The Digital Arts Workshop ended pretty successfully. For the final day we were able to meet with the students and their parents in the Tweed activity gallery on campus. Snacks were had along with conversation and some quick and short animation projects, which allowed the parents to participate and get a hands-on sense of what their kids were doing. After a short time, everyone gathered in the Lecture gallery to view the finished project.
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The final products were well received and the project was complete.
The overall workshop was a very good experience. It was good to put us in a position that involved mentoring, while safely in a controlled environment. The experience is something I could not find somewhere else. With experiences like this, I feel more and more prepared for what lies ahead within my future education profession. The students were very proud of their work and seeing it on a large screen with their parents must have been exciting. It was great to see such interesting pieces come from such small groups of students and mentors.
The basic idea behind the project is one that I see as very valuable. While introducing younger students to a fresh form of creative art making, we (the mentors and instructor) learn something about teaching. We can use this workshop as a example to better our teaching methods in the future and more effectively introduce students to media arts.
So today involved the actual construction of our group's animation in iMovie. Both of our students had experience within the program before the workshop, so it went pretty smoothly. I helped one student with the ordering of the scenes while the other mentors polished up the clips and helped the other student in Garage Band. Like I said, everything went smoothly, which I would contribute to multiple things. The students experience was nice and our group had done a good amount of work outside the workshop to make sure everything was ready to be imported into iMovie. The program itself was also quite easy to use. I have used it before, but not in such a extensive manner and I was surprised at how easy everything became once we started.
I would still be weary of using this within a classroom for this age group though, as even though things went smoothly, they also take time. We were not able to completely finish the animation with the students in our group, which left a small amount of work to be completed without them. Tis was okay with me though, because next time we meet with the students, they will get to see the completed project with their parents. I think this way it will be more rewarding and exciting for them.
I have the finished video here as well. Hopefully I can also figure out how to upload a isolated track that one of the students created in Garage Band for the animation (which I will post either here or in another post)
Just as a recap, we chose to use the story of Icarus, which tells of him and his father escaping from a prison through the use of wings his father built with wax and feathers. Daedalus (his father) warns Icarus of the dangers of flying too low to the ocean or too high to the sun. Icarus ignores these warnings and eventually flies too high, where the sun melts the wax, thus destroying his wings. Icarus meets his end as he falls to the ocean which ends the story.
We chose to follow the story pretty much as told, expect we used a different theme, thus changing some minor details. The theme focuses on that similar to Tim Burton's artistic style (inspired mostly from the movie 9).
Today was completely focused on stop motion animation We set up a green screen on a table in the room and shot our movie. We focused on doing the motions from the beginning of the story to the end (this order is not necessary though, as in editing you can move and image around). The students had a little difficultly understanding the relation of the puppets to a fixed position, but we obtained some good shots.
The screen did not work as a more professionally one would have, but it worked well enough. Through some photoshop work after the class had met, we were able to isolate the figures against a void background.
The day ended with a big gain in work completed for the final product. There isn't much to reflect back on, although stop motion may not be the best choice for students around this age group. Students can get quite excited when undertaking a project like this, especially when the actual figures are in their hands and they are pretending to act out the scenes. This, however, adds maybe too much excitement, which makes the stillness required for stop motion difficult to achieve.
So today we had the kids work on the scenes for the Icarus story. We planned to do stop motion animation with our "puppets" over a green screen and later extract the images and animate them over the scenes.
It was really interesting to see what the students created out of bits and pieces of stock photos of scrap metal (which was chosen to stay within the theme we decided on earlier). We encouraged the students to find interesting parts in each photo and try and think of how it could be used to build our scenes.
It was great that the students even thought of continuity (as seen with the window on the outside and inside of the tower). This showed us that the students were really into the project and the way we chose to approach it.
The students finished most of the scenes today, we just have to do a small amount of work to have the unfinished work ready for next time.
I was sick for the second meeting in the Digital Arts Workshop, but I did prepare a Visual Plan for the beginning stages of writing the storyboard.
The decision was made to use a style similar to that of Tim Burton and also of contemporary artist Tom Haney. Both artist use earth toned themed worlds that show the blending of man and machine. This seems appropriate towards the project since we are working with machines. The Workshop itself is a representation of machine becoming more and more important to us in our everyday lives. Although it may sound a little too deep" for the situation, I think its important to be thinking as artist along with thinking as an educator in the field we are working within.
The plan worked out and we have drawn up character models and scenery sketches with the kids. We plan on creating our storyboard with them next week.
The first day off the Digital Arts Workshop went very well. I mentored the days activities with two boys. It was interesting to see how well they actually knew the program we were using. It seems the younger generations are adapting to technological advances as they become more apart of our lives. I have some pictures to share from the event.
The first day turned out to be a very good experience. There was some anxiety going into the day, but it the day went well. It was helpful to gain an idea on how the kids work with the computers. This becomes valuable information when one is thinking about a lesson plan. Hopefully we can apply this newly gained experience to future plans in the Workshop to make things run smoother.