Motion Graphics
This is a sample curriculum for the Motion Graphics concentration. Please look under All Courses for other course listings.
1st Year / Fall

Computer Systems I

The purpose of this course is to give an overview of the inner workings of computer systems. It will cover the many facets of computers, including logic, hardware, programming and software, how they communicate to create networks and how to use that knowledge to make informed technical choices. It will review the theory, history and cultural context behind the emergence of computer systems, which has shaped the current technological state of affairs. Students will also learn to configure hardware and software for specific tasks, including motion graphics, 3D animation and fine art.

Digital Art Seminar I

This seminar addresses many aspects of digital art history and theory, including the evolution of digital technologies through an examination of the key theorists and practicing artists who have defined the digital media field. The primary goal is to expose students to the broad range of ideas and forms of expression that the digital arts encompass. Students will clarify and expand their personal creative niche within the context of contemporary art and culture, through research, short written assignments and creative experimentation. This lecture series offers a historical and theoretical foundation in the digital arts, along with establishing a familiarity with contemporary art in New York City through gallery visits, artist talks and guest lectures.

Motion Graphics I

Graphics that move, but how? This foundation course will explore the tools and production pipeline within Adobe After Effects and related Creative Cloud applications. Students will be encouraged to investigate trends and software while producing creative work with a focus on art direction. Independent motion graphics projects, as well as television commercials, will be discussed throughout the course as examples of current techniques and what is creatively possible. Assignments will also provide a catalyst for group critique.

Video Art and Beyond

This course begins by examining the emergence of video art of the 1960s, through structuralist films and the freewheeling days of “feedback” and “real-time” manipulation of the analog electronic signal. Students will examine how the barriers between artistic disciplines broke down as artists took up portable video cameras, experimented with installation, staged actions, and went outdoors to build land art. Works of contemporary video artists who move freely between painting, sculpture, photography, film, performance and other media will be discussed, as well as the contributions by musicians toward developing new working methods. The course will consist of weekly screenings, analysis of installations, readings and written assignments.

Video Production: From Concept to Completion

The focus of this course will address professional video production workflow methods in order to tell compelling cinematic stories. Through demonstrations, assignments and discussions, we will investigate setting up a video shoot, cinematography, camera functionality, lighting, color correction, audio recording and editing. All of these techniques will be examined in terms of how they relate to creating an engaging narrative. Assignments will concentrate on aesthetic and technical issues and how to troubleshoot throughout the production process.

Jeffrey W Hagerman

Web Programming I

Serving as an introduction to the basic concepts, techniques and technologies of Web programming, this course will address how to design and build dynamic and database-driven sites for the Web. Conceptual and practical programming ideas will be examined through the creation of flowcharts, as well as working through examples of code and scripts, including HTML, CSS and JavaScript. The exploration of design principles and building dynamic templates will be achieved by working on assigned projects.

1st Year / Spring

Digital Art Seminar II

This is the second part of a two-semester course. See Digital Art Seminar I for course description.

Motion Graphics II

This course is intended to go beyond the basics of motion graphics and assist students in refining their personal style. Advanced techniques relating to combining 2D and 3D animation, live action and stop motion will be explored in depth. Course work will be complemented by guest lecturers and workshops given by industry professionals. Students will complete the course with a reel that showcases both their creativity and knowledge of the software. Prerequisite: Motion Graphics I, or instructor’s permission.

Sound Workshop I

This course will explore the many forms of sound creation and what can be done with them. There will be an equal emphasis on sonic and compositional aspects, including form and structure, texture, and the technical concepts of understand- ing and using recording equipment and software. Emphasis will be placed on “outside the box” thinking regarding the possibilities of sound creation. Class time will be divided among lecture, discussions and practical/technical exercises. Topics will include the physics of sound, hearing vs. listening, psychoacoustics, the history of sound art and concepts in sound art composition. Practical projects will involve creating sound art compositions using Avid Pro Tools and exploring the deep connection between sound and imagery.

Theory, Criticism and History of Time-Based Media

As the first time-based medium, film quickly became a primary means of cultural expression and an icon of popular culture. Early works by Thomas Edison included live action, stop motion and animation, laying the groundwork for digital video, motion graphics and computer animation. Although digital projection, 3D and web-based technologies have begun to supersede the film medium, its history, including video and animation, provides a wellspring of ideas and practices that demand theoretical and critical analysis. This course will address the vocabulary, grammar and syntax of experimental and mainstream film language, while examining and analyzing basic film constructs, genres and forms. Focusing on these issues from an international perspective, students will explore time-based media through the works of theorists, critics and practitioners. Reading and writing assignments will be complemented by student presentations, guest lectures and discussion.

