Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design - learn more

Online Time-Based Media Course

Time-Based Media

This creative online time-based media course explores storytelling and allows students to integrate 2D animation, 3D animation, motion graphics, and video in an advanced After Effects environment. You will emerge with both a solid grasp of movie making techniques and a varied portfolio including a commercial, movie credit sequence, a dramatic short story, a visual illustration of a complex idea, a movie trailer, and an abstract tone poem. The course will explore useful techniques for research, scripting, and storyboarding with reference to film, television, and Web-based movies.

Time based media course image 

Advanced projects in digital media and movie making

Instructor-Led Course

Feedback from design professionals

Creative Projects

Stretch your skills, grow your portfolio

Learn at Your Own Pace

Self-paced and scheduled programs available

Course Outline

1 - Timing and Narrative Theory

What is time-based media, and what does it mean to you? You'll begin your course with an investigation of the difference between objectively measured time and time as it is experienced and represented in our media. We'll explore fundamental concepts for obtaining and retaining viewer attention and look at how it is implemented in such narrative devices as the three-act story and the movie trailer.

2 - Reference, Inspiration, and the Concept

In a world full of original creation and endless variety, how do we differentiate ourselves from the pack? First by understanding where we are in the pack: identifying our skills, cataloging our references and inspirations, and thinking hard about our concepts. This lesson will focus on how to infuse projects with conceptual depth, emotion, and inspiration, working within constraints.

3 - Visual Development and Planning

When you have big digital media projects ahead of you, you need to make sure that you aren't getting bogged down in the details of the work too early on. In this lesson we'll look at how iterative design workflows can help the creative process. We'll talk about how to translate scripts into a visual lexicon and address strategies for visual development.

4 - Organizing Assets and Testing Pipelines

With a little bit of research, a well-organized suite of assets, and a throughly tested production pipeline, you can have a clear vision of how to synchronize your best ideas with your most practical solutions. That's what we're going to explore in this lecture, as we share experiences planning, shooting, and editing a music video for an iconic indie label.

5 - Scene Setup and Execution

How far would you go to get a shot right? Or, to put it another way, how right does a shot have to be—the visuals, the sounds, the movement—to tell a story? In this lesson we will explore strategies for roughing out compositions and setting up cameras in both live action and animation. The use of primitives, color, key poses and silhouettes as well as sound editing will be discussed.

6 - Editing and Working with Clients

In our final lecture, we're going to discuss the editing process (including how it blends into the critique and client communication process), but we're not really going to talk much about where to click in your non-linear editor of choice. Instead, we're going to focus on how you can edit your way to the best story possible.

Course Outcomes

Students in this course can expect to learn to:

  • Apply conventions and development strategies for the following digital media genres: movie trailers, public service announcements, music videos, commercials, and short films.
  • Develop an understanding of fundamental concepts for obtaining and retaining viewer attention.
  • Apply the three-act story structure as a basic narrative device.
  • Use conceptual thinking to solve artistic problems.
  • Evoke feeling within narrative contexts using visual lexicons.
  • Collect and organize inspirational sources with a reference library.
  • Apply linear and iterative workflows to large creative projects.
  • Use visual development strategies to translate written concepts into visual narratives.
  • Develop an understanding of pipeline and R&D workflow strategies.
  • Participate and collaborate in online digital media communities.
  • Apply advanced techniques for timing, pacing, rhythm, and leading the viewer in digital media compositions.
  • Develop an understanding of previsualization and revisualization techniques for project management.

Course Registration

Interested in this course? Scheduled enrollment options are available. Ask Admissions about taking this course as part of a degree program.

Course LevelClasses startRegistration FeeTuition
Degree course
3-credit course, 15 week
Jan, Apr, Aug$200$510/credit
* Registration fees are nonrefundable after 5 days from enrollment. All tuition includes a digital materials fee for updates to course or program content.

Software and Supplies

To take this course you'll need:

  • Computer with Internet connection (broadband recommended).
  • Adobe Photoshop, Premiere, After Effects, and Animate CC.
  • Autodesk Maya (optional)
  • Digital drawing tablet (such as a Wacom tablet) recommended.
  • Access to a digital video camera and ability to connect it to a computer to capture footage.
  • Basic experience in the above software and digital media skills.

Who’s Teaching

Course developed by Chris Ward

Getting Started

Enrolling online is easy and convenient.

Chat with our knowledgeable admissions staff to select course and program options.

Complete your registration entirely online.

Related Programs

Did you know? You can take this course as part of an award-winning certificate or degree program.