DigitalArt2: Machinima, Software Art, Future

Instructor: Anne-Marie Schleiner

ARTS , Spring 2006

Mon/Weds Office Hours: by appt.

N275 (Experimental Digital Arts Lab)





This course will introduce students to three different areas of digital art. The course begins with an assignment using machinima, a method of narrative storytelling using 3-D digital games. The course then shifts its focus to software art and includes a number of demos and an assigment using Processing, a scripting language based on Java developed at MIT especially for visual artists.Finally we end the course with a an assignment about the future of the environment.


Reading Summaries or Visual Essays(2)--each 15% of total grade

Florian Cramer, "Concepts, Notations, Software, Art" and Heavy Weather by Bruce Sterling

  Prepare for 2  Discussion days with summary of readings or visual essay on reading (to show and explain to class on discussion day)  


PROJECTS (3)--each 20% of total grade


Project 1:   Machinima Blog Make a machinima narrative from a political story from somebody else's blog. Blogs have come to be thought of as a more personal kind of "bottum up" journalism. Use a storyboard to plan your narrative in which you record camera movements and locations (panormic views and closeups for example). Write text descriptions under each box in the storyboard.

Option A: Capture video from game or games (could be playstation recorded onto digital video tape in a digital camera.)
Edit the Video in Final Cut Pro and add voiceover. The final product should be a video.


Step 1: Choose blog source material

Step 2. Play around with games to explore possibilities

Step 3. Make script and storyboard

Step 4. Record game playing onto Digital Video cassette in camera

Step 5. Edit on computer with Final Cut Pro or IMovie

Step 6. Record VoiceOver with IMovie or add Sounds


Option B: Capture key still frames from game. Make a narrative on a website with Dreamweaver. The final product should be a website.


Step 1: Choose blog source material

Step 2. Play around with games to explore possibilities

Step 3. Make script and storyboard

Step 4. Grab screenshots from PC Game (or record digital video and grab screens from there.) PrtSc or apple-shift-3

Step 5. Create website with screenshots, text and sounds in Dreamweaver


  Inspiration: PS2 Diaries, Shiek Attack by Eddo Stern , This Spartan Life by Chris Burke, , Ninetendo by?, ShePuppet by Peggy Ahwesh,


Class Machinima Site


Project 2. 


Software Art : Create a dynamic and interactive piece of software art in "Processing" that uses an imported image or quicktime video.


  Inspiration: Lisa Jevbratt, C5, Amy Alexander, Golan Levin, Lia + Remove and Dextro, (once turux), Joshua Davis, John Maeda and Design by Numbers(roots of Processing at the aesthetics and computation group at MIT), Festivals: Runme, and Transmediale, Bitforms Gallery, Trends: Social Sofware, Generative Software, Data Visualization and Design, VJ


Class Processing Site


Project  3. Future Environment Art Project:

Recent climatic changes seem to indicate big changes in the near future influenced by global warming.. Scientists predict that in 30 years we will run out of oil. This may radically alter the composition of cities, economies and limit travel. Some predict we will return to a preindustrial state while others predict that first world countries will develop advanced alternate modes of power, while excluding the 3rd world.


Option A: Create a futuristic cybernovella website with images of a future cityscape and living quarters, fashion, design and architecture.


Option B: Make a "pilot episode" of a tv show set forty years in the future.

Inspiration: Google Earth, Bruce Sterling, Heavy Weather, Blackhawk's NPO, Code 63


Participation--10% of total grade--participation includes attending class for critiques, technical demos, and reading discussion days 

Technical Demos and Tutorials: (although these are not turned in to be graded students will face EXTREME difficulty completing projects if they do not attend)


Students will be required to attend the following demos and complete premade tutorials or watch video demos throughout  the semester. 

1. Final Cut Pro Demos, Importing files, cutting on the timeline, exporting to video, creating text, applying filters, adding voicover

2. Intro to scripting in Processing : Modular nature of object oriented programming, Comments, Syntax, Parameters, Copy/Paste "Hacker" Style of Programming, using the Processing website: Learning Examples and Reference , Basic Structure of Processing: Declare global variables, Setup and Draw functions

3. Data Types, Variables/properties, an example using random variables by student Gray Rogers.. Make a new program by combining at least 2 different learning examples.

4. Control Structures: for loops and if statements, functions





Wed Jan 18 Intro


Mon Jan 23 Begin Project 1


Wed Jan 25 Lab Day


Mon Jan 30 Demo 1: Final Cut Pro


Wed Feb 1 Text and Effects Demo


Mon Feb 6 Voiceover Demo


Wed Feb 8 Demo 2 : Intro to Scripting


Mon Feb 13 Lab Day


Wed Feb 15 Project 1 Due, Critique


Mon Feb 20 Begin Project 2


Wed Feb 22 Demo 3


Mon Feb 27 Lab Day


Wed March 1 Reading Discussion Day 1, Florian Cramer Discussion Questions


Mon March 6 Demo 4


Wed March 8 Lab Day Dont miss Cory Arcangel performance March 9 (Next Thursday) 5:30 Humanities 1B80!!!!


Mon March 13 Lab Day


Wed March 15 Lab Day


Mon March 20 Project 2 Due, Critique


Wed March 22  No class


March 27- 31 Spring Break


Mon April 3 Begin Project 3


Wed April 5 Progress Meetings


Mon April 10 Reading Discussion Day, Reading summaries due, Bruce Sterling Discussion Questions


Wed April 12 Lab Day


Mon April 17 Futuristic Movies


Wed April 19 Guest Artist: William Maxwell


Mon April 24 Lab Day


Wed April 26 Lab Day


Mon May 1 Project 3 Due, Critique


Wed May 3 Digital Art Pizza Party 5p.m.