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Animation Station

A Stop-Motion Animation experience for middle school students.

Welcome to our comprehensive Stop Motion Animation Experience Video Archive, designed to empower instructors to facilitate an amazing Program! Each video breaks down the functional components of every lesson and provides guidance for facilitating each part of the Experience. From mastering the basics, to exploring advanced techniques, let our videos be your companions on the journey to unleashing creativity and storytelling through stop motion animation.

Lesson 1:
The Flip Book

This lesson is an introduction to the fundamentals of creating movement with still drawings. Your students will generate movement with flip books using the Animation Principles of Timing, Squash and Stretch, and Follow-Through. Let students know that it’s okay to discard an index card or correct a drawing to get things the way they want. 

Lesson 2:
2D Animation

The video’s below emphasize the foundational principles of 2D animation. Guide students to prioritize sketching over drawing for efficiency and flexibility in the animation process. Direct their focus towards creating  convincing movement using the principles of Weight, Timing, Squash and Stretch, Shape, Follow-Through, and Anticipation. These elements will give your students a strong foundation in creating movement before they move on to Stop Motion Animation.

Lesson 3:
Intro to Stop Motion
Animation

Use the videos below as a Guide to navigating your students through the immersive world of Stop Motion using Dragonframe. Included is key information on the features and functionality of the Dragonframe program, as well as tips and tricks to show your students as they experiment. Encourage them to unleash their creativity by creating wonderful movement with everyday objects.

Lesson 4:
Writing an Animated Short

For this Lesson, focus on the “gamification” elements of the writing exercise in the video below. This is to keep the creative process as fun as possible. The more fun students have coming up with the elements of their story, the quicker fear of the blank page disappears.

Lesson 5:
Character Design

This lesson focuses on Character Design and Character Turnarounds. Encourage students to keep things fast and light during the sketch phase. Stress the importance of alignment between front, side, and back views for consistency during the turnaround phase. This will be particularly helpful in maintaining consistency with their puppets. 

Lesson 6:
Building Our Characters

This lesson is all about evolving Character Designs (Lesson 5) into vibrant and expressive paper puppets to animate in Stop Motion. Make sure students pay special attention to articulation and how they want their puppets limbs to move and gesture. Also make sure students sketch lightly so that all pencil lines can be erased during the ink process.

Lesson 7:
Storyboards Part 1

This Lesson is based off of the Ted Talk video below.  Visualizing the process of making toast as a group will give students a leg up on translating the written word to images during the Storyboard process (next lesson). They will gain a higher understanding of teamwork and the value of different points of view when working together creatively.

Take tips from the video on how to keep the lesson fun and engaging.

Lesson 8:
Storyboards Part 2

The video below (Storyboards) depicts how to “gamify” the process of how to extract images from words to create Storyboards. Pay special attention to the gamification/visualization process in the video (4:18-18:44). This is a fun, low stakes way to approach storyboarding for any first timer!

The accompanying video features a fun technique for coming up with the script/dialogue for any character. It’s great for coming up with a starting point and also useful to write past blocks.

Lesson 9:
Constructing Backgrounds

& Props

This lesson focuses on constructing backgrounds and props. Lines used to design background elements should be thinner than Character lines so that there is no competition between the two. Keep this in mind for the saturation of character colors vs background colors. Character colors should always be more saturated and vibrant than background colors. Depth is key to a convincing world. Make sure your students make frequent use of Foreground, Middleground, and Background elements to create and maintain depth. Encourage creativity by using storyboards as inspiration rather than a strict guide. This is the chance for your students to add in all of the detail and color they wanted during the storyboard process.

Lesson 10:
Recording Voices

The video’s below emphasize the foundational principles of 2D animation. Guide students to prioritize sketching over drawing for efficiency and flexibility in the animation process. Direct their focus towards creating  convincing movement using the principles of Weight, Timing, Squash and Stretch, Shape, Follow-Through, and Anticipation. These elements will give your students a strong foundation in creating movement before they move on to Stop Motion Animation.

Lesson 11:
Bring it All Together & Animtate

The video’s below emphasize the foundational principles of 2D animation. Guide students to prioritize sketching over drawing for efficiency and flexibility in the animation process. Direct their focus towards creating  convincing movement using the principles of Weight, Timing, Squash and Stretch, Shape, Follow-Through, and Anticipation. These elements will give your students a strong foundation in creating movement before they move on to Stop Motion Animation.

Lesson 12:
Post Production

The video’s below emphasize the foundational principles of 2D animation. Guide students to prioritize sketching over drawing for efficiency and flexibility in the animation process. Direct their focus towards creating  convincing movement using the principles of Weight, Timing, Squash and Stretch, Shape, Follow-Through, and Anticipation. These elements will give your students a strong foundation in creating movement before they move on to Stop Motion Animation.

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