Spring Syllabus

Visual Communications

Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center

8:45 – 10:06 (80 min.): All sending schools
10:06 – 10:45 (40 min.): VUHS, MAUHS


Class motto: “Make a choice; work with purpose.”

Description: Design is all around us. In Vis. Com., students learn the principles of design and how to communicate through the media arts. Students create original two, three and four-dimensional works using traditional art materials in combination with a variety of computer programs and technology, including: Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, Final Cut Pro, Soundtrack Pro, digital cameras, scanners and the Internet. Students learn the fundamentals of design including: space, tone, color, line, balance, composition and form through real-life design projects such as: character design, set design and fabrication, creating armatures, applying acting techniques, still-frame animation techniques, storyboarding, story structure, cinematography (shot types & uses). Careers in the arts are explored and investigated.

Philosophy: Emphasis is placed on learning the creative process and personal expression. No two student works look alike and no two students arrive at the end result in the same way. Traditional art materials are used in non-traditional and new ways and are combined with computer approaches. Experimental approaches are encouraged.

Class rules:
1. Show up, on time
2. Be prepared to work (mind and body)
3. Have assignments ready (at the time they are to be ready)
4. Respect yourself and others (people and spaces)


Attendance is crucial to your success in this program. Most of the work that you do will be completed in class and we rely heavily upon the use of the Adobe Creative Suite computer programs. When you miss class, it is difficult to make up the time that you lost being absent.
¸ Perfect attendance: three points will be added to your quarter grade!
¸ Points are deducted from a student’s grade when a student accumulates 2
absences over the quarter


Projects and Activities:

Capstone (Final) Project
Still-frame Clay Animation
Frame by Frame Animation Basics:
Creating an Animated ‘Drawing’

Intro. to Adobe Photoshop: How to make strong design choices: Exporting to Final Cut Pro

Editing Basics: pace, transitions, creating & maintaining interest
Final Cut Pro How-To Basics: title, sound, transitions

Set Design & Construction
Set Design Basics *
How to create a working “sketch”
Developing a design concept: Art Direction
Presenting and pitching a set design concept
Building a Diorama *
Scale & Proportion
Style & Design
Construction Techniques

Character Development
Cartoon Character – 2-D *
Building a character with components
Learning to use brush & ink, scanning, Photoshop layers
Developing a character’s profile/giving your character a “life”
Clay Character *
How to create a clay character from your 2-D prototype
How to create an armature & working with clay
Emotion and basic principles of acting & emoting
Basic digital camera & still-frame clay animation

Story Structure & Development
Creating/sketching a narrative
POV, cinematography and composition
Director’s notes
Story Development & Structure
Traditional cinematic story structures
Elevator Pitch *
Advancing Your Ideas
Still-Frame Clay Animation Capstone Project *
Developing your concept
Direct and Indirect
Creating mood
Final Cut Pro: Importing your images & nesting
Title sequence & credits
Soundtrack Pro Introduction
Fades and other transitions
Added or Effects
Photoshop tricks
Packaging your Animation *
Burning your Animation: DVD formatting
Creating a DVD cover design

Career Fridays
Every Friday will be dedicated to career and portfolio work.

Activities will include:
Résumé design *
Investigating and reporting on art careers *
Guest lectures from visiting art professionals
Field trips
Personality quizzes and profiles
Skill building and professional conduct
Building a portfolio
Career terms and post-high school options (internships, job shadow, etc.)

  • denotes project grade

Student Resources & Opportunities:

• FREE student handbooks are available from HCC through the Guidance Office.

• Discs will be made available for students to store final projects and important
documents in digital form at the end of the semester, if he/she chooses.

• Students can receive extra help before and after class. Arrangements may be made
with the teacher and Paul Dieman (Dean of Students) for students to use the Vis. Com.
computer lab during a study hall if the student is a MUHS student or a home schooled

• HCC has a Guidance Counselor (Marie Eddy, x1007) that is available for further career
counseling and a Co-Op Coordinator (Kelley Mills) for career placement opportunities

• HCC Arts & Humanities Academy has an active chapter of the National Art Honor
Society (one of only 3 in the state). Distinguished Juniors and Seniors receive
nominations in late fall.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License