Friday, December 18, 2009

A short warning for the festive season!

Thanks to students at the Institute Of Education for this short animation, made in a day on a recent course I ran.

Merry Christmas to you all, where ever you are!

Best wishes


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Music copyright issues

Working as judge last term for several local authorities, running animation/video celebrations (prefer the word celebration rather than competition) revealed a pattern regarding music. Schools still don't use copyright free music or create their own sound tracks for their animation films. Consequently the LA can't screen the film during or use it in any way, the film can't be added to a website or Youtube, esentaily it can't be published any where outside the school.

It's a big issue, you can't use a music track by Robbie Williams or Don Maclean or any one else regardless of they are alive or not. You also can't use just a snip of the track, 30 seconds or less. You can't use other peoples music at all, ever! Even if they're your friend and you went to college with the lead singer of Blur! (which I did, sorry had to name drop)

But music does add a huge amount of atmosphere, meaning and depth to an animation or film project, so including it is crucial and also an important part of the process, so how do we get around this copyright issue?

Simple, make your own music. The animation below is a great example of a very simple sound track that was recorded with the voice over in about 5 minutes during a student teacher training day at Hope University in Liverpool. A student with very basic piano skills played the melody while another student acted out the voice over, perfect collaborative learning.

Use your student's music skills, or friends, family and work colleagues., if you want your film to have life outside the schools walls and be published or celebrated in the wider community.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Teacher Training at the IOE, London

The three films below were made by teachers new to the world of stop frame animation. A variety of ideas, an animation for KS 1, a Gok inspired make over film and a simple story with a happy ending. We used the Hue webcam and I can animate animation software. Great for team building the day brought individuals together from different schools around the country and gave them confidence to use animation in their school. One teacher noted that is was the "Best course she has ever attended!'

There is an advanced animation course happening on the 4th December 2009.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Visual Literacy in Boston, Linc's.

These fun animations were made by Primary teachers embarking on a visual literacy project as a cluster group. Retelling and adapting stories familiar with the class, some of the adaptations may not be totally recognisable to their students. Especially Bear Hunt!

Enjoy. These examples were made in a day on recent teachers CPD day, short, focused simple ideas.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Not one, but two!

These two excellent animations were made today at the Hampshire languages conference in Basingstoke, in just 20 mins. A willing participant from the audience created the plot for each film, animated the fuzzy felts and then added the voice overs using iMovie. Simple but effective.

We used I Can Animate software to capture the animation sequence

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Animation with MFL's

Hola! Today at a golf course in Sunny South Gloucestershire we animated fuzzy felts! On the fram Fuzzy Felts. I was hoping to create a new film genre, using the subtle tones of the French language with Fuzzy Felt, but no volunteers so we used Spanish instead. This film was made in just 20 mins proving that it doesn't take a long time to make an animation, by Ben and Elena. Thank you!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Sleepy Sheep

A fun short animation made by teachers in Devon in 60 mins. as part of the Persistence of Vision project happening in Devon, Norfolk and Warwickshire this year. I like the sound effects and the clever use of blur to highlight the dreamy state. The blur was created with the focus ring on the front of the Hue webcam. Toes could have been made bigger and wiggled more!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

2D animation made on a bus

This brilliant short film was made on a Bus by young people in Bristol working along side Helen Hewitt, who works for Animation For Education.

The technique is simple and effective and took only a day to complete, working with one laptop, camera on a tripod, I Can Animate and iMovie.

The project was funded by the fire service and their objective was to raise awareness around fire safety with young people.

Sketch out simple ideas around fire safety.
Create the art work using plain white card and a thick black maker.
Decide on features that will be animated.
Set up kit, so camera on tripod is pointing down ( As a rostrum camera would) towards
the art work, blu tak is required to keep back ground still and clean hands help.

Notice in the film that only a few features are animated at a time, this makes it very
watchable as well as close shots with the camera draw the audience in.

