I started to learn Flash animation 2 years ago in my Computer Applications class while in the Graphic Design program at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities. Adobe Flash is a program which enables you to create videos. The videos made can range from very simple to very complicated. What I love about Flash is that you can import vector images and they remain vectors that you can edit. I think Flash is a good program for students to learn. I found a very basic lesson plan on a digital art education blog that I think is a good introduction to Flash.
In the lesson there are 4 basic elements that have to be accomplished in the project. You have a shape that you create which is used in each 4 requirements. The first requirement is that you have to move the shape around the screen and distort is while it moves. The second is that you have to morph the shape into another shape. Thirdly, you must make the shape grow larger. And finally, the shape has to change opacity. Then, you use those shapes to create a concept animation. The teacher listed 7 "concepts" such as playful, congestion, victory, and fear. The concept must be expressed in the animation somehow. When the student is completed, another student has to view their animation and guess what concept was being strived for.
Link to the lesson plan blog:
I think this is a good introduction lesson plan. The first half of the lesson sort of introduces the basics of the program. The student can get a feel for how tweening works and such through this half. The second half encourages the student to work with a more conceptual project, which is something many schools like to focus on. By having to use a concept in a project, the student has to use more critical thinking to successfully portray what he/she is trying to portray. This is a very basic conceptual lesson, but as an intro I think it works great. I think doing animation in photoshop like we did in class first, and then moving on to animation in flash is a good idea. Animation is flash, I feel, is basically an extension of what you can do in photoshop. When you animate in photoshop you understand the concept of layer and frames, and you get an introduction into tweening. From there, flash just adds on.
If I were to do this in my class I would do just that. I would start with a photoshop animation project to get the class used to frames, layers, and basic tweens. I would then introduce a basic flash lesson plan. Then, I would do a little more advanced flash lesson. I actually found a more advanced and very detailed flash lesson plan on another blog. This instructor is very thorough, giving many step by step video instructions and examples. I think that before flash is used that the students may also need a basic understanding of how to use illustrator so that they understand vector objects. With that being said, I definitely think that a flash lesson like this would be used in a upper level high school classroom. With all of the elements that go into flash, I think it would be too complicated and overwhelming for a middle school student to learn.
Advanced Lesson Plan:
When I learned how to do flash videos, I loved it. I think it is a very fun program, and I don't understand why more classrooms don't incorporate it into their curriculum. I guess one of the main issues with that is the cost of buying the program. As I have stated in previous blogs though, Adobe offers amazing educational discounts, and their programs are very affordable.
A Flash animation I made in class:
Pfeiffer, Anne. "Suggested Beginning Flash Project." Digital Art Education. 8 Feb. 2010. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.
Waldman, Scott. "Introduction to Flash Animation CS5." 2008. Web. 27 Oct. 2011.