5th graders have been studying the magical animations of Evan Hilton to try to understand how they are made. We looked frame by frame at his ideas and a couple ideas from Andy Martin that used clay and other objects in a progression of stages to make things melt, shrink, grow, change, and other magical things. I gave my students these think sheets to help them make a plan for an animation using objects from the art room and model magic clay. Each student will be the director of their short stop-motion animation so, they have to be able to clearly communicate their vision to their animators and photographer when it's their turn to make the magic happen.
Results: students' illusions
Feedback from our inspiration:
4th graders made profile portraits and will soon start animating a glowing alien using the DoInk Drawing and Animation app on our iPads. They will let the alien interact with the paper in a new and creative mix of digital and physical art. See my full lesson here.
I distributed examples of aliens by Andy Martin to help families brainstorm theirs. We listened to Emily Arrow's music video based on the book Your Alien while we drew.
I set out a set of supplies for each table to create these snowmen in a progression.
Class Movie with all the finished animations:
Resources: Behind the scenes of plasticine rhythm
Other ideas for progression animations:
Aliens are a truly magical subject for artmaking. They allow the student artist to be creative in it's design by breaking rules of figure drawing, color, and form while also providing the necessary benefit of forgiveness since an alien doesn't have to be drawn realistically. Here are two ideas that extend an alien drawing digitally incorporating music and animation: Idea one: aliens on instruments & Idea two: alien beatboxing.
Idea one: Aliens on Instruments
I began designing an animation challenge for my students after a large dose of inspiration from the animator, musician, and illustrator, Andy Martin. This project would include aliens, repetitive movement, and instruments. If kids can manage this project we'll finally be able to get the band back together! Seriously, students could each contribute a creature to a group animation movie set to music that demonstrates an understanding of flipbook animation, movement, sound, and creative figure drawing.
To animate an alien playing an instrument I created layers that helped isolate the moving and non-moving parts using the Do Ink Animation and Drawing app.
1. I drew the alien head, body, and legs.
(hint: lock the layer when finished so you don't accidentally change or erase it when animating)
2. I drew the alien's instrument then locked it.
3. I drew the arms that played the instrument, copied the slide, erased, and redrew to show movement.
Performance: Lenny and the Leonids
Listen to my favorite alien band's first hit below composed in garageband, animation in DoInk, and edited in iMovie.
Idea Two: Alien Beatboxing
I designed four more aliens in an attempt to try beatboxing. This idea requires that each alien moves its mouth in some way to match the sound it creates.
I used the DoInk drawing and animation app again to make my alien designs move their "mouths" to express their sound. I kept it very simple so that I could generalize the concept later when I layered the music in. Below is a test run of each flipbook design in composition mode. I had to adjust each alien's flipbook motions so they weren't moving their mouths too fast. Later I learn that this was pretty important for matching the mouth with the sound later. But, this was my first time, so I tried to time it better in the movie editing stage.
Next, I pulled out my laptop version of Garageband and tried to make a sound for each creature while keeping a steady beat. I had lots of trouble blending my sounds, getting the timing right, and figuring out effects. What I ended up doing was putting on headphones, laying down a drum beat as one track (which I later deleted), and matching the beat with my new sound recorded to another track. That helped me keep the beat better. I labeled each track by creature color to help me keep track of what's what when I did my final animation. I tried to match the DoInk composition timeline to the garageband timeline as exactly as I could. Luckily both interfaces allow you to look at fractions of seconds so you can bring in the creature at the same time the audio begins.
Below is each alien animation timed with their beatbox sound. Next, to put it all together into one composition using the DoInk animation, garageband sound track, and iMovie.
Performance: Alien Beatboxing
Below is the Dance my 7 alien friends choregraphed quickly. I was able to capture it using Keynote and iMovie with the song they chose from incompetech.com.
Resources: Video and handouts
Andy Martin and his planet animations are the inspiration for animation challenge. There are twelve planets to explore with different creatures on each. Planet one's aliens make music with their voices as they gather. This idea would be fun to explore as well.
Bonus! Alien Remake of a Fugleflick
I used a guitar playing alien and two of his duplicates to recreate a old fugleflick appropriately called, Deep Space. This fugleflick attempts to explain how to create the illusion of space in a 2D place with foreground, middle ground, background, and overlapping. The song was performed by three 3rd graders many years ago. View their movie here. You'll probably notice the moving lips in this video. I recorded my mouth moving to the words and masked them into the video using the Do Ink Green Screen app. The whole movie was created using both the Do Ink animation app and the Green Screen app. I lined it up with the music from the original song using iMovie. View the results here.
Take the Deep Space Quiz
using edpuzzle (found via NICE MiniCon session by Shannon Schroeder-Thanks!)
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Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT,
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