Featured FIDM Project: Motion Graphic Infographics by FIDM Digital Media Students for Public Citizen

Students studying Digital Media at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising recently developed motion graphics short films for Public Citizen, a “nonprofit, consumer rights advocacy group and think tank” based in Washington, D.C. for their Motion 2 course. Digital Media Instructor Ryan Nellis, who teaches Imaging, Motion Graphics and Compositing, oversaw the projects shown below by Alex Gilbert and Emily Müller.

For the purpose of the project, FIDM Digital Media Students were tasked to create a visually compelling short film based on scripts about social issues written by Public Citizen, or their own script. The project challenged students to organize, design and convey information in a visually dynamic and exciting way, utilizing 2D and 3D animation software while learning about social issues, says Nellis

“Students not only learned about the issue they’ve selected, but hopefully they have been inspired by taking some social responsibility and contributing to the education of our U.S. and global citizens so that we can make more informed choices when going to the polls,” says Nellis.

Gilbert’s short film tackles the topic of campaign finance reform while Müller’s addresses U.S. Environmental Protection Agency concerns.

“Emily and Alex are exemplary students who have awakened to their artistic purpose, taking responsibility for the outcome of their education by challenging themselves to go beyond what a project requires,” says Nellis. “Their projects serve as examples of design unity, well-timed animation, and their ability to deliver a project on time– powerful video projects they can add to their a final video reel at graduation to show how they are ready for a job in digital media.”

Watch Gilbert’s and Müller’s videos below:

Alex Gilbert: Campaign Finance Infographic

Gilbert drew inspiration from current design trends such as the long shadow effects and flat graphics for his short film above, which (fun fact) features his sister’s voice as the narrator.

“One thing I enjoyed about this project was that it was very challenging for me, creating all the graphics then animating them really put my patience to the test. One of the bigger challenges was interpreting the script to effectively communicate the message,” says Gilbert of his short film.

Q&A with FIDM Digital Media Student Alex Gilbert


(FIDM Digital Arts): What have you enjoyed about FIDM’s Digital Media program so far?

(Gilbert) “So far I’ve enjoyed learning about things outside the traditional filmmaking world such as web design.”

What facet of filmmaking do you enjoy most (so far)?
“I have always been extremely passionate about cinematography, I dedicate the majority of my time to learning about it.  However over the past year I’ve started to further explore directing.”




Motion graphics short film by FIDM Digital Media Student Alex Gilbert for Public Citizen (class project).

Motion graphics short film by FIDM Digital Media Student Alex Gilbert for Public Citizen (class project).

Emily Muller: EPA Infographic

“I really enjoyed seeing each individual part come together to create the whole,” says Müller who drew inspiration from the visual look of blueprints with a modern twist. Read more about her inspiration and FIDM experience below:

Q&A with FIDM Digital Media Student Emily Müller


(FIDM Digital Arts) Where did you draw inspiration from to make your video?
“The infographic discusses carbon emissions from power plants which are obviously very industrial. Blueprints are very industrial-looking to me, so I thought that could be a cool visual. For some reason the light blue/white and deep blue in blueprints made me think of old computer screens with lines of computer coding (even though I think they actually used green for that). I thought that could be cool in the background, but I had to find a way to incorporate the other graphics in the foreground. I ended up with a more high-tech look, like what you see in CIA movies–  images and program windows moving around on giant, high-tech computer screens.”

This is a comprehensive project– what were some of the challenges you faced?
“I’m very indecisive, so I had a really difficult time coming up with a consistent idea. I’d finally come up with a visual concept I was happy with only to realize that it would be way too complicated for me to execute. I got behind on the project because I kept rethinking what I was doing!”

What have you enjoyed about FIDM’s Digital Media program so far?
“The Digital Media program is great because it’s so diverse. I’ve added a lot of tools in my toolbox I didn’t have prior to coming to FIDM, so I can combine all the skills I’ve learned together to create something as comprehensive as this infographic. I wouldn’t have been able to do that six months ago! I also like that the program is small; I’m with the same people in every class every quarter, so we’ve grown into a little family. That’s a pretty cool thing you don’t get at most schools.”

What facet of filmmaking do you enjoy most?
“Production in general. I think it’s great that one person, with the right skills, can create an entire film him/herself start to finish, while conversely, an entire team of people each doing a specific job can come together to make a film. There is definitely a diversity of projects because of that.”

Motion graphics short film by FIDM Digital Media Student Emily Muller for Public Citizen (class project).

Motion graphics short film by FIDM Digital Media Student Emily Muller for Public Citizen (class project).

study-digital-media-fidmStart college and kickstart your career in digital media.

FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising isn’t just a recognized leader in the study of design and creative business– we’re a training ground for the exciting career in digital media you’ve always dreamed of pursuing. Designed to build a strong foundation of general filmmaking knowledge, students emerge with an understanding of all aspects of production workflow, from pre-production through post-production including editing, sound design, digital composition, motion graphics, 3-D modeling and animation, production, digital storytelling and web design.


FIDM: Creative Careers Begin Here

Creative careers begin here.

With four California campuses located in the heart of the fashion and entertainment industries, FIDM is a leading, accredited college offering specialized Associate of Arts and Bachelor’s of Arts degrees. FIDM has been educating students with creative and leadership skills for the global industries of fashion, visual arts, interior design, and entertainment for more than 45 years. Learn more at www.fidm.edu.

The FIDM Digital Arts Blog is dedicated to professional and aspiring graphic designers and filmmakers, illustrating the range of career opportunities within these fields written by FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. See more at www.fidmdigitalarts.com.

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Author: Mani O'Brien

Mani O’Brien is the Online Editor for the FIDMDigitalArts Blog and the Social Media Marketing Manager for FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism & Mass Communications at Arizona State University in 2006, and Associate of Arts degree in Graphic Design (Professional Designation) at FIDM in 2010. When she’s not brainstorming social media marketing ideas or writing about the graphic design and digital media, she enjoys practicing yoga, reading magazines, and hanging out with friends and family in Los Angeles.

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