MI4012 - Visual Language 1

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What will I learn on this module?

This module provides a foundation in ‘visual language’ to support the development of original ideas for animation.

You will learn how to design and communicate for screen based work, enhanced through an understanding of the fundamental principles of Animation production such as sequential images, timing, layout colour and composition.

Practical classes will introduce you to the components needed for the pre - production of animation, teaching you to understand the design process leading to the making of animation. You will gain an understanding of research methods for animation production. You will learn the fundamental principles of storyboarding and how to create effective artwork for the pitch process. You will engage in writing treatments, short narratives, and script processes for animation.

You will learn to use appropriate tools and techniques as aids to help stimulate conceptual thinking and develop creative design solutions.
You will visualize these concepts as illustrations and storyboards, using hand and digital tools, specifically Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign, for creative solutions.

The module introduces you to the support infrastructure and processes for learning and utilising resources, in the University, to help you to learn effectively. You will engage in the kind of tasks which help to develop and demonstrate your learning, to build your confidence and capabilities and develop an ability to direct your own learning, evaluate your own progress and achievements and support the learning of others in group working situations.

How will I learn on this module?

You will learn through a combination of lecture, seminars, tutor guided and independent learning, through undertaking project work that promotes enquiry based problem solving.


You will learn to set up a blog and add set exercises, illustrations and storyboards to this (with appropriate reflective annotation). This will form the device to contain and present your work throughout the module. You will utilise the research materials available on eLearning Portal to generate new concepts for your illustrations.

The project brief for the ‘design component’ will be fully explained and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
You will learn through the delivery of an initial contextual lecture series and group discussions, to establish an understanding of the history and principles of narrative, storyboarding, research methods for animation and design techniques. A research exercise will be set to explore the field of storyboarding. You will set up and periodically add this research, set exercises and design development to a blog (with appropriate reflective annotation) as the device to contain and present your work throughout the module.

Academic staff will work with you on a one-to-one basis in the generation, development and presentation of storyboards.
You will use tutor guided and independent study, through further set practical exercises, to realise design ideas through experimentation and exploration. You will use contemporary image editing software such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign.

Class presentations and crits will allow you to see the work of peers and learn to critically reflect on what is successful and how to improve your own work. At the group presentations you will also receive formative feedback, which will focus on the conceptual, research and practical design strengths, as well as areas for improvement.

Group projects will allow you to generate ideas and share them effectively, which will feed into independent work

How will I be supported academically on this module?

Module briefs/guides outline the indicative workload of a module with an indication of lectures, conceptual development exercises, illustration and software workshops. The project brief will be introduced and fully explained and you will have the opportunity to ask questions.
These briefs will be uploaded to the eLearning Portal before any module activity commences. Associated research and learning materials will be available on the eLearning Portal to download and support developmental skills. These will be discussed in class first to make sure that you understand the key concepts of the material. One to one tutorials will help you to develop your ideas and design production.

Supporting materials for the Adobe CC industry standard software demonstrations in class, will be available on the eLearning portal also. You will be encouraged to solve your own design and technical problems by searching for solutions online to encourage independent learning but email support is available throughout the module, especially during independent learning periods when you are working alone. You can also make appointments to talk through your work with a member of staff outside of class contact.

Northumbria University student support also includes the following, which will be introduced to you in this module and re-enforced in all Level 4 modules:

SASC (Student Advice & Support Centre) provide specialist support with personal issues including: DSSR (Disabled Student Support
Recommendations) statements; PECs (Personal Extenuating Circumstances) and LAs (Late Approved submission) processes.

If you are an International student, you will receive extra support via weekly ESAP (English for Specific Academic Purposes) sessions.

The eLP (eLearning Portal) will include all relevant module documentation e.g. module guides, lecture material, reading lists and
any notices relevant to the running of the module.

IT Helpline, Timetabling, Ask4help, Careers and Employment Service and the University Library will also be explained.

What will I be expected to read on this module?

All modules at Northumbria include a range of reading materials that students are expected to engage with. The reading list for this module can be found at: http://readinglists.northumbria.ac.uk
(Reading List service online guide for academic staff this containing contact details for the Reading List team – http://library.northumbria.ac.uk/readinglists)

How will I be assessed?

You will receive formative feedback throughout the module, this consists of group discussions and individual tutorials and this will help you to reflect upon the conceptual and practical elements of your work.
During a mid-point presentation, which will focus on the conceptual and visual communication strengths as well as areas for improvement, you will receive formative feedback from staff and peers. The final submission will be 100% coursework portfolio of illustrations, script and final storyboards. (MLO 1 – 5)

Your work should be submitted via the eLearning Portal. On the module page in the eLearning Portal, there is a folder called ‘Assignment Submission’ you will find all the necessary links in this folder.

Pre-requisite(s)

none

Co-requisite(s)

none

Module abstract

Please find details of this module in the other sections provided.

Course info

UCAS Code WW2P

Credits 20

Level of Study Undergraduate

Mode of Study 3 years full-time or 4 years with a placement (sandwich)/study abroad

Department Arts

Location City Campus, Northumbria University

City Newcastle

Start September 2021

Fee Information

Module Information

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