For information on courses for teachers and workshop opportunities for students you can contact Animation For Education Here

Monday, August 10, 2009

Animated sticky Notes

This is a great example of a simple idea, fun and engaging. Will have fun trying this out and stickies are cheaper than plasticine!

Shapeshifting Post-It Notes from mrmayo on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Close ups, close ups, CLOSE UPS!

My objective this summer, running animation workshops around the UK, will be to develop a method of encouraging students to use close ups or at least move the camera closer to the action. Close ups draw the viewer into the world being created and thus engage. Too many animations that I've watched this year and for several animation competitions that I have had the pleasure of judging, have been filmed in one entire long shot, fine for the first 15 seconds, but then it can get boring.

Photographs that are close to the subject are far more interesting than long shots, long shots are used to show the huge mountains or wonderful sunset on the beach, but with lego and model animation in schools we must get closer to the action and not worry to much about excluding the set ( That may have taken a long time to create). An audience want's to follow the action of the story foremost.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Animations from Team Building day

These are the outcomes from a recent team building day at the Institute of Education, London. Much fun was had by all. Quote from organiser of the day below. The films were made in just 60 mins and each group was a given a title to help focus minds and keep within the theme of the day.

Why talking is better than email.

What makes a team?

‘One of the best staff development days we have had.
It was a great way to get to know other members of staff, work as a team
and of course have a fabulous animation to show at the end!
I would highly recommend it!’

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Team building- part 2

The session is only 1 hour long in total 15 mins planning, 30 mins
filming and finaly 15 mins to add sound

Team building using animation- part 1

I'm at the Insitute of education, London using animation as a team
building activity.

The title for their film is, "Why is talking better than email?"

Friday, July 10, 2009

Primary languages

Two fun short animated fuzzy felt moments created today in just 60 mins at the Primary languages conference in Telford.

The teachers emptied the boxes of fuzzy felt bits and created their stories, then shot the action and finally added their voice overs. Proving that animation doesn't have to take up huge amounts of time and can be used for creating short MFL scripts and stories.


Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Collaborative learning

Teenagers can get a lot of bad press, for their attitude and
behaviour. But one area teenagers excel is when working together as a
team or in a group. They can do this so naturaly compared to other age
groups. Animation can allow these natural soft skills room to develop.
Below the students are working as a team sharing and communicating
their ideas, this is a great skill for life, the ability to be able to
communicate ideas and thoughts clearly to others in away that can be

Of course we want all students to be able to read and write but to
have the skills of sharing ones passion and vision are just as
important for success in life.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The finished films from E2BN Day one

Four shorts edited together, made in just 2 x 1.5 hour sessions during the excellent E2BN conference. The groups all decided to work with nursery rhymes and adapt traditional ideas.

I love the way the mouse eats his cheese.

Animating a wave

Animating the mouse's arm for a wave you can see that the moves aren't very small.

Monday, June 15, 2009

More Fuzzy Felt animation and MFLs

The idea of animating Fuzzy Felt seems to appeal to all age groups. These animated shorts were made in under 90 minutes by teachers at the eTwinning conference held in Nottingham over the weekend. Participants loved the "Out of the Box' simplicity of it and the fact that it can be instant.

The aim of the session was to introduce teachers to some advanced techniques so we used Fuzzy felt characters on a green screen and using I can animate we keyed out the green screen and replaced it with a photo. Simple but very quick. Would love to be able to add a movie clip instead of a photo and animate over a video clip.

The tricky part is the lighting if there are shadows it doesn't quite work and the venue was basically a very smart greenhouse so there were lots of shadows and too much light. That's why you get that grainy effect on the animation

When having ago at green screening make sure you have an even light with few shadows.
You can use a big sheet of green paper from your art department, doesn't need to be expensive green screens.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Winking and Blinking with Stop Motion Animation

This short extract was made today on the advanced animation course for teachers as part of the software demo in just 10 minutes. I wanted to show the participants simple and effective methods for getting your models to wink and blink easily. Great for reacting to action.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Animation broadcast for Glow

On Friday I flew to Glasgow to work with P5 and P6's at Highdykes Primary School in Dumbarton. The animation demonstration broadcast was for Glow, part of Learning and Teaching Scotland. 

