Monday, September 03, 2007

Animation Again

Well actually not again, but almost a term ago now I ran a course on the use of animation across the curriculum. We progressed from 2Animate to using Digi-Blue and some attempted to use Stop Motion Pro, particularly for Chroma Key techniques. In preparing the course I have to say that each of the applications had their merits, and their hang-ups. Though for sheer ease of use Digi-Blue won hands-down. This was proven by the satisfaction and quick achievements of those attending the course, who ranged from Network managers to ICT Cos to ordinary (sorry) teachers to TAs ( never ordinary!).

From what I remember we agreed on the following points:

  • Animation can be used across the curriculum and should not be limited to just ICT

  • When working on a claymation or 2d card scenario, more than one animator is needed, as someone needs to operate the objects, another can direct, while another clicks through the software

  • Multiple versions or remixes of an animation can be created when working in a group as some packages allow you to add music or effects

  • Plan Plan Plan first

  • A lot can be said in a very small space of time- children often try to create epic - remember a TV advert is only 90 seconds and still manages to provide a narrative

  • Capture animated scenes in short bites- this makes editing so much easier.
The software As stated above we used three packages and on reflection, I think I would not use the same 3 again, though I still thinking and trying out new and exciting packages all the time ( see the up and coming post). Here are some thoughts on each of the packages: 2Animate- Very easy to use and quick results, however cropping and copying selections proved troublesome at times. For example copying a ship on a bobbing sea and placing it in a new position proved annoying as the software placed it where just off centre- so the resulting animation was sometimes not quite what you wanted. It is also easy to lose bits of a selected area such as a head or a tail. However a lot can be done with 2animate and it also easily supports a Web Cam Stop Motion Pro- A great piece of software- the best thing about this was the onion skinning- this meant that you did not have to guess the last position of your object. This piece of software, though quite easy to use did not have the instant appeal and 'get in there and get going straight away interface' of 2animate or Digi-Blue and hence not everyone got busy with this application. Using Stop Motion Pro introduced me to the Stikfas- great plastic kartouche type figures that offer the full range of (appropriate) articulated movements- some have been used in the films below, and make a change from my usual reliance on Doctor Who figures, Legos and Playmobil.

Digi-Blue- We were all surprised by how easy it was to produce some quality animations with this and the camera. I have had headaches in the past with the Digi-Blue, the batteries have died or the darn thing wont talk to the PC when plugged back in, but when hooked up to the computer and snapping meticulously away like Nick Park, it all behaves beautifully. There was one annoyance though and that was that we often had to convert the finished piece to wmv though using Movie maker. This was due to the software defaulting to save pieces as AVIs, these did not always play both sound and video. I think I will ensure I have all the Codecs downloaded and demo how to do this during my next years course. Below you will find some examples of the work created on the day.

Hope they inspire you!! PS I attempted use the new Video Upload feature of Blogger- it worked brilliantly second time around.

Actually below you will just find Nicholas and Jack's great Transofrmers video hosted on Youtube- The Blogger upload seems to only display videos in preview mode so I have has to take them away- previous viewers of this post would have seen just red crosses in small white squares- what has gone wrong??


Evi Liang said...

Dear Mr.Anthony Evans,

Apologies for the comment, I could not find your contact details. I have been following your blog and really enjoy your input with the children at school and how involved they are in using technology in the classroom. My name is Evi Liang, I’m a digital consultant at Hill & Knowlton, and on behalf of WebbliWorld, wanted to invite you to take part in their blogger relations programme. WebbliWorld, has recently launched a website for children between the ages of 6-11 years old. is a vibrant, interactive and highly animated virtual world for children, designed and developed in association with Aardman animations. A unique proposition, WebbliWorld is both a fun and engaging playground for children to explore and share, as well as a safe and stimulating environment that promotes positive values and empowers children to learn more about the world they live in. We would appreciate your feedback if you feel it does provide a safe online playground for children.

The website is currently running a competition which ends 31st October and has fun educational games available where you and the children will have the opportunity to win prizes from Puffin Books and WWF. You can also read what the owners, Justine & Camilla have to say about the safety of children online by viewing their blog They would love your input and any suggestions you may have.

Look forward to hearing from you, we are very excited about the opportunities WebbliWorld has to bring to the virtual world for children!

Kind regards,

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