By translating a twentieth-century industrial cinema model of pre-production, production, and post-production into a twenty-first-century fluid and persistent non-linear workflow, this course offers students a solid foundation in basic graphic design principles merged with animation and filmmaking. This is a class in the visual arts as a discipline — a discipline that requires training.
The class will focus on these software:
Adobe After Effects
The course will use the website famst109mg.wordpress.com as the main online platform to provide: weekly syllabus updates, PDFs for all readings, events and resources. Please regularly check the website for syllabus updates.
- Please be respectful of one another’s opinions.
- Be rigorous: do the readings thoroughly and carefully and bring all readings to class.
- Be on time. I have a late policy — see below.
- Turn off and put away all cellular phones, tablets, and laptops.
COURSE REQUIREMENTS AND GRADING
Assignments: All Assignments must be finished and uploaded to the class website before class at 8:30am. Each post must include a title, a few sentences or more describing the assignment, meta tags, and then the video file itself (via upload to Vimeo — store all video on your Vimeo accounts). Students will present in class each assignment for peer-critique Be prepared to talk about what about your choices, process, and challenges in finishing the assignments.
Grading: 50% of the course grade reflects the conceptual design, production and presentation of the assignments. The remaining 50% of the grade involves an assessment of students’ individual participation and contributions to peer-critique and to the course overall. All grades are final and are not subject to change. The following grading rubric will guide the evaluation of student work for the course:
Newton’s Law of Motion Storyboard 10%
Mood Board I 10%
Project Storyboard I 10%
Sequence 10%FINAL 30%
Buy Paul D. Miller’s (2004) Rhythm Science, MIT Press. All other readings and other media will be provided by link or PDF through the course website. Please regularly check the course website updates.
Students must purchase an Adobe Creative Suite subscription for $20: https://creative.adobe.com/plans?promoid=CMR42FT3&mv=other
Attendance and Late Policy:
Do not be late. Do not miss class without speaking with me first. Every late arrival/departure and missed class will be deducted from your grade.
Week 1 – Design for Motion
Tues, Jan 10: Class Mechanics, Syllabus overview
Create vimeo accounts, set up blog accounts, Adobe Creative Suite
|John Berger’s “Ways of Seeing, Episode 1: Psychological Aspects” (1972)
Runtime: 4 x 32 Min.
Color: epis. 1-3 Black & White, epis. 4 Color
Director: John Berger & Mike Dibb
John Berger … Narrator
Thu, Jan 12 Motion and Graphic; Art and Design; Graphic to Motion
Assignment #1 Due: Three hand drawn storyboards using the 8.5 X 11 template provided. Include written descriptions. Any non-digital, black and white drawing media may be used (pencil, black pen, black marker, etc).
|Sir Isaac Newton: Philosophize Naturalis Principe Mathematica, William Dawsone Sons, 1687 (also known as Newton’s Laws of Motion).
1. Objects at rest will stay at rest and object in motion will stay in a straight line unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.
Process for Assignment
Step 1. Find Motion.
Find three examples of anything in motion that demonstrates at least one of Newton’s three laws of motion. Motion must be uninitiated by the student. Students should “look” for motion and not create motion. For example, studying the effects of curtains blowing in a window instead of twirling fabric by hand is an initiated motion.
Step 2. Observe, Sketch, and Write about.
After finding motion that represents Newton’s laws of motion, begin by describing the motion with notes and sketching real-time drawings–drawings done on site that record the motion as it takes place. Students will produce sequential drawings that tell the story. Final story drawn in frames with either pencil, black pen/marker, black ink and white paint. No color or digital means will be used.
Step 3. Edit Frames
After you made a sequence of drawings that tell the story, start editing the frames in exactly nine frames. Storyboard should tell the story of motion in logical order.
Step 4. Transfer Final Frames to Storyboard.
Transfer the drawings to the final template. This may be done by redrawing, photocopying, or tracing the selecting frames. Add a brief, hand-written paragraph consisting of two to three sentences describing the motion.
