Winter Animation

Week 1 Week 2 Week 4 Week 5 Week 6

Winter Quarter outline:

During weeks 1-4, students will extend their 2d analog animation skills into digital mode through Adobe After Effects.  We will meet in the Multimedia Lab for animation workshops and hands-on exercises.  Two short and one longer After Effects exercises will be assigned, details to be announced.

After the introductory class in After Effects, I encourage you to take advantage of the tutorials available at to help you troubleshoot specific issues and otherwise advance  your skills.  Evergreen students, staff and faculty have free access to online software tutorials there courtesy of Lynda Weinman, ‘76.   Look for a link to it on under the Community menu.

During weeks 5-7, we will learn about pre-cinema animation devices and other “philosopher’s toys,” meeting in our studio in Lab2, 2223A.  Visiting artist and inventor Rufus Butler Seder will introduce this topic and join us in the workshop to explore, play with and envision traditional, repurposed and newly invented devices.  Read The Optically Animated Artwork of Rufus Butler Seder by Monday of week 5.  Read pp. 114-137 in  Furniss’ The Animation Bible by Monday of week 6.  Other readings tba.

In weeks 8-9 we will focus on individual students’ final project work with skill building workshops as needed and work in progress review sessions.  Week 10 is reserved for final project presentations.

Week 1:
Lecture: We went over Screening Journal Guidelines with some examples of entries for Michaela Pavlatova’s Repete, and in the context of talking about how digital production affects styles of motion and subsequently the tone of the work, we screened:

Hunger, Peter Foldes, 11 min, 1974
Love and Theft
, Andreas Hykade, 2010, 7 min
, Run Wrake, 2005, 8 min.

Workshop: After Effects Intro  Outline and Homework due week 2

Week 2:
For Monday, read pp. 184-187 (“Case Study: Michael Sporn”) and pp. 284-321 (Chapters 12 and 13) in Furniss’ The Animation Bible.  Also, view and play with Juan Ospina’s Flipbook! or Columbian War Games, and view and/or explore three of the following:

Take notes on these readings and viewings in your sketchbook.  Write a paragraph each in response to these prompts and bring them to lecture to contribute to small group discussion, (cite page numbers and names of animators whose ideas you reference):

1) From reading the case studies Furniss provides and her comments, what are the advantages that different artists gain from working digitally?

2) What disadvantages do different artists mention, and what advice to they give?

3) Of the selection of artists’ animations and web sites that you viewed above, how does each exploit digital tools effectively?  In your opinion, what of their work might be expressed as well or better in analog media?

In class we viewed the following:
John Whitney, Experiments in Motion Graphics, 1968, 13 min and Arabesque, 1975, 7 min
Chris Hinton, C Note, 2004, 7 min.
James Duesing, The Law of Averages, 1996, 15 min
Pierre Hebert, Bob Ostertag, Between Science and Garbage 11 minute excerpt, 2003
Ruth Hayes, On Our Way, 2011, 14 min.

Week 4
This week we viewed examples of didactic animation, in other words, videos that use animation to teach.  Some are explicitly didactic, while others were more focused on explorations of how to represent a concept.  Students were asked to focus your observations on how effective each was at delivering content, identifying each artist’s approach, describing the balance between the content and the hook and noting the relationships between the audio and image tracks.

A common approach is voice over with illustrative animations, where voice dominates (“logocentric”):

These works are more purely visual with sound accompaniment.  Sound effects add “truth-value” or realism, while music .

  • Derek Lamb, Every Child, 6 min, 1979
  • Jennie Russ & Ryan Buck, Sifting, 4:39, 2010
  • Jennie Russ, Katelyn Simon, Ryan Buck, Mitch Guss, Michael Lopez, What Was Once, 2010, 5:35.
  • Wave and Hat on the Animated Science flash site
  • Stephen Hillenburg, Wormholes, 1992, 7 min

These pieces document art or animation projects that are didactic:

Week 5
Guest lecture by Rufus Butler Seder. Read The Optically Animated Artwork of Rufus Butler Seder.

Week 6
Read pp. 114-137 in  Furniss’ The Animation Bible, and Sina Najafi’s short essay Philosophical Toys by Monday lecture, view the following and prepare responses to the prompts listed to discuss in class:

Lorelei Pepi’s three videos about interactive animation devices on her vimeo site; LED Strobe Animation Device, Solar Thaumatrope, and Wii Interactive Demo

George Griffin’s Head, and read his short description of Animated Things. Optional: read his discussion of the Digital Mutoscope, a pdf linked on that page.

At least 3 videos of Gregory Barsamian’s sculptures from his online archive, including either Phaeno Museum or Postcards from the Fringe.


  1. How does Najafi’s description of the two paths of Pedagogy resonate with your own experience? What examples do you have of learning as a result of following a Path of Wonder?
  2. Of the devices that Rufus showed us in week 5, the ones linked above and the ones Furniss describes, which do you find the most transporting? Why?
  3. What conditions or characteristics do the examples from prompts 1 and 2 share in common?
  4. Najafi writes that ” the Path of Wonder is always in the process of producing new devices.” Brainstorm and develop ideas for 5 new philosophical devices that you could conceivably make if you had the time and resources.  In your sketchbook write a sentence or two about each that includes a description and what concept the device might teach in a wonderful way. Draw diagrams if that helps explain your ideas.

Lecture/Screening: Philosophical Toys
For most images and movies from this lecture, see the Powerpoint file and Quicktime clips in Winter Quarter Animation Lecture in Handouts in the Trajectories program folder on Orca.

From the Daumenkino dvd (in the Rare Books room in the Library):
Assorted historical flipbooks by Linnett, Edison, and others (1880s-1900).

Quicktime movie clips from Ruth’s video lecture “Flipbooks: Animation in the Freezone”:
Flipbooks by George Griffin (Thumbnail Sketches, Urban Renewal, Face Phases)
Cause and Effect, JMC, ca 1985
Pumpernickel and Rye
, Gary Schwartz, 1990
, Ruth Hayes, 1988
a Family, Conrad Gleber, 1976
Lush, Kevin Osborne, 1981
(1988) and This Book is Extremely Receptive, (1989) by Janet Zweig

Powerpoint slides:
Phenakistascope, William Kentridge, ca 2000
Optical devices by Robert Breer, 1964-1980
Viewmaster still by George Griffin, 1976