Here are the steps for creating this "postcard" effect directly in the Do Ink Green Screen app using their Mask function applied to an image over a video.
Creating a template makes the project much easier for young learners or lessons with a time crunch. I made this template in Keynote using instant alpha to erase the center space. I like the template because of the drop shadow I can apply to the postcard shape and hand.
I wanted to see if an app I already had on my iPad, the Green Screen app by Do Ink, could help create a ghostly illusion. I knew that you would have to be able to combine a layer of the environment without a figure under a layer of video from the same exact view of the environment. This layer (the one with the figure) would need to have less opacity (be made semi-transparent) so that it appeared that they were see through.
BUT, the green screen app takes away some of the difficulty of creating two exact videos with and without a figure since you can layer using the magic of green screen over anything and change the opacity with their mask tool. Here is how I was able to achieve the effect. There might be an easier way, but this is pretty simple.
Haunted Masterpieces: using this illusion
Now that I know I can get this effect to work using an app my students already have available to them in the art room, I thought about what content I could teach that would make this illusion necessary. I came up with the idea of Haunted Masterpieces. This would teach, art history, creative writing, storytelling through body language, digital layering, and transparency by having students enter a piece of artwork as a ghost and tell the story of why they are there. This would be a short campfire ghost story that would engage students in a piece of art and its artist.
STEP ONE: Mask out the figure from the artwork (if necessary)
I started with a piece of art, The Scream by Edvard Munch, where I had masked out the figure by matching the colors and textures in a drawing app (see video below or just grab mine here). You might choose a painting with plenty of blank space like an Edward Hopper painting (see my curated collection) or no figures like a landscape or still life. In that case you might choose to skip this step.
STEP TWO: Film the green screen video of the student
Before you film, the student needs to know their story and be prepared use their body language to help tell the story. It might be fun to come prepared in costume or with props. I think a two second clip is all that is necessary. They will write their story and make their haunted video into a looping gif or still image. Filming with audio where the student explains their story would work as well, but each audio clip would need to be short enough that a class video would remain under 3 mins (to keep it engaging). Capturing audio while the student is in front of green screen and backed away from the iPad filming him/her is tricky. You could set up an external iPad mic and have the class completely silent. Or, you can put a lapel mic on the subject if you think you can hide it for the filming. That takes time so classroom management would be more difficult.
STEP THREE: Create the ghostly illusion
The illusion doesn't happen during real-time green screen capture. It happens in post-production. So, students would need to gather their background image and green screen video into their iPad camera roll and open up the Green Screen app by Do Ink. The background image goes on the lowest level. The green screen video goes above it. The app will automatically remove the green but you will need to crop, resize, position the ghost, and mask it to make it semi-transparent to complete the effect.
STEP FOUR: Convert to a gif and caption it with the ghost story
Students can pull up the website EZGIF.com from their iPads and upload the video from their camera roll to convert it to a gif. These can then be displayed on my weebly blog and shared on their online art gallery. They could use the caption tool for the image to tell their story (or use the artist statement section on Artsonia to share in their portfolio.)
Layering into artwork with masking:
The techniques I shared above have the ghost layered over the painting with or without an erased (or masked) element. The easiest and fastest solution to this effect is to find a painting with open space and layer the ghost into it. If you want to explore more advanced approach, you can create an effect where the ghost is layered into the painting as if they are behind elements of the painting. This effect can be created through masking of the original image. All of this can be done in the Green Screen App using their masking tools however, I find it easier to mask images in superimpose app and save them as "mask png" which holds it's transparency in the iPad camera roll. I have a tutorial showing how to use this app this way (see beginning of this video near 2:40).
Now that the background has been erased, the ghost image can be added between these two layers. The green screen app by Do Ink gives you 3 layers to work with:
TOP LAYER: Masked Image (becomes the foreground)
MIDDLE LAYER: The green screen video (looks like it behind the figure in painting)
BOTTOM LAYER: Original painting lined up exactly with the masked image above
Add the frame and museum label
The visual arts national standards emphasize presenting artwork. This lesson could be a fun way to approach the topic by having students CURATE A HAUNTED MUSEUM. After they create their haunted animation, they could frame and label the piece with artist, title, and other information. We could set up a "virtual tour" with their narration presented as a class movie.
..and other Individual Rotoscope Animation Ideas
One of the super cool things about Do Ink Animation and Drawing app is that you can pull in photos or videos and draw over them. Drawing over each frame of a video is a technique called Rotoscope Animation. You probably have seen this technique in the famous music video from the 80's A-Ha's Take Me On. I also LOVE this music video and song by Andrew Huang, Every Night I Dream of Dancing, which is a rotoscope collaboration using 30 artists crowdsourced through the internet.
I tried many ways to instruct my students to create rotoscope animations collaboratively, but I've yet to have them create their own...until now. I think I've come up with some ideas that can make this project manageable for very little people.
Plan One: 1 second loops
Tutorial for Rotoscoping in Do Ink app
Plan Two: Color the Loop
Plan Three: Add Rotating Mandalas
I began a new drawing (still in the Do Ink Animation app) and chose a fill and border color, and dragged out a shape to fill the screen. Then I added line or/and shape pattern.
I made two of these patterned mandalas so that I could rotate them behind my rotoscope in opposing directions. The centers won't show much, so I focus the design on the edges.
Plan four: Dancing Sketches
Since the rotoscope animation has a built in transparency (the background is empty and see through) while it remains in the app, you could use this to create some very cool effects. One idea I've been playing with is to layer the rotoscope line drawing animation over a sheet of notebook or sketchbook paper. Since my drawing looks like it was made using a sharpie marker, I try to enhance that illusion by either leaving a marker on the notebook when I take the still image, or write with a sharpie marker alongside the animation. Below is my first rotoscope done this way, "How to Whip."
