2009 Rotoscope Collaborative Flash Animation

Thanks to Scott

Rotoball 2008 from The Carrot Revolution on Vimeo.

The 2009 “Rotoball” project is open to any student or class, elementary through college. There are a few rules to follow, but the project sounds like a whole-heap of fun and would give you an excuse (like you need one) to get busy with your favorite Adobe programs – think Flash, Photoshop, Premiere and After Effects.

The idea is to create a short story involving a ball. Your 15 second video is combined with other people’s stories to create a collaborative multimedia extravaganza!

The Rules

  1. Each animation must be exactly 15 seconds long.
  2. The animation must contain the following:
    1. A character catching the ball from the left side of the screen
    2. The ball transforming in some way
    3. A character interacting with the transformed object
    4. The object turning back into a ball
    5. The ball exiting the right hand side of the screen

Visit the Rotoball website for additional information, rules, resources, lesson guideline, and tutorials.

Sounds fun!  I wish I had more time this semester to dedicate to this project but I am going to my Graphic Design students the option to do it for their final project.  Will post samples then.

Learning Flash @ SuperQuest ’08

This past week I have been at Western Oregon University taking a Flash class sponsored by the TechStart Foundation and the Software Association of Oregon.

My instructor, Chuck Laiti, is a graphic arts teacher at Tigard High School. Chuck has showed us some interesting ways to to introduce Flash to students with some easy and challenging activities. We started with the traditional “make the ball bounce” but with a twist – include ActionScript to start and stop the ball. Also include a shadow as the ball nears the ground. Its a great addition to that activity.

Next we assembled body parts of a cave man to make a walking character. The lesson and pieces can be found here.

Then Chuck shared how he incorporates some lessons of early film techniques as we learn about Rotoscope – which is basically traced animation. I traced the various steps of a walking sequence and then created an animated graphic that keeps walking over and over again.

Next we learned how to make a basic flash webpage with rollover buttons that display icons for flash movies. This was quite challenging for me since I really don’t know ActionScript.

I looked online for photo sequences of skateboarders and found a 16 frame shot of a jump and created this simple movie: skateboard_final. Next I will try a longer sequence and see if I can find a video sequence to use as a basis – somethings that loops continuously.

I’m glad I came to this class. It definitely opened my eyes to other ideas and activities that I can use in my graphic design class. Now to purchase ActionScript 3.0 for Dummies and begin reading.

Differentiated tech camp

My educational schooling has taught me that differentiating instruction means “creating multiple paths so that students of different abilities, interest or learning needs experience equally appropriate ways to absorb, use, develop and present concepts as a part of the daily learning process.”

Never before have I experienced this type of instruction than I have during this week at flash animation tech camp. The week-long daycamp is for 10-15 years olds – and we know how every parent stretches that a bit. The youngest boy is starting 4th grade and the oldest will be sophomore in high school – but most are around 12. Do you know the maturity difference between a 4th grader and a sophomore (ok, ok .. at times – not much) but ** WOW ** there’s a huge difference.

The students are all eager to learn flash animation – so that helps – but each comes with a different set of skills, ability to pay attention, willingness to put forth effort and unique personality. Each day I am presenting an animation that teaches a new technique and the students follow along and modify the flash project to their own liking. There is a still plenty of time for individual projects and interests. Each student is placing their flash movies on a webpage to showcase the week’s work.

At the end of the day today, the entire group went around from computer to computer to view the projects so far. The amazing thing was that they were all pretty good. Yes, some students were more artistic than others and some had mastered more advanced technical skills, but we were all able to applaud each other’s work. I believed it even sparked some new interest in some advanced techniques.

So even though maturity will always be a factor when you place groups of kids together – a common interest, like making and watching animated movies, will level the playing field and connect people of all ages.

View sample Flash Movie

Let the fun begin!

This week I am teaching a Flash animation camp for kids 10-15 sponsored by OETC .  I have spent most of the day pondering my goals and looking over the proposed curriculum that I designed last May.  More than any technique or skill mastery, I want these students to be creative, to feel competent that they can succeed and have fun!!  This is not school – there is no grade, no evaluation or “assignments” to do.  This is summer camp and the week is all about exploring, sharing, learning from each other, laughing, having fun and making “cool” flash animations.

I am bringing out my pirate hat, disco music and my favorite flash movies.  Technology is fun. Flash is “wicked sweet” (as quoted by anonymous teenager).

Let the fun begin!