Visual Story (53-608)

Class Schedule

Visual storytelling is the art of conveying a message with the visual images of a story. Because people are uniquely wired to receive stories, it’s important to understand this art.

In this class we identify several basic visual components, and discusses how they’re applied in creating imagery. This class isn’t about taking pictures, or making movies, or even making video games: it’s about controlling the visual structure so that the images say what you want them to.

Through lectures, readings, screenings, discussions, writing and production assignments, you will learn the basic principles and vocabulary of visual storytelling. Understanding these fundamental ideas are critical to developing a more critical eye towards creating new media.


Students will work in teams to write, produce, shoot and edit visual story assignments. Each assignment is designed to actualize key components in the creative and production process. The selected teams will remain constant throughout the term. Teams will be assigned within the first week of class.

Primary Course Objectives

  1. Understand the basic visual story components and how they are used to tell effective visual stories.
  2. Demonstrate how the basic visual story components can be applied to achieve dramatic results.
  3. Apply an informed vision of how the dynamics of visual storytelling work across all media such as video games, the web and interactive entertainment.

Secondary Course Objectives

  1. Analyze: How images are constructed.
  2. Meaning: How images create meaning.
  3. Impact: How images affect us on a personal level.
  4. Influence: How they are applied across different mediums.

Grading and Assessment

Group performance must be translated into individual grades. In order to avoid issues of fairness and equity as well as motivate and discourage the ‘free-rider’ student the following grading criteria will be used to help in process assessments:

  1. A teams process will be assessed, not just the final product including an individual’s ability to cooperate, communicate, etc.
  2. Students will be asked to assess their own contributions to the team.
  3. Individual students will be held accountable as well as group products and processes.
  4. Students will be asked to evaluate their group dynamics and the contributions of their teammates. This will be based on effort, participation, cooperativeness, accessibility, communication skills, etc.


You will be required to fill out a survey to help select your role in the class and help sort you into teams. The link will be mailed to your andrew account. You must fill out this survey by Friday August 30th 11:59:59PM.

Survey Link:


TA Assignment

After filling out the survey, you will be assigned to a TA. You will talk to that TA to check out equipment, ask questions, and get assignments checked off.

Randon Submission

Assignments will be submitted to Randon: dfs/classes/2016_semester_3/visualstory/Assignment/Assignment Number. Create a folder with your name / team name and place your materials inside. Name your folders sensibly, and only have one version inside that you plan to turn in.

Some assignments will be individuals, and some will be in groups. You are required to notify your TA when you have turned in an assignment that they need to check before the deadline.

Visual Story TAs Office Hours

You are assigned to one particular TA. However all TAs are available to help and may have specialties that interest you.  TAs will have office hours listed online in the coming week. You should strive to only access TAs during office hours for help or to check out equipment.

Equipment Check Out

You will be working with various equipment during Visual Story, such as cameras, microphones, and lights. You must check out equipment from your TA, and return it in a timely manner. Equipment you check out will count against the three items you can check out from the ETC, so plan wisely.

Equipment Check out is NOT available on the weekends. If you plan on shooting over a weekend (and you probably will) plan ahead.


*Schedule Subject to Change


1 Aug 31


Visual Story/Intro

Sept. 2



Solo Assignment 1: Composition

2 Sept. 6

DUE 11:59 PM:

Solo Assignment 1 [Composition]

Sept. 7

Lecture: Visual Space


Solo Assignment 2: Space

Sept. 9



3 Sept. 13

DUE 11:59 PM:

Solo Assignment 2 [Space]

Sept. 14

Workshop: Camera techniques

Sept. 16

Lecture: Visual Structure (Contrast & Affinity)

4 Sept. 21

Lecture: Pre-Visualization/



Workshop: Storyboarding/



Sept. 23

Lecture: Directors Paperwork


Team Assignment 1: Retrofit

5 Sept. 28

Lecture: Visual Structure II

Line & Shape


Solo Assignment 3:

Visual Rules

Sept. 29

DUE 11:59 PM:

Team Assignment 1 [Retrofit]

Sept 30

SCREEN: Team Assignment 3 Retrofit


6 Workshop: Premiere/AE/Editing Oct. 5

Lecture: Editing


Solo Assignment 4: Edit

Oct 6

DUE 11:59 PM:

Solo Assignment 3 [Visual Rules]

Oct. 7

Workshop: Lighting


Workshop: Green Screen

Oct. 12


Mediated Narratives


Oct. 13

DUE 11:59 PM:

Solo Assignment 4 [Editing]

Oct. 14

SCREEN – Editing

REVIEW – Visual Rules


Team Assignment 2: Rapid Production

8 [SUNDAY Oct 16]

DUE 11:59 PM: Team Assignment 2 [Rapid Production]

Oct. 19


Assignment 2 [48hr Production]


Late Afternoon

***SCREEN II: Team Assignment 2 [ 48hr Production]

Oct. 21

[Mid semester break]

9 Oct. 26

Lecture: VR


Team Assignment 3: VR

Oct. 28

VR camera hands on

10 Nov. 2

Case Study: Virtual Reality

Nov. 3


Storyboards  11:59 PM: Team Assignment 3 [VR]

Nov. 4

Screen Film

11 Nov. 9

Case Study: Games

Nov. 11

Case Study: Graphic Novels


Team Assignment 4: Music Video

12 Nov. 15

DUE 11:59 PM: Team Assignment 3 [VR]

Nov. 16


Assignment 3 [VR]

Nov. 17


Storyboards 11:59 PM:

Team Assignment 4 [Music Video]

Nov. 18

SCREEN II: Team Assignment 3 [VR]


Nov. 23

[Thanksgiving break]

Nov. 25

[Thanksgiving break]

13 Nov. 29

DUE 11:59 PM:

Team Assignment 4 [Music Video]

Nov. 30


Assignment 4 [Music Video]

Dec. 2

SCREEN II: Team Assignment 4 [Music Video]

14 Dec. 7


Dec. 9


Coming soon…