DMA 140 Interactive Animation
Thurs 6:00-10:10pm Fall 2012
Instructor: Pete McGrath
[email protected]

Required Supplies: 

  • subscription (this is a special discounted subscription which gives you access to only the courses I have selected for this class. You can certainly get a full subscription if you prefer)

Course Overview: 
Flash’s user friendly interface and workflow has opened the doors of animation and interactivity to the masses.  Starting as a simple animation program, over the past decade, creative people everywhere employed the software’s limited tool set, pushed its limits and exceeded all expectations to redefine the way we interact with media.  It is now widely used to animate television and web cartoons, develop websites and software, internet ads, games and art projects.

Due to the fact that uses for Flash are so wide reaching, this course will not attempt to cover them all.  However, with a strong foundation in the basic principals of animation, technical skills of how to use Flash and a firm understanding of the fundamentals of programming, students will be able to pursue any number of avenues and applications of Flash animation and interactivity.  To achieve this foundation, we will slowly but steadily introduce new tools and skills, building upon the previous weeks lessons and strengthening our understanding and comprehension of Adobe Flash.

The course will move quickly, so it is imperative that students are present for lectures, stay on top of their Lynda videos and assignments as well as participate actively in class.  The best way to learn is to do.

Students are required to be present and working for all class meetings.  There is no way to be successful in this course unless you are present and participating.  Being late is unacceptable! Class starts at 6:00.  Arrival after 6:15 will be marked as late.  Three lates are equivalent to one absence and each subsequent late is marked as an additional absence.  If you know you will have to miss a class or be late, please let me know in advance! Four absences will result in an immediate course failure. An At Risk warning will be issued after the third absence. 

Course Requirements:
In addition to showing up to class and being on time, students will be required to participate in class, follow the lectures, post on their blog, ask questions and use studio time effectively!  There will be weekly quizzes on the course material to make sure everyone is staying on top of their assignments.  In addition, each student will be required to give a presentation in class.  Watching the Lynda video tutorials are imperative to the success in this course and will become an invaluable resource for the students in this class.

There will also be several large projects.  These projects require planning and time to prepare.  Students should anticipate spending several hours a week working on these projects outside of class.  The digital media profession is highly competitive – the only way to succeed is with a lot of hard work.  The same goes for this class.  These projects will only be accepted on their due date – late projects will be penalized 10 pts for every day they are late!  If you are having trouble with a project, please feel free to contact me but do so as early as possible!   I want to see you succeed and will help you in any reasonable way I can.  There are also lab assistants whose job it is to help you if you are having trouble!

All projects will presented to the class for review and feedback.  Critique is an essential part of the design process; learning how to give, take and utilize criticism is extremely important and vital to your success as a Digtal Media Artist.  All students will be required to participate in critiques as well as submit post written reviews of what you liked, what you did not and what you thought could be improved upon for all classmates on classmate’s blogs.  These will be reviewed as part of the class participation grade and returned to the student whose work was being reviewed.

Students will be required to turn in their .FLA, .SWF and any prep work for each project.  After reviewing these materials as well as the in class presentation, I will provide my own written critique and return it along with your classmates reviews as well.  The breakdown for the semester is as follows:

Assignments % of Final Grade
Quizzes 5%
Landscape Using Layers 5%
Frame by Frame Animation 5%
Tweened Animation 10%
Project 4 – TBD 15%
Project 5 – TBD 15%
Final Project – TBD 20%
Class Participation/In Class Practicals 15%
Blog 10%

Schedule for Class: Week 1:

  • Introduction

Week 2:

  • Drawing tools
  • File Organization – Layers and Folders
  • In Class Practical – Drawing Tools

Week 3:

Week 4:

  • Frame-by-Frame Animation is due
  • Animation techniques
  • Learning about symbols and tweening
  • Studio time

Week 5:

  • Studio time

Week 6:

  • In class flow chart
  • Tweened Animation due

Week 7:

  • Intro to Programming

Week 8:

  • Project 4 due – TBD
  • Actionscript
  • Studio Time

Week 9:

  • Actionscript: Loading external files
  • Studio Time

Week 10:

  • Studio Time

Week 11:

  • Project 5 Due – TBD
  • Studio Time

Week 12:

  • Actionscript
  • Studio Time

Week 13:

  • Actionscript
  • Studio Time

Week 14:

  • Actionscript
  • Studio Time

Week 15:

  • Final Projects Due

Detailed descriptions of projects and weekly assignments will be provided throughout the semester and linked to on this syllabus as they become available.