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Final Project: Media Arts Hands-on Investigation

For my final project, I put my teaching skills to use.  I visited Northwoods Children Services, as I have in the past, to do an original art lesson. I worked with they young boys on the Cheyenne team, they range in age from 7 - 12 years old. This time, being as pumped as I am about animation, we explored the concepts of animation.  During our introduction to the lesson, the children were so enthralled that THEY would be creating an animation.  We did my lesson in three different meetings, though we had up to three hours some days.

I based my two final lesson plans on the two different lessons I performed with the boys.

During our first day, I showed the children an introduction to animation.  I asked them what sorts of animations they knew and to name examples.  They did real well.  We then previewed motivational resources, all of the videos we viewed are on my blog.  During this day they children then built Lego creatures in preparation for animation.  They were encouraged to explore creative avenues in which their creature can move, and weather or not pieces would be added to the creature or subtracted during the animation.

The next time we met we then animated our Lego Animation.  With the camera on a tripod we took frame-by-frame shots for almost an hour and a half.  The boys did real well, until the end when it just naturally became time for the animation to come to a complete.  With well over 300 pictures taken, our Lego animation sure had time to turn into a compelling animation.

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for 32 Months lego 174.JPG

I posted a still of the process. The project is in two pieces. First is the Lego stop motion, and second is some fun Chalk art animation. 

Here is the Lego Iron Man animation
This is the first draft of the animation.  Since then the sound has been cut and the chalk and Lego animation have been added together. 

Project 3 Digital Storytelling

In our Digital Methods class we were able to participate in the Fine Arts Academy's Digital Art Workshop, check it out on the Digital Arts Workshop Blog. We performed as Mentors guiding the students in artistic learning's of Digital Arts

We choose the story of Pinocchio.  Our theme was inspired by Roy Lichenstein's comic book style using primary colors and simplified forms.
We began with a story board:
Thumbnail image for Pinnochio_VisualPlan.jpg

Cow beam Animation.psd Claymation.psd

::Day One::
Tues Oct. 13

We met the children and dove in right away into Photoshop. I worked with two boys. It turns out they were the two youngest ones of the entire group. With that said, it seemed to take us a little longer than the other groups. But the b

oys had a really fun time making their animations, and once they understood that each new layer was another piece of a small animation. They enjoyed changing themselves into their alter egos.

::Day Two::
Tues Oct. 20

My partner Rachel and I prepared our Story Visual Inspiration Board. We have the story of Pinocchio. Our inspiration is derived from Roy Lichtenstein's comic book style. We have decided on using a primary color palette to enhance the story.

After all the groups pitched their story the children were able to choose the story they wanted. The rest of the time this day was spend in our small group discussing the story and our two children created their characters, which would end up being the two main characters.

The boy I was working with was able to draw his character by hand, and we scanned his hand drawing into the computer. He really enjoyed that since he was able to have more control over his hand drawing versus his computer drawing. He touched it up in Photoshop. He created this magnificent creature named Skullth. He's scary and dark, yet in the story he does silly things. It was exciting to see the children so interested in their imaginations and creating such fantastical characters.


::Day Three::
Tues Oct. 27

We came prepared with the majority of our backgrounds done. The children were able to work exclusively on the animations today in Photoshop. It took the entire class period this day to make just one small animation. It was a little testing for me, at that I was hoping to get much more completed. But it gave me some perspective that I needed to give the boy I was working with small tasks, so he could really dedicated his entire attention to and give the work his detail oriented skill.

Thumbnail image for Many cows.jpg

::Day Four::
Tues Nov. 3

I was pleased that we were given an extra week to complete our project. Time has defiantly been an issue I feel. We have been giving a lot of attention to every detail of our story hoping that it will string together cohesively. The first 30 minutes of this day we experimented with Claymation and did our stop motion clay photoshoot.


The children REALLY enjoyed this. They were really hesitant at first, seemingly not knowing what to do or if they would do it right. We had to keep encouraging them. We had a Godzilla character that melted down into a puddle and POOF turned into a cow. Very humorous and the melting was extremely successful. Clay is really amazing to work with!

We then finished the last of the animations that needed to be animated with the children. My Partner and I were left to finish the rest of the scenes for the next week.

P1060156.JPG Claymation 2P1060183.JPG

::Day Five::

Tues Nov 10

The children finally were able to work in IMovie...something they had been waiting for. They didn't even want to finish the animations so they could start to play in IMovie!!
We gave each child the opportunity to edit their own version of the story. The boy I worked with was just ecstatic to edit...the effects and especially the music, which he had his heart on Eye of the Tiger as his song. And Ironically a mentor across the table had that very song for us to use!

I stayed over two hours after class this day to finish editing. Though the process can be long, it was very enjoyable to know that it was coming to completion. Our animation ended up being almost 4 minutes long...and needed subtitles to really tie in the story.


Tues Nov. 17

I was able to show the boy I worked with and his father the child's edit of the animation. His father was so impressed that he created many of the scenes by himself. I really enjoyed myself at the Show and Tell. I was happy to see a fellow member of a community I belong to as one of the Parents there as well.

What a success our Digital Workshop was!! Though at times it was stressful for me, I think the hard work and dedication could really be seen in the work we presented. Surely all the hard work was not in vain.

