October 2010 Archives

Puppet Animation

Puppet Animation

Quick Chalk animation lesson

Sarah Wiesner
Lesson Plan for tweed

Topic: Chalk animation in the tweed

Ages: all ages

- Chalk (colored and white)
- Chalk Board
- Camera
- Tripod
- Other random objects
- Flash cards
- Bucket for water
- Damp wash cloth

Plot line:
I want to create a character that will interact with its surroundings. I will zoom out the camera so I not only get the animal or person in the shot but also the participant who is creating them.
1. First I will start with a blank slate and a person will come up and draw their character. The character will respond to the artist who has made them then another person drawing their character will take its attention. Both will look over to the character being made and then they will respond to one another.
2. More and more creatures will be added to the board until it starts getting crowded. Then the creatures will start pushing each other for more room on the chalkboard.
3. After a while creatures will start falling of the chalkboard and the students watching will react to the situation.
4. In the end there will be two left pushing each other on the chalkboard until both of them fall off and one of the students writes "The End" on the board.

1. The first people who come in will get an introduction. I will introduce chalk animation to the students.
a. Chalk animation is a lot like a flipbook where you draw each image slowly progressing throughout the animation. However unlike a flipbook you only use one surface, and erase the last picture you had.
2. When they first come into the activity room I will hand them a flash card so they can plan out what they are going to draw when they get their turn as well as a basic plan of how their character is going react with the others as the chalk board gets filled.
3. If some people have to leave half way through, his or her animation can be assigned to someone else and that new person can decide what happens to it.
a. This change in artists may add an interesting morph in styles as the video goes on.

4. The students can choose to do more than one character just as long as everyone has gotten a turn. I would like all the character designs photographed at the end of the program.

Thoughts on the Stop motion Lesson

The stop motion lesson went very well. I got there a half an hour early to set up every thing, and arrange the background and supplies. The clay and toy parts were laid out on a table for the participants to choose from and arrange while they waited their turn on the stop motion. Four participant showed up, and they all took turns taking pictures, moving pieces and creating characters to be added in the animation.

I set down the basic plot but they took it to the next level and made huge decisions on where the movie should go. They made suggestion on the sound effects, and made decisions that involved forward thinking. The ages of the group varied for 8 years to 18 years, but they worked together as a team, and did not let the large age difference be a problem. I was very surprised and happy with the maturity that was sown by the group. I think because this was such a Kinesthetic activity, it had their minds and hands busy.

Other Things noticed:
- They treated the stage like a canvas and had to think on the go of how they were going to keep their composition balanced.
- On their own they decided to build with toys I set out, to either make Models of the creature being created in the video or new players to assist the main character.
- Even with a small group you want to have a side activity to keep the others busy. Only a few students can be working on the animation at a time.
- Don't take to much control, it will prevent them from making artistic choices and you could be missing out on great insight from their imagination. Act more like the camera man and less like the director.
- Keep checking your pictures to make sure your images are in focus.
- Show the students the progress as they go, it will get them even more motivated. After I showed them what they had done after the first series of photos, they really began to test how far they could push the animation.

Preparing for an animation activity.

To see how students would react to an animation project I set up a walk through cooperative animation station. The lesson below is a really quick guideline I made for myself so I could keep everything organized the day of. I also may have helpers that could come in and having a game plan would keep us on the same page.

Animation station

Age: All ages

Time: 2 hours

Focus: The participant's will be trickling in and working on a small animation project. This will be a small collaborative project.


Motivational recourses

Art Materials:
- Camera
- Camera Stand
- Background
- Trees and other props for background
- Table for stage
- Clay
- Main character (doll)
- Clay
- Random pieces of toys to add to the clay
- Tape

Animation plot:
- The stage is set out side. There will be a cloud back drop and a green ground, with trees in and other things scattered in the background. There will be a lonely ball of clay in the center of the stage.
- The main character will walk on stage and look at the ball and decide that he wants to make a friend out of it.
- The participants will each take turns moving the character around and building a new creature out of the clay and other pieces of toys
- After the creature has been built you will have to decide with the participants whether they want the creature to be friends with the man, attack him, chase him off stage, eat him, give him a ride, or run away.
- Give them the blog address so they can see it later when its finished. http://blog.lib.umn.edu/wies0128/myblog/

Instruction procedure:
1. The people will be coming through the activity at different times. So you should be able to bring them up to speed quickly and let them participate in the animation.
2. Introduce something that will act as filler for those who are waiting to do the stop motion.
3. They can choose whether they want to make the main character move, or bring in their own character to help build the creature.
4. once the creature has been built they will get to choose how it should react to its creature (the main character).

