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Arts 115: Motion Graphicsmarieannalee


University Course Catalog Description

This course challenges the student to create interpretive design solutions for complex interactive problems, which rely primarily upon motion & time to communicate visual ideas. Students explore these highly conceptual problems through use of digital technology. Course emphasis is on dynamic, thoughtful, & appropriate visual communication solutions.

Course Prerequisites

Arts 091 Print Media Graphics, Arts 045 Digital Photography or Instructor's Permission.

Course Overview

As one of the courses in the graphic design major sequence, Time-Based Media: Motion Graphics will introduce the student to the use of the computer as a creative tool in the creation of motion graphics. Students will experiment with notions of form, function & visual communication as related to the exploration of media applications. Students will compose & graphically articulate conceptual solutions to given problems & measure the effectiveness of solutions based on client/problem & or creative/strategic needs. We will focus on the general ideas of sequential storytelling, timing, editing, emphasis, thematic development, & basic interactivity.

Projects will develop a basic understanding of type, illustration, sequential imagery, & other graphic elements as they are influenced by time-based applications in narrative & non-narrative applications. Learning will be organized around cumulative goals & objectives. Conceptual development, conceptual articulation to visual form, visual & textual research, production, and visual / verbal presentation skills are all essential to this course.

We will use the following programs to establish a knowledge base of motion graphics issues: Adobe Flash, Edge Animate and After Effects. However, this class is not about the programs as much as the concepts behind animation. The programs serve only as tools. While the programs will evolve, will be transplanted by others and even be discontinued in the future, the principles of motion graphics will stand.

We are equipped with Adobe CC in our lab. I would highly recommend you get the monthly subscription for Adobe CC on your computer. Otherwise schedule time to do homework and develop project outside of class in the lab. It will be heavily used this semester by numerous classes. You can work on the print lab if people are not printing. You can also ask instructor for permission to use the lab during a class.

While there will be a certain learning curve for students unfamiliar with the programs, this is an advanced course & as such it will not be a ‘how to design course,’ but rather, how to invent. You should also be familiar with Adobe Illustrator and somewhat with Photoshop by now. The application of formal elements (color, shape, line, type) to a solution should be ingrained in you by now.
The expectation is that you take risks, develop sound research & present solid solutions as a result. This course is important in that every piece you create will find a place in your final portfolio. You will have the chance to move away from the predominately 2-D realm into that of time, motion & sound. This is an exciting opportunity for you to make new discoveries about how design can be effective in a multi-dimensional sense.

Course Objectives/Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of this course the student should be able to:

  • Compose & articulate conceptual solutions, which appropriately utilize motion graphics.
  • To closely explore & demonstrate the relationship between form & content for the purpose of story telling or advancing a narrative.
  • To explore & demonstrate the effects of altered sequence & hierarchy on images & resulting content.
  • Assess appropriate use of technology for a distinct design problem.
  • Construct a conceptual framework, storyboard, or plan prior to conceptual implementation.
  • Measure effectiveness of solution based on appropriate use of technology.
  • Measure effectiveness of solution based on audience factors.

The objectives will be achieved by:

  • Completing projects of increasing complexity
  • In class & homework exercises
  • Analysis & critique one’s own work & then apply the skill to the work of others
  • Readings, lectures & discussion of readings
  • Reports, written exams & quizzes

Assessment Tasks/Activities (projects and percentages are subject to change):

  • Animated Saying (Flash) (25%)
  • Animated Infographics (Edge Animate) (25%)
  • Interactive Web Banner Advertisement (Edge Animate) (25%)
  • Animated intro for a product/service (After Effects) (25%)

I reserve the right to adjust the projects and percentages as I see fit for the students’ learning benefit. Students will submit a comprehensive folder containing all projects completed during this course at the conclusion of the semester to assess how the learning objectives of the course are being met.

Retention of Student Work

Student work may be retained for assessment purposes. It may be used in teaching and in publication
by the instructor.

BFA in Graphic Design Program Learning Objectives

Program Learning Objectives Introduced

Class Project Fulfilling Learning Objective

Mastery Level

Solve communication problems, including the skills of problem identification, research and information gathering, analysis, generation of alternative solutions, prototyping and user testing, and evaluation of outcomes.

