Topic outline

  • General

  • Intro Class

    Here are the "moving image" examples that we looked at in the intro class:

    Stephen Irwin, "The Black Dog's Progress," 2008

    Katerina Athanasopoulou, "Sweet Salt," 2005

    Kurt Ralske, "Faust Golden Vivisection," 2009

    This is a very broad overview of the trajectory we'll follow over the course of the semester, moving from hand-drawn/painted animation (using objects), to immersive landscapes, to video figures/portaits, and then to abstraction. Students will complete six very short sketches exploring the ways in which the technologies Final Cut Pro, Processing, and Max/MSP/Jitter expand and/or disrupt these traditional forms. Students will develop a final project of their choice that expands on one or more of their sketches.

  • Still Life / Hand-drawn or Painted Animation

    Jan 25:

    Meet in Woodard!

    Part I:

    1. Attendance / update class list, collect surveys
    2. More detailed syllabus review + one addition
      • Please create a vimeo page (free) if you don't already have one. When we do assignments that are strictly animation/video assignments, please upload your final MOV files to your vimeo page before critique. You can password protect them if you want.
    3. What is a still life?
    4. Brainstorm: what are some of the properties of moving images (I'll give the obvious one as an example: they MOVE)? How do you think transposing the still life into a moving image will allow us to extend this traditional form? How might it allow us to disrupt this form?

    Five minute break and then part II:

    1. How do we make a hand-drawn/painted moving image?
      • Google everything all the time forever: animation
      • Quick overview of the principles of animation (frames per second, twelve basic principles of animation)
      • Storyboard? If you want to, but these will be very short animations (between 10-40 seconds) so it's ok to just experiment. You'll have enough time to work on this assignment that you can go back and adjust your drawings / add more / subtract some if you decide that your original version isn't working.
    2. But I don't like to draw / think I'm not good at it...
    3. Discuss. What do you like? What do you not like? Interesting? Weird? Bad? Good? Why??
    4. Take aways:
      • Simple is ok
      • Adding sound (which we'll do) changes everything
      • Consider your drawing surface / tools
      • Thoughts / advice from students who have made animations before?
    5. Review tech stuff that's available. Start assignment in class if time allows (see below)
  • Still Life / Hand-drawn or Painted Animation

    Jan 30:

    Meet in the Media Lab!

    DUE TODAY: 3 x 3 x 3 presentation, project 1 prep.

    Part I:

    1. Finalized lab hours
    2. Guest on Friday
    3. Questions after last class?
    4. Questions about external drives/backing up?
    5. 3 x 3 x 3 presentations!

    5 min break

    Part II:

    1. Intro to Final Cut using project 1 prep (people who know Final Cut, help out and/or begin editing animations independently)
    2. Intro to adding sound:
      • Free Sound
      • Sound recording (check out equipment)

    Assignment for Feb 1:

    Please have your crit journals by Feb 1 and bring them to class.

    Collect sound that you would like to use for your animation. Perpare for a work-in-progress check-in next class:

    1. SAVE the work that you did today in lab. You do not have to do additional editing for your work-in-progress check-in, but we will at least view what you have so far with sound, so...
    2. Import the sound(s) you've chosen into Final Cut and place at least one on your timeline so that it roughly aligns the way you'd like with your animation.
    3. Prepare one question for the class. What are you having a hard time figuring out? What would you like feedback on at this point?

    We will view the in-progress animations with sound at the start of class on Feb 1 and give each other informal feedback.

    Start the short reading that will be due with your animation "Sketches" on Feb 6 (I'll upload the reading here by the end of the day today).

    • Still Life / Hand-drawn and Painted Animation

      Feb 1:

      DUE TODAY: In-progress animations. We will view your in-progress animations in Final Cut with at least one sound you've imported and placed on your timeline. Bring your crit journals (or if you haven't gotten one yet, at least a pen and paper for notes)

      Part I:

      1. Finish 3 x 3 x 3 presentation (Zoe and Erika)
      2. Watch in-progress animations. Informal discussion/feedback (including technical)
      3. Learn a few new technical skills: lengthening and shortening a clip by dragging, how to reverse your nested sequence, exporting

      Quick break

      Part II:

      TBD depending on how Part I goes...

