Animation: An Overview

Animation works because of a trick of the human eye called the persistence of vision. When light is used or controlled in the proper way, the eye “remembers” an image it has seen for a split second. If the image is replaced quickly enough with one that is only slightly different (in the proper way), a two-dimensional graphic can appear to be moving.

To begin teaching kids about animation, try a thaumatrope. It consists of a paper disc attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled between your fingers, the two images on each side of the disk appear to be one.

Animation Summer Art Camp:  Each Summer I run an animation art camp as the students need a good series or hours at a time in order to create an animation of any substance.  In this art camp we cover 2d animation which is a digital method of flipbook animation where visuals are created by drawing on the computer.  These animations look a lot more smoother because the timing can be adjusted to compensate.  The cons of creating such an animation is that the student becomes learns new software skills.  2D animation is very popular in the creative industry because its target industry.  Anime and recent cartoon series on TV are a good example of 2D Animations.  The animation on the right was created by Shonagh O’Reilly in the 2014 Summer Animation Camp.

Why study animation with kids? Because it’s a great vehicle to help them better understand storytelling and sequencing ideas, whether in words or pictures. Simple animation techniques are fun, hands-on projects that incorporate play, creativity and collaboration. Because the underlying processes are the same as for video, animation projects are a powerful way to help kids understand and prepare for more sophisticated media projects.

The fact is that animation, whether a flip-book or full-length Disney movie, is simply telling a story by finding the right sequence of pictures and words. That is a powerful skill for kids to master. Before any animator, filmmaker or video artist begins a project, he or she first does a storyboard to lay out the sequence of actions.

Hand-drawn animation activities are an excellent step to help children become better storytellers and prepare them for a storyboarding project, followed by computer animation, multimedia presentations or video. Start by leading a discussion that helps students explore aspects of a story they may not have noticed immediately, such as how it develops, what’s missing, the use of language, how words and pictures work together, and what the story means to them.

Ethan Lucas’s first short animated video created at the Ennis Art School Animation camp 2015

Short animated video created by Ethan Lucas as part of the Ennis Art School Summer Animation Camp 2015

Short animated film created by Conal Fertear as part of the Ennis Art School Summer Animation Camp 2015.

Short animated film created by Blathneid Fertear as part of the Ennis Art School Animation Camp 2015

Short animated film created by Conal Fertear as part of the Ennis Art School Animation Film Camp 2015

“Knights and Dragons”, Animated film created by Ethan Lucas during the Ennis Art School Animation Camp 2015

Ethan Lucas created this SpongeBog Squarepants animated film as part of  the Animation Summer Camp 2015.

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