CT371 601 & 602

Intro to Kinetic Typography

Instructor: C. J. Yeh
Company website: Cynda Media Lab
Email: chinjuz_yeh@fitnyc.edu
Office at FIT: D317
Office Hours: Mon. 2-4, Wed. 2-3, and Thur. 6-7
FIT Tutoring Center: A608B
IT Help and Trouble Report Portal

Course Description

This class introduces all aspects of Kinetic Typography which is the technical name for “moving text.” The text content is presented over time to convey meaning, evoke a particular emotion, and visually direct attention in manners that are beyond the capability of static media such as paper-based magazine or poster.

Weekly Outline

Mon: 08/26

  • Self-Introduction and Example of Professional Works
  • Introduction of the course & distribute syllabus
  • Core Project: Data, Information, and My Message to the World / 30 FPS / Duration: 90 sec. (minimum) / Dimensions: 1920 (W) x 1080 (h) / format: H.264
    The goal of this assignment is to create a time-based quantitative infographic that is universally understandable and self-explanatory. Students will define their own research topic based on one of the sociological issues facing their own city/country today. The instructor will guide the students through the professional process of research, concept developments, storyboarding, and the final production.
  • Discussion: How to Create Persuasive Motion Graphics
    – example: Gabriel Ribes
    – example: Lia Sfiligoj
    – example: Alexis Gallo
    – example: Si Weon Kim
    – example: Margaux Le Pierres
    – example: Ashley Aviles
    * Click here to see more past examples on class YouTube Channel
  • In-Class Workshop (research, due 09/04)

Wed: 08/28 

  • Demo: After Effects Workspace & Timeline Basics
    – AE Terminologies: .aep, comp, footage…etc,
    – workspace layout and general interface
    Aspect ratios and screen resolutions
    Frame rate (FPS)
    – Setting up a comp (Command+N)
    – Import assets (Command+I)
    – Edit composition settings (Command + K)
    – Primary transform properties: Anchor (A), Postion (P), Scale (S), Rotation (R), Opacity (T)
    – Exit text editing mode: (ENTER on numeric pad or Command +RETURN)
    – Next/Previous Frame: (PAGE UP/PAGE DOWN)
    – Trim comp to work area (option + click)
    – Preview: (Space Bar or 0 on numeric pad)
    Shortcut References

Mon: 09/02 (Labor Day – College Closed)

Wed: 09/04 

  • Due: 3 possible topics, reason for selecting these topics, and 3-5 key research findings per topic (share on Blackboard before the class, 4%)
  • How to Change Keyboard Shortcuts in Adobe After Effects CC 2018
  • Demo: Animation Basics
    – Go to beginning or end of timeline (HOME, END)
    – Set work area (B, N)
    – Import Photoshop Files (footage, composition, or composition retain layer sizes)
    – Pan Behind / Anchor Point Tool
    – Converting Photoshop Text Layer (Layer/Create/Convert to Editable Text)
    – DeSelect All (Command + Shift + A)
    – Center anchor point (Command + double click pan behind tool)
    – Center object (Option + double click pan behind tool)
    – Null object + parenting layers

    – Easy Ease
    – Render basics
  • Quick Fire Challenge #1 (2%)

Mon: 09/09 

  • Due: Quick Fire Challenge #1 (upload AEP file to class Google Folder the class. Create a folder for yourself and name the folder LastName_FirstName)
  • Demo: Animation Basics
    – Import Illustrator Files
    Continuous Rasterization
    Graph Editor
    Speed Control with Graph Editor
    Track Matte
    – Skip Frame (Command + left arrow or right arrow)
    – Go to Layer In Point (I)
    – Go to Layer Out Point (O)
    – Graph Editor Zoom In (Space bar + mouse click)
    – Graph Editor Zoom Out (Space bar + option + mouse click)
  • Quick Fire Challenge #2 (2%)

Wed: 09/11

  • Demo: Animation Basics
    – Import Illustrator Files #2
    – Layer/Create/Convert Shape from Vector Layer
    – Contents/Add/Trim Paths
    – Copy and Paste Mask from Illustrator
    – Text/Path Options
    – Motion Path from Illustrator
    – Rove Keyframe
    – Layer/Transform/Auto-Orient
  • Quick Fire Challenge (2%)

Mon: 09/16

  • Due: Proposed project titles (3), completed script, and audio choices (3) (share Google Doc with CJ before the class, 6%)
  • Lecture: storyboard, style frames, animatics
  • Demo: Animation Basics

