Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Animation Club and iStopMotion

Most of my students don't like to animate.  They all think they are going to like it.  They beg to do it.  Then roughly a 100 frames later, with only 4 seconds of their project done, the begging changes to, "How much longer do we HAVE to do this?"  So, most of my animation lessons are short with quick results.

There are a few hardy souls in every class though who love it.  Who enjoy the detail.  Who love the magic of movement created out of still shots.  Those kids want more.

What to do?

I started an after school club.  I wasn't sure how many students would show up but after about a month, we have a steady group of six with a few curious friends and girlfriends who show up each week. I wanted to do something that was accessible to all levels yet challenging enough to keep them interested.  I usually have to call it quits and throw them out after two hours.

I decided to teach stop motion using Boinx iStopmotion.  It was easy to teach kids the basics and get up and running.  Within minutes, I stood back and they were doing all the work.  So far, we've animated toy figures, chairs and high school students.  The story lines up until recently, tend towards sword fights and battles but I convinced the group to come up with a story we could animate for a film festival held in our building at the end of the year.  I managed to get across that there needed to be a real story with more plot than two guys meet, they fight and someone wins.  There is a fight sequence on the storyboard, but it's part of the story, not the whole story.  I'll keep you posted on our progress.

Boinx iStopMotion is a good choice if you have a Mac and are looking for software to help you create stop motion type animation.  It allows you to onion skin your work.  Has worked fine with the Sony video camera we are using in the club and also a Canon still camera I've used on a few occasions.  It has a variety of features not usually found on inexpensive animation software.  I can easily recommend it.  I think Middle School level kids could easily learn and use it with a minimum of supervision.  Elementary kids would probably need some help with setup, but the interface is simple enough for them to run once it is set up.

[Image: "Kinder Egg toy figure and Lotte Joint Robo figure"; Uploaded on September 8, 2008 by MicroBry; http://www.flickr.com/photos/microbry/2838882763/]

No comments:

Post a Comment