Movie Title
Web banner
Product Intro


Describe and respond to the audiences and contexts, which communication solutions must address, including recognition of the physical, cognitive, cultural, and social human factors that shape design decisions.

Interactive Space
Interactive Storytelling


Create and develop visual form in response to communication problems, including an understanding of principles of visual organization/ composition, information hierarchy, symbolic representation, typography, aesthetics, and the construction of meaningful messages.

Movie Title
Interactive Storytelling


Understand design-related tools and technology, including their roles in the creation, reproduction, and distribution of visual messages. Relevant tools and technologies include, but are not limited to, drawing, offset printing, photography, and time-based and interactive media (film, video, computer multimedia).

Movie Title
Interactive Storytelling


Demonstrate proficiency in communication, presentation, and business skills necessary to engage in professional practice in graphic design including the ability to organize and manage design projects and to productively collaborate with others in a team. This competency is based on an understanding of organizational structures and working patterns in design, intellectual, economic, technological, and political contexts.

Movie Title
Interactive Storytelling
Existing Movie Title Analysis


Demonstrate ability to form and defend value judgments about graphic design and to communicate art ideas, concepts, and requirements to professionals and laypersons related to the practice.

Movie Title
Interactive Storytelling
Existing Movie Title Analysis



Required Texts & Learning Materials

Subscription to either through class subscription (Five tutorials for $34) or a full monthly subscription (Unlimeited tutorials for $37.50/month)

Please organize all class materials in a three-ring binder. You will be expected to bring it to every class.

It is highly recommended that you own your own laptop computer, applicable software (Adobe Flash, After Effects, Edge Animate, Photoshop, Illustrator), & a portable external hard drive.

The following more tools will also be needed on occasion: Tracing paper roll, layout paper or sketch pad for sketching & flapping artwork, X-acto knife & blades, pencils, markers & erasers as well as special papers, various binding materials & unique construction materials.


Grading scale:

A          Minimum 95%
A-         Minimum 90%
B+        Minimum 87%
B          Minimum 83%
B-         Minimum 80%
C+        Minimum 77%
C          Minimum 73%
C-         Minimum 70%
D+        Minimum 67%
D          Minimum 60%
F          Below 60%

Below is university policy followed when administering letter grades on projects, papers, & other tasks that do not utilize a point or percentage system.

A: Exceptional, means objectives of the assignment are fully understood as applied to the particular assignment & an intriguing balance exists between clear communication of the message & creativity. The assignment is executed with impeccable craftsmanship, accuracy, & neatness & exists as part of the complete design development of thumbnail, rough, & finished comp; a quality piece of work.

B: High, objectives are met & design principles are primarily well understood. May be lacking in overall quality, craftsmanship, clarity, or design development; good overall effort.

C: Average, the minimum requirements of the assignment have been met but not exceeded. Extra effort & insight into development of the basic assignment are necessary to produce higher quality work.

D: Below average, there exist problems in completely understanding the concept or objectives of an assignment. Incompleteness in several areas of craftsmanship, design, creativity, clarity, or development is also apparent; see instructor.

F: Unacceptable, please do assignment over see instructor immediately for further clarification.

Areas of evaluation: Professionalism, Process & Realization:
Project grades are the result of three areas of evaluation: Professionalism, Process & Realization. At any time during the semester, you may meet with the instructor for evaluations of current grades or dissatisfactions with a grade that you received on any project & how it may be improved upon.

Professionalism: Your grade in the area of professionalism will focus on issues of attendance, preparation, deadlines, critique participation, personal attitude & articulation - the ability to speak & write clearly about ideas/concepts presented in class. Projects for this course will be assigned similar to the way that professional designers receive "design briefs" detailing the specific requirements for a project. The student will then be expected to document the creative process, which they follow in developing individual design solutions. Successive projects will be assigned for the class, & modified or customized to a certain degree based on the overall understanding of previous assignments.

Process: Faculty rely on classroom observation in evaluating a student’s process in developing a project. It will focus generally on how thoroughly the student pushes visual exploration & concept research through such processes as sketching/thumbnails & creative/thoughtful writing. Students who attend class, make visible their process investigations & are prepared for the scheduled activities/discussions, reveal valuable information about their performance. In the absence of such information, faculty must resort to an unsatisfactory rating in evaluating the student’s process. When handing in an assignment, you may be required to include photocopies of relevant pages from the journal & other process materials in addition to the actual assignment.

