Friday, 26 June 2009

A particularly animated experience

Last week I was privileged to have been involved in Arts week at my local primary school. While I was preparing, I thought back over my own arts education and recalled that probably the most fun was had back at University where we produced, as a class, a short animated movie based on a field trip to Berlin. I don't actually recall many individual projects set at Uni, (most of it passed in a blur of fun and Snakebite n' blacks in the union bar), but that one I certainly do. It was hard work, that's for sure. Hours of drawing and aching fingers. Frame after frame of 2 o' clock in the morning tedium. BUT, the result was awesome. A huge diverse range of animations joined together that represented our trip exactly. The fact that I remember it so well, suggested to me that of all the projects I could set my Year 4 group of children during Arts week, learning traditional animation would be a particularly enjoyable and rewarding one.

We went over the basics, the theory and the 'perception of vision', we created storyboards, we designed characters and we studied how many movements would need to be made to make one second of animation for each child. And boy, we had fun. What a fantastic experience to spend 2 days with such an enthusiastic, upbeat, creative group of little people. They were unexpectedly prolific and by the end of the project we had between us created a huge stack of cells to be scanned in and sequenced together. The results though, speak for themselves. 24 children, who had never animated anything before managed to produce a beautiful sequence including characters, movement and morphs.

I am incredibly proud of their achievements and would love to do more of this kind of thing. I can so see why teachers are teachers. To feel so proud of a bunch of children, who do not actually belong to you, is just inspirational.

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