Teaching Animation (3)
Keep It Simple
Since it’s rather difficult to teach the fairly abstract principles of animation to kids at the age of ten to twelve, I now try to improve their understanding by just showing them different possible paces right before they start to move their puppets on their own. This seems to work pretty well.
This is Sammy’s title design for strickwars animation. Guess what’s his favourite movies?
Ten years old Sammy always wants to bring his plasticine stick figures come to life, they always fight with laser swords. I asked him to do a dry run to test his puppets first. For this I demonstrated him the very basics of animation like how to move his puppet slowly and how he’d archived a fast movement. The important thing here is that I didn’t explain it again.
I found out that a spoken explaination often is too abstract for kids of that age. But if I’d show them how to animate with my hands, they absolutely understand. At least so it seems.
Due to the fact that we’re working on five different little projects simultaneously, I went on to help the others with their puppets or props. When I turned back to Sammy a few minutes later, he looked very frustrated because he thought his animation wouldn’t be good. But he hasn’t watched it in real time yet, and I just encouraged him to move on and just finish the movement before doing so.
Stick-Figures Test Animation
He did. And he did so well, that I was absolutely stunned by his test animation! He was so concentrated all the time and put so much energy in this effort, and it all paid off:
When we finally called the others to watch the clip, it was nice to see how surprised they were realizing what they could do with animation. Every time the kids and I watch even the tiniest amount of self-made animation they use to call for a celebration. And this time Sammy indeed earned the standing ovations.