When I was getting everything ready there were a few things that I had to make sure were working.
- I had to be sure the camera was not on a high resolution, that would make the video take up way to much space on my computer, and I would run out of memory card space during the activity.
- I also had to make sure I understood the camera, so I knew whether or not I would have to change the focus during the animation shoot.
***Charge your Batteries!!!!*** You do not want to have them run out during your lesson.
- Set up the stage and take few pictures so you know it is big enough.

(In a classroom these may be thing you will teach your students to do them selves. These are important elements of the animation process and they should know how to do it on their own, however since this experiment was for anyone, and a walk through activity, I handled the logistics.)

Stop Motion Lesson plan

Age: 8th grade

Time: 5 class periods

Focus: The students will be creating a small animation where they will be creating their own character based on them selves or someone of their choosing. They will be transforming an average character into something else. The students will learn how to manipulate the basics of Photoshop. They will also getting an intro to animation and the history and creative process behind animation.

1. 1. - Assemble and prepare personal media
artworks for public exhibition.
2. - Revise a presentation based on the feedback of others and self-reflection.
3. The students will be learning how to slowly transform something through animation. This will require creative planning.

Motivational Recourses:
The students will be getting a presentation on animating and story boarding. I will show them clips of animations, as well as keep a lot of examples in the room of other forms of transformation.

Art Material:
- Computers for the students
- The Photoshop program
- Scanner
- Cameras

Animation is the one thing every child should enjoy while growing up, and who is known for its Animation more than Walt Disney. For more than 80 years Walt Disney has been making Movies. Walt Disney originally started with half animated half filmed characters in a series he called Alice in Wonderland(Disney 1). He was noticed for these animation and him and his brother, Roy, became sponsored by a man named Winkler. Unfortunately that relationship went bad when Winkler went behind his back and stole Disney's animations and designs(Disney 1). It was from this Disney had to come up with a new character. He decided to start a cartoon that focused around a mouse that he wanted to call Mortimer, however, his wife convinced him to call it Mickey. And from this idea Walt Disney made the first animation with synchronized sound, called the Jazz Singer. Before that film was even released he pooled all his resources and made another film, which would be the first film to have full-synchronized sound, this film was called Steamboat Willy(Disney 1). It was an instant success and that is how Walt Disney and Mickey mouse began.
Animation is a series of images that are put together to make it look like the drawn character is in motion. Thousands of images go into creating animated films. The first Animation that was ever made was created by Dr. Joseph Antoine Plateau, He developed a machine called Phenakitstoscope, which was a disc that had the images around the outside, and when you spun it, it gave the allusion that the objects were in motion(Mosley). In 1872, Eadweard Muybridge, who recorded a series of images to show animals in motion(Mosley). This was using photography, and was not only the start of Animation but also the first steps of the video camera. Using photography in animation was not something that would die off however. It would later be used in a technique called Stop motion, which is said to have first appeared in 1898 in a movie called "The Humpty Dumpty Circus" (Stop Motion Central). Only a small part of the movie was done in the stop animation style but it opened the door to a new idea of how to create movies. Stop animation is almost as old as animating itself. It is the organizing of still images into a sequence that makes them look as if they are moving. Since its first appearance, many other stop motion artists came about. Some of the examples that are most familiar are Gumby, Tim Burton's Corpse Bride and Nightmare before Christmas, as well as Wallace and Grommit (Stop motion Central).
Artists like Tim Burton started out their career working for Walt Disney. Disney was a pioneer in the animated world and his creations still have their effect on people today.

