Authors wanted…

computer-handsI would be delighted if any teachers or lecturers teaching Digital Media Computing in Scotland would like to add entries to this website.

I’m not teaching DMC at the moment and so have not been adding posts.  It would be great to see how other teachers and lecturers approach the units.  There are also a large number of DMC units that can’t be covered by any one teacher!

If you would like to contribute, please add a comment and I’ll email you details

Planning the year and reflecting on last year

Our new timetable started yesterday so the new academic year has started. Last year was the first year I had tried to blog all my lessons.  I managed most, and I think the quality of the writing improved as the year went on!

Last year my Third Year DMC class did amazing well.  The plan hadn’t been to do assessments but as it was likely our school was going to close in the summer the pupils wanted to get as much out the year as possible.


We covered still image editing, flash animation, web design, a bit of blogging (although we didn’t do the assessment for this), a bit of online safety, and a couple of pupils did some work on Mobile Technology.

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Next year we will do some 3D animation in Alice to complete the NPA Animation units and we will do the core units required for the National Certificate in DMC (numeracy, communications, hardware, internet, office apps and digital media elements)

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This year with S4 DMC we were planning on completing more DMC units but all pupils got at least an NPA in Games Development at Int 1 or 2.

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Many pupils from this class are continuing on to the S5/6 Games Dev class.  We will have a mixed class this year, with most pupils working at Int2, some at Higher and some at Int1.

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This year the S5/6 Games class completed the NPA in Games Development at Intermediate 2.

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The S3 Games Dev class have had a looked at a range of topics this year ready to do the NPA Games Dev at Int1/2 in S4.  This year they have developed some little Scratch games, made text adventures, looked at scripting vs programming in FPS Creator, studied gameplay and level design, traditional and computer animation, HTML and mobile technology.

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Over the next year this class will be doing the NPA in Games Development at Int 1/2 and maybe even picking up a unit or two of the NC Games Dev course. The class has done most of the theory work for the NPA Mobile Technology at Int 1 too we will try to get the practical work signed off too to complete the units and the award.

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The S5/6 DMC class this year was busy.  We did still image editing, flash animation, web design, a bit of blogging.  Pupils all got an NPA in Web Design Fundamentals.  Some pupils also did a unit in 3D animation using Alice to gain the NPA in Animation.  A couple of pupils were also very dedicated and came in any spare moment they had and worked through the core units to complete the NC in Digital Media Computing (numeracy, communications, hardware, internet, office apps and digital media elements).  Well done to them!

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There is no plan for the S5/6 DMC class this year – this will be set with the pupils depending on their interests.  A couple of the pupils will be working through the core units to complete the NC DMC but we will work out together what the other pupils will work on so they can complete a qualification this year that suits them and their career plans.

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A new revolution in beauty: Fotoshop by Adobe

Have a look at this great video:

You can see more examples of how the media photoshop images of women (and men!) making them slimmer beyond what is possible and healthy and removing any wrinkles see  Beauty Redefined

Everyday we are shown hundreds of images of beautiful people who have been digitally altered


Also, go have a look at a video from the BBC about this topic

Assessing Animation

We’re all getting a bit confused as to what we have to do for all of the units involving animation.  Below is a list of the assessment evidence requirements for the units we have selected.  You can also download the handout and checklist if that’s helpful.

Also, as I’ve just realised that I’ve forgotten about the test plan in the Interactive Multimedia unit, this summary should be considered a handy summary only.  Please make sure you’ve consulted the SQA unit specification and ASP as well!

Meanwhile here’s is a badly photographed hand-written summary of some other animation units.

animation units summary 2

Animation Fundamentals (F1KB 11)

Draw, import and manipulate graphics:

  • Draw 10 images using line, rectangle, ellipse and fill tools
  • Import 5 images from legitimate sources and manipulate two of them

Create an animation using 10 keyframes of new and imported pictures using layers and timelines:

  • Frame by frame animation of 10 keyframes
  • Tweened animation with 3 keyframes
  • And a button control


Interactive Multimedia (F180 11)

Plan and create an animation with:

  • shape and motion tweening,
  • sound
  • play and stop controls
  • and upload your animation onto a website

Plan and create a digital narrative with:

  • text, audio and graphics (still images, video or animation),
  • a filmmaking effect (pan, zoom etc)
  • a transition effect (fade, blur, dissolve etc)
  • and play and stop controls.


Digital Media Elements (F1KS 11)

Source video, audio, graphics and animation from legitimate sources

Capture 30-60 seconds of audio, a video clip and an image (eg use a camera or a scanner)

Create a multimedia ‘video’ (in Flash or Powerpoint) lasting at least 30 seconds including:

  • 30 seconds of sound
  • An animation
  • A bitmapped graphic (eg a photo)
  • A vector graphic (eg a picture made up of shapes like circles)


Animation Checklist

Animation Fundamentals (F1KB 11)

¨    Printout with 10 images using line, rectangle, ellipse and fill tools

¨    Printout with 5 images (and show sources) and two manipulated

¨    Animation with frame by frame keyframes and 3 Tweened keyframes and a button control (like a button to go to new scene)


Interactive Multimedia (F180 11)

¨    Plan for an animation with shape and motion tweening, sound and play and stop controls

¨    Animation with shape and motion tweening, sound and play and stop controls

¨    Upload your animation onto a website

¨     Plan an animation (AS2!) with text, audio and graphics (still images, video or animation), a filmmaking effect (pan, zoom etc) a transition effect (fade, blur, dissolve etc) and play and stop controls.

