Exercise 04.03: Animated Backgrounds


Trans­late the physics of the nat­ural world to dig­i­tal ani­mated compositions.


Cre­ate a short ani­ma­tion using an ani­ma­tion pro­gram that serves as a back­ground for future graphics.



Using the tools and tuto­ri­als of After­Ef­fects, Pho­to­shop and Illus­tra­tor cre­ate ani­ma­tions that explore the func­tional aspects of a loop­ing background.

Part One

Cre­ate a series of six (6) ten sec­ond (10 sec) back­ground ani­ma­tions for each of the fol­low­ing scenarios:

  1. Mov­ing Gradient
  2. Infi­nite Geo­met­ric Tunnel
  3. Pat­tern
  4. Organic Liv­ing Movement
  5. Repeated Shape
  6. Par­ti­cle

If nec­es­sary, use addi­tional soft­ware or tech­niques to advance the basic func­tional sce­nario to cre­ate some­thing with a fin­ished aes­thetic. For instance, use inter­est­ing shapes, tex­tures or layer effects to add depth, addi­tional move­ment or inter­est. Pay care­ful atten­tion to small details of move­ment and posi­tion­ing. The final result should loop with­out obvi­ous inter­rup­tion in the visual action.

Part Two

Edit the six clips into a one (1) minute comp and export the movie file for cri­tique. Mod­estly label your action with a small and unob­tru­sive over­lay cap­tion, and add audio.

Part Three

Take a min­i­mum of two back­grounds from Part One and com­bine into a sin­gle 10 sec­ond clip. Explore any avail­able blend­ing modes, adjust­ments lay­ers and/or layer styles. (updated 02.25.2023).

Technical Specifications

Cre­ate the ani­ma­tions at the fol­low­ing settings:

  • File Size/Export Set­tings: HDTV 1080, 29.97fps
  • Ren­der Set­tings: Best and Out­put Mod­ule: H.264
  • 44.1kHz, 16 bit, 2 chan­nel audio
  • File name: xyz_art378_exer00_part00.mp4


  • The fol­low­ing rubric posted on D2L will deter­mine exer­cise score: Exer­cise Grading


lay­out, sketch­ing, plan­ning, ani­ma­tion, rendering


pen­cil, paper, After Effects


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