GWU Course: Frame By Frame Animation

GWU Course: Frame By Frame Animation

Using “frame” as a metaphor for the relationship between sequence and simultaneity, Frame-By-Frame Animation (an undergraduate course I designed for George Washington University) delivers insight into the ongoing evolution of animated content as well as hands-on experience exploring time-based projects based on physical, digital & web media.

Focusing on the animation, stop-motion and time-lapse work of Segundo de Chomón, Georges Méliès, Walt Disney, Ray Harryhausen, Jan Švankmajer, Terry Gilliam, James Cameron and PES, among others, I utilize still photos, text, clay, found objects, cut-out drawings and paint to introduce students to the principles and workflows for physical and digital frame-by-frame animation, including detailed storyboarding; audio editing and synchronization; lighting and much more.

The course assumes no prior animation, software, video, audio, lighting or photography experience.


From my syllabus:

Students will learn basic principles of animation as they explore the temporal movement of hand-drawn and still imagery; dynamic claymation and stopmotion techniques; time-lapse photography, and modern web animation components.

Combining hand-crafted and digital production approaches students will wire-frame; sketch; create story boards, mood boards and flip books; integrate custom audio with custom animations, and build interactive web banners with open-source animation tools.

Student will study current and emerging animation methods and processes, along with workflow and production best practices.

Critique process and animation terminology is developed with course content and projects.”


From my syllabus:

This course surveys major moments in frame-by-frame animation, introducing students to different methods and approaches.

Through discourse, homework and class projects, students will gain experience and proficiency at storyboarding and crafting narrative flow, as well as creating animated flip-books by hand.

Students will also become proficient at using sundry programs in the Adobe Creative Suite to explore digital timeline-based animations of different durations, as well as learn how to edit and synch custom audio with their animations.

Student will also explore the cutting edge of modern animation and gain experience animating with interactive new-media HTML5 web tools.

Throughout all of this, students will learn to focus on craft and technical skills. They will learn the basics of good design principles, modular DRY concepts and industry-standard best practices, to better meet modern audience expectations.

Finally, students will learn project management skills which can be used in a wealth of projects for work, school and personal use.”


In this introductory project students storyboarded and sketched flip-books, which were then scanned and converted to an animated GIF, using Instagram specs. No audio.