Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 7 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)

(Note: This is the final class for the KCAI Northland Spring Animation.  I would expect students to continue 'posting' to this blog with updates regarding questions or progess.  Additional information may be garnered through email via: 

Wrapping it all up:
"Are we planning for visitors before class ends tonight?" (Review the 'final questions' posting)
"Do you have ALL of your elements for tonight's finalizing of animations?" (at 8pm we will begin the process of 'uploading' our Quicktime movies to
*After this review (above) - have students open this blog for visitors:

1) Creating a sense of depth: What does it take?
2) Speak on 'timing' and 'sequencing'.  Add: Sound files (.wav or .mp3)
3) Rendering your file to a movie (discuss file types). Upload ALL movies tonight - we CAN'T edit our compositions without the software of Flash or After Effects.  You can, however - continue to view your 'movies'.

Tonight's Goals:
1) Bring it together / watch your time / plan effectively (2 hrs. of lab tonight)
2) Adding 'sound' to your animations (rendering to GarageBand to 'cut' to 'fit')

Animations (finals) from students.  Posted to YouTube as mp4s (smaller file sizes):

Kara's "Rainy Bird" - click here or (copy/paste)

Jack's "DigiData" - click here or (copy/paste)

Morgan's "Underwater purple rocks" - click here or (copy/paste)

Heather's "Worm Bling" - click here or (copy/paste)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Day 6 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)

(Note: this is a 'draft' created on Tuesday and may be 'updated' prior to class)
(for the instructor) 
A) Prior to class, understand the various rendering types (H.264 vs. mp4) and 'compression' aspects.  4:3 ratio on Youtube - smaller file, but don't need compression of proportions.
B) "Letterbox to 'preserve' ratio" / resolution of the mp4 movie - appears a little bitmapped


Storyboards and planning your work:
"Why are storyboards effective for us as animators?" (Write keywords on the board as students react to this question)
(answers include: planning, timeframes, angles for character drawings, sound and music files, 'transitions'/fade ins/outs/timing is key to effective animation - 'credibility')

*After this review (above) - have students open this blog for further discussion/review (below):

1) Establishing shot (with title) / *download or create a background image (saving to your folder) - Organization - the 'key' to effective animation (labeling, folders, storing/restoring)

2) Compositions (software) vs. Footage (files inside of folders that must 'travel') - Keeping it all together.
Example: Use Kara's file of the bird in flight to review/discuss 'compositions' inside of compositions (wings flapping 'looping' file)

3) Character movement using 'A' and 'B' keyframes (apply sound effect here if possible/GarageBand is a good source)
Example: "Is your 'movement' believable?" / Heather's worms are moving too fast, but look at the 'depth' we were able to achieve.
Example: Scanning image files last week - we need to consider our various angles / resolution / 'props' - including background images, other objects and their 'roles' using a storyboard.

4) Rendering your file to a movie (discuss file types). Figure out why Jack's file did not render completely and why we need to 'shorten' the render's on other animations for preview on YouTube.

Discussions (demonstrations) for tonight:
Tonight's Goals:
1) Bring it together / watch your time / plan effectively (2 hrs. of lab tonight / 2 hrs. next week)
2) "Do we want to have an open house at *8:30? next Thursday for our folks to visit?"
"If this is a 'yes' you need to take the 'final' - on the blog, to prepare your vocabulary".
3) Adding 'sound' to your animations (rendering to GarageBand to 'cut' to 'fit')
Example: Jack's 3 minute song - cut to 17 seconds (which part to use).

Jack's starting Major animation on week 6 - click here 
Kara's starting for week 6 - click here

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Day 5 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)

For Day 5 (DRAFTED on Tuesday)

(prior to class starting)

Figure out what is 'wrong' with the projector (pull down menu/format)

Have 'links' for bookmarks:

   YouTube (login and password through your Gmail / use the bookmark for blogs and postings and the 'kcailogin' account)

   Postings - in / for student references

For Class Discussion:

Review - started (now finish) intro to After Effects.

"I apologize - in that I think there is too much available" / the 'upgrade' to CS4 threw me for a loop

Is this a good thing?  Are we able to remain focused on the 'basics'?: 

  Creating and importing our artwork (from Photoshop/as layers)

  Keyframes - inserting and manipulating A and B

  Storyboards - the basics of where this begins/planning/timeframes, etc.

Last week we discussed 'adding depth' to your animations and 'considerations' prior to execution (through storyboards).

"Are you planning effectively?  Do you know what is out there?  Do you have any questions about our progress?"

Question:  Do we want to have a 'showing' of our learning on the last day (evening) of class - April 2nd?

Tonight - bringing it all together, requires an understanding of ALL that is available to you as the animator.

