Teaching Animation (9)

Teaching animation is one of my favorite ways to earn a living in an art related field. I recently held several workshops in schools, museums or family eduction centers, and that’s why I’d like to share a few more videos with you.

The videos below are the results of a workshop with primary school kids at the age of 6 to 10 years. Animation is quite difficult for younger children because it needs a minimum understanding of a very abstract concept. In my experience, stop motion and drawn animation work best with kids from the age of 9 or 10 years on. The younger students don’t like to plan too much, and they don’t really care about accurate storytelling, which is why it’s sometimes simply difficult to understand their stories without any further information.

An Animating Workout

A fantastic way to do animation with younger kids is pixilation. I already wrote about pixilation in another blog post, so I keep this brief: pixilation is a technique where real people act like stop-motion puppets in front of a camera. Younger kids generally love to move, and they love physically demanding challenges. So pixilation is a great way to keep them moving and testing their limits, and doing animation at the same time.

Often the kids and I have to work with limited resources since most schools and public education centers have to save money – you’ve probably know that old story. And still I try to get the best out of it for kids. For the pixilation video we built a simple stage with blankets and gaffer tape (also, we had only 90 minutes that day). It doesn’t look very professional, but that’s not what this is about. It’s more important that the kids have a really good time by learning something new, and sure they had:

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Altogether I had four 90 minutes classes with the kids, and after a short introduction with wooden shapes and plasticine, they animated small stories with plasticine characters in a town made from recyclable materials.

Here is one of those videos:

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I try to keep it simple for the kids, especially if I only have a small amount of time. I’d like them to learn that you don’t need fancy stuff to create funny videos. As with all things the fancy stuff comes later as soon as we got some experience with materials and techniques. In the beginning, it’s easier to solve fewer problems at the same time since animation really is a complex but yet playful field of work.

What do you think?

25. October 2010 by Jessica
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