphasis on the frame by frame/frame to frame relationships. Open to freshman animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 101.

CTAN 201 Introduction to Animation Techniques (3, Fa) Theory and practice of analog frame by frame time based media. Exploration and examination of ideas generated in the creation of animated media. Open to sophomore animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 102.

CTAN 202 Advanced Animation Techniques (3, Sp) Examination of representational aspects of animation generated through character using short animated projects. Open to sophomore animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 201.

CTAN 301 Introduction to Digital Animation (3, Fa) The fundamental principles of working in 2-D digital software with an emphasis on animation, story, sound, timing and execution. Open to junior animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 202.

CTAN 302 Introduction to 3-D Computer and Character Animation (3, Sp) The fundamental principles of working in 3-D computer software with an emphasis on animation, performance, lip-syncing, timing and execution. Open to junior animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 301.

CTAN 330 Animation Fundamentals (2, Sp) An introduction to the fundamentals of animation, covering such topics as timing, anticipation, reaction, overlapping action, and metamorphosis.

CTAN 336 Ideation and Pre-Production (2, Sp) Emphasis on lateral thinking working across boundaries to find underlying principles in terms of ideation: the act of becoming an agent of ideas. Open to junior animation majors only.

CTAN 401ab Senior Project (4, 4, FaSp) a. Understanding the requirements and relationships between theory and practice regarding the complexity of an animated film in idea and execution. b. Completion and exhibition of the short animated film to demonstrate understanding and further examination of the possibilities of animation time based graphic media. Open to senior animation majors only. Prerequisite: CTAN 302, CTAN 336.

CTAN 432 The World of Visual Effects (2, Sp) Introduction to the expanding field of visual effects; topics include magic lanterns shows, stop-motion fantasies and animation combination films employing the latest digital technologies.

CTAN 436 Writing for Animation (2, Fa) Workshop exploring concept and structure of long and short form animated films through practical writing exercises.

CTAN 443L 3-D Animation and Character Design (2, max 4, FaSp) Principles of 3-D animation and character design combining lectures, aesthetic concepts and techniques demonstrating the use of 3-D animation software and puppet animation. (Duplicates credit in former CTAN 543). Prerequisite: CTAN 452.

CTAN 448 Introduction to Film Graphics – Animation (4, FaSp) An introduction to methods for creating analog animation through experimentation with imagery, concepts and materials. Emphasis on basic timing principles and hands-on techniques.

CTAN 449 Advanced Production in Film Graphics (2 or 4, max 8) Concentration on one area of graphic concept or advanced exploration of media and techniques. Prerequisite: CTAN 448.

CTAN 450abc Animation Theory and Techniques (2-2-2, FaSp) a: Methods for creating animation blending traditional techniques with contemporary technologies; b: instruction in methods for planning and executing a short animated film. Topics covered include storyboarding, visual development and production planning; c: practical completion of a short animated film.

CTAN 451 History of Animation (2, Fa) In-depth survey of historical developments, styles, techniques, theory and criticism of animation as an art form.

CTAN 452 Introduction to 3-D Computer Animation (2, max 4, FaSp) Lecture and laboratory in computer animation: geometric modeling, motion specification, lighting, texture mapping, rendering, compositing, production techniques, systems for computer-synthesized animation.

CTAN 462 Visual Effects (2, FaSp) Survey of contemporary concepts and approaches to production in the current stage of film and video effects work. Digital and traditional methodologies will be covered, with a concentration on digital exercises illustrating modern techniques.

CTAN 463L Creative Workflow in Visual Effects (2, FaSp) Spherical panoramic photography, 3-D digital environment techniques and a range of visual effects work while providing the stage for the student’s storytelling. Prerequisite: CTAN 462.

CTAN 464L Digital Lighting and Rendering (2, Fa) Concepts, tools and techniques used to create cinematic lighting and rendering in computer-generated imagery (CGI). Recommended preparation: familiarity with Autodesk Maya and Apple Shake strongly suggested.

CTAN 495 Visual Music (2, Fa) Experimental animation providing the opportunity to produce individual or group projects. Focus is non-conventional techniques for image creation and collaboration between composer and visual artist. Not open to freshmen and sophomores.

CTAN 496 Directed Studies (2, max 4, FaSp) Individual research under faculty guidance. Open to animation majors only.

CTAN 499 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, FaSpSm) Detailed investigation of new or emerging aspects of cinema and/or television; special subjects offered by visiting faculty; experimental subjects.

CTAN 501 Experiments in 2-D Digital ­Animation (2, FaSp) 2-D Digital animation exploring the art form as a fertile terrain for experimentation, exhibition and activism. Recommended preparation: 2-D digital experience.

CTAN 502ab Experiments in Stereoscopic Imaging (2, Fa; 2, Sp) a: An in-depth exploration of aesthetics and techniques involved in the conceptualization, design and creation of stereoscopic imaging. b: Review of techniques and aesthetic issues pertinent to immersive virtual reality and stereoscopic animation. Students realize an original project proposed in CTAN 502a.

