Friday, December 19, 2008

An animated Christmas card

Have a great Christmas and a happy, healthy new year!

These short animations were made by year 10 ICT students at the Baxter College in Kidderminster. Their brief to create a short animated Christmas greeting that can be used on Youtube, sent via email or posted on a blog entry. The idea of the animation day was to introduce all 40 students to the software, principles and possibilities of animation within GCSE ICT. Next term they're planning a lot more animation as part of the course work.


Monday, December 8, 2008

Adapting and animating

Keeping ideas short and simple is a good starting point for any animation project, if the class have a familiar theme, story or idea it will keep everyone involved focused, which will influence the final outcomes in a positive way. The random, "lets make it up as we go", approach, will be good fun but the final product/outcome won't be as good.

So adapting a story the class/group are familiar with is a very good idea.

I did a project with year fours last year adapting and animating the Twits!

The class had to decide on which scenes should be included in their animated adaptation, as not all the scenes would be possible or easy to film.

The clip below is a good example of a simple scene from the Twits, Mrs Twit adding worms to Mr Twit's Spaghetti. A simple fun visual scene. This clip has no sound, so make sure you set aside time for the sound, voices etc.

I like the look of this competition being organised by Film Street.

Film Street, the award winning filmmaking website for children, has just launched an animation competition for children and schools, Animate IT ’09: To cut a long story short.

In partnership with Kudlian Software, the Picture Production Company and the National Year of Reading we are inviting children under 12, primary schools and after school groups to make an animated trailer to promote their favourite book; our patron is CBBC’s Ed Petrie.

You have until April to enter your work and there are prizes!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Advanced animation ideas

Here are the outcomes from the advanced animation course for teachers held at the Institute of Education on 5th December.

The day long course was intended for teachers who have been using animation in the classroom and wanted to discover new ideas and practice they can use with their students.

So the day included the following:

1-Chroma Keying with I can animate and a green screen.

2-The use of different shots, long shots, mid shots and close ups.

3-Reaction to action. This really brings characters to life!

4-Pausing the action and creating beats within the animation, links to the above point.

5-Using multiple sound effects and music to give added depth to the animations, animation is 60% sound.

6- And finally creating much simpler story ideas, reducing the ideas down to a raw essence, keeping it painfully simple. Simple doesn't mean boring and unimaginative.

So there was quite a lot to do in one day! The participants worked in small groups of four and each group came up with a fun simple idea. Only one group could do the chroma keying as I only have one green screen. The green screen cloth was sourced from Kudlian Soft.

In the past I have worked with students using a large piece of green paper from the art department which provided a perfect key. (Traditionally green and blue screens are used in the film industry because there are no blue or green hues/colours in our skin tones.)

Remember when making your models don't include any green modeling clay if you're using a green screen.

The key to a successful chroma key is light, an even spread of light on your green/blue screen.

The chroma key in the animation below isn't great because of the poor light, also I think using a video camera will generate better results, both films were shot with webcams.

I like the sound effects in the Christmas surprise and the reaction to action by both the Christmas tree and the bird. The sound effects were sourced from