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Introduction to Digital Animation (Online) (10 credit points)

Course Times & Enrolment

Tuesdays from 18th April 2023 (Code DM018-302) Add to Basket Tuesdays from
18th April 2023 7:00pm - 8:30pm • (10 classes)
Online • Tutor: To be confirmed .
£354.00 Concessions and discounts

Course Summary

This course will introduce students to the basic techniques and approaches to digital animation to develop creative ideas through the moving image. Students will learn the basic skills of 2D digital animation by establishing a working knowledge Adobe After Effects. Through a range of hands-on exercises, students will gain essential knowledge of using a storyboard, setting up an environment or composition and working with sound to make short animated sequences.

Short 1:1 sessions with the tutor will be offered to students once a week within the times outlined below:


Course Details

Pre-requisites for enrolment

By signing up to the course students will be given access to a free Adobe Creative Cloud licence to the suite of software for the duration of the course. Details will be provided after you have signed up for a course.

Ideally, students would possess a basic knowledge of Adobe software, but this is not mandatory. 

Special Information

  • Computer with internet access

  • Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Photoshop, After Effects and Audition 

  • Scanner

  • Camera or mobile phone with camera

  • Paper and drawing and painting materials of choice, unless sketching digitally on an ipad pro (with digital pen) or a digital drawing tablet such as wacom or huion

Content of Course

1. Review of other animators and effective animation pieces from throughout history.

2. Research and development of assets.

3. Basics of animation, frames, timing, spacing, including camera movement and lighting.

4. Animation planning by use I5of storyboards.

5. Animation techniques, animating assets, puppet tool.

6. Visual storytelling using editing and effective use of After Effects.

7. Basic Sound design using After Effects and Audition.

8. Rendering and exporting animation clips.

9. Group critiques and individual formative feedback.

Teaching method(s)

Teaching will be fully online. Students will need an up-to-date web browser, microphone (ideally head set), webcam and strong Internet connection.

In addition to the live sessions, students will have the opportunity to have one-to-one with their tutor each week.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  • Demonstrate a contextual awareness and critical thinking for a range of animation approaches to support the planning of a project.

  • Demonstrate an applied knowledge for using a range of Adobe Photoshop and After Effect Skills, using sound appropriately to complement the work.

  • Show appropriate judgement to create, edit and produce a short, 1-3 minute animation sequence.


Core Readings

Web Sources

Adobe, 2020. After Effects User Guide. [online]

Available at: [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Adobe, 2020. Audition User Guide. [online]

Available at: [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Adobe, 2020. Photoshop User Guide. [online]

Available at: [Accessed 16 June 2020].

Dobson, N. (2010). The A to Z of animation and cartoons [online]. Lanham, Md.: Scarecrow Press.

Available at: [Accessed 16 June 2020]

Robinson, C. (2010). Animators Unearthed [online]. London: Continuum International Pub.

Available at: Group. [Accessed 16 June 2020]

Wells, P., 2015. Understanding Animation [online]. London: Routledge.

Available at: [Accessed 16 June 2020]

Class Handouts


Details of the Art and Design assessment requirements can be found on the short course website. Please click on the following link for more information: Submission and Assessment Information

Studying for Credit

If you choose to study for credit you will need to allocate significant time outwith classes for coursework and assessment preparation. Credit points gained from this course can count towards the Certificate of Higher Education.


If you have questions regarding the course or enrolment, please contact COL Reception at Paterson's Land by email or by phone 0131 650 4400.

Student support

If you have a disability, learning difficulty or health condition which may affect your studies, please let us know by ticking the 'specific support needs' box on your course application form. This will allow us to make appropriate adjustments in advance and in accordance with your rights under the Equality Act 2010. For more information please visit the Student Support section of our website.