Video Projects

This course will include demonstrations and exercises in project development, production and editing, as well as ongoing class critique. It is designed to provide students with facile control of moving-image content, craft, film language and techniques. We will explore these elements in light of emerging practices through different styles, current trends and technology. Students will produce short video and mixed-media projects that will be presented for group critique. Lecture topics include directing, storytelling, the creative use of lenses, cinematography, and editing philosophies.

Web Programming II

Students will be introduced to programming concepts used to create dynamic content for the Web. Assuming basic HTML skills, students will learn to add JavaScript to pages to effect client-side dynamic pages. CSS, XML, JSP and introductory database techniques will be explored to add functionality to a Web application. Several short assignments will be given, enabling students to produce creative and innovative websites. Prerequisite: Web Programming I, or instructor’s permission.

2nd Year / Fall

Motion Graphics: Theory and Design

Intended to develop creativity and a personal style, as well as hone professional and artistic skills, this course will focus on an innovative approach to producing motion graphics projects, including crossover (designers as artists, artists as designers), inspiration, osmosis and looking beyond the screen to the world around us. The art of title design for opening sequences will also be addressed. Self-directed short- and long- term projects within an artistic design framework will be supported, and group critiques will help to develop communication and visual analytic skills. Reel building will be examined to further professional development. This course is for flexible, open-minded thinkers who want to explore their creative vision and learn the art of communication through moving imagery. Prerequisites: Motion Graphics I, or equivalent, and a working knowledge of Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop.

Production Issues: Motion Graphics I

Serving as an expansion upon the topics addressed in first-year motion graphics, this course will explore the workflow of a professional production artist. Photoshop timelines, advanced camera techniques in Cinema 4D and the Adobe After Effects pipeline, character animation, the framing of a story through collage and sound will be covered. Each week, a task is assigned to create elements toward a final project and/or demo reel. Prerequisite: SCG-5573, Video Projects, or SCG-5641, Motion Graphics I, or instructor’s permission.

Sound Design

The fundamental principle of sound design is simply to explore the possibilities for underscoring an image or time-based work. There are principles of music that work with time-based media (motion graphics, animation, stop motion, networked media), interactive media and games. Topics for the principles of music include: selection and use of prerecorded material, creation of music and audio content, the connection of music and sound production for animations, websites, DVDs and videos, as well as music inherent in illustration and photography leading to developing the final track. Discussions will center on the differences between working with sound in a narrative or interactive environment, along with the static images of illustration and photography. Note: The composition of original music is not required.

Thesis I

The thesis project consists of documented research and a body of creative work. The project should reflect individual direction and interests, attained through an awareness of the creative use of the computer and emerging technologies and its potential in the chosen area of practice. This course is intended to guide students through the initial stages of their thesis. A forum for discussion of content and context, as well as critique of work-in-progress with faculty and visiting artists will be provided. Throughout the year, students will work with a thesis group leader and the department chair.

Thesis Research and Writing I

Intended to help students to refine their research skills and articulate concepts and context, this course will focus on finalizing the thesis proposal, and the thesis research paper. Students will meet with the instructor in groups and individually several times during the semester. The critique and review sessions will be open to all thesis students every week.

2nd Year / Spring

Production Issues: Motion Graphics II

The focus of this course is from the standpoint of compositing, including the use of green screen, tracking and the combining of 2D/3D and live-action elements. The fundamentals of using video for compositing will also be covered. Students will experiment with advanced techniques for visual effects. Additionally, analysis of the trends of current motion graphics and glitch art, along with the subject of distortion—visually and through sound—will be explored. Prerequisite: Production Issues: Motion Graphics I, or instructor’s permission.

Seminar in Musical Choices

Guiding students toward designing a sound environment that is properly connected to their thesis project is the premise of this course. Animation and motion graphics students will work with a sound accompaniment to support the story line and the motion of characters, or abstract visual elements involved in their thesis projects. Fine artists, web designers and installation artists can achieve a strong musical refer- ence point in order to formulate a soundtrack that speaks to their creative work. Students will learn how to make music choices for projects that will guide the artistic vision or to enhance the already conceived image. Note: The composition of original music is not required.

Thesis II

A continuation of Thesis I, this course is geared to achieving the goals outlined in thesis proposals. Weekly group and individual critiques will be held.

Thesis Research and Writing II

A continuation of Thesis Research and Writing II, this course is intended to help students prepare the written materials needed to introduce their art practice. It will focus on the artist’s biography, statement, résumé/CV, project description and a press release. Students will meet with the instructor in groups and individually several times during the semester. The critique and review portion will be open to all thesis students every week.