Film, & Animation, Media and Communication
Today is Tomorrow: A Student-Driven Cross-Disciplinary Art Project
Darren C Fisher
Department of Film and Animation
Max Schleser
Department of Film and Animation

Julia Prendergast 
Department of Media and Communication

Steven Murdoch (Animation)
Department of Film and Animation

Today is Tomorrow bridges work from students across writing, animation and screen production using an art-generates-art methodology of media production. Outcomes from writing students serve as prompts to create story reels and animatics, which facilitate digital video narrative production. These outputs (and course components) are compiled and integrated into immersive digital stories, an exhibition, and process documentation. This project teaches holistic digital fluency: information literacies in the sourcing and manipulation of media, critical literacies through cross-unit discussion of digital media ethics, and technology literacies through a wide scope of the Adobe Creative Suite, including innovative approaches to AR & VR.
These resources can be downloaded here and here and include:
1. Student Resource - Creative Storytelling with AR
2. Lesson Plan - Creative Storytelling with AR
3. Photoshop for Creative Storytelling
4. Premiere Pro for AR​​​​​​​
5. Teacher resource - Lesson Plan

Swinburne only resources:
Professional and Creative Writers, Animators and Filmmakers are required to engage with collaborators in other arts’ disciplines, as well as potential publishers, production specialists, industry professionals, and other stakeholders. How can we provide learning opportunities that replicate trans-disciplinary arts’ practice, in order to equip students with the skills they need to be successful and industry-savvy in the contemporary workforce?  

‘Today is Tomorrow—Art-generates-Art’ is a project that leverages the power of the Adobe Creative Cloud to bring together Creative Writing, Animation and Screen Production students in a generative workflow cycle that simulates industry practice. The project is designed to provide students with the opportunity to produce individually assessed creative artefacts in their preferred discipline, while also engaging with students in other arts’ disciplines. Students were asked to springboard from the work of others to produce new work, complementing their own output with creative work in other mediums. Writing students generated in-class short-form ‘Sudden Writing’ and published their stories as Adobe Spark presentations. Choosing from this selection of short form writing, Animation students created a ‘Story Reel’ by digitally drawing and painting story panels in Adobe Photoshop, synchronizing their story panels with an audio track of the text prompt using Adobe Premiere Pro, and outputting this video via Adobe Media Encoder. These media assets were shared with Screen Production students to create immersive media projects; including augmented reality (AR) outputs using Adobe Aero, and a combination of Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Premiere Pro to create virtual reality (VR) experiences. 
Today is Tomorrow: Art-Generates-Art has: 
    •  Established guidelines for trans-disciplinary interaction among students.  
    •  Provided an exemplar which showcases ‘Art-Generates-Art’ in practice: a model for trans-disciplinary engagement using the academic team’s own work (Creative Writing, Animation and Film). 
    •  Published an online exhibition including exemplars of students’ work, demonstrating how ideas were created, shared, and reinterpreted across units.   
    •  Generated Learning and Teaching resources in the form of sharable audio-visual tutorials demonstrating the application of various Adobe Creative Cloud software and templates, shared with the Adobe Education community.  
Digital Literacies
The interaction between students across three primary disciplines replicates contemporary industry demands: where professionals are required to navigate the multi-faceted requirements of trans-disciplinary arts’ practice, using digital literacy proficiencies to communicate and present their work in new ways. Students gained new Technology literacies as a result of applied practice across Adobe Aero, Premiere Pro, Adobe Photoshop, Media Encoder, Spark and Portfolio, providing them with the digital tools necessary to create compelling creative outcomes. Critical literacy was developed through the exploration of diverse forms of media production, and reflection on mobile creativity and trans-disciplinary workflows. Cross-unit discussions of the process and outcomes has further prompted an awareness of critical literacy by focusing on the ethical dimension of digital media use and reinterpretation across mediums and disciplines. Information Literacy was a key focus of this project, with ongoing meetings and coordination facilitating a healthy dialogue between different departments, while encouraging students to embrace multi-modalism towards fostering a technological savvy academic community. Information literacy was further developed by managing data assets in a collaborative environment using the Adobe Creative Cloud.  
Our primary intention was to replicate an industry-relevant trans-disciplinary arts practice, working to a brief that involved multiple stakeholders. Many works were generated throughout this project and saw students develop and further their communication skills, while also learning how to establish and maintain creative partnerships between diverse groups of students. On reflection we had some clear wins and found key areas for analysis and improvement in the future. These include: 
    •  An all-stakeholder briefing was impractical due to student timetabling. We believe this this led to missed opportunities for discussion of critical literacies and the sharing of ideas and concepts across more broadly.  
    •  Most student groups followed the full pipeline from Writing to Animation and then Screen Production, while others opted to use a single point of art as a starting point. This has nonetheless led to innovative outputs that meet the ‘art generates art’ parameters of the project and presents new workflow opportunities going forward. 
    •  Though a process for student-to-student communication and sharing was established, some students experienced difficulties uploading sharable resources and some did not engage to the extent that was expected. We believe that communication, resource sharing and collaboration could be improved through the introduction of a rigorous procedure that is possibly tied to assessment. 
    •  We found that, despite given a wide choice, the bulk of students gravitated to a small number of writing prompts, which bears further investigation. 
Overall, Today is Tomorrow succeeded in its aims of introducing students to industry-specific technologies, communication strategies, and production pipelines. The relationships developed at both student and staff level will be built upon with future collaborations, with the intention of continued collaboration across disciplines and assignment tasks going forward. 
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