EDPX 3701/4701 MoGraph and the Figure (F16)


Catalog Description:

This course will combine 3D scanning, depth video, motion capture, and motion graphics using the software Cinema 4D. Emphasis will be on creating poetic moments that are distributable online. Prerequisites: EDPX 2000 Imaging and EDPX 2400 Time. $100 lab fee.

Contact information

Associate Professor Chris Coleman

Office: Room 216A Sturm Hall

Office Hours: By appointment only

Email: Christopher.Coleman@du.edu

Course Overview

There is an online culture of 3D animation production involving accessible tools, appropriation, and very quick production. This field has opened up because computing advances, web tutorials, low cost or free 3D resources, and a demand for constant output to foster a following. In this class we will explore, criticize, and participate in this culture. While the course will focus on using Cinema 4D software for the final output, we will investigate numerous ways to create and obtain resources to bring into Cinema 4D, including photogrammetry, 3D scanning, RGB+Depth cameras, and extracting information from the internet. We will focus on a sketching methodology, requiring constant creation of works in series in still and animation forms. This course will be extremely time intensive, requiring a lot of time on the computer, both active and waiting for renders.

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you will:

  • Understand 3D as a medium for complex expression
  • Understand the process of sketching with 3D
  • Understand how to generate short animations and loops
  • Understand the subtleties of animating text and forms in space
  • Understand how to create images and animations for the internet
  • Understand how might and materials convey meaning as much as color and form


  • A thumb Drive or Hard drive of at least 64GB in size. High Speed is preferable
  • A three button mouse if you plan on working on a personal computer
  • A sketchbook – can be for multiple uses
  • Other reading materials and examples will be supplied digitally on this website


This class will combine individual work in the lab with individual and group instruction. Students must come to class prepared to work. Showing up without necessary files or equipment is the same as not attending. Although students may also use their personal computers to work on projects, this is not a valid reason to not attend. It will be necessary to work outside of class to complete all projects and assignments. A minimum of six hours per week of work outside of class is suggested to get an average grade of a C. Computer failure, equipment malfunction, and file corruption are not accepted as excuses for late or unfinished work so BACK UP YOUR WORK. The computer labs are used by many students, so the labs are in high demand. Budget time accordingly as “unavailable computer time” will also not be accepted as an excuse. Participation in all class discussions and critiques as well as constructive use of lab time is considered in the final grade for each project. At any time in the creation process students should be able to produce notes, drawings,charts etc from their sketchbooks, as well as discuss and articulate the nature of their work to their peers as well as to the instructor.

Attendance is mandatory. Attending class is the responsibility of the student. Lectures and demonstrations may be given or changed without notice and every class will start with professional examples of relevant work so punctuality is essential. An individual who is absent, late or sleeps during class will be responsible for getting the information missed. Students will be allowed two (2) absences without penalty. Any absence in excess of two will result in a 10% grade reduction of the final grade for the course per absence. All absences will be counted. A student who misses 15 minutes or more of a class (late or leave early) is considered absent. A student who sleeps will be considered absent. A student who will acquire absences due to a University sponsored activities must provide necessary documentation from the appropriate office prior to the absence to make any special arrangements for missed work.

For any absence due to religious beliefs, written notification should be provided in the first two weeks of the quarter; the student is responsible for any missed work. Any special medical or personal problems that occur, where absenteeism will exceed the allowed two, will require verification by a physician or emergency medical association (a letter from Student Affairs merely explains an absence, and will not qualify as an excuse). These situations may require course withdrawal or “Incomplete” status on the final grade. Six absences mandate an automatic grade of “F.” Three late arrivals (less than 15 min.) will equal one absence.

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability or medical condition should contact  the Disability Services Program to coordinate reasonable accommodations.  They are located on the 4th floor of Ruffatto Hall; 1999 E. Evans Ave.303.871. / 2372 / 2278/ 7432.  Information is also available on line at http://www.du.edu/disability/dsp; see the Handbook for Students with Disabilities.

CARE Team (Communicate, Assess, Refer, Educate) – When an undergraduate student is involved in a crisis situation, the Pioneers CARE administrator assigns the case to a member of the CARE team (a group of Student Life professionals). The CARE team steps in to connect students with relevant campus resources and outside agencies. Most times, we may need to communicate with the reporting party to help accurately assess the needs of the student. The CARE Team will also outreach to the student to understand his/her situation and develop a plan of action leading towards his/her success. Pioneers CARE 303-871-2400 or email care@du.edu


Grades will consist of the following:

  • Project 1 @ 15%
  • Project 2 @ 15%
  • Project 3 @ 15%
  • Project 4 @ 15%
  • Project 5 @ 20%
  • Participation 10%
  • Cultural Events 10%

Projects will be graded on the following basis, listed in order of importance.

