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Unit information: Character Animation in 2022/23

Please note: It is possible that the information shown for future academic years may change due to developments in the relevant academic field. Optional unit availability varies depending on both staffing, student choice and timetabling constraints.

Unit name Character Animation
Unit code FATV30021
Credit points 20
Level of study H/6
Teaching block(s) Teaching Block 1 (weeks 1 - 12)
Unit director Dr. Moen
Open unit status Not open
Units you must take before you take this one (pre-requisite units)


Units you must take alongside this one (co-requisite units)


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School/department Department of Film and Television
Faculty Faculty of Arts

Unit Information

Character animation means to give personality or life to an animated figure. From early examples such as Felix the Cat or Mickey Mouse to more contemporary examples such as Wallace and Gromit or Olaf in Frozen, the creation of vivid characters is central to the appeal, aesthetics and storytelling of animated film. This unit examines the history and aesthetics of character animation, exploring issues such as how motion and design are used to create expressive characters, how characters relate to wider social and cultural contexts, and how personality and consciousness can be created through animation. The unit includes a practical project where students make a short animated film which involves a character of their own devising. This will include developing a storyboard, constructing and designing the character and their story world, and animating through stop motion.

Unit Aims:

To introduce students to the history and aesthetics of character animation

To explore how animated characters relate to wider social and cultural contexts

To examine how personality and consciousness can be created through animation

Your learning on this unit

  1. Demonstrate skills in the formal analysis and close reading of animated film;
  2. Understand and employ the working practices of creating an animated film, including developing an animatic, designing characters and sets, and animating;
  3. Employ an understanding of animation aesthetics in both theory and practice;
  4. Articulate a reflective account of practical work that engages with the expressive potentials of the medium of animation;
  5. Communicate an understanding of aesthetic/formal decisions and their relation to animated film;
  6. Demonstrate advanced practice-based skills in the making of a short film.

How you will learn

Weeks 1-4: 2-hour seminar + 3-hour screening with introduction

Weeks 5-12: production work, with scheduled supervision meetings, tuition and supervised practice

How you will be assessed

3000-word Reflexive Account (50%, ILOs 1-5)

Short Animated Film (50%, ILOs 1-3, 5-6) [30-60 seconds of finished animated film per student, whether working individually or in a group]


If this unit has a Resource List, you will normally find a link to it in the Blackboard area for the unit. Sometimes there will be a separate link for each weekly topic.

If you are unable to access a list through Blackboard, you can also find it via the Resource Lists homepage. Search for the list by the unit name or code (e.g. FATV30021).

How much time the unit requires
Each credit equates to 10 hours of total student input. For example a 20 credit unit will take you 200 hours of study to complete. Your total learning time is made up of contact time, directed learning tasks, independent learning and assessment activity.

See the Faculty workload statement relating to this unit for more information.

The Board of Examiners will consider all cases where students have failed or not completed the assessments required for credit. The Board considers each student's outcomes across all the units which contribute to each year's programme of study. If you have self-certificated your absence from an assessment, you will normally be required to complete it the next time it runs (this is usually in the next assessment period).
The Board of Examiners will take into account any extenuating circumstances and operates within the Regulations and Code of Practice for Taught Programmes.