Toon time

9th November 2007 at 00:00
Animation is wonderful. There's something very special about taking inanimate objects and making them come alive. And with proper instruction anyone can do it. You don't need lots of expensive equipment - just a cheap digital camera and some software that you can download for free.

I've done two stop-motion animation courses. The beginners' sessions taught us how to make a basic clay model. You then photograph it, move it just a fraction, and photograph it again.

You have to be patient - it takes 25 frames to make one second of action. We also learned how to add a soundtrack and use simple editing software. The more advanced course taught us how to do lip-synching.

When I showed the children at school how to animate, they were thrilled. Even just making a ball roll around seemed very exciting. They all love Wallace and Gromit, and they were fascinated to find out how it was done.

Animation is a great way of exploring literature. We're currently animating part of James and the Giant Peach. The children are drawing storyboards, writing dialogue, and making play dough models. It's an amazingly creative process and it's really got them thinking about the different characters in the book.

Julie Wiskow is a Year 5 teacher at Rode Heath Primary School in Cheshire. She was talking to Steven Hastings

The details

The next animation course at the National Media Museum in Bradford is expected to be in summer 2008, but schools can organise their own animation inset days. Contact the museum on 0870 70 10 2000 or visit

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