Realization: The final evaluation of work (realization) involves more than totaling the grades on individual projects &/or determining that all assignments have been completed. Faculty assess student’s abilities in realizing concepts & controlling the visual elements of communication throughout the semester. This includes such issues as craftsmanship & the improvement & progressive mastery of increasingly complex material are evaluated.

Grade Dissemination: For each project & assignment, you will receive a detailed rubric that will break down the grade according to your performance within the areas of Professionalism, Process & Realization. Each area will be customized to the project’s specifications & learning objectives.

Late Work Policy: All projects & exercises are due on the day & time given, always at the beginning of class unless otherwise noted. A late accommodation is given only with the understanding that emergencies & unforeseen circumstances occasionally arise. A late project must be turned in by the following class & will be marked down one letter grade accordingly. A later submission will not be accepted. Missing a scheduled critique or presentation will result in an “F” for that project.

Grades of "Incomplete": The current university policy concerning incomplete grades will be followed in this course. Incomplete grades are given only in situations where unexpected emergencies prevent a student from completing the course & the remaining work can be completed the next semester. Your instructor is the final authority on whether you qualify for an incomplete. Incomplete work must be finished by the end of the subsequent semester or the “I” will automatically be recorded as an “F” on your transcript.

Group Work Policy: Everyone must take part in a group project. All members of a group will receive the same score; that is, the project is assessed & everyone receives this score. However, that number is only 90% of your grade for this project. The final 10% is individual, & refers to your teamwork. Every person in the group will provide the instructor with a suggested grade for every other member of the group, & the instructor will assign a grade that is informed by those suggestions. Once formed, groups cannot be altered or switched, except for reasons of extended hospitalization.

Technology & Media

Email: Email is the preferred communication tool. Please check your university email regularly since I may send out important announcements pertaining to the class. When emailing me, please follow standard email conventions including addressing me & signing your communications. I check my email regularly & will try answer your questions within one day (with the exception of weekends or holidays.)

Laptop Usage: You are welcome to bring your own laptop & use it in class. Facebook and other class-unrelated work is strictly prohibited. You may be asked to leave the class if you are caught. Although it is possible to use different computer platforms, the Apple Macintosh is the industry standard used in the majority of professional design fields & is the platform used in the Visual Arts Department.

All programs in the computer labs are licensed for the machines in the labs only. Students are prohibited from copying programs from the computers in the lab for their personal use. It is not only a violation of University policy; it is a violation of the law.

Cell Phone Usage: Per university policy & classroom etiquette; mobile phones, iPods, etc. must be silenced during all classroom & lab lectures. Those not heeding this rule will be asked to leave the classroom/lab immediately so as to not disrupt the learning environment and will have to make up for the lost time on their own.

Course Policies/Student Expectations

Student Requirements & Responsibilities:

  • A minimum of six studio hours in class & three hours outside of class per week.
  • Three-ring binder notebook for lectures, sketches, & for assignment sheets & critiques. This notebook should be brought class & utilized for recording lectures & demonstrations, as well as drawings & sketches.
  • Active participation in all phases of the course, attendance, lecture / demonstrations / critiques
  • Materials described in the attached materials list.
  • Projects for this course will be assigned similar to the way that professional designers receive "design briefs" detailing the specific requirements for a project. The student will then be expected to document their creative process, which they follow in developing individual design solutions. Successive projects will be assigned for the class, and modified or customized to a certain degree based on the overall understanding of previous assignments.

Expectations & Work Load: The basic structure of this course will revolve around assigned studio problems. There will be time given to lecture & class discussion, practical tutorials, exercises, & assignments. A significant amount of time will be also spent in critique of student work.

It is very important that all students engage themselves in a discourse of the work. In turn I will give each of you conscientious feedback on as much of your work as is possible. All students should be prepared to spend a significant amount of time outside of class time for research, process & final production of assigned projects.

