General Information - Winter 2018

COMP 350 is now officially no longer a prerequisite, though please note that numerical computing is a big part of computer animation. While computer graphics (COMP 557) is useful algorithms and datastructures related to 3D geometry, viewing and drawing, which is likewise useful for the course, it is not critical to learn the fundamentals of comptuer animation (much of the examples and the assignments will focus on simpler 2D systems which can be extended to 3D). See also the prerequisites section of this web page for more information.

Lectures 8:35 AM - 9:55 AM, Mondays and Wednesdays
Location ENGTR 2120
Credits 4
   
Instructor Paul Kry
Telephone 514 398 2577
Office McConnell 113N
Office Hours 2 PM Wednesdays, or by appointment (any time!)
   
Teaching Assistant TBA

Overview and Objectives

This course will provide an introduction to computational techniques for generating animation. Topics will include methods which have applications in the creation of movie effects, the development of video games, and training simulations. While the focus will largely be on physically based methods for the automatic generation of motion, part of the course will cover methods for user control of animation and reuse of captured motion data. See the schedule below for a list of topics.

The main objective of this course is to have students develop an understanding of fundamental techniques used for computer animation. At the end of the term, students will be able to identify the advantages and disadvantages of using simulation, procedural animation, motion capture, and hand designed animations, with respect to both online and offline applications. You will also be able to implement animation techniques, using common software languages and tools. Finally, in addition to an understanding of current practices in computer animation, a general objective is for students to better recognize current important challenges in computer animation.

Prerequisites

Students taking this course should have good knowledge of linear algebra (linear systems, eigenvalues), calculus (basic differential equations, vector calculus, partial derivatives), and be comfortable programming in Java for assignments. Some review will be done in class when necessary or appropriate.

While a computer graphics background is an asset for studing computer animation, it is not critial given the material covered. Undergraduates who have taken the COMP 557 prerequisites (MATH 222, MATH 223, COMP 250, COMP 206) should have the necessary background to succeed.

Course format and evaluation

The class will be taught through a series of lectures. Grading will be largely based on assignments and a project. The intent is for students to get hands on experience with the material in the course. There are four components to the grading scheme.

  • 50% assignments (Either 4, with two having a larger weight, or 5 separate programming assignments)
  • 20% midterm exams (two in class tests, 10% for the first, 10% for the second)
  • 30% final exam (in years when enrollment has been small enough, there has instead been a project, with a write-up and oral presentation, but Winter 2018 currently has an enrollment of 50 which is too large for managing independent projects).

Assignments

Here follows the list of tentative assignment topics. Note that there will only be 4 assignments and for each you will have two weeks to complete the objectives (you will have more than three weeks for the project).

  • Mass-spring particle system
  • Rigid body collision and response
  • Eulerian fluid simulation
  • Motion capture reuse and character simulation
  • Physics based character control
  • Continuous collision detection
  • Implicit simulation of cloth with constraints
  • Inverse kinematics

Assignments must be all your own work. You are still encouraged to discuss material related to the assignments with your classmates, that is, discuss your assignments, problems, or solutions as a group, but you are ultimately responsible for understanding the material and the programming and write up must be all your own work. If you do talk with your classmates about the assignment, then you must list the names of everyone with which you discussed the assignment, or state that you discussed with nobody.

You must not share your solutions publicly with version control websites such as github or bitbucket. If you are sharing course work with potential employers, do this with a private repository, and remove the repository once you have completed interviews.

All work must be submitted through MyCourses. There are generous accommodations for cases where students have time management problems, but the late deadline must be considered as a HARD deadline.

See below the section on things you should already know about academic integrity. Also note that you can submit work in French if you prefer. If ever you feel you can't complete the work, talk to me, or your advisor, and we can help you figure out what to do (i.e., don't wait until just before the assignment deadline, or the end of the term).

Programming assignments MUST be submitted electronically (follow the instructions in the assignment specification). Package structure must be preserved in your zip file. Do not use any other archive type. Please check carefully the time at which assignments are due and do not leave it until the last minute to submit!

Late assignments will be accepted up to three days after the deadline and will receive a penalty of 10%.

You should always check your submission by downloading your assignment from the server and checking that it is what you intended to submit. The written component of an assignment, if any, must be submitted as a PDF (i.e., a clear scan, or photo, or use latex or some other typesetting software). Readme files should always have a .txt ending. You will not receive marks for missing or corrupt files or work that is incorrectly submitted.

Texts and Resources

Material in this course will come from a number of sources. All suggested and supplementary texts will be on reserve at the Schulich library. The CAAT book is recommended for students wanting an general resource and slightly gentler introduction to the material, while the PBA book is suggested as a good supplementary resource on the Physics-Based Animation topics. The course will also make use of a number of excellent free online resources (PBM, MLS), and additional notes on selected materials will be provided through out the term on MyCourses. Finally, assignments are typically based on recent and seminal publications, and links to online PDF files will be provided.

Tentative Schedule (consult MyCourses for updated version)

1 Introduction
2 Physics-based animation with ODEs, second order motion, springs, dampers, gravity
3 Implicit and explicit methods, solving sparse systems
4 Numerical vs exact solutions
5 Numerical solutions to ODEs, and absolute stability
6 Rigid body motion in 2D
7 Collision detection, BVs and hierarchies
8 Collision response, penalty forces and contact constraints
9 Constraints, energy formulation, Lagrange multipliers
10 Linear complementarity problem
11 Motion capture tech, capture reuse challenges
12 Control for character animation, ODE library
13 Midterm (in class)
14 Eulerian fluid simulation
15 Eulerian fluid simulation review, and survey of alternative methods
16 Constraint stabilization, Baumgarte, manifold projection, post step
17 Rigid body motion, exponential map and Rodrigues' formula
18 Rigid body motion, logarithmic map
19 Rigid body motion, rotational relative veloctiy
20 Rigid body motion, adjoint transformation
21 Rigid body equations of motion
22 forward and inverse kinematics
23 FEM, Elastic solids
24 Corotational finite elements
25 Survey of other animation techniques (skinning, keyframe, spacetime optimization)
26 Midterm (in class)

In case you didn't already know...

McGill University values academic integrity. Therefore, all students must understand the meaning and consequences of cheating, plagiarism and other academic offences under the Code of Student Conduct and Disciplinary Procedures. See www.mcgill.ca/integrity for more information, as well as www.mcgill.ca/students/srr/honest with respect to student rights and responsibilities.

It should be noted that, in accordance with article 15 of the Charter of Students' Rights, students may submit examination answers in either French or English.

According to Senate regulations, instructors are not permitted to make special arrangements for final exams. Please consult the Calendar, section 4.7.2.1, General University Information and Regulations at www.mcgill.ca. Special arrangements in emergencies may be requested at your Student Affairs Office. If you have a disability, please advise the Office for Students with Disabilities (398-6009) as early in the term as possible so that we can provide appropriate accommodation to support your success.

In the event of circumstances beyond the instructor's control, the evaluation scheme as set out in this document might require change. In such a case, every effort will be made to obtain consensus agreement from the class.

Additional policies governing academic issues which affect students can be found in the Handbook on Student Rights and Responsibilities.