Week 2 – Design Process
Tues, Jan 17: Iterative Design Principles
Terminology, AE Interface, Importing .PSD and .AI files
Using a Working Space in After Effects
|Read: Eric Zimmerman (2003) “Play as Research: The Iterative Design Process”|
Thu, Jan 19: Color Theory Basics
Chroma Key Techniques
Assignment #2 Due: Create Mood (style) board include color palette, fonts, and style frames for image guides. Mood boards can be created using Photoshop of Illustrator.
|Read: Color Theory NYU; Goethe’s Color Theory from 1810|
Week 3 – Design Storyboard
Tues, Jan 24: Remixing – group work using everyone’s style frames
Be prepared for discussion.
|Read first 100 pages of Paul D. Miller (2004) Rhythm Science, MIT Press.|
Assignment #3 Due: Revised storyboards for final project
Week 4 – Animate Typography
Tues, Jan 31: Creating Image
Pre-Compositing, Hierarchies — color, space, alignment
|Bring in 10 images/ phrases and movie clips to class via your page on class website. Play with shadows|
Glitch Methods and Code
Method #1: Text editors
This glitch technique can be done with any computer and requires only requires a simple text editing program like NotePad (for PC) or TextEdit (for Mac).
- Find an image you’d like to work with and change the extension to “.txt” (ie “goatse.jpg” would now be “goatse.txt”. If you don’t want to damage the original image file, it’s a good idea to duplicate it before changing the extension.
- Open your new .txt file in a text editor (note: the more simple the editor the better, avoid Microsoft Word or advanced editors for best results)
- Scroll down a bit and start making a few changes to your file, then save.
- Change the extension back to “.jpg” and take a look at your work. This is a trial and error thing, so if you don’t like what you see, keep editing.
- This technique doesn’t allow you do see your changes in real time, so it’s a good idea to save and view your work frequently to get a feel for how your edits are changing the piece.
- On some computers you can change your .txt file back to .jpg while the text editor is still open… this will allow you to see preview your images after each save without having to constantly switch your extension (see the image above to get an idea of how you can preview your work while editing)
- Most image files contain vital info at the top of and bottom of the file, so that’s why I recommend scrolling down before making changes.
- Different size files give very different types of effects. I find that medium size files, around 500 pixels wide, tend to yield more dramatic effects than larger files.
- Different files yield different results. Try playing with .PSD, .JPG, .GIF, .PNG, and other image files to see the different effects. Be sure to change the extension back to whatever file type it was before you began incorrect editing.
- OK, maybe it is kind of fun to use rich text editors (like Word)… they tend to do weird things with the formatting, but I suggest starting off with a basic text editor so you can have more control over your tweaks.
Method #2: Glitch Primer: pixel sorting and other techniques using Processing 2.0
Thu, Feb 02 Typography
Serif, Sans serif, Typeface, The Von Restorff Effect
Assignment #4 Due: Make a typographic animation with either an ease in or ease out effect for opening titles — includes title, director, and key tags or actors.
Week 5 – Animation FX
Tues, Feb 07: Transitions and easing
|Watch before class:
The Matrix (1999)
Ghost in a Shell Trailer (2017)
Thu, Feb 09: FX
Assignment #5 Due: Rock it out!
Week 6 – Midterm Presentations
Tues, Feb 14: Treatment for final is due at midterm.
Includes: final mood board, storyboard, and 500-word abstract, title, and meta tags or keywords for project. Presented for peer-critique. Students are graded for ability to give as well as receive critique.
Thu, Feb 16: Midterm presentations part two
Week 7 – Production
Tues, Feb 21: Sequencing in Adobe Premiere
Working with audio
|TBD – check website|
Thu, Feb 23: Sound Production
Assignment # 6 Due:Using a single image from the set you acquired or created last week, students will create a two-minute audio soundscape that integrates sound effects, voiceover, and music. The goal is to bring the picture to life, enhancing the world represented through the photographer’s lens. Feel free to be as experimental as you want.
Week 8 – Compositing in After Effects
Tues, Feb 28: Time-remapping, Motion Tracking, Track Mattes, Masking
|TBD – check website|
Thu, Mar 02: Non-linear editing, sound, compositing and effects
Week 9 – Final Editing
Tues, Mar 07: Open Lab (NO CLASS)
Thu, Mar 09: Project management, rendering and final output/ compression
Week 10 – Presentations
Tues, Mar 14: Final Peer-Critique
Thu, Mar 16: Final Peer-Critique
The final will be a 30-second to 90-second motion graphic animation file that you have been working on throughout the quarter. For the final, hand in the design boards and storyboards from midterm, a 1,500 final written critique of the project, and the final video file uploaded on its one blog post. All projects must be listed in Projects page of class website.