Another post about Saturday Art School, but this time working on the brand new animation course!!! I am so excited that it has finally been put in place and had enough interest to start running, as in my opinion it is so important to nurture talent and interest from a young age.
Before the sessions Chris and I put together a little 'animation pack' with key things to keep in mind when animating, useful links, examples of character sheets, the twelve principles and an example of each (purposely using stills from different techniques of animation, but recognisable ones for the children), and basic animation tests such as walk cycles and sack test for them to practise at home. As well as the hand out, we made a powerpoint of the twelve principles using short ten second clips, which were also the examples used in the hand out.
Over the Easter break Chris and I were asked to co-run the first course, which was two sets of two day courses. It was really interesting to see how each child had their own view on what animation is and had their own style and imagination, and how these combined to create such interesting short films. For the time they had we decided to teach them the very basic fundamentals of animation, then showed them our work, which led to character design (on paper) and modelling their character. Once they had completed this we split them into two groups, who then worked together in pairs or threes to decide a story for their characters to interact. Once they had came up with a simple (or complicated in some cases) story, we then took them to the mac suite where we taught them basic drawing tablet and Photoshop skills and they had time to experiment, and then further time to make their own backgrounds for their animation. On the second day we had a bit of time in the morning to finish off the backgrounds, but the rest of the day we spent in AV animating, and we taught them the basics of how to use Dragon Frame and basic camera settings. They then had the day to animate with both mine and Chris' help. At the end of the day we taught them basic editing skills on both After Effects and Final Cut Pro if we had time, and a few groups managed to find sound for their animations too.
All in all the four days were a great success and really made me proud that the kids went away so happy and proud of what they had achieved in such a small amount of time, with most of them able to produce a minute of animation. It also got me thinking about how much I loved teaching, and that I would love to keep this as a career.