Students are expected to think creatively & critically as well as participate thoughtfully in class. As a good portion of this class is based in critique of student work, it is expected that all students will participate in this dialogue so that we may all benefit from the feedback. All comments are expected to be constructive & honest. It is the group dynamic that will inform & educate our individual projects. Be open to the critique process, as your lack of participation will impact your final grade.

Class Preparation: Students are expected to arrive to class on time & be prepared for work with the requested supplies/materials/assignments. Class preparation is essential to receiving feedback on one’s work. Lack of preparation on a continual basis will affect your final grade. If you happen to miss a class or lecture, please make arrangements with a fellow student who can either take notes for you &/or get the required handouts, etc. While I will be happy to clarify information for students who are confused, I cannot repeat lectures or elaborate project descriptions on an individual basis. It is my goodwill if I post my lectures online, do not expect it but be grateful if I do.
Controversial Content: Since a portion of the course will include studying art/design throughout history, there may be times when some of this art may have nudity in it. If you feel uncomfortable with this, please let me know & we can make accommodations.

Attendance Policy: No more than three absences are allowed per semester. Students are required to make prior arrangements with the instructor whenever possible. Students are expected to be on time & to participate for the duration of the class. The student’s grade will be negatively affected & lowered one full grade point for each absence exceeding the three allowed. So, for example, if you were to earn a B+ & had four absences, your final grade will be C+.

Students should be informed that the allotted absences are to accommodate routine illness, weddings, transportation troubles, etc. Doctor appointments, advisor conferences, trips to supply stores & labs, employment, etc. should not be scheduled to conflict with class. Religious Observances cited in the handbook will be followed.

Tardiness is defined as being fifteen minutes late for class or departing before class has been formally dismissed by the teacher. Three tardies will be counted as one absence. Tardiness that exceeds one hour will be counted as an absence. Each student is responsible for his/her own recorded attendance. If you are late it is your responsibility after that class period to make sure the teacher has you added to the roll.

Open Studio Hours Policy:
M, T, W, TR 8:30 to 9:00 p.m.
F 8:00 to 5:00 p.m.
(Sat) Sun 1:00 to 6:00 p.m.

Plan your schedule so that you will be able to complete your assignments during these hours.

Honor Code: The University Honor Code is an essential element in academic integrity. It is a violation of the Honor Code to give or receive information from another student during an examination; to use unauthorized sources during an examination; or to submit all or part of someone else’s work or ideas as one’s own. If a student violates the Honor Code, the faculty member may refer the matter to the Office of Student Life. If found guilty, the student may be penalized with failure of the assignment or failure of the course. The student may also be reprimanded or suspended from the University. A complete statement of the Honor Code may be found in the Student Handbook, Tiger Lore. Section 1.1 – 1.3

A violation of the principle includes, but is not limited to: Plagiarism: Intentionally or knowingly presenting the work of another as one’s own (i.e., without proper acknowledgment of the source). The sole exception to the requirement of acknowledging sources is when the ideas, information, etc., is common knowledge. Artists & designers occasionally work from photographs or other imagery. This is allowed & is sometimes necessary, however the artist’s intent must be clear that the new work was not made to merely duplicate someone else’s artwork in another medium or form & claim it as one’s own.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities
If you are a student with a disability, who requires accommodations, please contact Mr. Daniel Nuss, Coordinator of the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities in Bannister Hall, room 101, for information on how to obtain an Accommodation Request Letter. Contact: or (209) 946-2879. Then please schedule a meeting with me during office hours or some mutually convenient time to arrange the accommodation(s). These services may include, but are not limited to, extended time for completing exams, alternative testing procedures, note takers, & transportation to & from classes. The Policy Manual can be found at:

University Writing Center

The University Writing Center is a free resource for student, where a trained writing consultant will work individually with you on anything you are writing (in or out of class), at any point in the writing process from brainstorming to editing.

Important Dates to Remember

Last Day to Add/Drop Classes: September 5
Withdrawal Deadline: October 27
Final Examination: Wednesday, Dec 3 (you need to attend to pass the class.)


Please retain a copy of your syllabus. It is not only an outline of the course it represents a contract between you, the instructor & the University.


Syllabus PDF
marie anna lee • assistant professor • department of the visual arts • university of the pacific•