4th graders are embarking on a project I've been wanting to try to for a couple of years. We are going to do collaborative lip sync rotoscope animated movies. Each class of 4th grade will make a patriotic movie using their artwork and voice. Together their words or phrases will be edited together to recite the preamble of the constitution, the pledge of allegiance, and the ending of The Colossus poem on the State of Liberty.
1. Assign parts
I went through each of the patriotic themed pieces and broke it into enough "parts" that each student could contribute one word or phrase. I wanted each part to be only 1 second of video if possible. This would keep the number of drawings somewhere between 5-8.
The week before we draw the rotoscope, we record video of each student speaking their part into the camera. I used an iRig microphone to help get better audio. Since audio really counts for this project, I needed to ask all the students for full cooperation. I gave them paper and monster packets to draw from as they waited for their classmates to be recorded.
I set up each video with a tight close up so that students could easily draw their face and the changes in their expression and mouth as they say their word or phrase. I use the iOgrapher tripod mount for my iPad so that I would have steady footage.
3. Prep the footage
I always leave a bit of lead and end time when I film so that no words are cut off. This means that the footage I took of the students needs trimming. After I transfer my files to my desktop (via dropbox or google drive app) I pull up each clip in quicktime, trim, and rename the file to "number_phrase_studentName". This puts all the files in order which will help for future editing.
4. Prep for Rotoscoping
This handout helps students get their video imported into the Do Ink Animation app to the correct layer, add some transparency, get a small frame rate, adjust ghost images (I find them distracting in this project so I turned them off), and set up the brush tool.
5. Contour Line Drawing
Students will be lead through the first drawing so I can share my recommendations for how to draw the features of the face in a simple but accurate way. This contour line drawing lesson will help them get into a good pattern of attention to detail and accuracy.
6. Putting it all together
4-1 and 4-2 The Preamble of the Constitution
4-4 Pledge of Allegiance Lip Sync
This video introduces the idea of contour line drawings.
This Rotoscope video will inspire your students.
Contour line drawing extension:
The students uploaded their favorite single still image from their rotoscope animation to Artsonia. This gallery description lead viewers (parents) to links to their movies. The image was drawn fast and without much art instruction since the focus of our class time was creating a series of drawings to make the rotoscope animation. Eventually, I would like students to spend some time working with their portrait drawing to take it to the next level using Colorscape app. This app will allow them to improve on their drawings and color the art without disturbing the black lines.
Last year my fifth graders made collaborative rotoscope animations that we put into flipbookit.com mutoscopes. It was pretty amazing to see digital art become physical through this fun viewer. See the post with all the how tos here. Below is the display I set up this school year showcasing their flipbookits. I used this display to introduce the concept to my 4th graders.
I want to do a rotoscope movie making lesson with my 4th graders so we tried a collaborative rotoscope as a practice round. Each student was assigned one frame of a video to draw a contour line drawing over. They used the Do Ink drawing app this time since it will be the tool for their real animation. This picture shows them in action.
The animation was uploaded to the flipbookit site to be fitted for their mutoscope.
..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.
I'm super excited to have found the Flipbookit in my Twitter feed a month or so ago. The discovery came at a time where I was thinking about how to display our class animations as I was preparing for rotoscope animations lesson with my 5th graders. What a perfect solution. The flipbookit is a DIY kit that creates a retro styled mutoscope, an early motion picture hand cracked flipbook device. This box has a crank that spins a rolodex of cards that you can customize through their online tool printed on labels. It took me 1 hour to put the box together and 1/2 hr to print, stick, and load the art. They are too expensive to have each student make their own, but because of their design, they make for a really simple all class rotoscope collaborative project. I'll try to explain.
The Flipbookit animation is only 24 frames long. That is a pretty short video.
It would be best if the video loops too since the crank allows you to view it over and over again. So, I asked one 5th grader from each of the 4 classes to volunteer to be filmed performing a short dance move that would easily loop. Here they are below.
1. Film a short looping video
I filmed them before green screen and used the Green Screen app by Do Ink to clean up the background so my animators would be undistracted by the background and better able to focus on the dancers when they draw their rotoscope.
2. Prepare the 24 frames of video
3. Preparing the tools to draw
Since the class is going to make one collaborative animation, we need each of the 24 frames of the video to look similar. The size of the image, color of the pen, thickness of the pen, and style of the drawing need to be similar enough that the illusion of movement is created. I set some parameters ahead of time when I created my example. Here is the handout to set up the drawing in the Brushes Redux app.
4. Turn in and rename digital files
----VIEW STUDENT IMAGES HERE----
4.5 (optional) Made an animated gif
I wanted to see how the 24 drawings would look as a digital animation so I loaded them into https://ezgif.com/maker to make an animated gif from the images.