  • Development, creativity and originality of concept or problem solution
  • Technical development and demonstration of skills
  • Craftsmanship and presentation of work
  • Participation in classroom discussions and critiques in connection with the work

Your grade will be calculated according to the following standards:

  • A = Excellent (100-90%)- work pushes far beyond the project stipulations and shows clear evidence of extreme time, dedication, care and thought about the project as evidenced in effective execution of original/thoughtful ideas.
  • B = Good (80-89%)- work exceeds the basic criteria, provides creative solutions to the problems and shows technical proficiency. Student has made the project “theirs” in that they do not need to explain project stipulations before showing the work.
  • C = Average (70-79%)- work fulfills all requirements, does not expand on techniques shown in class, ideas are close derivations of popular culture.
  • D = Unsatisfactory (60-69%)- work might meet basic criteria but in a careless and/or thoughtless way. Technical proficiency is rudimentary and no chances were taken.
  • F = Failure (0-59%)- the work does not meet the basic criteria.

Late projects will be penalized a letter grade for every class period they are late. Turning a project in after the beginning of the critique counts as one class day late.

Graduate Student Requirements

Students taking the course for graduate credit will be required to produce one additional project whose requirements are designed in conversation with the instructor. They will also write a 2 page critique and comparison of 3 artists working in this field. For all projects and assignments they are held to a higher standard, reflecting their graduate status.

Cultural Events

Students are required to attend at least 3 cultural events and write a 2 paragraph response (half descriptive and half reflective) for each event. The cultural event should be related to Emergent Digital Practices and could include performances, lectures, art shows etc. If you are unsure the event is qualified, please ask the instructor. Email the response along with a photo from the event to the instructor.

Lab Rules

It is your responsibility to adhere to all rules regarding the use of the EDP labs and equipment. Please see the program assistant in the EDP office if you need a form to access the EDP lab in 212 Sturm (strongly recommended for this class!).


Solutions to assignments you submit will be your own work. A student who is discovered to have plagiarized another’s work will immediately receive a grade of F for the course, and a recommendation for disciplinary action will be forwarded to the Dean of Students.


While you are not required to purchase the software that we are using, not having the software is no excuse for failing to complete your projects. It is your responsibility to work out times when you can use the EDP labs or to make other arrangements for doing your work. Please do not download and/or install trial versions of this software or any other onto campus computers. Students will utilize numerous software packages over the process of this course.

Course Outline

(The following schedule is open to revision at any point in the quarter.)

  • 9/13 – Syllabus, look at the field, discuss samples. C4D processes and intro.
  • 9/16 – Height maps, deform, navigating basics, Project 1 assigned
  • 9/20 – lighting, cameras, rendering
  • 9/23 – Work Day
  • 9/27 – Project 1 Due, Crit., Rick Silva Skype
  • 9/30 – Finish Crit, Project 2 assigned,
  • 10/4 –
  • 10/7 – (Work Day)
  • 10/11 – Project 2 Due
  • 10/14 –
  • 10/18 –
  • 10/21 –
  • 10/25 – Project 3 Due
  • 10/28 –
  • 11/1 –
  • 11/4 – (Work Day)
  • 11/8 – Project 4 Due
  • 11/11 –
  • 11/15 –
  • 11/18 –
  • 11/21 – Final Crit, Project 5 Due

Project 1 Description

Inspired by Rick Silva’s En plein air series, you will create a series of quick landscape sketches that capture something in the living experience of a place, beyond the shape and color of the location. 4 sketches each from 2 different sites (Minimum of 8 total). You must use real map info, color/elevation plus basic objects. focus on lighting, rendering. No non standard shaders. Evoke and expand on the nature of the place, cannot be completely abstract. Don’t use built in noise.

Project 2 Description

The Private/Public Divide. Scan 4 different spaces you would consider personally private. Do not clean, arrange, or adjust anything. You can take more than one scan from each space. Then scan the same kind of space in a public building (home bathroom vs bathroom in Library, car vs bus, TV room vs movie theatre…). The pairs will be shown as a diptych so think about how you might convey differences as well as highlight similarities, also how they will connect aesthetically. Take advantage of the fact that these are fragments. Consider how lighting, basic geometry, and materials can create a setting. Due 10/14

Project 3 Description

Look at online models from scans and reconstructions and choose one cultural heritage building or site, older than 300 years, destroyed or no longer functional. Only use models with at least 1000 polygons. Research the site/building to understand its history. You will do 6 scans of local/regional sites into which you will place the model. Consider the reason for the placement, scale, and relationship. Build a new context connecting history to the present. Due 10/25


Day One –

Class Inspirational Artists:

Resource Sites

Day Two –

Elevation Maps Generator – https://tangrams.github.io/heightmapper
elated tutorial video – http://greyscalegorilla.com/tutorials/how-to-use-sub-polygon-displacement-in-cinema-4d/

Day Five –

Day 6 –

Day 8 –

Day 10 –


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