    • Still Life / Hand-drawn or Painted Animation

      Feb 6:

      DUE TODAY: Project 1 should be exported as an MOV file, uploaded to Vimeo, and the link emailed to me BEFORE class. Read Walter Benjamin. Bring your crit journals and the worksheet that I handed out in the first class (propertiest of moving image, advantages/disadvantages of technologies, etc).

      1. View and discuss each other's animations
      2. Wrap up: Could we consider any of these animations "contemporary still lifes"? How did transposing the still life into a moving image extend/disrupt this form? What are the advantages/disadvantages of Final Cut so far?
      3. Discuss Benjamin

      No assignment for Feb 8.

      • Landscape / Photographic Animation

        Feb 8:

        Nothing due today. Meet in Serkin in the dance studio. We will be doing some easy moving (mostly walking around at different speeds) so please wear something you're comfortable moving in.

        Part I:

        1. Syllabus mistake, grading
        2. Project 1 wrap-up
          • How does transposing a still life into a moving image extend/disrupt that form? 
          • What are the advantages/disadvantages of Final Cut Pro
        3. Intro to project 2: Landscape, photographic animation/video, immersive environments
        4. History of landscape photography in America:
        5. Contemporary artists working with Landscape, animation/video, immersive environments:

        Short break

        Part I:

        1. Viewpoints
          • Tempo
          • Duration
          • Repetition

      • Landscape / Photographic Animation

        Feb 13:

        DUE TODAY: Prep for assignment 2 (see above).

        Part I:

        1. Quick admin stuff (show?)
        2. Guest Instructor, Matan, talks about choosing sound for animation/video

        Part II:

        1. In-class work time (color correcting?)
        2. CHECK OUT EQUIPMENT IF YOU NEED IT. Hilary is not in tomorrow so you must get any additional projectors/sound equipment today.
        3. Individual meetings with me to revivew your concept /space / equipment needs for Friday's critique.
        4. I will post a critique order Friday morning based on the specific projects you describe to me today. Please email me in the interim if you plans change.
      • Landscape / Photographic Animation

        Feb 15:

        DUE TODAY: Project 2! See above.

        Meet in Woodard!

        We will be looking at and discussing your projects for the entire class.

        Assignment for Feb 20:

        ALL you have to do for Feb 20 is to read a relatively short and easy to read chapter on the conceptual body. Please actually read it.

        • Figure and Portrait / Video

          Feb 20:

          DUE TODAY: Finish the reading posted on Friday. Prepare one question or comment to contribute to discussion.

          Part I:

          1. Discuss Jake's Landscape project
          2. Landscape wrap-up
          3. Figure/portrait throughout history
            • What is the role of the figure / portraiture in art? Remember to google everything all the time forever: figure drawing, portait
            • A search for portrait in the Guggenheim collection
            • art21 article on the Contemporary Portrait (and a working link to the London show it references)
            • Becaus there portrait/figure is so prevelant throughout art history, this article is helpful in terms of thinking about the overall role of the portrait/figure
          4. How contemporary artist's mentioned in the "Conceptual Body" chapter are dealing with figure/portrait in their video work
          5. Introduce project 3, complete overview and prep for next week
          6. Reminder: no class on Friday. Schedule individual meetings with me for Thursday afternoon.

          Quick break

          Part II:

          1. Shooting against a green screen
          2. Logging and capturing footage
          3. More Final Cut: Chroma keying and keyframes
        • Figure and portrait / Video

          Feb 27:

          DUE TODAY: In progress work for project 3.

          We will spend the first hour of class viewing what each of you have animated/shot so far and giving you some feedback about how to move forward. We will spend the rest of class working on these projects, and I will help you with any technical issues that you've encountered so far.

        • Figure and Portrait / Video

          March 1:

          DUE TODAY: Draft of 5-6 sentence statement, or at least some ideas.

          Part I:

          1. Last Final Cut Pro Workshop:
            • Color correcting
            • Additional applications of Chroma Key filter
            • Sound levels
            • Compression
          2. Quick After Effects demo
          3. Look at some examples of artist's writing to help with descriptions/statements for conceptual body piece

          Part II:

          In class work time for the remainder of class.

        • Figure and Portrait / Video

          March 6:

          DUE TODAY: Your conceptual body assignments should be exported, uploaded to Vimeo, and emailed to me before class.

          We will spend the entire class viewing and discussing the projects.

