Deborah R. Fowler

Resources for VSFX 705 Programming Concepts for Visual Effects

Updated on May 21   2013

click here for Python Information

click here for Maya Information

click here for Submission Guidelines and Rules(in revision)

click here for Expectations

Assignments are available online only.

Due Dates


Python (Intro) Exercises - various python exercise
involving turtle graphics, basic programming concepts
Quilt Exercise

due 4(initials)
due 6(quilt)
MEL - building geometry through scripting of simple objects
out 6
due 11
  • Repurposing Motion Capture data
  • In Class Quiz

out 11
out 17

due 16
due 17
Two OOP Exercises
OOP in Python
OOP with Inheritance in Python

Please note there will be no late/resubmit assignments accepted.

out 17
out 18

due Friday 11:59pm
due 20
Participation (may include websites, in class exercises, professional behavior)

In keeping with creating a studio environment you will be expected to show your work in progress in a "dailies" fashion when appropriate.

Class Notes

What this course involves:

Programming Concepts and Linux introduction. Core ideas: variables, truth statements, control flow, function/procedures, object oriented and structure programming, scripting.

Python and MEL will be the focus.

Class 1: Overview of the course, syllabus. Discussion of programming concepts.


1. Get used to IDLE, python and the turtle by creating a triangle. Then try putting the code to draw a triangle into a function.
2. Practice loops by drawing multiple triangles, with or without functions.

3. Try drawing your initials or your name using the simple commands you have learned (the intention here was for you to use turtle commands).

If you working on loops, try printing "Hello Sunflower" 10 times. Then try printing out Hello Hello Hello Sunflower Sunflower Sunflower. Do these using a for loop. then try getting the same result using a while loop.

Don't forget to go thru the step by step examples for the drawing of a square. Try it with a triangle.

Class 2: Introduction to Python and turtle graphics. Continued in class assignment to create your initials.
Quilt exercise assigned.


Class 3: Studio time for Python exercises.
Review of concepts discussed in our overview. Discussion of the logCabin pattern given in Exercise 1 related to planning out your solutions.

Class 4: Discussion of Linux.
Discussion of nested loops and modulus in relation to the quilting assignement.


Class 5: Studio time for Python exercise.

Class 6: Introduction to MEL.

Class 7: Discussion of MEL.

 Class 8: Review of MEL assignment.


Class 9: Review of spiral staircase in class assignment.

Homework  - work on your Mel exercise

Class 10: Dailies

Class 11: Mel Exercise Due. Presentations.

Jumping back into Python, lists, strings, files.

Class 12: Presentations and Python

Homework - work on the exercises assigned in class in preparation for the data parsing exercise.

Class 13: Discussion of Python in Houdini and Maya.

Homework  - work on your Python Data parsing exercise

Class 14: Python assignment studio time.

Class 15: Python assignment review. Project discussion.

Class 16: Python assignment due.
Introduction to Python classes and object oriented programming.
Studio session devoted to individual project proposals.
Class 17: OOP discussion and Python in class assignment.
Class 18: Studio session devoted to OOP Exercise - Basic
Class 19:
Studio session devoted to OOP Exercise - Advanced
Class 20: