VIZA 615: Computer Animation


Spring 2012, Fall 2010, Spring 2009, Spring 2008

Animation is the interpretation of action. This course focuses on the analysis of action, the bio-mechanical systems supporting action, and their synthetic re-interpretation and presentation as performance.

Project 1 – Procedural Motion
Project 2 – Form Analysis
Project 3 – Scripted Rig Build
Project 4 – Cycle Animation
Project 5 – Deformations
Project 6 – Biped Rig with Animator Input
Final Project

VIST 491: Undergraduate Research

Fall 2011

This course focused on answering the question of the applicability of agile game development techniques, specifically scrum, to the process of producing a team-based short computer animation. The affordances and conflicts of using an agile scrum approach were investigated and reported upon.


VIST 406: Visual Studies Studio IV


Spring 2012, Spring 2011, Spring 2010

This course focuses the production of rigging and animation for both a group project and a personal project. Rigging of digital characters combines analytical, technical, and aesthetic skill sets. Other key components of the course include team collaboration and familiarity with forms of animation that lend themselves to procedural description including effects, cloth, and hair animation. Use of the python programming language in either Blender or Maya is be required.

Collaborative Project
Communication Tools

VIST 305: Visual Studies Studio III

Fall 2009, Fall 2008

This course builds upon previous traditional media oriented studios and introduces a variety of processes using digital media primarily in a 3-D environment. Digital media, or computer graphics, can be understood as the synthetic representation of form, motion, material, and light. Emphases is placed on the development of creative solutions, narrative and design. Research and the use of historical precedent is an integral component of the studio.


Student Advising


  • Davalath, Megha. Thesis title: “A Rigging Solution for Isosurface Based Characters”. Graduated May 2011. Currently employed by DreamWorks Animation, Glendale, California.
  • Drell, David. Proposed thesis: “A System for Designing Digital Creatures Based on Rules of Vertebrate (Tetrapodal) Anatomical Structure”. Expected graduation date: Summer 2012. Currently employed by DreamWorks Animation, Glendale, California.
  • Fleming, Alex. Proposed thesis: “Automated Hand‑held Camera Animation”. Expected graduation date: August 2012. Currently employed by Digital Domain, Larkspur, California.
  • Gibbs, James. Tentative thesis topic: 3D representation of black and white still photography. Expected graduation date: Summer 2012. Currently employed by Atomic Pictures, San Rafael, California.
  • Griffin, Chris. Thesis title: “Scripted Vehicle Rigging and Animation: A Maxscripting Approach”, graduated December 2010. Currently employed by Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, California.
  • Howard, Heather. Thesis title: “Group Based Rigging for Realistic Feathered Wings”. Graduated December 2011.
  • Kelly, Logan. Tentative thesis topic: physically-­based rigging, expected graduation date: December 2012. Currently full-­‐‑time student, Texas A&M University.
  • Keske, Stephanie. Tentative thesis topic: visual style development for educational 3D animations. Expected graduation date: December 2012. Currently full-­time student, Texas A&M University.
  • McLendon, Meredith. Proposed thesis title: “Using Eye Tracking to Investigate Important Cues to Achieve A Minimal Representation for Creature Motion”. Expected graduation date: August 2012.
  • Naugle, Nicholas. Thesis title: “Conceptualization of a Animation Production Management System Based upon Building Information Modeling (BIM)”. Graduated December 2011. Currently employed by Pixar Animation Studios, Emeryville, California.
  • Peña, B. Adán. Thesis title: “Automatic Quadrupedal Rig Generation from Single Camera Motion Data”. Graduated May 2011. Currently employed by DreamWorks Animation, Glendale, California.
  • Schwartz, Seth. Thesis Title: “Creating Procedural Animation for the Terrestrial Locomotion of Tentacled Digital Creatures”. Expected graduation date: August 2012. Currently full‑time student at Texas A&M University.
  • Speer, Jon. Proposed thesis: “Camera Dependent Squash and Stretch”. Expected graduation date: August 2012. Currently employed by Reel FX Entertainment, Dallas, Texas.
  • Wheeler, Christopher R. Thesis title: “An Automated System for the Creation of Articulated Mechanical Parts”. Graduated December 2009. Currently employed by PDI/DreamWorks Animation, Redwood City, California.
  • Zhou, Junze. Tentative thesis topic: physically-­‐‑inspired cartoon dynamics. Expected graduation date: December 2012. Currently full-­‐‑time student, Texas A&M University.



  • Bell, Douglas R. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Karen Hillier. Thesis title: “Using Precisionism within American Modern Art as Stylistic Inspiration for 3D Digital Works”. Graduated August 2009. Currently employed by Reel FX Creative Studios, Dallas, Texas.
  • Chandy, Ranjith. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Dr. Ergun Akleman. Thesis title: “Adapting the Symbolization of the Indian God Yama in the Style of Tim Burton”. Graduated August 2011. Currently employed by Bouncing Pixel, Houston, Texas.
  • Cureton, Spencer. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Dr. Ann McNamara. Tentative thesis topic: procedural generation of quadrupedal gaits. Expected graduation date: December 2012. Currently full‑time student, Texas A&M University.
  • Eggebrecht, Jack. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Dr. Ann McNamara. Tentative thesis topic: video game development for education. Expected graduation date: May 2013. Currently full-­‐‑time student at Texas A&M University.
  • Huebel, Robert. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Philip Galanter. Proposed thesis: “Interactive Camera Motion Control in a Virtual Environment Using a Physical Camera: Adding a Human Touch to CG Camerawork”. Expected graduation date August 2012. Currently employed by DreamWorks Animation, Glendale, California.
  • Pool, Julie. Degree: Master of Science in Visualization. Chair: Dr. Louis G. Tassinary. Proposed thesis: “Designing an Optimized Notation System of Movement for Animation,” Expected graduation date: December 2011. Currently full-­time student at Texas A&M University.
  • Simms, Michelle. Degree: Doctor of Philosophy, Curriculum & Instruction. Chair: Dr. Stephen Carpenter. Dissertation: “The Development of an Academically‑Based Entertainment-Education (ABEE) Model: Co-Opting Behavioral Change Efficacy of Entertainment-­Education for Academic Learning Targeting the Societal Landscape of U.S. Geographic Illiteracy”. Graduated: December 2011. Currently employed by the School of Communications, Regent University.
  • Wesseinstein, Stefan. Degree: Master of Architecture. Chair: Robert Warden. Thesis project: “Conceptualization for Expansion of St. Mary’s Catholic Church, College Station, Texas.” Master of Architecture, Texas A&M University. Graduated: May 2009. Currently employed by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Dallas, Texas.



Copyright 2018 Tim McLaughlin.