  Exporting your movie for viewing on YouTube (your audience)

  Quicktime (formats) and Adding sound (GarageBand)

  Did you bring music? (discuss potential at 6:30) - group demo

FrogPond (Click here) trt :18 sec.

Adding Sound, tracking, establishing shot, fade in/out, titles, 'puppet tool'.

Jack's click here

Heather's click here

Kara's click here

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Day 4 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)

A review of last week included our efforts at establishing 'keyframes' (an 'A' and a 'B') and then 'tweening' movement by allowing the computer to take over.  This is what software does - it makes things happen.  Just as Photoshop (after titling our layers) was able to be brought into Flash and the software 'retained' the titles of each of the layers.

Last Week (week 3):
- Revisited the 'Lava lamp' movies (with the introduction of 'morphing' shapes over 'time').
Generated a two ball movie that morphed in its shapes using the following steps/vocabulary:
1) Establishing a shape (a ball) and creating a gradient to give it a sense of form (illusion)
2) Establishing an 'A' keyframe and a 'B' keyframe for each layer (10 second movement)
*Make the two shapes intersect at some point in the animation
3) Allowing the 'shape tween' (Shift 'select' + Control>'shape tweening')
4) Inserting additional 'keyframes' in the 'shape tween' to respond to a collision

- Re-rendered in Flash our Quicktime exports (.mov) file for uploading to (still)
- Discussed (introduced) Photoshop: When scanning an object into the computer for layers
- Made our turkeys (and layers) in Photoshop - saving as a 'native' .psd file (file types)
Imported layers into Flash for establishing keyframes (sorry, tried too many layers)
*Go back to your turkey movies and work with just one element for movement (Save as .mov)

(This completes the review portion of Day 4) - Take a quick 'break' (at 7pm)

Today - We are going to take our characters into Photoshop and generate 'layers' for use in BOTH Flash and later (tonight) After Effects.
- You can generate (paint) or find (Internet) a background image (show examples of student work from last summer).  Lava lamps had 'no' background aside from color (stage).

Introduction of After Effects (around 8pm) - Save a simple movie (.efx and .mov)

Next week - adding sound to our movies using Garage Band (bring your CDs and MP3 players.
(file types include: .aiff, .mp3, .mp4/video and .mov)

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day 3 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)
There appeared to be a rendering issue with Quicktime - when uploading from Flash (.mov) to YouTube. We will discuss this 1st.
Time will be given in class (1st half hour) to review the work from last week and our 'uploading' to YouTube (use the blog posting to access the webpage/link for this class:

Today's Goals: Photoshop - Scanning, file types (.psd, .jpg and .gif), tools (selection tools), layering (in Photoshop)

- Scanning (of character) into various 'modes' for working with native files (.psd)
- Importing to the 'library' (vector based objects vs. shapes with Flash)
- Creating layers (titling) and 'pivot points' for movement
- Review of Keyframes and 'tweening'
- Saving today's work into an .swf and .mov file (for upload)

1) Continue to develop your 'storyboards' for your 'final' animations
Remember to include ideas about 'music' (.mp3 and .aif files are preferred), transitions and timing for your animation (aim for a :30 sec animation) which will use After Effects (next week).
2) Research (option) find job postings for animators / research the 'skills' necessary (and include a list of softwares utilized).  Post the results to the end of Day 3 (below).

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Day 2 (animation) - Goals and Understandings (discussions)

(I've edited this on Thursday afternoon, just prior to class)

Discussion of 'postings' on blog:
1) Did you set up your own Gmail account for access? Do you still need a Gmail account?
2) I only have seen now 2 updated posting (from Kara and Kim) - I've posted replies.
3) Other postings? Other research? How are you planning to share the information you develop for class?
4) Did you view the 1 hour tutorial/preview of how to use Flash to create a character and movement?
- I want to make sure that everyone has 'viewed' the link and is prepared with a character drawing for scanning.
- We will cover Photoshop either at the end of class - or preferably, next week along with 'importing file types'.

Review of last week:
1) Review the various softwares (applications) we are going to cover in class (February 12th 'blog' - click here)
These include: Flash, Photoshop, AfterEffects, GarageBand, Quicktime, possibly: IMovie and ITunes
2) Skill vs. Concept (or Tools vs. Ideas) / Content vs. Context - list in order going down (on board)  ADD: Form vs. Function AND Frames (times must be met: Superbowl :30sec)
3) We covered some basic tools and created a basic animation (but didn't save it)

Keywords (write these on the board):
  • Inserting a Keyframe / Control Key (point A to point B for movement), Layers, Objects vs. Shapes, (Classic) Tweening (using the 'control' key), (various) Tools - list the tools used: shape, properties (color), transform (scale and/or rotation).
  • "Double Clicking the Object" to edit it.
  • Shift key to a) keep an object proportioned b) Moving an object along an axis up and down or side to side c) selecting multiple objects in a single setting.
  • Undo key (command+Z on Macs, or control+Z on PCs)
  • Pre-Viewing your animation: CTI (current time indicator) and 'scrubbing', 'Return' key to play on Stage, (command+Shift+Return) to play as an .swf file (this is what the viewer will see).  We will 'export' our .fla files into .swf files for viewing (note the difference).

