UNDERSTANDING ANIMATION - 2018/9

Module code: MFC3042

Module Overview

Innovations in frame-by-frame filmmaking techniques and technology have played a significant role in the evolution of cinema and the moving image. Animation could be argued as the precursor to cinema, as early animation devices preceded the invention of the motion picture camera. Today, animation and frame-by-frame filmmaking plays a significant role in cinema – from special effects in blockbuster Hollywood films to the rise in popularity and success of animated features.
This module addresses animation from a historical and/or contemporary perspective by looking at examples of different types of frame-by-frame filmmaking (e.g. traditional animation, digital and CGI animation, studio animation, independent and artist animation). The focus of the module will vary according to the convener’s interest and expertise, but could, for example, focus on one example of animation in-depth (e.g. Disney animation or digital animation) or cover a range in terms of history, technology, aesthetics. By responding to the convener’s research interests and expertise, the module will introduce current research in animation and/or film studies and/or new media studies.

Module provider

School of Literature and Languages

Module Leader

HONESS ROE A Dr (Lit & Langs)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 6

JACs code: W615

Module cap (Maximum number of students): 20

Module Availability

Semester 2

Prerequisites / Co-requisites

None.

Module content

A possible list of topics could include


Early animation and frame-by-frame techniques
The early animation studios
Disney and studio animation
The Golden Age of American animation
Avant-garde, abstract and artist animation
Case studies of national animation
Computer and digital animation
The evolution of 3D technology

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Coursework PRESENTATION AND PARTICIPATION 40
Coursework ESSAY (3000 WORDS) 60

Alternative Assessment

Recorded presentation or oral examination.

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate knowledge of important moments, theories and issues associated with frame-by-frame filmmaking, the ability to analyse a specific film, body of work or studio in depth and to debate the issues surrounding frame-by-frame filmmaking. The presentation is designed to develop students oral skills by asking them to ‘teach’ their peers (rather than merely ‘present’ to them)

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:


Presentation and participation (during teaching weeks)
3000-word essay (end of semester)


Formative assessment and feedback


Essay topic pitching session
Essay skills session (including analysis of prior feedback)
In-class participation in verbal analysis of films and readings

Module aims

  • Provide an opportunity to investigate and discuss contemporary and/or historical animation and frame-by-frame film making
  • Provide an understanding of different styles, techniques and aesthetics of analogue and digital animation and other frame-by-frame techniques of film making
  • Look at key theoretical questions associated with understanding and interpreting animation
  • Situate animation within the context of live action cinema
  • Develop students’ confidence in presentation skills in preparation for graduation

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Identify key moments/ films/ studios/ movements in the history of animation and how they fit into a broader history CKPT
002 Identify different styles and techniques of animation CKPT
003 Analyse animation in terms of the key theoretical questions and in relation to live-action CKPT
004 Situate animation within the broader context of live-action cinema CKPT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Overall student workload

Independent Study Hours: 106

Lecture Hours: 22

Seminar Hours: 22

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to:


Provide students with a in-depth knowledge of animation
Expose students to the range and depth of animation
Provide students with the necessary knowledge and analytical skills to interpret and analyse the work of animated media
Allow students to practice these analytical skills verbally and in writing
Develop students’ confidence in oral presentation


The learning and teaching methods include:


Lecturer and seminars
Reading using lecturer’s guidance
Film screenings
Researching and preparing presentations
Participating in discussion

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list

Reading list for UNDERSTANDING ANIMATION : http://aspire.surrey.ac.uk/modules/mfc3042

Other information

None.

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
English Literature with Film Studies BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Media Studies with Film Studies BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Theatre and Performance with Film Studies BA (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module
Liberal Arts and Sciences BA (Hons)/BSc (Hons) 2 Optional A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2018/9 academic year.