Motion Graphics

GD5368.01 Spring 2013

Course Description

This course focuses on time-based design elements of space, pacing, motion, and interaction as they relate to graphic communication. Projects will push the boundaries of emerging media environments and could explore designer-controlled narrative, haptic interaction, sound, or user interaction. Students are encouraged to focus projects around their thesis work or other self-determined endeavors.

K Additions
This class’s goals are to engage motion graphics and web technologies as strategic mediums for experimentation and communication, while introducing software and techniques for creating motion works. The course will consist of a general After Effects “how to,” covering the basic functions that will allow students to build many kinds of animations directly or, by combining several simple steps, to generate more complex results. From the initial techniques, students will explore how to apply these tools to their work as designers. The last bit will look into interactivity for web and mobile devices for those who are interested. We will look at new interactive and video embedding capabilities in HTML5, animation using CSS3 transitions, and some jQuery/Javascript Magic.

Here’s the deal: We’re gonna try to learn as much about AfterEffects as possible, but without just doing demos. I want students to be able to say, “hey, I see how this could fit into my practice, I see what some simple motion designs can do for me either as prototyping tools, mockups, etc.” Like how one could easily build some simple environments for mocking up a film shoot. Or, how to prototype an iPad app. Or, how to quickly take someone through a bigger film idea. With that in mind we’ll also discuss storyboards/animatics, and other principles and processes around “Time + Motion.”

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Learning Outcomes

  • Students learn to work with more complex narrative and storytelling structures.
  • Students gain broader experience with motion and its role in communication.
  • Students learn to incorporate the language of motion as a design principle.
  • Students develop a working process for the design of motion graphics.
  • Students begin to develop proficiency with production tools for video and animation.

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Contact Info / Office Hours

I don’t really have office hours. However, I should be around campus most Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons between 12–3 if you’d like to schedule outside of class meeting times. If you need something outside of class please email me, and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can. If it is an extreme circumstance or some sort of emergency please call.

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  • Vimeo Account
  • Perhaps some other accts if necessary… We’ll get to these as the class progresses when/if required
  • Otherwise I just need you to have a good way of getting your files to me at project days — thumb drive, dropbox, whatever.

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Required & Recommended Readings


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Last Class

Our last class meets on May 7th, 2013.

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Grading Criteria

One grade will be awarded per project unless otherwise noted. Each grade will evaluate process, execution, and presentation. The final grade for the semester will be an average of all project grades, plus a final evaluation of quality of resolve and follow-through in a student’s work, visual experimentation, growth of skills, and class participation & preparedness throughout the semester.

  • Class participation is paramount & should show marked progress in the student’s ability to talk about design intelligently & constructively.
  • Grades for late projects will be lowered one letter grade for each class period that they are late.
  • Punctuality & participation to in-progress & final critiques will have an impact on the grade for each project.
  • Work lost due to technological problems will be considered late. It is important to get in the habit of backing up & duplicating files. Technical trouble is not a valid excuse for missing a deadline—neither academically nor professionally.
  • A: Student’s work and effort far exceed expectations. Outstanding problem solving, ability to communicate ideas, & craft. Exceptional class participation & attendance.

  • B: Student’s work and effort are above-average achievement. Above-average problem solving, ability to communicate ideas, & craft. Excellent class participation & attendance.

  • C: Student’s work and effort are acceptable. Adequate problem solving, ability to communicate ideas, & craft. Acceptable class participation & attendance.

  • D: Student’s work and effort are below average. Problem solving, ability to communicate ideas, & craft are below acceptable standards. Unsatisfactory class participation & attendance.

  • F: Student’s work and effort are unacceptable. Unacceptable problem solving, ability to communicate ideas, & craft. Inappropriate class participation & attendance.

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Attendance Policy

MISS MORE THAN THREE CLASSES AND YOU DO NOT PASS THE COURSE. This isn’t my arbitrary decision, it is MICA policy across the board.

If you do miss a class, check the course website ( I’ve setup for info on what we discussed and files you might need. If you have additional questions contact me immediately, please don’t wait until the next week. You will still be expected to present or be prepared for the following class after any absence — excused or otherwise.

It is also important you show up to class on time and prepared. We’ve got a lot to cover and it sets the whole class behind when event just one of you shows up late.

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Compliance Statements

Learning Resource Center ADA Compliance Statement

Any student who feels s/he may need an accommodation based on the impact of a disability should contact the instructor privately to discuss specific needs. Please contact the Learning Resource Center at 410-225-2416, in Bunting 458, to establish eligibility and coordinate reasonable accommodations. For additional information please refer to:

Health and Safety

It is the responsibility of faculty and students to practice health and safety guidelines relevant to their individual activities, processes, and to review MICA’s Emergency Action Plan and attend EHS training. It is each faculty member’s responsibility to coordinate with the EHS Office to ensure that all risks associated with their class activities are identified and to assure that their respective classroom procedures mirror the EHS and Academic Department guidelines. Each of these policies and procedures must be followed by all students and faculty. Most importantly, faculty are to act in accordance with all safety compliance, state and federal, as employees of this college and are expected to act as examples of how to create art in a way to minimize risk, and reduce harm to themselves and the environment. Faculty must identify, within each art making process, and require personal protection equipment use, by each student for each class, when applicable. Students are required to purchase personal protection equipment appropriate to their major. Those students who do not have the proper personal protection equipment will not be permitted to attend class until safe measures and personal protection is in place.


Each discipline within the arts has specific and appropriate means for students to cite or acknowledge sources and the ideas and material of others used in their own work. Students have the responsibility to become familiar with such processes and to carefully follow their use in developing original work.

Plagiarism Policy

MICA will not tolerate plagiarism, which is defined as claiming authorship of, or using someone else’s ideas or work without proper acknowledgment. Without proper attribution, a student may NOT replicate another’s work, paraphrase another’s ideas, or appropriate images in a manner that violates the specific rules against plagiarism at MICA. In addition, students may not submit the same work for credit in more than one course without the explicit approval of the all of the instructors of the courses involved.


When an instructor has evidence that a student has plagiarized work submitted for course credit, the instructor will confront the student and impose penalties that may include failing the course. In the case of a serious violation or repeated infractions from the same student, the instructor will report the infractions to the department chair. Depending on the circumstances of the case the department chair may then report the student to the Office of Academic Affairs or Graduate Studies, which may choose to impose further penalties, including suspension or expulsion.

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Door codes for 3rd floor of Brown

Brown 303 6,9,0,0 (Lounge)
Brown 304 6,2,3,4
Brown 305 5,4,4,7
Brown 306 1,2,3 enter
Brown 307 5,4,1,3
Brown 308 key only, guards can open
Brown 309 2+4, 3 enter
Brown 311 photo room; sign up with Anita