1) Today we are going to pick up where we left off - building a basic animation with keyframes (review vocabulary)
2) Bouncing a ball - (tutorial for 'tweening' - click here)
3) Our animation for today - our inspiration: "A lava lamp background"
Keywords (add to list on board):
fps, browser, .fla and .swf (file types), Quicktime (embedding/looping animations), Consider your audience and 'credibility'.

To have a finalized animation (10 sec) background for use as a 'credits' for animations we create in class.
(we'll add 'text' later - our goal is to have an 'embedable' file in both .swf and .mov formats/file types)
Examples of Day 2: "Lava Lamp" animations - click here

'Playing' is encouraged today:
  • Gradients (adding a highlight to your shape/give it depth or 'form')
  • Layers will give additional 'illusion' of depth (scale and speed) / title these / 'copy and paste'
  • Morphing your object in response to other objects
  • 10 seconds total - work with each other, ask questions
  • test the 'rendering' qualities when viewing in the 'browser' (fps, layers, speed of objects)
(taking a break around 7:15)

NEXT WEEK - Make sure you bring your 'drawing' for scanning (Photoshop) / research animation and animation 'jobs' (go over skills needed for the field AND various degrees and locations).  7 week syllabus: Click here

Friday, February 20, 2009

Final Questions: post your answers online by (4/2/09) - for Open House

Note to Students: In our 'classes' we (eventually) develop 'understanding' in our capacity to 'share' with others.  You are developing this understanding through (formative) labs/exercises and the discussions we are 'sharing' with each other (both in class and online through blogs).  As a 'final' to this class, along with 'uploading' your work to - I am encouraging your 'understanding' (sharing with others) the following response questions.

Final questions, ‘subjective and substantiative 
(A Summative Evaluation – students should post this by last class).
Prepare (and post) your answers in time for the Open House (4/2/09).  There is no such thing as a 'wrong' answer (subjective) as long as you can effectively support (substantiate) it.
  • What is animation? Use: Keyframes / movement in time / 24 vs. 30fps / layers
  • What is content vs. context? – identify using a specific example of each or together.
  • When is Flash used? (or/add) How is it different from Photoshop or After Effects?
  • Identify the following items: timeline, storyboard (what makes these items different?  Hint: Title this, "The process of Planning vs. Execution")
  • Tools (Identify on a handout) these 7 'basic' tools - indicating their function: 
(see animations/handouts/activatingTOOLS.jpg (link will be provided - soon)

Thursday, February 19, 2009

The following 'responses' to "What do you know about hardware and software?" Along with: "What are your expectations?" (our '1st' post)

I've never used a Mac before, so all of my knowledge is on PC.  I've played with most of the Adobe Suites programs, but I am most comfortable with Illustrator and Photoshop [along with paint and other Office programs].  Home and school is where I use the Dell PC's.  I only know the basics of hardware: keyboard, mouse, scanner, etc.  The only expectations I have are learning the basics of animation.
I knew from the start, software was CDs and DVDs, however I actually didn't know what hardware was exactly. But now I think I understand, hardware is like the: mouse, printer, the keyboard ect. I really have 4 computers, 1 Windows and 3 Macs. What I expect in this class, is to get a general idea about Flash, PhotoShop and AfterEffects. I just want to know what I'm doing when I do these programs.
i would say i only know the basics of hardware. like i know about the mouse the keyboard, at home i have a desktop Microsoft computer. i can use it pretty well.
As for software, i have used flash, adobe photoshop, after effects and a few others that don't come to mind right now. I'm not that experienced in any of them though.

I would really like to do everything i can to have a job as an animator. I have never wanted to do anything else as a career so i really hope this works out. 
Heather F:
I do not know that much about hardware and software. I know the basics. but thats where a few of my expectations come in. I hope to pick up a few things in hardware and software. I don't have a lot of expectations just to have the basics in animation.
I think that I know everything about hardware and software.
What I expect from this class....

