Animation Capstone

Screenshot Sergei Eisenstein.jpg
From program diagrams, site mapping, and design iterations, to construction and occupation, no part of the architectural process is static. The animation capstone project for 200C will capture the ephemeral, diagrammatic, and time based elements of architecture that are often difficult to represent in traditional drawings and models.
Assessment objectives

Assessment objectives include:

  • Equal and high level contribution to the group site model
  • Understanding of Key frame animation
  • Ability to animate a specific natural phenomenon, ie. fog, tides, plant life
  • Ability to integrate diagrammatic architectural animation with realistic site animation
Exercise Type Project
Evaluation Criteria
High Pass
Full 1-minute animation that clearly shows relationship between temporal site force and architectural occupation.
Full 1-minute animation that begins to show the relationship between chosen temporal site force and architectural occupation.
Low Pass
Less than 1-minute animation which is lacking either in site or architectural animation.
Incomplete animation.
Uses Tool(s) Tool:Bongo
Uses Workflow(s)


From program diagrams, site mapping, and design iterations, to construction and occupation, no part of the architectural process is static. However, architecture is most often represented in fixed forms – drawing, rendered images, and physical models.

Using Bongo (a 3d animation plug-in for Rhino), After Effects, and video footage the animation project for 200C engages the ephemeral and temporal qualities of architecture and site as platforms for an additional mode of design representation – the moving image. The 200A final design project, both preliminary site mappings and overall design approach, will be the basis for a 1 minute animation completed as a part of 200C.


During this project students will combine 2d and 3d animation to overlay three distinct components of architectural production. These are: the hyper real which is understood as a photo-realistic depiction of the land upon which an architectural proposal sits or is embedded, the animated diagram which describes how a building fits into the landscape, its relationship to site, interior and exterior, and overall design approach, and finally an animated nature which displays physical yet ephemeral phenomena that built structures respond to, ie fog, water, plants, etc. These three components are the main layers that will form the animation. All three may or may not be present during the entire length of the animation, depending upon the editing scheme employed and the overall concept and goals for the animation.

Hyper Real

The site is the base layer of your animation, although you may not want it to be present the whole length of your animation. The group will work collectively to construct / texture map a complete and highly realistic digital model of Point Bonita that includes landscape, trees, rocks, sunlight system etc.

Animated Diagram

The animation project for 200C will take place before you have completed your 200A final design project. The animation of your architectural proposal for Point Bonita will be diagrammatic rather than realistic. You should think in terms of line, plane, and volume. How do these simple forms begin to define your approach to architectural occupation? What is the relationship to light? How and where are boundaries created? What defines interior and exterior? How do people approach the space? Your animation will be choreographed so that a specific relationship between your animated diagram and animated nature components becomes apparent.

Animated Nature

Each student will chose one natural site force to animate in After Effects:

  • 1. Air – fog, rain, cloud cover
  • 2. Water – tides, waves
  • 3. Land – ground cover, plants

Your specific animated nature component will be choreographed so that it resembles actual physical phenomena. This phenomenon may be something that changes in a minute scale, day scale, or season scale. Fog rolling in, rain, small plants growing over the course of years, etc. How does the time scale of your specific animated nature component influence your design strategy and occupation of the site? During the nature portion of your animation the camera will be fixed, you may, however to zoom or adjust focus. Remember what you do with the camera should work with, not against your overall concept.


The final deliverable for this project is a one-minute edited animation to be presented at the final 200a review.

Camera Motion and Editing

As a basis for each animation, particular attention will be paid to the relationship between specific camera techniques and the conceptual framework of the film/animation. While presented with interfaces that offer endless opportunities for choreographing the camera's movement, we will seek to exercise restraint, collectively choosing to limit the types of movement available to us as follows:

  • Up to four camera techniques for the hyper real animation.
  • Up to two camera techniques for the animated diagram

As discussed in our first workshop , the possible camera techniques include:

  • Pan
  • Tilt
  • Pedestal
  • Dolly
  • Crane
  • Zoom
  • Focus

Production Plan

The final produced animation will be due on Dec 9th and 10th (at the 200a final review), and may feature elements of your finalized design proposal that will be subject to constant and potentially last-minute revisions. It will be up to you to balance the inclusion of any possible changes to your design (which may encourage you to delay the final production of this animation) with the time required to render, edit, and polish the animation.

For this reason, we have set an early due-date (as seen in the schedule below) for a "production plan", rather than for a finalized rendered animation. The goal of this early deliverable date is to demonstrate in concrete terms exactly what your animation will show, and how it will show it. At a minimum, your 'production plan' should include:

  • Project Statement: A clear and concise short paragraph describing the concept for your animation as it relates to your overall design project.
  • Raw Components : A version of each of the three animation components completed to the following level:
    • Hyper Real - complete
    • Animated Diagram - sketch
    • Animated Nature - complete
  • Detailed Storyboard of Composite Sequence (36” x 48”) : The storyboard should include 6 key frames (one about every 10 seconds). Each frame should be rendered at high resolution and should include the following notation:
    • Camera Technique
    • Animation Components - a description of how each of the three animation components are presented in the final edit.
    • Notation of what is occurring in that scene
  • First Iteration of Composite Sequence(quarter resolution / 1 minute): For the first iteration animation your Hyper Real and Animated Nature components should be fully realized. The Animated Diagram must be present but will most likely be a simplified version. Pay attention to render time, the final rendering will take about 4 times this long.

Texture Mapping Groups

group a

  • Matt Au
  • Spencer Bates
  • Aissata Nutzel
  • Erica Brett

group b

  • Rex Crabb
  • Kasey Elliott
  • Yan Xin Huang
  • Wesley Alan Harkonen

group c

  • Tina Lee
  • Carlos Martinez-Horta
  • Adam Miller
  • Thomas Murdoch

group d

  • Sean Ostro
  • Tyler Beard
  • Chandni Sheth
  • Christopher Wright


7 November The Moving Image
In this first of three workshops the final animation project will be fully outlined in terms of objectives, basic techniques, and scope. We will watch and discuss several short videos both loosely and tightly related to architectural production. We will also cover texture mapping for the site.
8 November Capstone Helpdesk 1
For the fabricators, this helpdesk represents an opportunity for individual groups to get feedback on proposals for test cut objects.

For the animators, in the first part of help desk we will take about 45 minutes to discuss / workshop the animation storyboards, and by the end of this session everyone should be relatively clear on how they are conceptually framing their animation and how they plan to represent each of the three components.

14 November Introductory After Effects
This workshop will indroduce Bongo - a animation plugin for Rhino.
15 November Capstone Helpdesk 2
For the fabricators,

For the animators - Introduction to Bongo

19 November Intermediate After Effects
The Second of two Adobe After Effects workshops this session will build on foundational knowledge from the first workshop.
22 November Capstone Helpdesk 3
For the fabricators,

For the animators,

26 November Capstone Project Review & Problem Set
200c is wrapping up. Today we'll take on our final problem set covering techniques discussed in Topic Four. We'll also have our final in-house review of the capstone projects, at which time you'll receive your sign-off to shift into full production mode for the Final Exhibition.