The Art of Animation
Students immerse themselves in the theory and practice of animation
in this intensive hands-on workshop. Covering direct and handmade
processes/techniques, students develop animation concepts and skills
through the (7) areas of focus in this course. From zoetropes,
flipbooks, drawing-on-films/scratch-on-film to digital frame capture,
paper cutouts, the Exquisite Corpse and underlight sand. Personal
expression in both individual and group projects emphasized.
Zoetrope Workshop: The zoetrope, or "Wheel of Life",
a 19th century optical toy introduces students to concepts of cycles,
rhythms and transformation inherent in animation.
This simple animation device, based on the principle of
"persistence of vision" was invented by William George
Horner in 1834.
In this "modern" version of the original zoetrope, we start
with a black 4 gallon drum. 12 vertical evenly spaced slits:
1/16" wide and 2" high around the circumference of the drum
act as the apertures. They are 3" from the bottom (room for the
animated strips). Spaces between the apertures (approximately 2
1/2") act as the shutters, freezing the action of the individual
images for a short moment.
Animators draw 12 sequentially spaced images on a strip of paper 29
1/2" long and 2 1/2" high. Divided into 12 evely spaced
boxes, the animated sequence is read right to left (due to the
limitation of clockwise rotation with the turntable).
The strip is placed inside the drum, images facing inward. The drum
is spun, viewers looking through the spinning apertures and the
drawings come to life.
Metamorphosis and squash and stretch will be covered. Emphasis is
placed on personal expression.
Assignment: Photo Flipbook
Flipbook Workshop: Many animators' first hands-on introduction
to this temporal medium is with these objects of "physical cinema."
Students create animated movies bound together in book form. When
these pages are flipped, the drawing breathe with motion.
You work with 40 3x5" index cards. Numbering the cards (1)
through (40), animated sequences are drawn. Unlike the zoetrope which
has a never ending cyclical format, the flipbook has a beginning,
middle and end.
Each drawing of the flipbook will differ just a little from the
previous frame. Index cards are semi-transparent, allowing a visual
reference of the previous frames for small, incrementally drawn
changes from frame to frame.
Basic concepts of extrmes and inbetweens are covered, as well as
binding techniques (staples and screws). Examples that include drawn
and photographic flipbooks from personal collection on view.
Drawing-on-film/Scratch-on-film: "Cameraless Cinema";
In this Multiparticpant (that's Group) project, the entire class
will complete (2) 16mm films. Two different films will be created:
one on clear 16mm single perf. motion picture film. The other project
on black 16mm motion picture film. Students draw on clear films with
fine point permanent markers made for drawing on film. The second
film, rather than being drawn on, is scratched off revealing the
clear film base under the pre-exposed and developed emulsion (color
may be added.)
Both films are projected at 24 frames-per-second (standard sound
speed). The physical length of 16mm motion picture film is 40 frames
per foot. This freeform project will be projected at the end of the day.
Timing and rhythm are covered in the workshop, dealing with the
essential nature of film and the process of projection.
Exquisite Corpse: Collaborative Animation Project: Part I- The
"Exquisite Corpse" was a game played by the surrealists in
which someone drew on a piece of paper, folding it and plassing it to
the next person to draw on until, finally, the sheet was opened to
reveal a calculated yet random composition. In this collaborative
project, the Dada-originated "Exquisite Corpse", students
develop animated sequences form each other's key drawings.
Assignment: Finish "Exquisite Corpse" animated sequence
Exquisite Corpse: Collaborative Animation Project: Part II-
Students, working with 8 1/2"x11" paper, Acme animation peg
punched and configured for a 10 field center, shoot their finished
work on a Video LunchBox digital frame grabber, from Animation
Toolworks. Instant feedback!!!
Choose Your Technique(s): Drawing, Photo, Rotoscope, Paper
Cutout, Replacement, Puppetry, Xerography, Stop-motion, Clay,
Underlight Sand, Pixillation, Etc...
Underlight Sand Animation: With this improvisational freeform
technique, work frame by frame directly and entirely under the
The fluid quality of sand above a lightbox creates a high contrast
sillhouette. An excellent opportunity to play with positive/negative
space. Draw with sand, working with light and shadow, silhouettes
Tool for manipulating sand include: your fingers, brushes, wooden
sticks, stencils and strainers.
There is no inbetweening in this technique. Each frame of animation
wipes away some or all of the previous image. The original artwork
exists in an impermanent state of constant change.
The ephemeral nature of this technique is not unlike the sand
paintings the Navajo's created for sacred healing ceremonies.
Paper Cutout: In the true spirit of animation, you are working
directly under the camera, pre-planned and/or improvising with the
Video LunchBox digital frame grabber. Instant feedback!!!
With color paper, photo-montage and found images, create animated
sequences. Build articulated puppets with hinged and pivot jointing.
Extend possibilities with replacement techniques. Depth is
accentuated shooting with a multiplane setup under the camera.
Pro: Flexibility, direct, improvisational
Con: Lack of repeatability
The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Animation Production: Completion, wrap, screening, VIDEO
ANIMATION FESTIVAL, Review, Animation Pot Luck Celebration!!!
editing features are invaluable for character animation"
out what everyone's saying about the LunchBox