November 2009 Archives

Digital Art Workshop

Part of our Digital Methods in Art Education class is to participate in the Digital Art Workshop for Youth. This is a program that children from the ages of ten to fourteen sign up for and there are five once a week after school sessions where children come to learn about animation and digital techniques. Exploration in Photoshop, iMovie, and GarageBand will occur and children will also be able to work with other animation materials such as sand, paint, and clay. Using these methods and techniques the children will create an animation that tells a unique story focused on the idea of transformation. 

Digital Art Workshop Day 5 Reflection

Day five was our last day to work with the students. Because of time constraints, the other mentors and I went through and animated the majority of the piece prior to this last meeting. We saved the last scene because we thought it was important that the two students get more time with actually animating and moving the characters around. They had already done this a little in the beginning, but we wanted them to review and really feel like they knew how it was done. 

When they finished with that we moved into GarageBand and iMovie HD. The girls had a great time picking out sounds and music and even at the end of the day they were giving us suggestions for what they wanted to see in the final project. 

Another decision that was made was that the full sand animation that was created was used in the beginning and the end of the piece to pull the whole thing together.

As they were leaving I felt that they were really proud of their work and so was I. We all made the best with the time we had. I feel like the students really learned a lot and had a great time doing it!

Digital Art Workshop Day 4 Reflection

Because I was working at the Sand and Paint animation station in the Tweed on day three, another mentor had joined our group. The three of us presented to our two students the paint animation they had created. We decided as a group to use it as the backdrop for our characters to move around on, and with the characters finished we could begin animating. 

But first they agreed that the background needed to be more than just paint. The image was interesting, but the thought of using collage to add more colors and different elements such as flowers and lily pads was very interesting. We had the girls look at some of Monet's paintings and had them pick out parts they wanted. In Photoshop we cut and pasted those parts onto the background for the animation and then showed them various tools to help them play with the colors. At the very end of the day we began to really get into the actual act of animation. Ideally they would have been faster at creating the background and then they would have been able to move into the animation process sooner, but as mentors we decided it was more important for them to spend time with the images. They were learning so much about Photoshop and even just about basic composition and 2D design elements that there was not any rush to get them into the tedious process of animation.  

Digital Art Workshop Day 3 Reflection

Day three was the day where I worked with one other mentor in the Tweed and operated the Sand and Paint animation station. After setting up the light table we made sure all of the tools needed were ready to go and placed out on a nearby table for the students to use. 

What was different from this animation station is that throughout the couple hours of the workshop we had three groups scheduled to come in and film part of their animation with either sand or paint. 

The first group worked with sand, and we showed them techniques they could use. For the most part my job was to make sure everything was ready for the next group and to clean up after the last one. We did not really help animate anything because the other mentors were there working with their students. My group, The Frog Prince, actually came in so I did have some involvement in that animation, but for the most part my job was mostly clean up. 

As with anything that has the potential to be messy, the children had a great time playing with the sand and paint. They really embraced the different tools and explored various techniques, so overall I think the sand and paint animation station was a success. 

Digital Art Workshop Day 2 Reflection

Day two was the big day where we the mentors pitched our stories of transformation to the children. Then they would pick the story that they wanted to help animate for the rest of the workshop. I was working with one other mentor on the story of The Frog Prince, and two girls eagerly signed up to work on our project. 

After everyone has selected a group, we sectioned off parts of the room and got to work. As mentors we further explained our visual plan that we had just presented to them. Monet was our artist for style inspiration, and we asked them about what they wanted to see in the animation. The girls suggested we update the story and have it be about a teenage girl who loses her iPod and the frog retrieves it for her out of the pond. It was very exciting to start to see them make the story their own.

Our main goal for day two was to complete the creation of the characters. The Frog Prince consists of ultimately three necessary characters: the princess, the frog, and the prince. Because neither of our students had worked in Photoshop before, we decided the fastest way to create the characters would be to draw them on paper, scan them into the computer, and then add color and do any alterations in Photoshop. Starting a big project can be difficult, and it took the entire time remaining for the girls to get a solid start to their character creations. 

Digital Art Workshop Day 1 Reflection

On day one I was part of the meet and greet crew. As the children arrived I made sure they were checked off the attendance sheet and helped guide them into the Tweed Museum. Surprisingly all the the children arrived around the same time and instead of having them filter in and out of the animation station and then up to the classroom, it turned into a mini-animation lesson with all the children at the Tweed. When it was time to bring them upstairs the other meet and greet people and I led them up to the classroom. 

The students were introduced to a quick form of animation using Photo Booth and Photoshop. My role that day was to observe and take notes on how everything was going. Some of the things I noticed that day were that the students were very eager to learn and jumped right into the project. The only negative aspect of the day had to have been the layout of the classroom. It was difficult for the students to watch what they were being taught and to look at their own screens. Also, the middle aisle of the classroom became very crowded and tight. 

At the end of the day I helped walk the children back down to the Tweed and made sure that they left with their parents. Overall it was a very successful first day to the workshop, and I think it helped make the students very excited to come back the following Tuesday to start the big project. 

Sand and Paint Animation

For our second project we were asked to research and present a specific type of animation to the class. This was in part for our own learning experience but also in preparation for the Digital Art Workshop for kids. My group looked into sand and paint animation techniques.

Here is our demonstration that we did with our classmates:

Before this class I had never heard of sand animation. I discovered it involved moving sand or paint around on top of light table and documenting it. Some people film live performances of this artwork or another option would be to use a stop motion technique. This would involve taking still pictures every time a portion of the image is changed, not unlike the creature collage animation. 

My group and I experimented with both sand and paint. With both mediums it is important to keep in mind where the image is starting and where it is going. Often it works best to work from the background and move to the foreground. When making the shapes it is important to think of how the "lines" of paint or sand that create your image will be used to morph the figures or shapes into something else. Contrast is also key to making beautiful sand and paint animations because the difference between light and dark is what makes the image. 

Here is the powerpoint used in our presentation and following are the video examples of famous sand and paint artists. Sand and Paint Animation PPT.pdf

If you're interested in experimenting with sand and paint animation there are a few supplies you'll need: 

*Light table (avoid plexiglass, it will cause static electricity)

*Clear acetate transparency paper to place on top of glass

*Sand or paint (try mixing up colors!)

*Paint brushes, cotton swabs, popsicle sticks, etc.



Looking back on this project I think that it was really beneficial to experience a variety of animation techniques and have the opportunity to share with the class. Now I have some familiarity with sand and paint animation as well as the techniques my classmates presented and in the future I can potentially use that in the classroom. 

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