CTAN 503 Storyboarding for Animation (2, Sp) Focus on film grammar, perspective, and layout, staging and acting as it relates to storyboarding for animation.

CTAN 505 The Business of Animation (2,  Sp) Professional knowledge and application of fundamental business skills associated with working in the animation industry, academia or the arts.

CTAN 508L Live Action Integration with Visual Effects (2, Sp) Survey of the digital techniques required to successfully marry live action shooting with CGI elements and green screen footage. Prerequisite: CTAN 462.

CTAN 522 Animation Department Seminar (1, max 6, FaSp) A weekly seminar required of all M.F.A. Animation students. This course includes guest speakers, faculty and student presentations followed by lively and critical discussion. Graded CR/NC.

CTAN 523 Principles of Digital Animation (2, FaSp) Principles of 2-D and 3-D digital animation creation and integration culminating in a 30 second animated digital film based upon a popular science theme. Recommended preparation: basic computer knowledge.

CTAN 524 Contemporary Topics in Animation and Digital Arts (3, Fa) Topics exploring the evolution of the brain, development of art, technology, science and culture. How this correlates to the evolution of animation-digital media.

CTAN 536 Storytelling for Animation (2, Sp) Storytelling workshop for animators; application of dramatic techniques to visual concepts to derive three-dimensional stories which can serve as bases for finished films. Open only to Cinematic Arts students. (Duplicates credit in CTAN 436.)

CTAN 544 Introduction to the Art of Animation (3, Fa) Fundamentals of film, video and computer animation production. Orientation to assist students on determining future emphases and specialties. Open only to M.F.A. Animation students.

CTAN 547 Animation Production I (3, Sp) Practicum in film, video and computer animation emphasizing the production process through individual projects. Open only to M.F.A. Animation students. Prerequisite: CTAN 544.

CTAN 550 Stop Motion Puppet and Set Design (2, Fa) Puppet and set design for stop motion animation while providing guidance on armature rigs that allow the character to be animated effectively.

CTAN 551 Stop Motion Performance (2, Sp) Incorporating classic stop motion techniques for puppet performance and animation. Emphasis on timing, performance, movement, animation and gesture. Prerequisite: CTAN 550.

CTAN 555 Animation Design and Production (4, Fa) Exploring creative strategies to designing form and content. Developing style and investigating multiple techniques, including live action and sound. Production of a 30-60 second work. Open only to CTAN M.F.A. students. Prerequisite: CTAN 547.

CTAN 563 Advanced Computer Animation (2, Irregular) Investigation of advanced computer techniques related to character representation and various types of algorithmically defined animation produced on either film or videotape. Prerequisite: CTAN 443L.

CTAN 564L Motion Capture Fundamentals (2, Fa) Fundamental principles of motion capture technology explored while working through a structured series of assignments based around performance, gesture and motion. Prerequisite: CTAN 452 or CTAN 462.

CTAN 565L Motion Capture Performance (2, Sp) The art of directing, acting, and creating story for motion capture will be explored while learning the technology behind bringing virtual actors to life. Prereq­uisite: CTAN 564.

CTAN 576 Seminar in Film/Television and New Technologies (4, Sp) Focus on film’s relationship to general technological developments, what it owes to technologies that preceded it, how it continues to develop in relation to emerging technologies and how it influences the shape of these newer technologies.

CTAN 577ab Fundamentals of Animation (a: 2, Fa; b: 2, Sp) The exploration of the techniques of the art of character animation with an emphasis on discipline, performance and personality observation, specializing in classical Hollywood animation. Open only to M.F.A. Animation students.

CTAN 579 Expanded Animation (2, Sp) Incorporation of traditional image making methods as well as digital and new media technologies to convey non-linear narratives over internal and external landscapes. Open only to M.F.A. Animation and Digital Arts students.

CTAN 582 Basic Animation Production ­Technologies (2, Fa) Introduction for animation majors to the basic techniques and processes of film, video and computer systems, including cinematography, editing and sound. Open only to M.F.A. animation and digital arts students. (Duplicates credit in former CTAN 482.)

CTAN 591 Animation Pre-Thesis Seminar (2, Sp) A pre-production seminar, where students complete the research, development, script and storyboards for their thesis project to be executed in CTAN 594abz. Open to M.F.A. Animation students only.

CTAN 592 Master Class (2-6, max 12, Fa) A special projects course in which students produce a major work through weekly meetings with a master artist/animator. Topics must be approved prior to enrollment. Recommended preparation: previous advanced animation production experience.

CTAN 593 Directed Studies in Animation (2, max 4, FaSp) Individual exploration in the areas of contemporary technology, animation techniques or experimental film through internships, residencies or directed studies.

CTAN 594abz Master’s Thesis (2-2-0) Credit on acceptance of thesis. Graded IP/CR/NC.

CTAN 599 Special Topics (2-4, max 8, Irregular) Detailed investigation of new or emerging aspects of cinema; special subjects offered by visiting faculty; experimental subjects.