One Year Review of the LunchBox at the Illinois Institute of Art

This letter was received by Animation Toolworks in March of 2003. It reviews the use of the LunchBox Sync in the animation program at the school after one year of use. Emphasis added by Animation Toolworks.

I just wanted to let you know how incredibly effective the new Sync Lunchboxes have been in our program. I some ways, especially in the animation classes, the positive influence was predictable. Our quarter system has eleven week classes so the instruction by definition has to be incredibly compact. The Lunchboxes have allowed our students to explore, execute and experience the animation projects far more quickly and effectively than any system we have employed thus far.

Since the Lunchbox system is so easy to learn how to use, we have students creating flipbooks in the first few hours of class and by the end of class they have them shot on the Lunchbox and are watching their animation in full motion before they leave at the end of the day. There is no more powerful educational experience in animation that I have seen, to motivate and energize students to want to do more and better work. We continue to see, at the end of this first full year of the Lunchboxes being integrated into our Animation program, a big improvement in the projects being completed, the quality of the work and increasing interest in the program.

The surprise impact of the Lunchbox, however, has been in our Storyboard class. We have adapted the Lunchbox into that class so that the students can quickly and easily create sound animatics within the first few weeks of starting the class. With the Lunchbox applied in this manner, our students that have not had their editing, audio and video classes can still create effective audio + video presentations of their drawn storyboards with either narration, music or full performance of a dialog driven script. Students that have had some editing experience still prefer to do the basic work on the Lunchbox system because they can complete their assignments in a fraction of the time it would take on any of the desktop editing systems.

Previously, it took three storyboard assignments before the majority of students were able to realistically begin a final project. Again, in the eleven week class arc, this did not leave much time for the final project. With the Lunchbox, it is so much easier to teach and for the students to see and learn the basic storyboard / storytelling principles that we can get the students to their final project with one less project assignment. This opens up an extra two weeks (major time)! for the final project and we have seen a substantial improvement in the quality of the end-of-quarter work.

The fallout from all of the above, is that all of our classes have benefited greatly from having the Lunchboxes in our program. We are looking forward to adding two more to the three we originally ordered. Thank you for this absolutely wonderful product. To me, it is the Holy Grail of Animation, that we have been searching for, since the beginning of animation.

All the best,

George Eastman
Animation Instructor
Illinois Institute of Art
Chicago Campus

"motivate and energize students to want to do more and better work"

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