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Digital Storytelling Reflection

For this project our class teamed up with junior high students to create digital narrative animations by appropriating classic fairy tales and stories. There were two students per group, and two or three mentors per group. It was awesome to have so many mentors for the students because it helped work go faster, and the students always had a resource to answer questions. Mentors designed a storyboard as well as a guide that showed examples of an artist students would draw inspiration from as well as a color guide. The mentors and students then collaborated to come up with how they wanted to create their animations. In the Frog Prince group Monet was our inspiration. We updated our story by having the "princes character drop and i-pod in a pond instead of a pearl. We chose to scan in hand drawn images and manipulate them in photoshop for speed and to go with our painterly aesthetic. We also created a paint animation which was the background for most of our animation. After creating our clips in photoshop we brought them into I Movie and added sound effects, special effects, and music.
Overall this project wet really great. The students and mentors loved it although it was stressful at times. If I had to do a similar project again I would look for ways to simplify the animation process so the students would be more involved. I think I would also let the kids build their own narrative around their own character so they would have more freedom, and perhaps be more free to create and have fun. The pressure around building a long narrative based on an already existing story seemed to be a little too much for the amount of time the kids had to work. No matter what story or project is used I would also allow for a few more class periods for students to work.

Ideas for how to use similar animation in classroom:

-Use the idea of a flip book to make simple animation. Girl flying background changes, body moves. This way movement and animation could be simple but you could really play around with the visual elements. I would accomplish this with photoshop, but you could also add in background stills of other animations. Perhaps your character will fly through a paint animation.

-Have the class collectively work on one narrative so they are all responsible for one scene. You could set up basic characters and story plot but each group could reinterpret them to create their part of the movie. You could then piece the clips together to get a remix type loose story line.

Day 5

Today was all about animation and piecing together our final movie. As mentors we spent many hours preparing much of the animation for our team including piecing together our paint animation. We also spent a lot of time going through iMovie and reviewing sounds and music that would be appropriate for our movie.
The students started out the day by animating the last scene of the prince and princes walking away in love. They also chose to use the fog special effect in conjunction with a still of the back of the frog and the back of the prince's head to complete their transformation scene. It was easy and quick, but was also convincing and worked with our story really well. The girls really enjoyed piecing together the final project in iMovie and adding sounds and transitions. They left feeling good about their movie, and as mentors we just completed a few last final adjustments.

  Overall this project wet really great.If I had to do a similar project again I would look for ways to simplify the animation process so the students would be more involved.  I think I would also let the kids build their own narrative around their own character so they would have more freedom, and perhaps be more free to create and have fun.  The pressure around building a long narrative based on an already existing story seemed to be a little too much for the amount of time the kids had to work.  No matter what story or project is used I would also allow for a few more class periods for students to work.

Ideas for how to use similar animation in classroom:

-Use the idea of a flip book to make simple animation. Girl flying background changes, body moves.  This way movement and animation could be simple but you could really play around with the visual elements.  I would accomplish this with photoshop, but you could also add in background stills of other animations.  Perhaps your character will fly through a paint animation.

-Have the class collectively work on one narrative so they are all responsible for one scene.  You could set up basic characters and story plot but each group could reinterpret them to create their part of the movie.  You could then piece the clips together to get a remix type loose story line.




Day 4


Frog Prince small.jpgFrog Prince Girl small.jpg

The students used the first part of the day to add the finishing touches to their characters. Using pattens through the stamp tool, our students helped distinguish the background from the frog and prince characters. This was a fast and easy way to build contrast and the students really enjoyed it.