I think I would set more time aside to plan out even more next time. I would say my group was well prepared every week, and I know I spend many hours at home working on our project. And yet, having this experience keeps the perspective in reality. These are still children we are working with. I think the next project I would simplify the story even more. And make more time to edit in IMovie.

I really enjoyed myself throughout this process and think it was such an awesome opportunity to actually be able to do this real children...and not just make lesson plans that have great risk of being lofty goals and unreasonable expectations. Thanks for this opportunity of growth to my teaching skills.

Stop Motion Animation

We did an in class demo of stop motion using two pairs of shoes.  Each class member was able to take turns in moving the shoes a few frames each.  Paired with some music and we have ourselves a little and fun dancing animation!

(n): The act, process or result of imparting life, interest, spirit, motion, or activity.

Stop motion is a technique used to physically manipulate objects to make them appear as thought they are move on their own. It is used as a frame by frame process where the object(s) are moved in small movements and each frame is photographed.  Playing the frames as a whole sequence, the frame by frame creates an illusion of continuous motion. There are many types of Stop Motion Animation.

Different types of Stop Motion:

Object animation involves moving animation of any non-drawn objects such as toys, blocks, dolls, etc. and are not as malleable as clay or wax. Object Animation is not meant to look like any type of 'character' being animal or human.
Direct manipulation animation is a simplified graphic animation where the artist adds or subtracts to a drawing documenting the frame by frame image.
Clay animation where each animated piece is a character made out of a malleable substance of clay, usually Plasticine clay.

Cel animation
is the original animation which is traditionally draws each frame by hand. 

Puppet animation the form of performance in which the artist manipulates puppets.

is a cinematography  technique where the frame is captured at a slower rate than play back. When replayed at normal speed time appears much faster and thus lapsing. ie: watching a fast pace flower bud bloom.


Variations of Stop Motion Include:

Stereoscopic: is a technique capable of recording three-dimensional visual information or
creating the illusion of depth in an image.  Basically when you have to wear the 3D
glasses to watch something. The first all stop motion 3-D feature is Coraline(2009)

Go Motion: Creates a realistic motion blur between each frame, so it is not as choppy. 
The main difference is that stop motion is made up of still images where as go motion
take the frames while the object is in motion.  Go motion was used in ET, and is rarely
used today.

Computer-generated imagery: 3D computer graphics, special effects, can be seen in movies,
television, commercials, video games, etc.  Pretty much has made stop motion obsolete,
however stop motion is still used because of it's unique look.  Example: Robot Chicken

Websites About Stop Motion:

The Art of Stop Motion Animation

First Stop Motion (1898):

The Humpty Dumpty Circus 1898

Classic Stop Motion:

Rankin/ Bass Rudolph

Ray Harryhausen

Modern Stop Motion:

EatPES: Home of the Twisted Films of PES
          Western Spaghetti. (Winner of
          Roof Sex. (20 days of solid filming over a 3 month period)
          Human Skateboard.


1500 hours of moving legos.

Tim Burton's VINCENT

Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas


Wallace and Gromit

Her Modern Elegance, Oren

Backwards StopMotion

Robot Chicken

South Park: Guitar Hero

Stop motion has been a widely used process since the early 1900's when it was developed.

The Process of Old School Classic Stop Motion
   an excerpt from

"Willis O'Brien's technique comprised mainly of building miniature settings and animating his puppets within them. For many scenes, if humans needed to be present, he ingeniously integrated rear projection screens into his miniatures and hidden projectors would project the live action clips one frame at a time. King Kong brilliantly demonstrates the use of this system. The process, however, became a bit prohibitive in cost. 

Ray Harryhausen needed a way to integrate his creatures into settings without the need to build many elaborate miniature sets, the reason for this being that the film he was scheduled to work on, The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms, had a miniscule budget. He finally devised a process of his own, which is still used today, the split-screen rear projection system.

This process consists of shooting locked down plates in which to incorporate the model(s). The plate is projected onto a rear screen and a wooden frame holding a removeable sheet of glass is placed in front of it. Mr. Harryhausen would then calculate where the creature was going to appear. If the creature needed to appear behind a series of buildings, he would break the plate up along this line, eventually blocking off half of the image. Let's say he blocks off the botton half of the plate first using black paint on the glass. (this will prevent that section of the film in the camera from being exposed). He then places the model between the sheet of glass and the rear screen and he aligns it so it will appear to be behind the buildings. When he looks through the lens of the camera, he'll see the top half of the plate, the partially obscured dinosaur and an irregularly (in this case) shaped mask covering the inferior portion of the frame. He will then proceed to animate the model and when finished he will replace the sheet of glass in the frame with it's exact opposite. A black mask will be covering the top portion of the image. Mr. Harryhausen will then complete the process by rewinding the film he shot and reexposing it, but only filming the bottom half of the plate on this pass. When developed and projected, the creature will appear to be incorporated into the background plate. Needless to say, this process saved time and money and created a totally realistic effect and all in-camera. And for those who are familiar with Mr. Harryhausen's work, he named the process Dynamation for most of it's use and Dynarama on The Golden Voyage of Sinbad."

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