This course will investigate the function and role of visual information and design in computer software from a number of perspectives: historical, theoretical, design, and sociocultural. Students will be introduced to some theories of aesthetics in conjunction with new media texts whose focus is software. Objects of study would include the interface, contemporary operating systems, HTML/CSS, and video games. Other modules will include topics such as data visualization, the concept of remediation, and the relationship between new media aesthetics and other media such as film. We will pay particular attention to those objects that are commonly used but little theorized—web browsers, the Photoshop interface, and so forth.
Students will learn principles of 2D animation and character design through a series of exercises exploring a variety of animation techniques using After Effects and Adobe Creative Suite. In addition to learning methods of animation, we will also cover a brief history of animation from 1906 to the present, focusing on evolving technology, representation, and socio-political implications of animated film and video games. Students will complete weekly animation assignments, one written report, and a final project consisting of either a short film or animated sprites for video games.
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