Course Intro

Course Introduction

Graphic Design 71 – Motion Graphics
Section: 2235
Units: 3
Prerequisite(s): Graphic Design 64: Digital Imaging for Design
Location: AET 123
Tuesday 2:00pm-05:05pm

Instructor Information

Instructor name: Jamie Cavanaugh
Email address:
Office phone number: (310) 434.3767
Office location: AET #227-B
Office hours:
Mondays: 5:00pm – 6:00pm
Tuesdays: 5:30pm – 6:30pm
Thursdays: 12:55pm – 1:55pm

Course Description

This hands-on course focuses on bringing together the elements of photo, text, movies and sound to create a complete video project. Students will concentrate on the techniques, skills, and theory of video editing and how to apply those techniques to enhance, pace and set the mood for film or video projects.

The class will focus on Adobe After Effects for motion graphics and will also look at Final Cut Pro and Adobe Photoshop.


Trish & Chris Meyer – After Effects Apprentice, Focal Press, 2009, 2nd Edition 978-0240811369 Required
Antony Bolante – Visual Quickpro Guide: After Effects CS4, Peachpit Press, 2008, 1st Edition, 978-0321591524 Required
Lisa Brenneis – Visual Quickpro Guide: Final Cut Pro 7, Peachpit Press, 2009, 1st Edition 978-0321502698 Optional

Course Objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, using After Effects, students will be able to:

  • Create new projects and compositions using the appropriate setting
  • Import files including video clips, still images and sound files into a project
  • Add, manipulate and edit composition layers
  • Create basic animations using Transform Properties (anchor point, position, scale, rotation and opacity), and use Keyframes to define and control these changes
  • Apply effects, filters, adjustment layers, blending modes and layer styles to enhance, composite or distort footages
  • Create, edit, and animate Text
  • Create basic 3d layers and use cameras
  • Make a movie from a composition using the render Queue Panel
  • Create an effective storyboard

Upon successful completion of this course, using Final Cut Pro, students will be able to:

  • Import files including video clips, still images and sound files into a project
  • Create new sequences and control, modify Sequence Settings
  • Add, manipulate and edit composition layers
  • Demonstrate use of basic functions of FCP tools in the Tool Palette
  • Apply, change, edit, or modify Transition Effects
  • Perform basic enhancements and color correction techniques to existing clips
  • Define/understand basic Render setting & Video compressions
Student Learning Outcomes
  1. Animate text and still images using the transform properties and utilize keyframes to control various commands and actions. As assessed by in-class exercises and final exam.
  2. Edit video clips, add transitions, effects, titles and audio and render the final project into a finished video.
    As assessed by completion of final project and final exam.
Materials and Supplies

Flash drive and/or external hard drive. After Effects CS5, Final Cut Pro 7, Photoshop CS5

Recommended Computer Skills

To succeed in this course, students should have the ability to:·

  • Navigate the internet using a web browser
  • Manage files using either the Mac or Windows operating systems
  • Send and receive email messages and attachments
  • Use a word processing program like Microsoft Word or its equivalent
  • Must possess intermediate Photoshop and Dreamweaver skills

Students that do not meet these required skills are advised to enroll in a computer skills course such as CIS 1, ET 11, GR DES 18, GR DES 64.

Methods of Presentation

Lecture hours 1.5 hours per week, in-class lab hours 1.5 hours per week, and 2 arranged hours per week

Methods of Evaluation

Grading is determined by participation and the timely completion of all assignments and projects. Assignments and projects will be judged on technical execution, mastery of the underlying concepts, and quality of design. Full participation is especially necessary since the projects must reflect successful solutions to the design issues raised in class presentations.

Projects are graded on:
1. the execution of technical requirements
2. effectiveness of concept and design
3. timeliness of submission

Assignments must be turned in on time, or the grade will be lowered. To receive full credit, all assignments are due on time. Students are responsible for submitting all work on time regardless of absence. Emailing late assignments is NOT allowed. A late assignment may be submitted in class one week after the due date with one grade drop. No assignments will be accepted after that. Students must complete 75% of the coursework, including the final project, to pass the course. Final projects that are submitted late will NOT be accepted.

