Overview of Course and Class Site

Open Lab

Open Lab  is an online platform where the College’s students, faculty and staff can come together to learn, work, play and share ideas. The platform was first started at CUNY’s City Tech and was launched at BMCC in Spring 2019. This site was created on Open Lab and will be your main resource throughout the semester. You will post your work on this site once you’ve created an account. You can also browse Open Lab to look up other courses, to connect with faculty and students and to create a portfolio.

Creating an Account

  1. To create an account on OpenLab, you will need to be able to access your BMCC email account.  If you don’t have one, have never used one, or have forgotten your username and/or password for an existing account, you’ll need to contac the BMCC helpdesk : 212-220-8379 helpdesk@bmcc.cuny.edu ; RoomS141 (199 Chambers Street). You may also reset your password by going to https://cunyportal.cuny.edu/and clicking on “Account & Password Reset”.
  2. Once you are sure you can access your BMCC email account, go to the OpenLab homepage (https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu).  Click on the Sign Up button on the right of the screen.
  3. On the next screen, fill in the following fields (apart from the BMCC email address, all of this information can be changed later by visiting Settings under My OpenLab):
    1. User name (this can’t be changed, so choose wisely)
    2. BMCC email address
    3. Password for your OpenLab account (this doesn’t have to be your BMCC email account password–in fact, it’s always good to use different passwords for all sites)
    4. Display name (this is the name displayed on your profile page, and used to sign posts or comments; it can be changed after signing up)
    5. Your first and last name (these will not be displayed on the site)
    6. Your account type (student, alumni, faculty, or staff)
  4. Once you’ve done that, click Complete Sign Up.
  5.  At this point, a confirmation email will be sent from the OpenLab to your BMCC email account.  Visit your BMCC email account, and look for an email from the OpenLab.
  6. Click the link you find in the email from us, and you’re officially a member of the OpenLabAfter clicking on the link, you will be at the activation page shown below.  Your activation key will be prefilled, and all you need to do is click the Activate button.
  7. You do not need to go through this process again.  When you want to come back to the OpenLab, simply go to the OpenLab homepage (https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu), and log in with the username and password you created in step three.

Joining this Course on Open Lab

Now that you have created an account,  you can join this course site. This means the course will appear in your “My Courses” tab for easy access. You’ll be able top post to it as well.

  1. Go to the MMP260 course site (https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu/mmp260-pinkas-s2020/)
  2. Click on the +Join button under the course photo

Creating a Portfolio/Profile

By creating a Portfolio on OpenLab, you will be setting up a Portfolio Site and an associated Portfolio Profile page.  Think of your portfolio as a place to save, share and organize your work – in this course and beyond. The steps below will take you through naming your Portfolio, writing a short description, and uploading an avatar for your Portfolio Profile page.  You will also choose a URL for the Portfolio Site and Privacy Settings for both the Profile and Site.

  1. After logging in, click My OpenLab in the main menu. Then click + Create a Portfolio in the right-hand menu.
  2. On the first Portfolio creation page, you will see a space to enter your Portfolio name.  It will already have a name filled in, based on your first and last name, but you can change that if you wish.  We recommend that you follow this format: FirstName LastName’s Portfolio or Professor LastName’s Portfolio (for example, Jane Smith’s Portfolio or Professor Smith’s Portfolio).
  3. Next, enter a description of your Portfolio.  You can always change this later, so if you don’t have a description prepared, just type something in as a placeholder.
  4. Check the appropriate boxes for your school and department.  These are required.
  5. Click Create a new Portfolio site and choose a site URL.  Like your name, this text box will already be filled in, based on your name.  However, you can enter a different site URL if you wish.  Once created, the URL cannot be changed, so consider it carefully.
  6. When you are finished, click Create Portfolio and Continue.
  7. Next, set your privacy settings for your profile and portfolio site. When you are finished, click Next Step.