Did you see the video of the kids showing up at the end? That was an added step using the green screen app by Do Ink. I exported my sketbookbook video and put it in the green screen app and layered on the original green screen video, lined them up with the drawings. The only problem is that GS app limits you to three layers. I needed 4. So I "flattened" the video effect when I had two kids in place by exporting it. Then brought it back in to a new project and finished the third child's effect.
More Advanced ideas: animated sketchnotes
Mini Digital Stories:
My collaborative Rotoscope Projects:
In 2012, my 5th grade students did a collaborative rotoscope animation project with every one of my 100 students drawing over 330 frames of video pieced back together to make the animation shown in the video below. We entered it into the McGraw-Hill STEMie national online contest and won the $5000 second place prize. This money became the seed money for our 1:1 iPad art room. As you can see from the post, the process was very complicated on my end since there wasn't an iPad app (yet) that allowed students to work over video. We filmed a video then ran it through a program (mpeg streamclip) to break it down frame by frame. Students were assigned frames, pulled it into their iPad from the dropbox, drew over it in Brushes app, turned it back into the dropbox with a number that placed it back into the sequence. I pieced it all back together on my computer using a gif maker to turn it into video. They explain below:
This past school year, I tried a different kind of collaborative rotoscope animation with my 5th graders: a rotoscope in a mutoscope (digital art made physical). This time we made 4 small videos (one per class) that would loop nicely into a hand cranked mutoscope kit by Flipbookit.com. These turned out to be very cool. The work again, fell mostly on me. I had to purchase and assemble the kit, prep the video through their online tool, print the images onto labels, and stick them on flip cards. The students each made one frame of the rotoscope, so they finished in one class period. I love the results, but the kit costs over $40, so students don't get to keep their work individually. However, they do have their still image posted on Artsonia with links to their video.
Step 1: pose
Step 2: import photo and draw
In the Do Ink Drawing and Animation app, touch the + in top right corner and choose "New Drawing". Click on the layers tab (top middle, it has three lines stacked), use the camera icon to import the photo. The photo defaults to the top layer so grab the three lines on right of layer and drag it to the bottom. Touch the empty layer to select it and do your drawing (tracing) first. Then add your extras to transform the photo into a superhero or fairy. In the screenshot above you can see that I took the opacity of the photo layer down to 0% so that it doesn't show. I drew the figure three times and change it slightly in each. I use the + button in the bottom right to make the next frame and redraw over the last with slight changes like blowing hair, cape, and shirt. These changes are seen as a ghost effect from one layer to the next. That can be turned off in the settings if you prefer. I made each of my lines in my drawing connect so that I could use the pour bucket to color everything. I use the Preview button (looks like an arrow head) to see how my animation is looking. It will animate too fast since it is only 3 frames long. That's okay. We can make adjustments to the timing in the next step. If it looks good, choose gallery button top left.
Step 3: layer the flipbook animation
Prepare a background image or animation to make your character "fly" across. I had a castle drawing in my camera roll on my iPad. Again, in Do Ink animation app, I touched the + in top right corner and chose "composition" this time. If you background is a photo bring it in using the camera icon, if it's another Do Ink drawing, bring it with star icon. Then bring in you animated superhero/fairy with the star icon. It will be too big at first. Use a corner handle to rize (do not touch the green dot yet) and place it in a starting position. Take a look at your timeline. It may have defaulted to only 2 seconds long. Touch the diamond and drag out each layer as long as you want. I used 4 seconds above. Before you animate you may want to slow down the flipbook style animation. Touch the gear in the lower right and slide the timing down to half speed (0.5). Now create an animation path by touching and dragging the green dot (see my green line above). Use the play button to preview. If it looks good, touch gallery. This is where you can find the share button by touching the gallery thumbnail and export your animation a as a video. I would create a class video from their short clips like the ones I made for first graders.
Need a tutorial? See my Fugleflip page and follow Draw & Compose tutorials.
Step 4. Turn these into holograms
Now that you have these little flipbook animations, make them into a custom hologram. I wrote up all the steps for creating this effect in this previous post.
Finished Dance Video:
Stayed tuned to the very end to see the students dancing along at the last day of school assembly. Thanks Mrs. Quick for taking the footage.
All Dryden students were completely energized by trying to dance along with our 1st and 2nd graders. Love that they had a chance to lead with their fancy moves!
Still Image Gallery on Artsonia: View
That's right! What if students made art that could move through the magic of stop motion? These little movement videos could be layered over kaleido free backgrounds and put in a collaborative dance movie too. First you would need to do the stop motion animation in front of green screen. The subject could be, for example, their cardboard whirligigs. See this post for how to make them.
The more I play with the Green Screen app by Do Ink, the more I think of how to use it for layering effects. This app allows you to make silhouettes through a two step process, then layer them onto a photo (or video or live camera feed) and resize it (or spin or turn it) with endless possibilities for curricular applications.
Layering video over image:
Layer and resize any videos:
Skip the silhouette step:
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Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT 07
is the K-5 art teacher at Dryden Elementary School in Arlington Heights, IL. with a masters in K-12 technology integration. Tricia has been recognized for her innovative teaching in 2010 with the PBS Teachers Innovation Award, won Illinois Art Teacher of the Year in 2011, awarded Teacher of Distinction in 2012 by the Golden Apple Foundation, received Western Region Elementary Art Teacher of the Year 2013, selected to become a Jacobs Educator 2014-15, and was presented with the NAEA Art Technology Outstanding Community Service Award in 2016. Learn more here.
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