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!)
Last fall I wrote an ABC/25 Foundation grant through my district for the supplies for Green Screen Stop-Motion Animation Stations. My ideas for what to purchase evolved a bit with more research to include green display board from BLICK and iPad stands from Anker. We will have two stages of production.
This movie-making experience is an extension project for the 4th graders. They made action figure paintings (download lesson plan from TpT here) which showed movement. Now they will layer this animation over their art to demonstrate this concept digitally. The stages of production are below:
The idea to assign roles with buttons came from Nic Hahn's post here. I thought it would save time to use role descriptions on the buttons so with some production tips. This way there would be less of me talking about roles and and more time for students to create within them. I purchased a fiskar circle cutter and plastic button kits to make these. Here is the PDF I made for the buttons.
I wrote up this lesson plan with all the resources, apps, equipment, and steps needed to complete a stop motion animation using green screen layered over original student art. Make sure that you view the sample video to see how cool this project can be.
Download the green screen stop motion lesson from TpT here.
You can also download the figure drawing painting ppt lesson from TpT here.
UPDATE: View the post with finished student videos here.
My 4th graders will be doing a stop-motion collaborative movie later this spring using iMotion HD and the Green Screen app by DoInk. We created little green screen filming stations for the art room from our ABC/25 grant. We will import our stop-motion animation footage into the green screen app and replace the background with the figure drawing images they recently finished. This will be our first time testing out our new Anker stands and green display boards.
To prepare for the concept of stop-motion animation, students watched the video by OK GO below. I also showed them how we used to make stop-motion animation using flip cameras in the art room a few years back. We couldn't play back our animation right away to see how we did since the pictures were stored on the camera. We had to load them into the desktop, import them into iMovie, shorten their length, and then play it back. However, the patience and techniques demonstrated in Making Bunnies Boogie remains the same. Students spent the rest of their class time working on an all class movie using iMotion HD and their own bodies to star in their own stop-motion animation movie (bottom video).
Here is our second attempt. We tried to imitate the sliding movements that you would see if you were animating an inanimate object. There are some cute moments here, so take a look. (Starring 4-1 and 4-3)
Below is our first attempt. We don't think we were truly using the power of stop motion. We could have made things appear/disappear, we could have slid mysteriously around but instead we looked more like a time lapse. I added narration to try to tie the movie into one theme.
Keith Haring, a street artist of the 1980's created bright, simple, and playful dancing figures that inspire my students. We have created Haring inspired pieces in the past focusing on figure, color, and pattern.
The most difficult part of the lesson is creating the figures with arms and legs that bend in places they should bend. It sounds easy but when you're still new a figure drawing, it is very challenging. I've tried having students pose their own bodies, photograph poses and draw over them on the interactive whiteboard, and cut out paper people that they can pose and trace. All these methods have helped, but I just stumbled on one that may be transformational when I found the Wooden Doll 3D app for the iPad.
Below: These are examples from second graders who have hand-drawn after great struggles the four action poses. They completed these with complementary colors pairs in the negative and positive spaces then completed them with line and shape pattern.
5th Grade Animation Assignment
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