        • Abstraction / Processing

          March 8:

          DUE TODAY: Read the tutorials linked to above and download Processing if you want to work from your own laptop.

          1. Inventing Abstraction
          2. Intro to Processing

          Assignment for March 13

          Prep for Abstraction / Processing assignment: choose one image from your favorite project so far. Create a Processing sketch that "abstracts" your image. Draw shapes over different parts of the image using colors related to the image. Go crazy and have fun! We will tone these down and add more images as we revise these projects, so that we ultimately end up with a combination of your original animation and an abstract animation.

          • Abstraction / Processing

            March 13:

            DUE TODAY: Abstraction/Processing prep. We will look in class at your "abstracted image" Processing sketches.

            Part I:

            1. View and discuss Abstraction/Processing prep.
            2. Example of an abstracted landscape

            Short break

            Part II:

            1. More Processing info:
              • Arrays
              • For loops
              • Conditionals
              • Booleans
            2. Assignment due after break
          • Abstraction / Processing

            March 15:

            DUE TODAY: Nothing

            Today is an in-class work day. I will meet with each of you for 15 minutes to help you get a good start on/finish your Abstraction/Processing final composition.

            Here is some of my code that you might want to "hack." Each program is separated by a horizontal line.


            //fades between three images based on color values. try loading your own images and see what happens!

            PImage text1;
            PImage skel;
            PImage drawn;

            int grayScale = 50;
            int grayScaleChange = 5;
            int amountToIncrease = 0;
            boolean increase = true;

            int grayScale1 = 20;
            int grayScaleChange1 = 2;

            void setup() {
            size(1607, 1200);
            skel = loadImage("skelHorizontal copy.jpg");

            void draw() {

            drawn = loadImage("skelHorizontal copy.jpg");
            text1 = loadImage("folded.jpg");

            grayScale += grayScaleChange;// + amountToIncrease;
            if (grayScale >= 200) {
            grayScaleChange = -grayScaleChange;
            amountToIncrease = 0;
            increase = false;
            if (grayScale <= 50) {
            grayScaleChange = -grayScaleChange;
            increase = true;
            color c = color(grayScale, grayScale, grayScale);

            grayScale1 += grayScaleChange1;
            if (grayScale1 >= 200) {
            grayScaleChange1 = -grayScaleChange1;
            if (grayScale1 <= 20) {
            grayScaleChange1 = -grayScaleChange1;
            color c2 = color(grayScale1, grayScale1, grayScale1);

            for (int x=0; x<drawn.width; x++) {
            for (int y=0; y<drawn.height; y++) {
            int loc = x + y*drawn.width;
            if(text1.pixels[loc] < color(c2)){
            text1.pixels[loc] = skel.pixels[loc];
            if (drawn.pixels[loc] < color(c)) {
            drawn.pixels[loc] = text1.pixels[loc];


            image(drawn, 0, 0);


            //replaces pixels with letters. lets you zoom in through letters

            PImage draw4;
            PFont font;

            int cellsize = 2;
            int cols, rows;

            String chars = "spread";

            void setup(){
            size(800, 600, P3D);
            draw4 = loadImage("draw4.JPG");
            draw4.resize(width, height);

            cols = width/cellsize;
            rows = height/cellsize;

            font = createFont("Times-Roman",28);
            textFont(font, 15);


            void draw(){

            int charcount = 0;

            for(int i=0; i<rows; i++){
            for(int j=0; j<cols; j++){
            int y = i*cellsize + cellsize/2;
            int x = j*cellsize + cellsize/2;
            int loc = x + y*width;
            color c = draw4.pixels[loc];

            float z = (mouseX/(float)width) * 10 * brightness(draw4.pixels[loc]);

            translate(x, y, z);
            text(chars.charAt(charcount), 0, 0);
            charcount = (charcount + 1) % chars.length();