Next we began to work on developing our background. To prepare for this the mentors in our group had collected images of Monet's paintings and practiced using different stamp techniques as well as collaging to integrate this imagery into our paint animation backdrop. The girls worked really hard trying to keep their color pallet consistent when creating their background by adjusting flower colors from Monet's work and playing with filters. They also focused on keeping their composition as a whole balanced and readable. They developed a path through the use of a paint brush tool that had a gravel texture, they also copied a picture of a bench using the magic wand and put a filter that gave it a painterly style that matched well with our aesthetic. By the end of class our background, and characters were totally finished and ready to be animated.



frog prince frog small.jpg




Day 3

Day three was a really exciting day for me personally because I got the opportunity to start actually working with students on their narratives. I joined the Frog Prince group which was focusing on appropriating this classic story by setting it in modern day and visually representing through imagery inspired by Monet, specifically his impressionist water lilies. We found our students really enjoyed combining digital methods of working with drawing, by scanning in drawings of their characters and manipulating them in Photoshop. This gave them the control they desired and helped us move a little faster, since our students where very meticulous in their working habits.
Our students also got the opportunity to work with paint animation in the Tweed Museum of Art. This was a great help in creating our background imagery fast and in a fun and exciting way for our students. It pushed them to work in a less meticulous fashion and gave them freedom to play and have fun with a new animation technique.
We also continued finishing character development. We had already had a good start on both the princess and prince characters, and we also completed work on our frog character. I had prepared a step by step how to draw a frog, and we also had frogs in our image bank which helped develop this character fast and easy.

FrogPrince_visualplan-thumb-450x291-16410.jpg

Day 2

Day two I was stationed in the Tweed Museum Animation Station in which Jillian and myself got to share our research on chalk, white board, and graphite animation. The students were really intrigued by the videos we showed them, but they were a bit hesitant at first to participate in our chalk animation exorcise. In an attempt to get the students to start thinking about transformations and character morphing, which would be one of our focus' through out the digital workshop we gave students the challenge of morphing a human character into a ware wolf. We encouraged them and gave them ideas to get them more comfortable, and the kids began to have fun morphing the character. We encouraged them to think about shape and how one shape can morph into another. We also tried to encourage them to add interest by moving the character and referenced different parts of Blu's movie to get them to think about how they could add interest to their chalk animation. Again this intro session was a lot to cover in such a short time, but it was still valuable in exposing the students to an alternative animation technique. After the kids left Jillian and myself stayed in the Tweed to see if anyone walking through would be interested in attempting chalk animation, but there really was no one around to participate. After the fact Jillian and I realized it would have helped to continue the chalk animation ourselves or go around and invite people to participate to make our activity more approachable.




Small wolf1.jpg



Day 1

For Day 1 of the digital workshop I was apart of the meet and greet team. It was a really exciting day as we anticipated meeting our Junior High students for the first time. They arrived earlier than we thought, which worked out just fine. When students were brought to me I helped them find a place to set their belongings, and then helped them find Curtis to be apart of the Tweed exploration. This was not a planned activity but it worked out really nicely, and it was a good way to take advantage of all the resources around us. Next Joellyn gave a small introduction of the workshop to the students which was really helpful in focusing our group and setting them up for a successful day.
The first animation activity for the kids took place in the tweed through flip book animation. The kids seemed to enjoy it although it was a very short activity. I think it was a nice way to step into the ideas of animation because it used simple skills of drawing with a pencil which is a familiar process for all students. We probably had a few too many helpers, but it was not a big deal.
After 15 minutes of working on flip books I helped students collect belongings and instructed them to quietly follow me to the lab where we would be working. During this class time Joellyn introduced the activity for the day which was to use Photoshop to transform a picture of their face how ever they wanted. The students really enjoyed this exorcise, and it was fun to see the variety and creativity with in these short animations. Some students seemed a tad self conscious and would delete some of the layers they completed, instead of just continually building up their ideas. It would be good to remind students not to delete or worry about perfection in their face transformations and that this exorcise is more playful and a way to explore Photoshop.
There was about one mentor for every kids which was nice for the first day when the students were learning so many new tools and ways of working in Photoshop. It also helped because students were not faced toward the front during Joellyn's teaching, so this allowed mentors to be right there to keep students on track and keep them from getting lost. Overall I think the first day was really successful and the kids left excited about what they learned.

Frog Prince Video