photo 3 (38)

My youngest son has been interested in animation for as long as I can remember. He has also been interested in my animation class I took at UCSB way back when. He wanted to know what I learned, what I studied, and what projects I worked on. I don’t remember too much from the class (honestly I only took it to meet a requirement for my degree in film studies), but the one project I did remember was the red ball project.

Every student in the class had to make their own short (only a few seconds) animation featuring a red ball. There were no other requirements, so every student had very different interpretations. My own creation was about a fisherman who is eaten by a fish.

The boy has always wanted to see my short animation, and he always wanted to see the drawings that made it up. The past few weeks we have been moving to a new place and I have been going through long forgotten boxes as part of the move. In one box I discovered all my old college books, writings, and at the very bottom of the box, my drawings for the red ball project. Decca was so excited to finally see them!

There were 42 drawings, a storyboard, and a sheet in which I wrote out how many frames of each drawing had to be taken. I explained that in the days before iPads, DSs, and different apps for animating, a person had to plan how many shots of each frame were necessary for the animation. He found that very fascinating.

photo 1 (49)

Not included with all this though was a copy of the finished project. Fortunately for us, Decca had his DS available and he and I sat down to capture each drawing and then put it into his stop motion program.

photo 2 (50)

He and I were both happy with the finished project. It was a very quick animation but it was so much fun to finally see after all these years. And it has inspired both of us to work on more animating projects in the future.


Stop Motion, Hugo, and Film Studies

Autry and Tru are a great team when it comes to making films, for they both bring separate strengths to their projects. Autry is the more technical of the two, and she is a great editor. Tru is great at coming up with stories and characters for the films. He is an idea man.

Over Christmas Autry figured out how to use the 3DS to make stop motion films. She started by writing lyrics to Christmas’s songs. Here is one she did.

After she worked on those for a day or so, she got her brothers interested in the process. Together she and Tru made a cute little film about the adventures of Junk Bot.

The lightning is too dark in some places, and sometimes the actions moves too fast, but I think it is a good effort on their part.

I took the kids to see Hugo today, and the twins left the theater in utter amazement. Truffaut thought it was the most amazing film he has ever seen. He was so appreciative of the film history we worked on this fall, as it provided him with the historical background and references needed to enjoy this film.

Hugo has inspired the twins to make even more films together, and it has inspired me to continue with our film history studies. Although I haven’t figured out the whole plan with Truffaut for this coming year, I know film studies will be an important and integral part of his education.

Another stop motion

Stop motion videos are fun for kids and quite easy to make. My kids enjoy them, and they don’t need my help. They just use the camera to take pics, upload them to windows movie maker, and then edit them. If your kids are looking for a creative outlet I would highly recommend directing them to make their own stop motion. It takes time, patience, and a good deal of imagination, and the outcome is always worth it.

Here is one of Tru’s stop motions. It was his first one, and you can tell it is just one sequence looped over and over. He recorded his song and then sped it up for the native chant. I think it works quite well.

I have been spending time reflecting on the kids and how creative they are. I think this year I will spend more time developing their creative side and try to incorporate it into our schooling. I haven’t decided how this will play out yet, but I have decided that I will have them do a book report as a stop motion. They will have fun doing that!