DES 251

Digital Media Design

Monday 9:00AM - 11:40AM
Lab: 2068 Engineering Research Facility (ERF) 842 W Taylor
36092  36093  4 credits

Associate Professor Daria Tsoupikova (
Graphic Design Lab System Admin: Daniel Mellis (
Office: 312-996-2611
Office hours: by appointment


Course Description and Objectives

Animate your designs in Motion...

How many times have you seen a cool title sequence in a movie and thought, “How did they do that?” Have you ever wanted to add bold and beautiful animated typography to your presentation? Have you ever wanted to add a unique credit sequence at the end of your video? The answer is Adobe After Effects-motion graphics and visual effects industry standard.

This course is aimed at the beginner. In will cover the basics of animation and dive into more complex motion graphics techniques. You will learn the basics of the AE interface and be creating animated graphics, motion effects and title sequences. You will develop an understanding of timing, rhythm and composition; learn to create unique effects and apply them with taste; master various methods of animating typography and manipulating motion graphics; explore AE tools and watch a lot of animation.

There are several goals to this course. The students will learn 1) basics of motion graphics development, 2) integrating latest technologies, tools, software and packages to create motion graphics (i.e., Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, AE), 3) production process of new animation sequence, 4) compositing and sound synchronization. By the end of this course, you should be able to use your class projects in a portfolio that is part of your resume package.

The course will include three major projects; project “one”, a midterm and a final, as well as several assignments and technical exercises. We will be conducting group critiques and discussing the ongoing projects. Students are encouraged to share your work with classmates, engage in discussion and learn to use constructive criticism. Class lectures will include demonstrations, field trips, related lectures from other courses, invited speaker presentations, discussions, technical explorations, and historical information relevant to motion graphicsd. The course will meet in the computer lab with major time devoted to “hands on learning.” Class meetings are spaced to allow time for students to work on their projects using variety of development tools.

This course is about blended learning format so you have to do a lot of work on your own. Motion graphics design is a time-consuming field. Be ready to put many hours into your projects and be patient. This course assumes that you have a working knowledge of computers, design software, and typography. For the duration of the course we will be using the Apple Macintosh platform and a variety of design and animation packages, such as Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, After Effects, etc. While various technical tools will be utilized, the course focuses on the development of creative motion graphics and the quality of animation.

Knowledge of how to use graphic design software (Adobe Creative Suite Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) to execute a design. Students should have a basic understanding of typography, composition and how image and type can be used to communicate a message. They should have basic drawing skills to design visual approaches and layouts, basic familiarity with computer hardware, software, and the Internet. No prior programming experience is necessary.

Graphic Design Lab Fee
There is a $125.00 required laboratory fee for this course, which is used for the course supporting materials, and supplies (printer paper, copies, media storage, supplies for presentation etc.)

Laptop computer
Adobe Creative Suite 5.5+
USB Flash drives (minimum 4GB) - to save your back up files. It is recommended to store data additionally on a private computer or external hard-drive. Students are required to store and backup their files appropriately and an additional data storage is strongly advised for back-up.

Evaluation and Requirements
Your final grade will be based on your performance on the course’s projects, active contribution to class meetings, motivation, problem solving and organization of your work. Projects will be evaluated using criteria of correctness, design, functionality and style. Active participation and collaboration during discussions and critiques is required.

On-time class attendance is mandatory. It is not possible to make up or compensate for missed class sessions or quizzes. More than three unexcused absences will result in a reduction of the final grade by 1 letter grade; with every additional unexcused absence, the final grade will drop by an additional grade. Some of the discussions and exercises are done and graded in-class so you must attend class to receive these points. Three tardies do equal one absence. Excused absences will be accepted with proper documentation (ex. Doctor’s note). Please read the university’s Attendance Regulations for further details on acceptable absences.

Completion of all assignments and projects based on dates given is mandatory. Projects will be submitted online. Late assignments will reduce the grade proportionally. If you miss the original due date due to illness (accepted with proper documentation), the project is due the following class. In the case of serious medical situations, reasonable accommodations will be made. Projects more than 5 days late will not be accepted. Be sure to submit the work well ahead of due time. Excuses like website or computer error will not be accepted after the due date.

'Incompletes' will only be granted according to University policy.

Any individuals with learning disabilities or special needs must make the instructor aware of them prior to the due date of the first major assignment. Those who require accommodations for access and participation in this course must be registered with the Disability Resource Center. Please contact DRC at 312/413-2183 (voice) or 312/413-0123 (TTY).

If you wish to observe your religious holiday, which is in the conflict with mandatory academic attendance, you should notify the instructor by the tenth day of the semester of the date on which you are requesting an absence.

You are responsible for understanding what constitutes academic dishonesty. Academic dishonesty is an extremely serious offense. All cases of academic dishonesty will be dealt with in accordance with the policies of the University as published in the Undergraduate Catalogue and the University of Illinois at Chicago policy on Academic Honesty at:

Academic Integrity Policy
Students are expected to produce original work and to acknowledge all of external sources, including those on WWW.


Final Grade Rubric
A (90-100%) = Consistent growth in the above listed as well as excellent complete, on time work consistently going above and beyond what is required, demonstrating exploration, improvement, and command of material.

B (80-89%) = Above average growth in the above listed as well as above average complete, on time work demonstrating exploration and comprehension of material, yet may not be completely resolved.

C (70-79%)= Average growth in the above listed as well as incomplete, late average, undeveloped work that lacks evidence of engagement, exploration or resolution; unexcused absences and/or lateness.

D (60-69%)= Dissatisfactory growth in the above listed, incomplete, late work, ill-conceived and underdeveloped work that lacks evidence of engagement, exploration or resolution, excessive unexcused absences and/or lateness.

F (0-59%)= Dissatisfactory growth in the above listed, incomplete, late work and poor attendance.


Final Grade Breakdown
10% Participation/Contribution
60% Exercises/Assignments/Quizzes/Tests
10% Midterm Project / Presentation
20% Final Project / Presentation

This course uses the University’s Blackboard LMS (Learning Management System). This system is available at The LMS is a required and integral part of the course. Grading information and progress will be made available via Blackboard and students are expected to regularly check it.


Class and Lab Policies 
No cell phone usage in the lab. You are responsible to turn your cell phone off prior to the class.
No non-class materials loaded into the computers.
No food or drink in the computer labs.
No surfing the Internet during lectures.
Reconfiguring the system on Cyber-Commons unusable for other courses and may result in dismissal from the
No talking to neighbors during class.
No falling asleep.
No reading newspapers or magazines.

Your repeated disruption will reduce your final grade. In extreme cases, you can be asked to leave the class and even excluded from the course.


Projects created in this course may be used by the Department for purposes of promotion for students, the School or the University in general. The School may also use these materials for instructional purposes in future courses.



Student projects

Large video files below take up to 10s to play

Playtime title sequence by Paul Zdon

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory title sequence by Mitchel Ko

Her title sequence by Jacob Lindgren

Little Miss Sunshine title sequence by Kristina Diaz

Night of the Living Dead title sequence by Justin Durkin

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory title sequence by Julia Kirik

Godfather title sequence by Rachel Tanase

Wizard of Oz title sequence by Jordan Bailey

Inline content