Wed: 09/18

  • Due: Proposed project titles (3), completed script, and audio choices (3)
  • Demo: Animation Techniques

Mon: 09/23

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    – 3D basics
    – Shape layer basics
    – graph editor review
  • Quick Fire Challenge #3 (2%)
  • In-Class Workshop (style frames review, 2-3 options)

Wed: 09/25

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    – nesting timelines (comps)
    – expression panel (Option + click on stop watch)
    – expression: loopOut();
  • In-Class Workshop (style frames review, 2-3 options)

Mon: 09/30 (Rosh Hashanah – College Closed)

Wed: 10/02

  • Due: Style Frames and Animatics  (5%)
  • In-Class Workshop

Mon: 10/07

  • Due: Style Frames and Animatics Revision
  • In-Class Workshop

Wed: 10/09 (Yom Kippur – College Closed)

Mon: 10/14

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    – project file preparations
    – transition effects
    – motion tracking
  • In-Class Workshop

Wed: 10/16

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    – text animation presets
    number counter (slider)
  • In-Class Workshop

Mon: 10/21 

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    – Expression: wiggle();
    – Enable Time Remapping
  • In-Class Workshop
  • Check-point Review (minimum 20 seconds of animation, 4%)

Wed: 10/23

  • Demo: Animation Techniques
    Shape morph
    – Review track mat
  • In-Class Workshop
  • Check-point Review

Mon: 10/28

  • In-Class Workshop (animation review)

Wed: 10/30

  • In-Class Workshop (animation review)

Mon: 11/04

  • Due: Core Project Review (10%)

Wed: 11/06

  • Due: Core Project Review (10%)

Mon: 11/11

  • Due: Core Project Presentation (15%)

Wed: 11/13

Mon: 11/18

  • Due: 12 Poster Sketches (upload to Google Drive before class) 
  • Bring sketches to class for discussion and review 

Wed: 11/20

  • In-Class Workshop

Mon: 11/25

  • Due: Check Point Review (Style Frames, 5%)
  • In-Class Workshop: Style Frames

Wed: 11/27

  • Due: Check Point Review
  • Demo: Advanced Motion Technologies
  • In-Class Workshop: Finalize Style Frames

Thanksgiving Recess 28 to 29

Mon: 12/02

  • In-Class Workshop: Animation Starts

Wed: 12/04

  • In-Class Workshop: Animation Production

Mon: 12/09

  • In-Class Workshop: Animation Production

Wed: 12/11

  • Animation complete
  • In-Class Workshop: testing AR

Mon: 12/16 (w17)

  • Final review and file submission
  • Due: Final Show and Tell, Swiss In Motion (10%)

Attendance Policy

Attendance is not optional. If you are going to miss a class, you must contact me via email ASAP. Due to the quantity of material covered in the course, I will not be able to spend class time explaining missed assignments or redo lectures. If a class is missed, it is your responsibility to get information regarding missed assignments and lectures from one of you classmates. Two tardy marks equal one absence, and four absences may result in failure of the class.

  1. Students are required to attend all classes, be on time, and remain for the entire class.
  2. Three absents will result in a one letter grade deduction.
  3. Students who are 4 classes will receive a grade of “F.”
  4. Student who arrives 10 minutes after the start of the class will be considered late
  5. 2 late occurrences = one absence
  6. A student who arrives over 30 minutes late or not returning from the break will be consider absent from the class
  7. An excused absence is still considered an absence
  8. In-class workshop time is allocated for you to work on assignments for this class and get feedback. Working on assignment for other classes is considered an absence


  • In-class exercises: 15%
  • Active Class Participation: 15%
  • Quick Fire Challenges: 10%
  • Core Project: 40% (5% research, 5% style frames, 5% check point, 25% presentation)
  • Final Project: 20% (5% check point, 15% final presentation)
  • (A: 91% or above, B: 90% – 71%, C: 70% – 61%, D: 60% – 51%, F: 50% or below)

Uploading Files for Grading

  • CT371/601
  • CT371/602
    * keep all project files and upload before the semester is over for final grading.

Recommended Readings

Lisa Fridsma & Brie Gyncild, Adobe After Effects CC Classroom in a Book (2018 release)

Ellen Lupton, Type on Screen: A Critical Guide for Designers, Writers, Developers, and Students

Barbara Brownie, Transforming Type: New Directions in Kinetic Typography

C. J. Yeh, The Principles of Interaction Design in the Post-digital Age

C. J. Yeh, Digital Aesthetics?

C. J. Yeh, The History and Development of Digital Art.