Adding a Post/Project to your Portfolio

In this course, you will create a portfolio post for each new assignment and link to it on Blackboard (and/or the discussion board when appropriate – see below). The following steps walk your through how to create a new post:

  1. Go to the OpenLab homepage (https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu) and log in.
  2. Go to My Profile. Click on the link to your Portfolio site will be on the top right.
  3. Click on the little  + icon on the top of the page. This will create a new post.
  4. Give your post a title (this will be displayed in bold at the top of the page that will be generated
  5. Create your post. It may contain text, images, videos and other types of media.
  6. To finish and submit your post click on Publish.
  7. By default, your new post will automatically appear on your portfolio’s home page.
  8. You can edit and delete a post (or page – such as About Me on the main menu) by going back to its Edit mode (found on the side and bottom of the page/post). The title and content can be edited and Move to Trash (on the right) will delete the post/page.

Replying to a Discussion Post

Go to the discussion page of this Open Lab site (https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu/groups/mmp260-1300-s2020/forum/). Click on the discussion you want to contribute to. For example, this week you’ll reply to the “Introductions” post. Read the prompt and type your response in the reply box below. When you are done, click submit.

What is animation?


Animation is the rapid succession of still sequential images, shown at a steady rate that create the illusion of movement.

This illusion is made possible by a physical phenomenon called “persistence of vision“: If a sequence of still images is displayed fast enough, our brain will stop seeing individual steps and start seeing motion instead. This illusion is referred to as the persistence of vision. The human eye and brain can only process 10-12 separate images per second. If another image replaces it within a fifteenth of a second, it will bridge the two, creating the illusion of continuous motion.


Pre-film era: Before the advent of cinema in the 1890s, inventors were putting still images into motion with optical toys such as the zoetrope. A strip with sequenced imaged was placed on the inner surface of cylinder with slits on the side. As the cylinder spins, the user looks through the slits at the pictures across. The scanning of the slits keeps the pictures from simply blurring together.

Eadweard Muybridge, although not an animator himself, was a key figure in the development of the medium (as well as live-action film). His multi-camera motion studies of animal and humans, created in the 1870s and 80s, advanced the understanding of movement. His books of photographs continue to be used as references by animators to this day.

Here are a few key films/animators from the very early days of animation:

The Walt Disney Studio was founded in 1923 and quickly came to dominate the medium. Not only did the studio create memorable characters such as Mickey Mouse, it also invented and perfected development and production tools that are still used today.

In traditional 2D animation, each frame is created by hand. Animators often use their own expressions as a reference for their characters. 1 second of animation requires 24 frames/drawings.

Up until the mid-1990’s the lead animator would animate the character on sheets of paper. These drawings would then be cleaned up and painted unto sheets of celluloidFinally, the character cell would be overlayed over a background and shot on film

The multiplane camera was a large analog piece of equipment developed at the Disney studios in the 1930s to impart live action-like effects (i.e: depth-of-field, parallax and zooming) to 2D animation. The multiplane became obsolete with digital scanning, compositing and editing tools in the early 1990s.

The 12 principles: Two of Disney’s master animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, described the 12 most important principles to create appealing animations in a a book called “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation” in 1981. While these rules were already present in very early animations, Frank and Ollie formalized them. These principles are essential to any animator’s education and practice. This video offers a great overview of all 12 principles: “Complete 12 Principles of Animation Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston as described by Alan Becker”

Animation Today

While 2D animation is still popular today, the computer almost always comes into play (i.e: for scanning, compositing, sequencing and/or to color each frame). Often, animators draw the frames directly within the digital environment with a tablet.

Here a few interesting contemporary examples:

Assignment: Flipbook


Create a 30 page (minimum) flipbook from index cards and a binder clip (distributed in class). Try drawing lightly with a pencil first to test the movement of your drawings, when it is right you might want to trace over with a marker. You can use color or black and white. You might create a transformation of some kind (a ball turns into bird, which turns into the sun, which turns into an airplane, etc.), or depict a cataclysmic event, like a tornado or a volcano. Try and focus on the movement, don’t worry about each drawing being perfect. Animation is the relationship between the drawings.


Bring your completed flipbook with you to class next week. We will review them together and learn how to document them on Open Lab.

The grading rubric for this assignment can be found here.