301 Improving Productivity using IT and 324 Multimedia Software
In this project I worked with 6 children from the year 4/5 class where I work as a teaching assistant. The aim was to create a stop motion animation based on their topic of the time, which was ‘What a Wonderful World’ In this they were researching the 7 wonders of the world and also coming up with what they thought were their 7 wonders of their hometown, Swansea. The finished product would then be submitted to a Swansea schools animation competition held at The National Waterfront museum.
I Used IT for this project as it is a quicker and more effective way to get the desired outcome, with the use of tools in the StoMo app for the iPad such as Onion skin feature that allows you to see the last photo taken and allows you to see how much you have moved your puppet.
I planned the resources, methods and skills accordingly with the experience I gained during my animation course at University yet adapted them for the situation. This included; an iPad, a tripod (with an iPad adapter), modelling clay, sculpting tools and the use of a pc for researching and editing purposes.
The use of iPads made this a lot easier as the editing software and camera were both on this device. I purchased some tubs of modelling clay in a variety of colours and also a few extra blocks of the primary colours so I could mix them and create extra colours if needed.
I collaborated with the students I was working with as we developed their ideas through research online and in books. The topic the pupils were learning at the time was also the topic of the animation. This was helpful as a lot of the research was developed prior to starting this project.
The children used the modelling clay to recreate the 7 wonders of the world and their chosen wonder of Swansea by studying images on the internet. Then they made a model of themselves. They then researched and found a fact about each ‘wonder’.
I explained a few of the fundamental principles of animation such as squash and stretch, slow in slow out and timing to give a more fluid movement. These techniques varied in skill between different pupils. I also taught them about lip-synching but as this is a more advanced aspect of animation it would have been too time consuming and it proved too difficult to perfect, especially with the resources available. Preferably I would have used Adobe Premier to edit the sound but all that was available was Garage band and Windows Movie Maker, so I let them have a go at creating mouth shapes and trying to place them blind, then recording the dialogue afterwards. This meant that the mouths were not moving exactly as they should have, but still conveyed that the characters were talking. We tested this approach a few times to check it would look ok in the finished film.
Time was a factor that prevented the project from running smoothly as animation is a lengthy process and so we had to work separately to what the rest of the children in the class were doing and fit in our project whenever it was possible. This caused problems as we had to set up the scene each time, causing some of the scenes and puppets to be a little offset from when we stopped capturing.
Most of the children excelled in their model making and animating yet there were a few who needed some extra help with details or shapes and spacing/timing during the filming process. I watched over them every step of the way to improve this and we needed to go back and redo a few scenes.
After completing the animation process we moved on to voice recording. In order to match the audio with the visual I took one child at a time and practiced saying their lines over the film to make sure it fit. This seemed to work quite well and so I used the Garage Band app on an iPad to record the dialogue which was then transferred to Windows Movie Maker along with the finished animation and edited together. Because of the time constraints I had to do this part myself but in future projects I would like to see how the children would get on with this task or weather this also would be too advanced.
Overall I was pleased with the outcome of the film, some parts that could be improved would be the Machu Pichu scene as this was the 7th wonder of the world yet there were only 6 children it was a collaborative wonder that included every character, which made it more difficult to animate as it was quite a full and chaotic scene. There was also no lip synch in this scene for the same reasons.
As this was to be entered into a competition I was very mindful of copyright issues and so every image in the film was made with original art work created by the children, though this didn’t seem to matter in the end as many schools that entered used Lego and other toys in their animation. Perhaps the judges realised this and was a factor when choosing the winner.