It was a small experienced group of four animators, who had been studying a poem called Tam O"Shanter by Robert Burns. This year is his 250 birthday, so he's well established as a poet! And as part of Scotland's home coming celebrations, LTS wanted to use Glow to broadcast to schools all over Scotland two simple animation sessions for students and teachers to watch and follow.

The 90 minute animation session was filmed using 3 cameras and a feed from my laptop and broadcast live via Glow to schools all over Scotland.

Students and teachers could watch and follow the animated activity as well as ask questions via Glow.

We chose a short extract from the poem and made the models and set before the broadcast begun.

Below is the animation made by the students in Just 90 minutes while being filmed live!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Animation with art teachers

A few animations made at Eagle House school this week during an animation INSET day for art teachers. They made their models so quickly! And they were all excellent, notice the simple scenery in the films, again made extremely fast, with paper, chalk and blue tac.

The scenery doesn't need to be great, just enough to give us a sense of location. So don't spend ages on fantastic designs and art work, invest that time in creating engaging stories.

This first film I like lots, simple and easy to follow, visual story telling. We just ran out of time to add more sound effects. The more sounds the better. The scenery here is made from a card board box with, maker pens.

In this film, there is a lot of copy and pasting of the frames. Which is a great trick to make a scene last a little longer.

The simple back ground in this short, makes it easy to follow the action.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Animation with year 1 at Mayflower Primary, Tower Hamlets

Two shorts films based on the same story created by year one students at the Mayflower Primary School, in East London yesterday.

The year 1 students have been working with artist Maria Amidu since the beginning of term on the topic of Toys. This has included a trip to a museum, a toy shop (Hamleys) creating their own toys with Shrinkles and papier mache, drawing maps of their adventures with a beginning, middle and end. Reading stories about a naughty bus and other toys and creating their own original story based on all their discoveries.

This story was then turned into two animation shorts, we used all the art work that had been created, busses and robots, their story map was used as the back drop.


Monday, March 30, 2009

Animation with Reception (Early Years)

This was a day I was slightly dreading, animation with 4 and 5 year olds. But it was great fun, animating fuzzy felt, on the farm fuzzy felt, so didn't have to make models, was straight out the box animation. I worked with small groups at a time, four or five, there were times when some of them did it on their own, moving the farmer and then taking the required shots, counting together as the did, as a team. I worked with the groups for about 20-30 mins at a time.

We created short scenes, then added them together in iMovie and using a USB Mic on a Hue web cam we added our short script.

The animation day was held at Church View Primary School in East Barnet, London. The first of three days, introducing animation into different Key stages, with a focus on literacy, encoraging students to plan a story, write a script, acting out their script using iMovie and a Mic and then sharing their finished work.

According to the Reception class teacher the students had to watch their film about 20 times before they got bored!

So if you're planning on animating with reception you can't go wrong with fuzzy felt!

Sue Baylik From East Barnet LA, arranged my visits and observed the days, below are some of her thoughts on the various outcomes.

Visiting Oscar’s Animation Workshops in Barnet

When I visited and observed a series of animation workshops run by Oscar, I felt that what I was watching was what education is all about. Oscar worked with a YR class, Y6 class and a Y8 class.

The first obvious element present was enjoyment. Throughout the days, the learners were smiling and laughing while working happily alongside each other. There was no difficult behaviour to manage in any of the classes.

Leading on from this, was their ability to cooperate and support each other. One teacher spoke about how pleased she was as the class did not always work in this way. Also, at the end of the session, the learners were eager to look at the films of the other groups and were positive and enthusiastic about their colleagues’ efforts. Animated(!) discussion not argument was the order of the day. Some learners did have to be ‘helped’ not to be camera, animator and computer person all at the same time, but by the end all the groups were working well together. It was interesting to observe the dynamics of the very successful, focused groups and those who needed more TLC.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Animated poems

This is one of five short animated poems made by year 10 students at Bishops Candellor School in Birmingham.

