Recently in Animation steps Category

My attempt at story boarding

I had made a story board a few months ago, and needless to say it wasn't too great. I made a few easy to make mistakes. I did show different angles. (The whole thing was from a profile view). My story was not very interesting.

But with my second attempt I was able to approach story boarding in a different way. I thought about my story as if I were writing a children s book. I added in as many details as I could, and then later when I go back through I can edit what I want to take out or what I want to keep.

I also tried to get as many different views as I could. Again I can go through and see if the views are logical for animating, or if I should make it less difficult.

If I were to do this in a classroom I would have the students work on their own. This will allow them to each come up with an idea of how the story should go and then they can collaborate their ideas to make a final plan. This is also a good way for you to be assess the students on story boarding. If your standard is to have your student create a narration for their art work, you will be able to see if each student understands what you are teaching, or whether you need to adjust your lesson.

cuckoo1.jpg1-6The story starts out where a cuckoo egg falls into a small birds nest.

cuckoo2.jpg7-11All the eggs hatch and the cuckoo is excepted into the family. Even though he is much too big for the nest. 12. I the last frame the birds are all ready to fly except for the cuckoo, who fall to the ground.

cuckoo3.jpg13-14He sees his family fly away and he cant be seen in the high grass. 15. Meanwhile you see the birds flying and assume they are flying away from him. 16. He sees his refection in the pool and realizes he looks nothing like his family. 17. He knows he cant fly yet so he decides to go find a nest on the ground. 18. He finds a killdeer nest but they start pecking and chasing him away.
cuckoo4.jpg19. He curls up in a ball as the killdeers peck at his feathers. 20. Just then momma bird flies in and chases away the killdeers. 21-22. They surround him and let him know they they came back for him. 23. The last frame is in the future where his is big enough to fly, and he is flying with his family.

It is has some areas that need work and adjusting but that is the beauty of a story board, you can fix things on paper before you need to worry about animating it.

Rules to follow when setting up a stage

Earlier in the blog I went over how to create a digital background for animation, but now I want to give some advice on when creating your stop motion back ground.

Whether you stop motion is three dimensional, claymation, puppets or two dimensional with paper cut outs or other flat objects, the rules stay very much the same.

First: You want to figure out what your camera is going to see. Find a way to mark that areas so you know not to let your characters wander out of it. Be careful not to let the markers be visible in the camera. You do not want a scotch tape marker sticking out the side of your shot.


Second: You want to make sure your camera is stable and not going to move. If you are taking pictures and your camera is constantly changing positions (unintentionally) your entire film is going to look like it took place in an earth quake. Tape the positions of each leg of your tripod, if you are using one, so if you do lose your place you will still be able to get it back to where it was.


Third: Make sure you props and stage are stable and will not move unless interacted with by your characters. If your background is constantly moving it will distract the audience from what your animation is about. 

Fourth: Have your students plan what will be in their background. You want them to use critical thinking while making their back grounds. Don't just have them put a tree in the background and call it good. Have them think about how their characters can interact with their surroundings.


Fifth: Have proper lighting. Ask yourself: Where is the lightly coming from? Will the lighting move through out the movie? Do I want the lighting to surround the characters? Do I want there to be shadows? Most importantly, Is there enough lighting for my camera? No matter what you want your camera to collect the highest quality video, so how you arrange yours light source can have a huge effect on that. 


Sixth: When creating your back drop, you either want it to match to other objects on the set, or you want it to be invisible. Remember you don't want your set to be distracting. Sometime in order to do that you will want to just have a black background. The black background is easy, but it makes your characters pop and will not be over powering.


So far those are the rules that I think are most important. As I work more I will probably look more.

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.

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.)

Tutoral for basic animation

To begin

There are steps to animation that you want to follow for your film to stay organized.
(I am personally love lists so by laying out the order of business it always me to organize my thoughts.)
Some steps to planning Animation
1. Story
2. Characters
3. Sound
4. Music
5. Direction
6. Layout
7. Animation
8. Background and color

About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries in the Animation steps category.

Animation Station Notes is the previous category.

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