Becky James teaching Portfolio
Motion Graphics (Introductory Studio). Introduction to digital animation. Software includes Adobe Animate, After Effects, Illustrator, and Photoshop. The focus is on thoughtful design and visual communication, with discussions ranging from design processes to an introduction to semiotics.
Topics: Animation (Intermediate/Advanced Studio). Animation studio class comprising intermediate and advanced tutorials on After Effects and stop motion animation, as well as introductions to game design, rotoscope, Premiere Pro, Animate, and Dragon Frame. Students discover a personal point of view and unique methods of working. The class includes serious critiques and discussion of challenging contemporary animation.
Animation History (Lecture): Art History class focusing on animation history, from pre-cinematic optical devices through Disney, propaganda, Soviet film, anime, animated installations and video art. We explore concepts related to animation including blackface minstrelsy, cybernetics, anthropomorphism, the uncanny valley, and cartoon physics. Readings encompass philosophical tract, art-historical essays, newspaper clippings, and artist manifestos.
Documentary/Truth (Studio): Animated documentary studio class focused on developing sophisticated form and content. Animated documentary tends to resist the idea of a single truth, instead creating space where artists can embrace abstraction and explore highly individualistic points of view. This class uses the lens of animated documentary to help students develop both advanced understanding of storytelling and refine their animation techniques.
Politics of Aesthetics (Seminar): Graduate seminar on political art, examining historical and contemporary avant gardes including surrealism, culture jamming, feminist animation, and video art. We read a variety of theoretical texts and artist manifestos including those of Laura Mulvey, bell hooks, Jonathan Crary, Andre Breton, and Naomi Klein as students look for ways to bring theory and practice together.
Animation History and Theory (Studio + Lecture Mix): Weekly lectures and discussions cover topics reaching from proto-cinema to CGI, Fleischer Studios to experimental film, animated documentary to WW2 propaganda. We examine technological developments alongside gender, race, and culture. Includes short writing assignments and student presentations, as well as studio assignments, primarily focusing on physical techniques: pencil on paper, direct film, stop motion.
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