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Spring 2023 ︎︎︎Purchase College, SUNY ︎︎︎ (DES2460)DMD2

Project: Motion Story

Background & Objectives

You are currently beginning your journey learning After Effects. Now, you must take the skills and techniques you’ve acquired and apply them to a creative work. This piece will also give you an opportunity to learn industry-standard methodologies, practices and terminology as a means of professionalization. Additionally, this project will give you a chance to work on a single piece and develop your process.


You will use the skills and techniques we have discussed in class, and what you have learned or sought out through tutorials in After Effects to tell a story. This does not need to use language (ie “once upon a time…”), however typography must be included in some way (titling, sound effects, lyrics, etc.). You should aim to use your imagery and or type to create something with a “beginning” “middle” and “end.” 

Industry Terms

We will talk more about these as we get to them, but for the sake of clarity:

    • Styleframes ︎︎︎ Static images you produce earlier in the process of creating an animation or motion graphics piece. This is in order to give your viewer/client/professor an idea of what it is you want to ultimately do. These are generally done quickly, but look more finalized-looking to facilitate discussion before labor, time, energy or money are invested.

    • Storyboards ︎︎︎ Static images and text which describe each scene. Generally in a studio you may be working with several other animators, designers, or art directors and you need to give them a sense of the complexity and action of each scene without just doing it. Typically these are drawn in a sketchy enough level of completion in order to make the composition of the scene clear. Arrows are also generally used in order to denote camera or subject movement. Text usually accompanies each “frame” in order to describe the action or include voice over, if applicable. A client or viewer will look at these but these are also to give the animator or animation team a clear idea of the scope and complexity of what will happen.

    • Animatic ︎︎︎ A video which shows a simplified version of the intended work. This may be as simple as the storyboards with a preliminary or “scratch” sound track or voice over. For people viewing or who need to approve of the piece, this is both to show progress and help it feel more “real,” this serves a purpose for the animator(s) to understand what scenes may need more development or are too stagnant. In 3D animation this may be referred to as “pre-vis.” Entire studios can work solely on pre-vis on a Marvel movie for example, due to the time intensive nature of rendering 3D visuals and compositing them into scenes with existing video.

Final Submission

A folder which contains the following (inclusions are highly recommended to be in subfolders for clarity and organization)
    • 2-3 final style frames as .png, .jpg or other raster images
    • Final storyboards as a .pdf file
    • Final animatic as an .mp4 file
    • Final video as an .mp4 file


    • Your final piece must at least include type, for example a kinetic type lyric video would be acceptable.
    • For this piece you cannot use system default typography. Gill Sans is also not allowed.
    • Use only royalty-free or self-generated imagery and sound.
    • Video is allowed, but cannot be the sole method of image generation (this is mainly to say, do not do a 30-second short film. However if you’d like to use video as some kind of a background for a type-heavy piece, this is more than likely fine)
    • Styleframe resolution should be the same as your final video (1920 x 1080px)
    • Storyboards do not need to use a template but must give directions for camera movement and provide a description of the contents of each scene
    • Your video and animation should be at least 30 seconds long

No Shuriken Mode Challenges

(Please note that, doing these do not guarantee a better grade or extra credit by any fixed or demonstrable amount, but if you’re doing or approaching these things, you’re probably doing well. The point is that, like not using shurikens in Shadow Dancer, it is more difficult, and increases your proximity to the material. All this being said don’t hurt  yourself and consider your other assignments and mental and physical health. Additionally, if you are not feeling challenged by the class or an assignment, and these suggestions are not sufficient for you, please le me know.)
    • Include a 3D (simulated or actual) parallax shot to establish a location
    • Include dialogue and/or music which you record with a classmate (I can help with the sound aspect if you need)
    • Learn a tool like duik (free) or rubber hose (not free) to create a character for your animation


    • Words are images ︎︎︎consider how the shapes of letters, specific type choices and the like, effect tone and your message. Think of typography not as a “costume” for the words you want to say, but as inextricably linked from the message. There is no “vanilla” form of type without style, tone, or “image-ness”
    • Refined-ness is important ︎︎︎ 30 seconds is not a lot of time; thus I am asking for a considerable amount of polish and care be put into this 30 seconds. This is also to say, avoid “stretching” or delaying for time.
    • Simplicity is not “easy” ︎︎︎ An animation that involves simple circles could be quite complex to animate. I would err on the side of finding simpler forms that you apply a greater degree of care to animating.


(Showing these examples does not mean looking like any or all of these works is considered “good” this is simply to help with idea and concept generation)

Dakota by Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries

I Am A Chain Reaction by Insert Silence
(Amit Pitaru and Presstube/James Paterson)

My Mind & Me by Selena Gomez

Quizno’s “Spongemonkeys” Commercial

Desgined by Apple in California by Buck Studio


    • 20% ︎︎︎ Styleframes
      This will be graded based on the clarity with which you convey tone and energy and the evaluated in relation to where the final animation. This is not to say that the style frames must “match” the final, but I will look at the final vs your initial intention and see how they lined up and what about your process effected one or the other.

    • 20% ︎︎︎ Storyboard
      This is not a drawing class, to be clear. This aspect of the project will be graded based on your ability to denote the complexity of the action on screen and think about the “flow” or editing of your piece.

    • 20% ︎︎︎Craft
      This is the care and attention to detail you put in your keyframes, elements lining up with each other and the like.

    • 40% ︎︎︎ Final Animation
      This will be graded based on the general ambition, execution and energy as well as how you incorporated concepts and techniques we learned in class or ones you sought out. The concept or idea which the piece is about will also be evaluated

Relevant Dates
01/26/2023 ︎︎︎ Introduction
02/02/2023 ︎︎︎Initial Concept one-on-one review
02/09/2023 ︎︎︎ Initial style frames due
02/16/2023 ︎︎︎ Final style frames + initial storyboards due
02/23/2023 ︎︎︎ Animatic viewing party
03/02/2023 ︎︎︎ Progress Check-in +technical triage
03/09/2023 ︎︎︎ Progress animation viewing party and discussion
03/16/2023 ︎︎︎ Final critique + writing assignment

03/30/2023 ︎︎︎Restaging + writing review

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