Day 1 (animation) - Introduction, Vocabulary and Links

This is a recap of the notes given in class for day 1

click the title to see a breakdown of the very 1st day of class.
(tentative) Syllabus for entire 7 weeks - Click here 
(or copy/paste:

Parental Consent (agreeing to the format for this class requires your understanding as to the various methods the class will 'post' information on the Internet)
Please read this and let me know if you have any concerns:
Creating a Gmail (email/website/blog access) account:  Click Here (or copy paste:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animation Class - Day 1 (assignments)

Respond to the following 2 questions (1 in class / 1 out of class assignment):
Note: Create a 'username' at the front of your reply (eg. AnimAL: I think the future of animation...)

Step 1:  Sign in to your Gmail account (click here to create a Gmail account) and then come back to this page (bookmark it if you can)
 - this will allow for 'comments' to be posted and shared in our next class.

Step 2: Click on the 'respond to this posting' box at the end of this posting and answer the following questions:

Question 1: (In class)
"What do you know about animation, hardware and software (already) AND/OR what are your expectations for this class?"

Question 2: (Out of class/assignment - research)
"What is the direction that YOU see animation going in the future?"  Reflect on current trends if you can't 'predict' the future of animation.  Provide links (copy and paste) if possible.

I am adding the following items to your research potential. Click on the hyperlinks

(as I referenced them in class):


Adobe Flash 10 (CS4 Professional) User Guide – not a tutorial: 


Using 'motion tweens' in Flash:


Animating a character (drawing) in Flash / started in class (trt:1 hour):


Still frame artist / 3-D illustrator / Matte Background Artist (adds depth to your work):  


**Remember to bring a B&W drawing (in your sketchbook) to class. If you want to (or can) Xerox it for a color 'comp'. We'll use Photoshop when everybody has done this assignment (and we have a scanner).

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Portfolio Preparation for a BFA Interest

This class is developed with the intent of shaping understanding (through vocabulary and exercises), formulating portfolio content and encouraging application and acceptance for a 4-year BFA program.  

Scholarship is typically based on a combination of factors: portfolio submission, GPA (7th semester) and Standardized Test Scores allowing for Competitive (top scholarships) and Merit (standard scholarships) for students who have been initially accepted (as graduating seniors who are anticipating graduation).  I would encourage before scholarships are considered students first need to complete an application and application folder (includes Letters of Recommendation and Statements of Purpose).

  • Understanding of various types of Visual Arts degrees and programs available
  • Understanding of application (folder) requirements for acceptance
  • Review lessons (formative evaluations) to improve content and direction
  • Online resources for searching and submitting to a BFA
  • Scholarship opportunities and financial aid (Always file the FAFSA)
  • Conceptual ideas and Skill development for each class/projects by days

I am placing the following link (and applicable login/password) to a previously developed website: Click Here

Animation Class
(Be sure to post your replies and comments following this article)

This is a 'basic' survey course in software , hardware and computer animation vocabulary.  It is preferred that students possess some 'basic' understanding of animation terminology and have 'some' Photoshop to provide personal experience for contribution as a team of learners.  Major content is listed below and feel free to comment on each item listed (as bullet points).

  • In class lessons/examples/labs and exercises (4 projects total)
  • Online and 'Help' tutorials (answering your original ideas/directions)
  • Research and classroom contribution (provide opportunity to formulate a direction)
  • Understanding of various courses of study and potential careers (skills necessary)

We'll cover the following softwares and exercises over the course of the next 7 weeks.

Image editing software for producing layers for animation purposes.

We plan to cover:
  • Resolution, File Size, File Types (.psd/native, .jpg/compressed and .gif/for web)
  • Layers and basic tools for drawing and color addition
  • Scanning / Resolution 
  • Layers / Building depth and allowing for control (manipulation) of objects
Simple animation software along with providing expert tools for website interaction
  • Benefits: Toolbox, 'Tweening', Layers, Exporting (movies and interactive websites)
  • Drawbacks: Complicated aspects for ActionScript (for interaction)
We plan to cover: 
  • Shapes vs. Objects (basic painting tools)
  • Vector files, Bezier Curves (and the pen tool) and Motion Paths
  • Keyframes (inserting keyframes, position, rotation, color and opacity)
  • Motion 'Tweens' (=vid0124 tutorial)
  • Importing to Libraries (various file types)
  • Testing your .swf (Command + Return) and 'fps' (frames per second)
  • Easing in and out
Simple animation software allows for importing of various files (eg. .psd/image file layers, .ill/graphic and logo layers).
  • Benefits: Puppet tool, Direct Insert into software, Style Filters similar to Photoshop
  • Drawbacks: Poor paintbox, Export is only for Quicktime (.mov)
We plan to cover:
  • Layers and file types
  • Puppet Tool
  • Adding sound, music and sound effects using GarageBand
  • Publishing to the web (requires use of YouTube/online email account necessary)
  • May additionally utilize I-Movie for 'downsizing' .mov files for effective broadcast.
Two animations shown in class (using After Effects, Photoshop, and GarageBand):