Your final grade will be calculated using the following percentages:

Percentage of Grade

Evaluation Method
10% Participation
30% Weekly Assignments
20% Midterm Project
30% Final Project
10% Final Exam

Grading Scale

Superior performance. Excellent achievement and craftsmanship in all work. Performs beyond course requirements.

Above average performance. Consistent progress and craftsmanship. Meets all course requirements.

Average performance. Minimum time and effort spent on coursework. Fulfills basic course requirements.

Uneven performance. Minimal output and improvement in work. Requirements are only partially fulfilled.

F=60% and below
Fails to meet a minimum of performance levels. Does not exhibit achievement or progress.

Policy for Adding Class

A student must attend the first day in order to be placed on the waiting list. A student will only be placed on the waiting list if s/he has met all the prerequisites for the class. To be placed on the waiting list, the student needs to email the instructor and the instructor will contact students on the waiting list should any spaces become available. Students who are not formally enrolled in the class cannot sit in on the class until they are officially registered for the class.

A student who does not attend the first day of class may not add the class without approval from the instructor. The instructor has the right to drop any student who does not attend the first day of class and adds the class without the instructor’s approval.

Withdrawal Policy

Students are responsible for withdrawing from a class and must not expect faculty to initiate withdrawal procedures for them. If you wish to drop this class, you may do so through the Admissions section of the SMC website,

Please note the drop dates for the current term listed at The deadlines and dates for this term are also listed at the end of this syllabus.

After the eighth week of classes, students must have faculty approval and documentable extenuating circumstances to withdraw.  Extenuating circumstances are avoidable circumstances that prevent students from participating in further class activities and fulfilling remaining course requirements. Poor student performance in the course will NOT be considered as an extenuating circumstance.

Class Policies
Academic Honesty

The SMC Honor Code and Code of Academic Integrity, printed in the General Catalog, remind students of their responsibility to behave honestly and ethically. It is your responsibility to familiarize yourself with these codes. Please be extremely careful that you do not engage in any behavior that could even be construed as cheating. Outside of class, students are allowed to study together. However, copying another student’s work is not acceptable. If the instructor determines that students have violated the SMC Honor Code and/or the Code of Academic Integrity, the students may be assigned no credit. Future occurrences could result in academic disciplinary action. During an exam, talking to another student, looking at another student’s paper or computer screen, using cheat notes or mobile devices, etc. are not permitted.


Students are expected to attend all class sessions. Lectures and hands-on demonstrations will not be repeated for individual students. Please make a commitment to be in class on time even if you have not completed the current assignment. You are responsible for notifying your instructor in advance of any absence or scheduling conflict. If you need to miss a class due to a religious holiday, please notify your instructor ahead of time. You may be dropped from the class if you miss more than two consecutive classes without notifying your instructor.

Classroom Policy

Food or drink is prohibited in the classroom with the exception of water bottles which are permitted as long as they remain closed and kept away from all equipment. Use of the computers for purposes other than the assignments for this class is not permitted. No cell phone or smart phone use will be permitted in the classroom. Please turn off all electronic devices prior to entering the classroom.

During class is not the time to email, to text, to read your Facebook updates, to update your Twitter feed, or to post images to Flickr. Please be respectful when other students are presenting and when the instructor is lecturing.

When notifying a student by email, the instructor will use the student’s official SMC email address:

Recording of Class Lectures

In accordance with Section 78907 of the California Education Code, students shall not use any electronic listening or recording device in any classroom without the prior consent of the instructor, except as necessary to provide reasonable auxiliary aids and academic adjustments to disabled students.

College Use of Student Work Policy

By participating in this course, you agree to allow your work to be used by Santa Monica College for promotional purposes. These uses include, but are not limited to, display in the physical and web galleries, promotional video tapes, and printed promotional pieces. You retain complete rights to your work, and Santa Monica College may not use your work for non-promotional purposes without your prior agreement.

Spring 2011 Dates & Deadlines

This schedule is provided for your information. For the complete Spring 2011 schedule including 8 week sessions, please use the following link:


The Graphic Design Club’s first meeting is TBD.

There are various reasons to join the Graphic Design Club. The first is the sense of community that is built by the club members, a sense of belonging with others who have the same interest. This is especially important for a commuter college like SMC. It is also a chance for students to learn about Graphic Design topics, see exhibits, and hear lectures that are outside the tight frame of class curriculum.