Instruction Procedure:
Class 1: This class will begin with a presentation of animation. Then the rest of the day will be dedicated to teaching the students how to use Photoshop. They will be doing a small project to warm them up for the work that they will be doing later in the project.
Class 2: This will be the first day that the student will be working on their projects. They will be given an intro. And then they will be splitting onto small groups to work on their animations together. They will have to choose one person from their group that they will transform. They are going to have to Take a photo of that person and then bring that picture into Photoshop. By the end of this class they will have to have brainstormed and found out what they will be transforming their friend into, and then what they are going to make them do.
Class: This will be a workday if they wanted to incorporate any other form of animation into their video this is the day they have to decide if they need any extra supplies. They should be getting done with most of their backgrounds and character sketches at this point so they can get the project done in time.
Class 3: Another workday. They should be finishing up their optional forms of animation this day. They should also be finishing the Photoshop work and be well into the Photoshop animating.
Class 4: This class will start with a presentation on how to use iMovie. By the end of this class they should be putting pieces of their work into iMovie. Some of their group could be finishing up in Photoshop and creating music in Garage Band. But keep in mind they might get to into Garage band, and if they start getting too distracted you might want to wait till the last minute to let them work in the program.
Class 5: This will be the last day to work on the project. They should just be finishing it up. Half way through the hour we will be presenting the projects and having a critique. The students will all have to participate in the critique as part of their grade.
DBEA Checklist:
Art Production: The students will be creating an animation on the computer and learn the techniques to make it successful. They will need to be aware the process of animating and how to make the items look like they are transforming.
Aesthetics: They will have to learn how to make the objects on their screen move and look clean.
Art History: They will be learning about the history of animation, and the process that animators have to go through to create a piece
Art Criticism: The project will require them to critique each other. Each child will have to look critically at their peers work as well as their own and give constructive criticism that are based on the requirements for the assignment.


Disney Company , . "Company History ." The Walt Disney Company . 2009. Walt Disney Company , Web. 11 Dec 2009. .

O Reilly, Dermy . "A Brief History of Stop Motion Animation!." Stop Motion Animation . 2007. Copyright StopMotionCentral.com , Web. 6 Dec 2009. .

Mosley, Joshua. "Compiled History of Animation." joshuamosley.com. Joshua Mosley, Web. 11 Dec 2009. .

Creating a background.

When creating your backgrounds you first want to start with a sketch that you can place in your Photoshop file. When you open a new project on Photoshop, or what ever program you may be using be sure that you have the right size. CS5 has a default film and video setting so getting one started is simple but if the program you are using does not have a film setting the format you can use is below.
Width: 720 pixels
Height: 480 pixels
Resolution: 150 pixels/inch (you can also use 72 but that is very small and hard to get good details)
Color: RBG/ 8 bit

The pictures below are the backgrounds I used for the animation I am working on. the edges are not finished in these pictures. When you are doing your animations be sure you finish you edges. Even though your most important information will be in the center, you will want to be sure the whole background looks clean.




Chalk animation

Animation video

Tutoral for basic animation

Charactor design

When you are designing you character for a digital animation you want it to be clear and basic. If you are extremely blessed with unlimited supplies you can do your designing on the computer. But for the rest of the world, you will want to do your character design on paper.
Be sure the character is very simplified. Otherwise when you bring it onto the computer it will be hard to get all the details to move smoothly, and its just a lot of work. Keep in mind you may want to hinge the arms an legs to simplify animating. In that case take that into consideration when you are drawing. How will you make the limbs so they can be easily hinged? Once you have the image drawn, and everyone in your group(if you are animating with others) agrees on the character, then you can scan it onto you computer. If you do not have scanner yo can take a digital photo of it and download it onto your computer that way. Once it is on your computer, bring it into photo shop or, in my case, Tuneboom. You will want to touch up the image so it i clear and easy to replicate.

Simple steps:
1. Brain storm
2. Sketch ideas in some sample designs
3. Decide on one of your sample images
4. Make a clean, basic character
5. scan or download it onto your computer
6. bring it into the program you will be using to animate

Things to remember:
- Don't be too detailed unless you are will to take on the amount of work that will go with it.
- Make the image clear
- keep in mind: what do you want your character to do? How active will it be in the video? What kind of personality will it have?

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