¨     Animation (AS2!) with text, audio and graphics (still images, video or animation), a filmmaking effect (pan, zoom etc) a transition effect (fade, blur, dissolve etc) and play and stop controls.

Digital Media Elements (F1KS 11)

¨     Download a video, a sound effect, a graphic and an animation

¨     List the sources for the video, sound effect, graphic and animation

¨     Capture 30-60 seconds of audio,

¨     Capture a video clip

¨     Capture an image using a camera or a scanner

¨     Create a multimedia ‘video’ (in Flash or Powerpoint) lasting at least 30 seconds including: 30 seconds of sound, animation, bitmapped graphic (eg a photo) and a vector graphic (eg a picture made up of shapes like circles)

Little Brother

The S5/6 pupils have been inflicted with the following piece of homework for the February break.

Unfortunately for our purposes, the Communication Core Skills unit needs the pupils to read a non-fiction piece, so after the break they will get a short reading assessment on one of the technologies mentioned at the start of the book.

We have copies of the book for all the class thanks to generous donations from people via Cory Doctorow’s website.  If you’d like to read the book you can get it online free!

The activities we will be doing are quite brief but there is a teaching guide available with more ideas.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow - UK book cover

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow

 Things to do:

1. Read chapters 1 and 2 (pages 1-26 in English)

2. List the technology Marcus describes.

e.g. RFID (Radio-frequency identification)


Things to think about: 

1. Marcus says that he’s “one of the most surveyed people in the world”.  Compare the school Marcus describes to your own in terms of surveillance, discipline, and student-teacher relationships.

2. In what year or decade do you think Little Brother takes place?

Do you think the story could happen today? Why or why not?

The Invisible Woman disappears!

Today we played about with fading symbols.  First we sourced and imported some isolated images of clothes and props – raincoat, hat, glasses, boots, newspaper.  In Flash we imported them to the Library and dragged them onto the stage.

For most of the items we needed to convert the bitmap to a vector image in order to get rid of the white space surrounding it.  To do this go to the Modify menu and select Bitmap / Trace Bitmap.  Click away from the image then click on the white space you want to delete and press the backspace key.  Use the select arrow to select all of the remaining image then right-click and convert to symbol.  Remember to name your symbol – it’s good practice!

Once you have done this for all your items, select them all and convert to a symbol.

Now we need to animate our person a little using a couple of keyframes of a motion tween.  I made my person bounce across the stage a little as if they were walking by bending the motion tween guide line just slightly.

Invisible Woman disappears...!

Finally we want to make our invisible people disappear.  On the final frame select the symbol then look at the Properties window.  Under Color Effect, change Style from None to Alpha.  Drag the slider down to 0.  Now when you view your animation your invisible person will disappear!  If you want your person to just disappear on the last bounce select the keyframe before, select your symbol and set the Alpha to 100 there.

Sorry, either Adobe flash is not installed or you do not have it enabled

S3 Achievements so far this year

Today we blogged about all the things we had learned and achieved in Digital Media Computing this year.

So far this year we have done….


  • Made a web site using coding (HTML)
  • HTML – lists, images, headings, fonts, colours, add videos
  • Changing websites using Hackasaurus


  • Made a glew account
  • Blogged about lessons

Image editing:

  • Cropping – Swapped famous people’s heads
  • Changing hue and saturation
  • Past and present photos
  • Masking – name text with image in background
  • Created a new drink logo and bottle label
  • Photography

Flash animations:

  • Creating objects and making them bounce around and change shape
  • Adding keyframes and tweens
  • Animating people using bone tool
  • Inserted images and videos – to make a TV


Flashy videos and sound

Today we started to attempt start and stop buttons.  We started by opening up a previous animation then we viewed the buttons folder of the common libraries.  We then dragged a couple of buttons onto our animation.  The idea was to write code to start and stop the animation, but it didn’t work (…because we needed to create an Action Script 2 file, not Action Script 3, but we’ll come back to this another day!)

Next we learned how to import sounds into Flash.  First we went to to download a sound clip.  Then in Flash we went to File / Import / Import to Library and selected our downloaded sound file.

sound in flash

In the timeline we added a layer for each sound clip.  On that layer we added a keyframe where we wanted the sound to start playing.  Then on the righthand side in Properties under ‘Sound’ and ‘Name’ we selected the new sound clip.  Then in the layer we could see the sound wave appear in blue and when we played the animation there was a comic ‘boing’ noise.

Next we tried out importing video clips.  The biggest problem was finding video clips we could download and use legally.   We used Channel 4’s PixnMix ( to find and download videos.  We then imported them into Flash (File / Import video).

The biggest problem with importing video into Flash is you have to use the Adobe Media Encoder programme to convert the file from .avi to .flv (Flash video) before you can use it in your animation.  As you’re importing it you can select different ‘skins’ to choose the visible buttons and what colour you want the buttons to be.

video on an ipad being held by a cartoon guy

We then added another layer and drew a TV around the screen (or a cinema screen or an iPad…)