Course Description

FMX 210 is a studio/production oriented course. It is an introduction to the usage of electronic and digital tools for experimental creations from an aesthetic and technical point of view. The main purpose of this class is to expand the students’ creativity in the Digital Media domain.

In this class we will study the history, evolution and theory of current technologies in order to understand their potential as creative tools, contextualizing the software and hardware that will be used by the students throughout the semester and their artistic career.

This class is a pre-requisite for multiple other classes in the Film, Animation and New Media Department, as well as other departments. This is a studio class and you are expected to participate as open minded creators, even if you consider yourselves as “not creative”. Your authentic self-expression is what is going to make the class a full learning experience for everyone.

Process and Strategy

The class will be divided into two main areas. The first half will be devoted to understanding the nature of digital creation, the basics of pixel altering tools such as Photoshop, vector based tools such as Illustrator, and their applications in the printed world, using Adobe InDesign.

In the second half we will explore time based media, creating frame by frame animations and basic quicktime movies, with a general presentation of sound techniques, as well as some basic programming notions.

Knowing that this is also an introduction to the uniqueness of the digital creation in a creative environment, we will study examples (websites, movies…) created by traditional and contemporary producers, reading also short essays and texts about digital creative processes.

There will be a different assignment for each class, where the students will apply the concepts presented during the previous session, and a group critique in order to solve any misunderstandings and conflicts.

The assignments are there to ensure the students will learn how to use the hardware & software and start exploring their own abilities to express and create artistic content using digital tools.

Learning Goals

Digital Tools are the core of current industry standards. In this class you will

Understand the nature of digital creation utilizing simple code, evidencing the logic behind any digital visual creation.

Comprehend the differences between Vector based imaging and Pixel based design, one being mathematically constructed, the other utilizing a grid.

Develop an understanding of the evolution of currently used industry accepted tools, especially the Adobe Creative Suite, as well as open source alternatives.

Understand the importance of image optimization for online delivery, determining the usage of compression types according to the needed media.

Learn basic Typography, Logo Design, Branding, Identity and Design elements.

Understand the radical differences between Digital Media and Printed media, as well as hybrid production using InDesign to produce PDFs.

Understand the nature of Animation and Video as a sequence of still images and manipulation of time.

Manipulate and generate audio using tools such as Garageband and Audacity.

Generate videos combining Audio and Animation.

Create an online and printed portfolio with the pieces created during the entire semester

Understand the importance of a digital journal as digital memories and tool for self-assessment.


There will be several projects throughout the course, including papers, assignments, take home exams, and others. Each one of them will be a part of the final 100% of the grade in approximately equal weights. If necessary I will do some pop quizzes, depending on the students’ participation and motivation, and depending on how certain sessions work, I might add an extra work not listed in the syllabus.
The grades posted on BlackBoard may not reflect the final grade on SpartanWeb.

Readings / assignments / requirements

Create your own blogs for the class. In these blogs you will be posting your assignments and comments. Your blogs will be the equivalent of your journal and the participation for the class. They will need to be updated 1 day before the class and they will be graded. I will be checking these blogs using in order to track your evolution during the sessions, and also as a way to know that you are reading and exploring all the files I will be presenting. You can post any comments on your blogs, be aware these blogs will be public and accessible to everyone in the class.

Make sure you check your UT webmail account every day. Assignments and comments will be sent to your UT accounts. We will use Blackboard to post the grades, so make sure you check it regularly.

Short readings will be distributed throughout the semester. Most of the information will be provided by the professor or will be found freely online. Critiques will frequently be initiated from various topics covered in the readings. In order to participate effectively you will need to have read the required texts and be able to articulate your responses to them within the context of class discussion and critique. We will watch plenty of excerpts from movies / documentaries / Interactive Media during the class that will also be considered as part of the material for the class.

Use your own portable hard-drives / USB Drives to store your projects. Use the local CASS server as a backup, but do not rely on it to store sensitive or important information or documents, it is a PUBLIC server and anyone can have access to that. The day of a critique, bring the ORIGINAL files and store them in the CASS server so we can study and analyze your creative process. The assignments MUST be uploaded before class starts. If they are not in the server, and you are uploading the project to the server in class, I WILL remove points off the assignment grade.

The computer labs are refrigerated… BRING a sweater or a jacket

You MUST purchase your own USB powered drawing tablet with a stylus. I strongly recommend the Wacom Intuos Tablet available new for around $80

Possible last-minute changes

Although unlikely, it is possible that last-minute changes might be made to the dates for all assignments or class meetings, excepting only the final exam. In this unlikely event, I’ll make all possible efforts to inform students with sufficient lead-time.

Final Exam Schedule



I reserve the right to modify this syllabus for any reason at any time.