Introduction to Animation with Flash


These materials were developed for the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, USA and first run with a class of 10 students in July 2007 and again with a different group during October and November 2007. At the end of the workshop, students will have completed a significant work of animation using Flash software.


The original workshop included four consecutive three-hour sessions. A later version of the workshop was run as a sequence of two-hour classes one day per week for eight weeks.


  • Students will learn the fundamentals of flipbook-style animation
  • Students will be comfortable using Flash software to render and animate vector graphics
  • Students will be challenged to create a conceptually strong work of art in response to pieces they experience in the museum's gallery

Materials and Resources

This curriculum was designed for a classroom in which each student had his or her own PC. The instructor's PC display was attached to an overhead projector. The lab relied on a recent version of Macromedia Flash. Having a shared disk to share resources across the network was very helpful. Each student was given a folder and pencil to keep during the workshop. Each day, teachers added new handouts to these folders. The folders also included blank paper and a piece of cardboard to facilitate drawing and writing in the gallery spaces. This curriculum was developed with the permanent collection of the ICA in Boston in mind. It could be adapted to the collection of many different such institutions. Alternately, teachers could use online resources to find works of animation or video with which to generate conversation and challenge their students' conceptual thinking.

Known Weaknesses

This curriculum does not do enough on the first day to establish a sense of safety that will empower each student to contribute to discussions. Because there is such a short time in which to work, we recommend spending more time upfront to help students become comfortable with one another and begin to develop trusting relationships.
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