Creative Strategies:15 Second Animation

To start off our 2nd Year of studies within animation we have been tasked with creating a 15 to 30 second short in teams of 4 members: Below is the official brief set.

Assignment One – Animated Short – 40%

Due week 7

Building on the knowledge we gained in first year, culminating in the 15 second animation your first assignment is to create a new 15 second short.  Only this time under a far greater time constraint.  Teams will need to balance the urge to start production against the need to give ideation, conceptualisation and planning enough time and energy to evolve.

The animation should be between 15 & 30 seconds, the theme is ‘Big and Small’.

Progress will be measured by short presentations on the following weeks:

  • Presentations of ideation and concepts – week 3 – Thursday 8th October
  • Presentations of final animatics/3D layouts/previs – week 4 – Thursday 15th October
  • Presentation of rendered 15-30 second animations – week 7 – Thursday 5th November

Hand-in:  Teams will submit a final film in HD (1920×1080) available online.  Individual submission will take our usual form of:

  • Sketchbook
  • Sketchbooks hold your thoughts, processes, sketches, discoveries and notes throughout the project
  • Portfolio
  • This project should have it’s own portfolio section on your personal blog. Portfolio should include final designs, animations etc. created by you during the project.
  • Blog
  • Your blog should capture your research and importantly your reflection as you go through the process of creating the animation.  The project should have it’s own section and be organised in a thoughtful way.  Your blog and your sketchbooks should work together as your project develops.
  • Team Assessment form
  • Team assessment is an integral part of individual and peer development and should be completed at the end of the project.

Please submit the following on blackboard by Thursday 12th November:
1. A link to your blog and a link to the portfolio post of your final pieces.  Please also include a final post with reflection on the project and your response to feedback.
2. A copy of your maya scene & characters.
3. Your team assessment form as a text/word document, including your own self-assessment.

Sketchbooks will be collected in class on Thursday 12th November – Week 8

All elements contribute to final module grade.


Reading List:


Faber, L., Walters, H. (2004) Animation unlimited: innovative short films since 1940. London: Laurence King. – 791.433/FAB

O’Hailey, T. (2013) Rig it Right! Maya Animation Rigging Concepts (Computers and People). Focal Press

Palmer, T. (2015) Mastering Autodesk Maya 2016. 1st ed. Sybex

Sullivan, K., Alexander, K., Mintz, A., Besen, E. (2013) Ideas for the Animated Short: Finding and Building Stories. 2nd ed. Focal Press.

Wells, P. (2006) The fundamentals of animation. Lusanne: AVA. – 778.5347/WEL

Williams, R. (2009) The Animator’s Survival Kit. Main – Revised ed. Faber & Faber;

Further Reading:

Beiman, N. (2007) Prepare to board!: creating story and characters for animated features and shorts. Amsterdam; London: Focal. – 791.433/BEI

Heit, L. (2013) Animation sketchbooks. 1st ed. London: Thames and Hudson. – 778.5347/HEI

Lockwood, T. (2009) Design Thinking. Allworth Press,U.S.; 1st ed

Pricken, M. (2004) Visual creativity: inspirational ideas for advertising, animation and digital design. London: Thames & Hudson. – 741.6/PRI

Ramin, Z. (2014) Art of DreamWorks Animation. Abrams Books

Riabovitchev, B. (2013) Art Fundamentals. 3DTotal Publishing

Wells, P. (2002) Animation: genre and authorship. London: Wallflower. – 791.433/WEL

Wells, P. (2007) Scriptwriting: n.developing and creating text for a play, film or broadcast. Lausanne; Worthing: AVA, Academia. – 808.23/WEL

Winder, C., Dowlatabadi, Z., (2010) Producing Animation. 2nd ed. Focal Press

Wyatt, A. (2010) The complete digital animation course: the principles, practice and techniques of successful digital animation. London: Thames & Hudson. – 778.5347/WYA

I’m looking forward to working on this project, it’s a nice brief, BIG and small leaves quite a lot open for us to play around with in terms of narrative.

The shorter time constraint is something to definitely not lose track of, I feel like that was one of the main issues from last years 15 second animation assignment, we were a great team but we really stressed ourselves out with the amount of time we left ourselves towards the end of the deadline.

looking forward to working with my new team as well, they seem really enthusiastic about what we can achieve which is half the battle! Can’t wait!


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