            //a "lens" that gets bigger when you hold the mouse down

            PImage source;
            PImage destination;

            int lensSize = 50;

            void setup(){
            source = loadImage("words3.JPG");
            source.resize(width, height);

            destination = createImage(source.width, source.height, RGB);

            void draw(){

            for(int x=0; x<source.width; x++){
            for(int y=0; y<source.height; y++){
            int loc = x + y*source.width;

            float r = red (source.pixels[loc]);
            float g = green (source.pixels[loc]);
            float b = blue (source.pixels[loc]);

            float distance = dist(x, y, mouseX, mouseY);

            float adjustBrightness = (lensSize-distance)/lensSize;
            r *= adjustBrightness;
            g *= adjustBrightness;
            b *= adjustBrightness;
            r = constrain(r, 0, 255);
            g = constrain(g, 0, 255);
            b = constrain(b, 0, 255);
            color c = color(r,g,b);
            destination.pixels[loc] = c;

            if(mousePressed == true){
            } else {
            lensSize = 50;

            image(destination, 0, 0);

          • Abstraction / Processing

            April 3:

            DUE TODAY: Abstraction/ Processing compositions. See above for specific requirements. 

            1. View and discuss Processing sketches.
            2. Advantages/disadvantages of coding (remember those sheets I handed out way in the beginning of the semester? Dig them up if you still have them. I will also print out more for tomorrow if you need a replacement).
            3. Quick overview of the rest of the semester.

            Assignment for Friday:

            Read Phillip Galanter's "What is Generative Art." Pick one example of generative art (that he gives or that you come up with on your own). Find a photo/video of the work that you can share with the class on Friday.

            • Abstraction / Processing

              April 5:

              DUE TODAY: Read Philip Galanter's article "What is Generative Art." Select a video/photo/sound piece that is an example of generative art as defined in the article.

              Part I:

              1. Discuss article/view examples of generative art
              2. Revisit worksheet on different technologies/art forms. Fill in more of bottom chart.

              Short break

              Part II:

              1. Adding sound to Processing sketches
              2. Working with the Microsoft Kinect (play time!)

              Assignment for Wednesday, April 10:

              Continue to work with your abstracted animations OR switch to working with just abstraction if you prefer. Add sound if you think it would strengthen your piece. Alter the interaction so that its based off of a person's movement instead of the mouse.

            • Abstraction / Processing

              April 10:

              DUE TODAY: Updated Processing sketches with motion-tracking interactivity!  Meet in the Media Lab as usual. Please have your sketch working and ready to go at the start of class, either on your own computer, or on computer number 3 (3rd from the large monitor).

              Today in class: view and discuss interactive sketches. Processing wrap up. Intro to Max/MSP/Jitter if time.

              Assignment for Friday:

              Pick one of your previous projects to run through a Max/MSP/Jitter program. Pick one of the examples from the Max Tutorials or the Jitter Tutorials. Make a conscious choice about how you want the interactive components (sliders, toggles, number boxes, etc) to be set at the beginning of the video. Chose at least one point in the video when the settings should change. Demonstrate this in class on Friday. We will view all of the projects from the THIRD COMPUTER. Save you patches and videos in a folder with your name on that computer and/or have them on a thumb/external drive ready to go.

               NEW INFORMATION:

              You must demo the video for us in "fullscreen mode." To do this, paste the code from the emailed patch into the example you're working with. Find the screen that's playing the video WITH whatever effect (i.e. the final output version of the video). Find the object that connects directly to that video screen. Connect that same object (from the same outlet) to the attached code where it says: "attach video here -->"


              MAKE SURE YOU "SAVE AS" and give the file a new name.

              • Abstraction / Max/MSP/Jitter

                April 12:

                DUE TODAY: Max/MSP/Jitter projects (see above). Motion-tracking Processing variations if we didn't view them last class.

                1. View Processing projects from last class.
                2. View Max/MSP/Jitter projects

                Short break

                1. Programming / Generative art wrap up
                2. Introduce final project assignment and time-table

                Assignment for Wednesday:

                Final project proposals due Wednesday. Your propsoal needs to include the following:

                1. Three sources of inspiration. This can include work that we've looked at in this class and sources of inspiration that you've collected outside of class/from other classes. If your inspiration is timebased we'll onlye view/listen to one minute, so please choose an excerpt.
                2. A project description. Please answer the following questions:
                  • Which traditional for will serve as the jumping off point for your project (still life, landscape, figure/portrait, abstration--you are not limited to working with only one form, but please identify one as your grounding concept/starting point)?
                  • Which technology/combination of technologies will you use (Final Cut Pro to make an animation or video, Processing, Max/MSP/Jitter)?
                  • Will you incorporate any analog materials/processes (drawing, painting, sculpting)? If so, how?
                  • What are some of the major changes that will occur during your piece (think about the propoerties of the moving image--will you have shifts of perspective or shifts of scale, will you introduce/reinvent characters, will you work narratively and if so what is your narrative, will you work non-narratively and if so what conceptual/aesthetic elements are you exploring instead)?
                  • What will your setup be? Do you plan to present this project on a monitor, as projection, or as an installation? I will inquire about presenting in Serkin assuming that the space is free, so that we can either look at the work on a small or a large screen. I am also open to proposals for site-specific work.
                3. A visual or piece of sound. Please provide us with at least one sketch, painting, photograph, collage, sculpture, piece of music, or field recording that you feel will give us a sense of the aesthetic of your work.
                4. Timetable worksheet (steps involved in executing the project). Please fill in the timetable worksheet through the first in-progress showing on April 24 and turn it in for me to review (you'll get it back on the 19th).
                • Final projects

                  April 17:

                  DUE TODAY: Final project proposals. See handout/above.

                  We will spend most of the class presenting an discussing final projects. At the end we will look at Max/MSP/Jitter projects that we didn't get to last class.

                  Assignment for Friday:

                  Prepare for our first in-class work day. Remember that you must have something to work on in class.

                  • Final projects

                    April 19:

                    Nothing due today. Today is an in-class work day. You are expected to be here for the majority of your class time, ideally working on your projects. I will check in with each of you individually to discuss technical details.

                    Assignment for Wednesday:

                    First in-progress showing. Please have at least 45 seconds of animation to share with the class, or 1-2 minutes of roughly edited video.

                    • Final Projects

                      April 23:

                      DUE TODAY: First in-progress showing. Pepare a chunk of work to share with the class and get feedback on.

                      1. Discuss final showing
                      2. View and discuss in-progress work

                      Assignment for Friday:

                      Revise your project proposals based on the feedback you received. Does this alter your plans in any way? Fill out/revise your work plan through the second in-progress showing on May 3. What will you accomplish between now and then?

                      • Final projects

                        May 1:

                        Nothing due today.

                        Today is an in-class work day. Those of you who would like can take an hour-long outdoor excursion to record sound for your projects. The rest of you can stay and work in the lab. I will check in with each of you individually about your projects.

                        Assignment for Friday:

                        Second in-progress showing. You should have about 1/2 to 3/4 of your project finished by this point.

                        • This topic

                          Final projects

                          May 8:

                          Today is an in-class work day. We will also be getting ready for the showing on Friday. This means:

                          1. Load any interactive works on the correct computers in the lab, based on the schematic drawn up by Hilary.
                          2. Transfer any animations from earlier in the semester to Hilary that you plan to show as part of the loop playing at the research bar.
                          3. Get an exported copy of your final project to Hilary by tomorrow at noon via DropBox if you want to play that in the loop at the research bar.
                          4. Check in with me and/or Hilary to make sure you have the equipment you need to show your project on Friday.
                          5. Clean/set up your space between now and Friday if you're doing a site specific installation.

                          If you've done all of these things, you think your final project is finished, and I give you the ok, you are free to leave class early.

                          There will be ice cream in the lower Baber courtyard from 2-4 on Friday. BYO toppings. We will head up to the library at 3 to setup all of the work for the showing.

                          Because of the showing on Friday, I will not have office hours from 2-4, but will be available by appointment on Friday up until 1pm if you have last minute questions or concerns about your project. After 4pm on Friday, I am not available to help with technical problems. It is your responsibility to make sure that your projects are fully functional by 4pm even if you're not showing the project until Saturday.

                          Assignment for final crit, May 11 @ 1pm:

                          View all of the final projects that are set up on Friday. Take notes in your crit journal so that you have feedback prepared for our critique on Saturday. If you set your work up for the showing on Friday, you do not have to set it up again on Saturday. If you do not set your final project up on Friday, we will view it on Saturday. We'll view all of the remaining work in the lab on Saturday, unless you request a different location (in which case, you must do so by the end of the day Thursday). The final critique will take about 2.5 hours. Please plan accordingly.

                          Crit journals are due at the end of the critique. I will review them and get them back to you by the 13th. As stated in the syllabus, these should contain feedback you've received on your work, your responses to others' work, your thought process with regards to developing your projects, and the worksheet on comparing and contrasting different technologies.