Projects and Exercises


Project 2: Something in Motion

For this project you will be able to choose from a few options below or create your own project. If generating your own project you need to make sure to create a schedule and similar outcomes to the projects listed below.

Full Project Description

Project 1: Obstructions

Create a series of videos based on a design concept or principle. The first video is open for any approach or technique. That video will then be remade 3 different times, each time with a specific set of obstructions that must be followed.

Full Project Description


Exercise 9: Stop Motion

Make the best stop motion film starring a fruit or vegetable. You have 90 minutes. Submit your final video on Blackboard and upload it to our Vimeo group.

Technical Requirements
  • Stop motion film
  • Stars a fruit or vegetable
  • Title card
  • Audio if possible

You can easily sequence you photographs in Photoshop following this tutorial. Depending on the amount of photographs you might want to do them in batches and then combine the videos in After Effects or Premiere. 

Due Monday, July 25 by 7:00 pm ET

Exercise 9: Wash, Rinse, Repeat (Optional)

Pick an object in your house that can make a repetitive motion (stapler going up and down, scissors cutting, light turning on and off, etc.) and make a short animation of that object. Use the loop expression to make the motion repeat over at least 15 seconds of video even though the actual motion might be a second. If you can, think about the secondary motion that can happen in the video to help build complexity. Can you add extra graphic elements to exaggerate a motion? Can something subtle be happening in the background to make the world you are building feel more real?

Technical Requirements
  • 1080x1080
  • Around 15 seconds
  • Uses the loop expression

Due Monday, July 25 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 8: Logo Reveal

Make a short video that animates an existing, relatively well-known logo. The video should use one of the strategies we covered in class. For example, you could pick the Target logo and your video would somehow emphasize that the logo is a target. The choice of logo is up to you but the colors, logo, and type should all remain the same (look for an eps or svg file for the logo). You are not redesigning anything.

A reference board you can look and or add to if you want is on Miro.

Technical Requirements
  • 1080x1080
  • As long as it needs to be

Due Wednesday, July 13 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 7: Bouncing Ball

Make a realistic ball bounce around the screen in a designed setting (look up staging in the 12 principles of animation). The ball should pretend to exist somewhat as a real object and either use the sides of the frame as walls or the frame should move with the ball. Motions and physics can be exaggerated.

Technical Requirements
  • 1920x1080
  • Somewhere between 5 and 15 seconds
  • Ball interacts with the edge of the frame or the frame moves with the ball
  • Designed setting for the ball to exist in

Due Monday, July 11 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 6: Type in Motion

Find a short bit of spoken audio. The audio could be from a movie, tv show, speech, etc. but should not have much background noise (so no music). Make a short animation that has the words come on and off screen timed to the audio track.

Technical Requirements
  • 1920x1080
  • Somewhere between 5 and 15 seconds
  • Uses audio

Due Wednesday, July 06 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 5: Poster Animation

Recreate a Joseph Müller-Brockmann poster (MoMA, artnet, Grapheine, International Poster Gallery, or you can download some images here) as accurately as you can in Illustrator (1080x1920) and then animate it in After Effects. The posters are generally in German so you might not be able to read all the content but I would try to find out what kind of event the poster is promoting. Knowing the event might influence the motion of the poster. Your animation should enhance and bring the poster to life. More than likely the font is Akzidenz Grotesk.

Technical Requirements
  • 1080x1920 (or dimensions close to that but keep the proportions of the original poster)
  • As long as it needs to be
  • As exact of a replica as you can make
  • Only animate things that already exist on the poster

Due Wednesday, June 29 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 4: Sound and Motion

Make a 15 second animation using the layered Illustrator file on Blackboard and some kind of audio. Upload the video to your Vimeo account, add it to the class group, and submit a link to the video AND the video file on Blackboard.

Download the Illustrator file.

Technical Requirements
  • 1920x1080
  • 15 seconds long
  • Uses audio
  • Nothing extra added to the composition

Due Monday, June 27 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 3: Timing, Pacing, Narrative

Use found footage and the provided audio track to create a thirty second teaser trailer for a fictional film. Select clips that will introduce the settings, characters, and other moments of your fictional film that help tell the story. The footage should be thoughtfully curated but it is alright for the footage to be visually inconsistent as long as the teaser generally makes sense. Focus on gathering footage with different kinds of shots (extremely wide to extreme close up) but that all relate to the narrative you are trying to tell. The footage can be found at

Once you have your selection of clips (shoot for around 20 clips initially), start to sequence and time them to the audio track. Keep the pacing of your clips in mind while timing them, some clips will be very short and others will last longer. The variety of pacing will help make the teaser more dynamic. The final teaser also needs to include the title of your fictional film. The title can be placed wherever you feel it belongs in the teaser but should fit in with the audio.

The final video should be exported as an mp4, uploaded to Vimeo, and added to the the Vimeo group. You should also submit your video on Blackboard.

Technical Requirements
  • Uses full length of provided audio (linked on Blackboard)
  • Title somewhere in the video
  • Clips timed to audio when appropriate
  • Various shot sizes
  • Pace varies
  • A (potentially very loose) narrative

Due Wednesday, June 22 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 2: Making a Plan

Before jumping straight into the motion part of projects, there needs to be a plan. Part of the plan will be a storyboards that show key moments in the narrative along with thinking about pacing, shot selection, and motion. Another part will be mood boards uses existing imagery to show how the final piece might look and feel. The final part will be concept boards that show flat designs of the specific frames of the finished piece.

For this exercise you and a partner will create a storyboard, mood board, and a concept board for the idea we generated in class. The storyboard should include 20 panels with the first panel being the title of the film and the last panel being the credits (you and your partner’s names). The panels in between should tell a cohesive story making any relevant notes and considering all the different shot types we covered. The mood board should consist of at least 5 images that show the look and feel of your film pulled from existing things (films, design, art, photographs, etc.). You can also include some words on this page to describe the mood you are going for. There only needs to be one storyboard and one mood board but each of you in the pair will create your own concept board. The concept board should be your own design for what the title frame would look like. This should be influenced by the narrative shown on the storyboards as well as the images on the mood board.

Pick one of the following ideas for your storyboard:

  • Man steals persons wallet
  • Stranded on an island
  • Not enough money for ice cream
  • Walking your dog and ran out of bags

Download the template for this exercise.

Technical Requirements
  • 20 frame storyboard
  • First frame is the title frame and the last frame is the credits frame
  • 1 mood board with at least 5 images
  • 1 concept board showing the title frame of the sequence. This should be done at 1920x1080 then added into the template
  • All the above combined into the template

Due Wednesday, June 15 by 4:30 pm ET

Exercise 1: dot gif

A simple way to start thinking about motion is through a gif, a short animated image that is controlled through individual frames. Your gif should be 600px by 300px at 72ppi and animate your name. Use only black on a transparent background. The gif should be at least 15 frames but can certainly be more and should loop seamlessly.

Technical Requirements
  • 600px by 300px at 72ppi
  • 15 frames (or more)
  • your name animated
  • seamless, infinite loop
  • gif format
  • transparent background
  • only use black

Due Monday, June 13 by 4:30 pm ET