5. Print and load the flipbookit
I followed the online directions for converting the 24 drawings into a pdf that would be printed onto the special sized labels that came with the DIY Flipbookit. I stuck them on the blank cards and loaded them into the rolodex to see the magic of Mutoscope animation from our collaborative rotoscope animation.
Digital animation made physical
Displaying the Mutoscopes:
Every Night I Dream Of Dancing by Andrew Huang is a music video collaboration of thousands of drawings from 30 different artists. The song is fun and the artwork is very inspiring. It has much more color and creativity than this project, but now that we've learned the process, perhaps next time we can take it further.
Drawing from Experience
This lesson requires student to create a CONTOUR LINE DRAWING. Allow the old and wise (and very little from all the years of sharpening) Grandpa Pencil explain more.
Extension: Build a Mutoscope Viewer
Want a high tech option?
We now have a class set of iPads available so I designed a lesson to try an iPad Rotoscope Animation collaboration. It's the same idea but no need for transparencies, scanning, or printing. Everything is organized and created digitally. Explore it here.
I have done a presentation called Creative Digital Projects that turn Stem to STEAM at three conferences over the past couple of years. These 45-50 minute presentations include a bizillion ideas in a media packed keynote file that I have trouble sharing online. However I did create a condensed version of the presentation for the AOE Online Conference last summer. The presentation has been behind a pay wall for one year and can finally come out for public consumption now. The following lessons are shared in the video below. Learn more from my links. Also, see Wes Fryer's review of my live presentation at the Illinois Computer Educator's Conference here.
Not Christina's World Anymore
(art, writing, Photography, technology)
Blog post of resources
Download lesson plan
Tip: Use the Superimpose app to eliminate the green screen. See my tutorial.
The Digital Scream
(art, storytelling, photography, drama, technology)
Blog post of resources
Students' painted examples
Students' digital examples
Spooky Scream video
Download your custom
photo booth-your face in the scream
Tip: Use the Superimpose app to eliminate the green screen. See my tutorial.
Cat in a Hat-ify Yourself
(Reading, Dr. Seuss, graphic design, technology)
Custom Photo Booth Effect to Cat-in-a-Hat-ify yourself
Directions and resources for iPad Bookmarks
Cat-in-a-hat-ified Book Covers
Cat in a Hat-ified Art Project
Students' Cat in a Hat Art on PBS TV
American Gothic Spoof
(storytelling, great depression, juxtapose, spoof)
Interactive American Gothic lesson and tutorial
Blog post with lesson resources
American Gothic Spoof (edited SNL skit)
American Gothic Spoof-o-matic resources
Student American Gothic Spoof examples
Download the American Gothic Custom Photo Booth FX
(writing, graphic design, technology)
Resources for making these on iPads
Students' iPad examples
Student examples made on using photoshop and keynote
6 Words About Me
(writing, poetry, technology)
Blog post with resources
Monochromatic Painting Blog post
Download the 3/4 portrait PPT lesson
Monochromatic Fugleflick (music video to teach concept)
Tech w/ George Washington
Blog post with resources
Even more fun with George and Tech
Facing the facts: history and art
Download my PPT lesson plan
(character education, graphic design, drama)
iPad directions and resources with video tutorial
Keynote directions and resources with video tutorial
Download the art/character education lesson
Eat Your Veggies
(healthy choices, acting, technology, literacy)
Blog post with resources and tutorial video
Eat Your Veggies video
Download my Digital Lima Bean Monster lesson
Download our interactive Lima Bean Monster eBook
Surreal Healthy Choices
(graphic design, healthy choices, surrealism)
Blog post with lesson resources and video
Students' digital spoofs of Son of Man
Students' painted Son of Man portraits
Supplement with Connect a Concept game where students use their social skills and knowledge of art concepts to make connections
(animation, figure drawing, technology, storytelling)
(screenshots from movie)
Class movies of Alien Invasions
Original lesson blog post with resources and tutorial
Download my lesson plan here
Notes from my Rotoscoping project
Our very silent movie
View our (cute) Fugleflick about contour line drawing
UPDATE: NEW SONG RECORDED TO INSPIRE YOU TO VOTE:)
As many of you may already know, Dryden has a project, Rotoscope Animation on iPads, in the running for $15,000 on the McGraw-Hill STEMie Awards. That would buy a lot of iPad for our students! Please help us with your vote. You have to login first with an email then vote. That's all! Thanks so much to all the Tweeple that have been helping to spread the word! See below:
We are the 2nd place winner of the ISTE Technology in Action Video Contest.
See my post for more info.
View our Entry for the What's Your Story
Internet Safety Contest
(Won the 2nd Place Prize)
View this musical tribute to the hard working teachers at Dryden and the students they love to teach.
Tricia Fuglestad, NBCT 07
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.