Motion Graphics

Monday & Wednesdays

  • 12pm – 2 | Synchronous Zoom call
  • 2 – 2:50 | Group work, slack, tutorials

Instructor: Lara Henderson | email:

office hours Monday 2:30 – 4pm, Tuesday 3 – 4pm, Wednesday 10:30am – 12pm

OVERVIEW | How do we design continuous experiences across media as technology continues to evolve? This course includes lectures, demonstrations and assignments covering a wide range of topics, from typography, animation to creative coding and the file format. We will also be an option to collaborate with the Virtual Reality course to create 2D graphics for their Voyage to Mars experience.

The goal of this course is for students to understand how to build graphics and typography that move as well as gain a deeper understanding of user experience. This is a portfolio development course and students will be required to have one project be for an actual client.

This course will help you deepen your knowledge of typography while introducing you to the basics of motion design. Through dynamic assignments and the use of After Effects, Adobe Animate and Premier, SVG and CSS, students develop technical skills for working with moving type and graphics. Students will evaluate various production methods, developing a discerning eye that is more able to dissect the construction of the moving graphics around them.

This studio course will be time consuming as this is the simple nature of typographic systems, project development & motion graphics. Knowledge alone cannot make you a good designer; you will learn by getting your hands dirty & your minds engaged. Success in this course will come when you explore, ask questions & are able to focus. Student will organize their time and meet project deadlines. Every design problem has an infinite number of possible solutions. Only with patience, careful planning and clear thought will your ideas develop and mature.


  • Apply knowledge of design principles to create graphics in motion
  • Demonstrate mastery of a disciplined design process that includes thorough research, rigorous idea generation, self-editing and impeccable craft (digital and analog)
  • Become comfortable with the AE software & Premiere, Adobe Animate & interactive design
  • Study and apply theory to better understand how to create meaningful communication
  • Respond to constructive criticism and take the steps necessary to defend or improve your project or incorporate new ideas
  • Constructively critique the work of others from formal, technical and conceptual frames of reference 
  • Learn methods and approaches to different animation techniques. Practice rapid low-and high-tech prototyping, develop technical skills and understanding through hands-on making
  • develop ability to clearly communicate ideas and timing sequences before beginning production (storyboards, timing & spacing, x sheets)
  • stimulate self-reliance in navigating uncertainty and experimentation
  • become active listeners and observers in daily contexts outside of class to stimulate your creative process


  • Laptop computer & charger
  • Anything to assist the animation technique you decide to work with (camera, lighting equipment, clay, paint, stop motion app or equivalent software etc.) ready to use on your computer
  • analog or digital sketchbook, for the class (8.5×11)
  • Pen and pencil + paper for sketching
  • Access to a light table
  • Canson tracing paper

Certain materials may be required on a per class basis

REQUIRED SOFTWARE | Adobe After Effects, Adobe Animate, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, VSCode


  • Be on time, with all assignments completed and ready to be reviewed, meaning everything exported, rendered, printed, uploaded etc.
  • Your level of commitment and process are just as important as the deliverables. Keep a record of your process. Sharing your mistakes and discoveries aids everyone in the course.
  • Back up your work frequently. If you lose work due to a technical debacle, you are responsible to restore or re-make it for submission.
  • If possible, eat before class. Let me know if the 10 min delay in start time is not enough for you to eat. Only covered water during class time. The class will break for 20-30 min approximately halfway through the class
  • Check your email regularly
  • Check the daily syllabus frequently

SKETCHBOOK | You will keep a well-organized sketchbook, physical or digital, of image making, experimentation, observation, material study, writing, research, technical notes and processes. Maintaining an active sketchbook is a crucial component of good studio work; they are a necessity for keeping track and generating visual thoughts. You may be asked to share this work either with the instructor or the class.

ATTENDANCE | Show up to every class and be on time. Late arrivals and early departure will affect your grade. In the case of illness and other emergencies, email me before class. This course is demonstration heavy. Many demos build on lessons learned in the previous class. For that reason, it can be a challenge to make up the missed work. Students are expected to attend office hours if they need additional help. If you are not able to office hours, it is your responsibility to make up the work with a classmate. 


33% – Attendance & participation | Punctuality, active participation in reviews & discussions. Attentiveness, planning & curiosity are critical in typography & graphic design. 

33% – Projects (including rough drafts & iterative work) | Exploration of varied ideas, thoughtful concept development, execution of multiple iterations. Quality assignments— ability to integrate learning from class, craftsmanship and presentation of work, work you feel proud to show to an internship or potential internship or employer.

33% – Design process archive | Through the use of the class drive, your sketchbook and slack, you will create an archive of this course, something that you can continue to reference as you gain new skills. 

  • For successful completion of this course, all assignments will be posted online or to the class drive
  • Your sketchbook will be reviewed during individual meetings, midterms & at the end of the semester. It needs to be is easy to follow and have all completed assignments.

DAILY SYLLABUS | The provided schedule is a rough outline and is subject to change according to the needs of the group. As the semester progresses, it will become a collection of links, topics reviewed and student-submitted links

PROJECTS | Project briefs will be handed out at the start of each project. It is required that one project be for a client.

  1. Project one | cyclical animation | Jan 25 – Feb 10th
  2. Project two |Identity in Motion | Feb 16 – Mar 3rd
  3. Project three | Sound | March 16 – Apr 5
  4. Project four | Self-directed final project | Apr 7 – Apr 28

GRADING | You will receive both a mid term progress meeting  & a final course grade. Verbal and written evaluations will take place during critiques as well as in individual meetings. Anytime a student does not understand the nature of the grades given &/or comments that were made concerning their work, speak to the instructor during office hours or make an appointment for an individual meeting. 


A – Always present. Work is on time. Excelled at innovation and communication. Work has excellent form and content, and took major risks. Always makes interesting contributions to the class & frequently led class discussions.

B – Always present. Work in on time. Was able to innovate and communicate concepts effectively. Work has good form and content, and took some risks. Able to make interesting contributions to the class

C – Occasional lateness. Takes minimal risks. Work holds together. Makes only obligatory contributions to discussions

D – Occasional lateness and more than three unexcused absences. Basic concepting and communication abilities.

F – Frequently late and/or absent. insufficient participation. Ineffective ideation and/or presentation of concepts


Students with a documented disability or chronic health condition are able to receive services through the Center for Access and Success. The Academic Resource Center is open to all UMD students and is an incredible resource for academic support outside of the classroom this resource is an important to any student of any background and provides individual tutoring. Please let the instructor know if you require special accommodations.

From the Provost


Incompletes may be given only in exceptional circumstances, at the instructor’s discretion and at the student’s request made no more than 48 hours after the nal examination or last class. The student must be passing at the time of the request or must be su ciently close to passing for the instructor to believe that upon completion of the work the student will pass the course. If the work is not completed within a year of the recording of the grade of I, the grade will become an F(I).

Academic Integrity

All UMass Dartmouth students are expected to maintain high standards of academic integrity and scholarly practice. The University does not tolerate academic dishonesty of any variety, whether as a result of a failure to understand required academic and scholarly procedure or as an act of intentional dishonesty.

A student found responsible of academic dishonesty is subject to severe disciplinary action which may include dismissal from the University. See ethical standards.cfm for the full policy.