Get started with custom lists to organize and share courses.

Sign up

Class Central is learner-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Animation and CGI Motion

Columbia University via edX

3 Reviews 389 students interested
Found in Computer Science
  • Provider edX
  • Cost Free Online Course (Audit)
  • Session Upcoming
  • Language English
  • Certificate $275 Certificate Available
  • Effort 8-10 hours a week
  • Start Date
  • Duration 12 weeks long
  • Learn more about MOOCs

Taken this course? Share your experience with other students. Write review


How do you create realistic animations? How do you predict the motion of materials? It’s key to the success of animated films to ensure (was insure) audiences believe in characters.

This course will show you how to create lifelike animations focusing on the technical aspects of CGI animation and also give you a glimpse into how studios approach the art of physically-based animation.

You will learn the fundamental concepts of physical simulation, including:

  1. integration of ordinary differential equations such as those needed to predict the motion of a dress in the wind.
  2. formulation of models for physical phenomena such as crumpling sheet metal and flowing water.
  3. treatment of discontinuities such as fractures and collisions.
  4. simulation of liquids and solids in both Lagrangian and Eulerian coordinates.
  5. artistic control of physically-based animations.

These concepts will be put into practice in the programming assignments spanning:

  • Discretizing and integrating Newton’s equations of motion
  • Constrained Lagrangian Mechanics
  • Collisions, contact, and friction: detection and response
  • Continuum mechanics
  • Finite elements
  • Rigid body simulation
  • Thin shell and cloth simulation
  • Elastic rod and hair simulation
  • Fluid simulation


The coursework will focus on seven themes. Each theme is divided into weekly assignments, or "milestones." Each milestone will include successful implementation of new technical features, and an artistic scene that demonstrates these features. Theme 01: Mass-spring systems, in which you will implement point masses, gravity, springs, dampers, time integrators (explicit Euler, symplectic Euler, linearized implicit Euler). Theme 02: Collision handling, in which you will implement detection against fixed obstacles (discs, half-planes, polygonal objects), response against fixed obstacles (using reflection with a coefficient of restitution, and penalty methods), advanced pairwise detection between polygonal objects, and broad-phase accelerations using spatial hashing and hierarchical bounding volumes. Theme 03: Rigid bodies, in which you will implement computations of center of mass and moment of intertia for polygonal objects, time integration for rigid bodies, and contact with fixed obstacles. Theme 04: Elastica, in which you will implement the constant strain finite element, a discrete bending force for polygonal objects, and plastic and viscous flow. Theme 05: Fluids, in which you will implement a fast and stable fluid simulation including advection, convection, and viscosity, in an Eulerian framework. Theme 07: Project, in which you are the boss.

Taught by

Professor Eitan Grinspun

Help Center

Most commonly asked questions about EdX EdX

Reviews for edX's Animation and CGI Motion
3.0 Based on 3 reviews

  • 5 star 33%
  • 4 star 0%
  • 3 star 33%
  • 2 star 0%
  • 1 star 33%

Did you take this course? Share your experience with other students.

Write a review
  • 1
1.0 2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
I took this class as part of the Artificial Intelligence MicroMaster's program of edX. Why this class is part of an Artificial Intelligence curriculum is beyond me.

In a standard classroom setting I can see where this class is reasonable. When conducted within edX's online course system, however, the class becomes an enormous struggle. The code you must work with to complete your assignments is poorly documented and doesn't follow good coding practices. Feedback from TAs or anyone “in the know” is dodgy at best. You get one chance to submit your assignment yet have ambiguous …
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
3.0 2 years ago
Anonymous completed this course.
The course took much more time than the 8-10 hours per week advertised. Only a handful of us completed it, and the others had an experience similar to mine. It is unsuitable as a part-time MOOC that can be combined with full-time work. The course is technically and intellectually challenging, putting it at the right level for a postgraduate course in computer science. However, the basic problem is that scope of the work is too broad. No matter what one's skills as a computer scientist, there is too much project work to complete in a reasonable amount of time.

On the plus side, Professor Grinspun explains clearly and in an interesting way the concepts and methods that he is teaching. It combines a solid theoretical approach with thoroughly practical computational methods and one can imagine being able to put the whole thing to use in a practical production setting.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
姜晓坤 姜
5.0 a year ago
by 姜晓坤 is taking this course right now, spending 15 hours a week on it and found the course difficulty to be hard.
1. You must take at least 15 hour per week to finish the lecture and assignment.

2. It's not a course about AI.

3. You should finish a mini project by using C++ before you take this course

4. It is a great and unique online course about animation and CGI motion, assignment is very challenging and funny.
Was this review helpful to you? Yes
  • 1

Class Central

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.

Sign up for free

Never stop learning Never Stop Learning!

Get personalized course recommendations, track subjects and courses with reminders, and more.