Art 2388: Design Process.
This hands-on craft-oriented class determines if aspiring graphic design students are accepted into the program. Students create these projects using Faver Castell markers, eventually incorporating other type of materials. The evaluation criteria used to assess the art work prioritize neatness, as I consider that at this stage students need to be educated to respect the quality of the work presented. For the last 4 or 5 years, I have been developing and tweaking assignments, attempting to give the students a solid foundation.
Circle, Square, Triangle
The goal of this exercise is to train students to work abstractly and how to use to their advantage negative and positive space, line consistency, and composition arrangement. Students create three sets of symbols based on the basic geometric shapes: circle, square, and triangle. Through critiques and analysis, students choose one from each set and reproduce it with black marker on a 4x4 white cardboard.
Students receive 3 letters and through research, they create an archive of different fonts. By exploring the shapes of the different type specimens, they need to find similarities to recognizable figures. They need to develop a simple composition with the use of one letter, or by combining two or three, and add simple elements to complete the form(s). Once the compositions are set, they create three different versions: black and white (marker), color (markers), and the application of materials.
House of Cards
This is the last assignments in the class, once the students have more control over the media required for the class. The students are given randomly an art movement and do extensive resear on it or an artist associated to the movement; they are also given a card suit, and the value of three cards (a face card, a number, and the ace). The goal is to design three cards based on the art movement and arrange them on the mounting board as they see fit.
Art 4357: Web Media Design.
Technology-dense, this class is the polar opposite of ART 2388. To me, it is imperative that students leave the class with a strong foundation of HTML/CSS front-end languages, for them to, later on, have the capacity to manipulate any type of editing tools or on-line services
My students learn by doing small hand-coded assignments that increase in technical complexity and design requirements as we move along. Their first main project is a website for a service or product. After this, they work towards a personal portfolio, as our students, at this point in the program, start to look for internships. We use as a manual the 2008 canonical book by Jon Duckett and compensate for the most recent changes with the use of W3School, and similar services. For a large percentage of our students, this is their first contact with web design and coding.
Art 4358: Motion Graphics.
Currently an elective in the program, I eagerly anticipate the next opportunity to teach this class, as I get to talk about one of my passions: animation. Students use Adobe Animate (formerly Flash) as their main tool to produce the projects, but students also learn to use Garageband, QuickTime, Premiere, and AfterEffects. I have devised the assignments to develop students’ skills in a short amount of time. I emphasize on design, abstraction, storytelling, character development, editing, and on key animation principles, such as reaction, lip-sync, and timing.
Abstracted and Limited
For the majority of my students, this is the first time they create an animation. It is also the practice run for learning about the production process, formatting rules and standards, and work with the program Adobe Animate, and video and sound editing through their respective programs. Although the project has evolved throughout the years, it has always revolved around the work of Saul Bass and of the masters of limited animation (UPA, Jay Ward Productions, and Zagreb Studios). The current theme is to animate “a saying” in 30 seconds.
Sync to Voice and Music
Synchronizing specific mouth movements to sound is one of animation’s most challenging tasks, but, if done right, it creates a unique experience for the viewer. In this project students practice the complexities of music and voice synchronization by developing a music video that should include a distinctive concept. The final product should be 60 seconds long (minimum) and at least 30% of the video needs to show lip-sync.
Say it with Type
This final project always has three options for students to choose from. Students can create the introduction or closing titles for a movie or a TV show, a kinetic-type sequence, or a commercial. As long as they include and use type, students are allowed to take any direction they wish. By now my students understand the production process, so certain elements such as concept development, storyboarding, and preparation of visual elements for production, move faster. The class also becomes more critical about movement and scene transitions, and the synchronization with sound flows more naturally.
other projects created in this class
Examples from other classes.
Most of these are samples of projects that my students developed for non-profit organizations. For the most part, all of them were selected by the organization to represent their event or campaign. The currency project (last) is an example of the type of the intellectual challenges I request from my students, even at an early class in our program as symbols