The poem is short, making it ideal for animating and adapting in a day, also it's very visual and the students made great use of sound to help the narrative. In fact the sound is crucial to this idea working.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A mix of fun shorts made by year 11 students.

I love these short animations for their inventiveness and simplicity. They were made in only four hours!

The students were taking part in a creative day to de-stress before their exams.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Animation in Cornwall-Mixed media

The first animation, made by teachers in Cornwall is a great example of mixing up your media.

Fuzzy felt is great fun and instant, good for KS 1 and early years. Very easy for them to animate.

These films are fresh from the Cornish coast, made yesterday. Enjoy, great models and fun simple stories.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Creative literacy day at the Institute of Education

Hope these films don't disturb you, they have been made for eight year olds! By trainee teachers on a one day creative literacy day. The films are to be screened at the BFI to a select group of year two and three students, after the viewing the students will be given the opportunity to discuss the films with the trainee teachers who made them. They're all adaptations of books Year 2 and 3 could be familiar with.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Another cycle of life.

This short animation was made today with teachers in Taunton. The small group of Primary teachers used the Hue webcam. A colorful webcam costing £20.00, great quality, with a focus ring and digital zoom feature, works with I Can Animate and SM Animator. Another great quality webcam being used on the course was a Creative webcam. The new generation webcams on the market are much better quality and also very affordable.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Science project using animation

A simple but effective way of showing a class how the water cycle works. This animation was made during a school day in Dorset as part of the SWGFL animation training scheme. Great for VLE's.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Animation ideas for early years

I love this simple animation example, made yesterday with teachers in Plymouth. Focused ideas result in watchable outcomes. The small group of KS 1 teachers knew the story of The Rainbow Fish very well and had the confidence to make their own adaptation.

Rainbow Fish is a great story to adapt and bring to life with animation. Simple, visual and short.

The workshop was one of about fifteen courses happening in the South West, organised by the SWGFL.

Another group of teachers on the same course went for a more random approach.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

MFL's get animated

On Tuesday 24th I ran an animation INSET day with twenty MFL teachers from both Primary and Secondary schools in Salisbury. In groups of five the teachers created four fun animation shorts focused on foreign language projects and ideas, retelling popular stories in French, and creating a surreal Spanish myth featuring a Bull in Love with a flower, who fancied a cow!

The films below demonstate how a clear and foucused story can be created in just a few hours. There was a lot of laughter during the day and much fun was had by all.

The idea of using the animation clips in class without any sound was discussed towards the end of the day, as a fun way to encourage students to write their own short scripts in French or Spanish. These scripts would then be added to the animations with a microphone and video editing package like iMovie or Movie Maker.

I think this idea has loads of potential and will have a go, next week at the CiLT conference in Liverpool.

Enjoy the films.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Make IT Happy

This look's like a great opportunity for creating a fun animated short or video project.

Make IT Happy (click on the link) 

There's prize money! Fame! And will be lots of fun!

Good luck.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Animation with gang members in Bristol

At last this project has started and it's going very well.  We have two interviews with recent victims of gang related crime and two interviews with local community police officers. 

The young people involved have had a day of animation with me, making models, thinking up a short scenario and working with a green screen, the results can be seen here. This was to give them an idea of the process and principles of animation as well as introduce them to the ideas of the project. They all did brilliantly and so far no one has got uncomfortable with the theme of understanding the emotions and feelings of others when they've become a victim of crime often within their own home.

The five young people involved listened to the interviews last week, there was a surprisingly quiet moment of reflection for the small group as they listened to the lady talk about her house and car being targeted by a small gang of youths. She sounds like a lovely lady!

So the group decided that as she was talking about her home and feeling like a prisoner in it, while the gang targeted her, she should be a tortoise! Pictured below.

Another small group decided the community police officers being interviewed should be penguins again pictured below. 

Next week we will start to film the characters, animating to the words of the interviews.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009