Get animated

15th February 2008 at 00:00

Art amp; design

One burning question we continually ask ourselves is: "how do we create new, exciting projects that are relevant and appeal to today's pupils?"

Animation is continuing to expand and play an important role, whether it is film, artistic creativity or technical ingenuity. There are many options you can consider when tackling this project: 2-D or 3-D animation, stop motion animation, computer-generated imagery (CGI), flipbooks or thaumatropes.

Relevance is the key word; pupils will quickly switch off if they can not relate to the subject matter. Start by introducing the old master works from the Renaissance period, with artists such as da Vinci or Rembrandt, and show progression in interpreting faces and people. After all, they were the foundation of how we draw such things.

I gradually move on to caricatures, which are great fun and get an excellent response from pupils. They also provide a key stepping stone in getting the imagination going and demonstrating how the norm can take other forms.

Having a variety of themes gives pupils choice over what aspect they wish to develop, leading to a diverse response on the topic of animation. So give them possible ideas they can look up, whether it be fantasy and sci- fi, simple cartoons, Disney-style animations, Marvel comics, or Plasticine characters such as Morph or Wallace and Gromit.

There are many free animation programs and sites. One that I recommend is which is a place where work can be showcased to other professionals. The site is frequented by many of the high flyers in the industry. Some even work on the major movie productions and actually create the stop motion software.

The key to having success with this project is having a variety of possible routes and outcomes, all within the field of animation.

Michael Hopkins is a supply teacher in Wales.

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