Earlier this month, as part of summer reading, I hosted a program on 2D Animation. A local woman, who has preschoolers that use our library constantly and who has her advanced degree in animation, had offered to run the program for a very small amount. Her expertise definitely lent an important aspect to the program and took the pressure off me to develop my own program. Plus, I probably wouldn’t have thought of the program idea myself.
We got ten young adults and our presenter did a fantastic job. She sucked them in immediately by showing them a 4 minute 2D video she’d made for her thesis. She then showed them the various steps it had taken her to make one particular scene and impressed upon them how time consuming and sometimes difficult the process was. For the one 4 minute video, she worked on it part-time for 18 months. The kids were suitably impressed.
I had grabbed a pile of books on animation and she showed them some of the pros and cons of the various books before she set them to working on two different thaumatropes. For those of you not familiar with thaumatropes, they’re “a card with different pictures on opposite sides, as a horse on one side and a rider on the other, which appear as if combined when the card is twirled rapidly, thus illustrating the persistence of visual impressions” (Dictionary.com).
One looked like this, which is generally understood to be a traditional thaumatrope – they were easy to make. A round piece of card stock and some string on both ends. The presenter came with that part prepared and then showed them the basics of how to make it work and let them experiment. Some of the kids (especially the older ones) got the concept right away while others really had to test out various parts until they were sure it worked.
The other looked similar to the one below, only she folded an index card in half and stapled it to a simple straw. The main point was instead of flipping them up and down, they flipped sideways, run between hands.
Once they were done with those, she gave each of them about a half of a block of standard square post-it notes, which was around 25 sheets and showed them a couple simple flipbooks, explaining the concept behind how they worked and what they would need to do for the book to work. The post-it notes were great because it was easy to see through them to copy the next design (she made sure they worked from the back to the front). In the remaining time, we then filmed a few of the flipbooks using a very easy and FREE app called Stop Motion by Cateater. At least on iDevices, it’s the first thing that pops up when you type in Stop Motion for search. I have also heard good things about the Lego Stop Motion app as well.
We unfortunately ran out of time for everyone to design and film their flipbooks but what were finished were great. We had a smiley face that got sad and cried, a dinosaur that drew itself and a dancing turtle. Plus, another designed the classic bouncing ball but didn’t bother to film it but could flip through the post-it note pad and make it work really well. I told any of them that they were always welcome to bring things in for filming as I downloaded the app on the library’s iPad.
Although our presenter’s background lent her an expertise that I could never match, much of the project part of the program, I could easily repeat without much hassle. For her cost, I would much rather just have her again, but if you’re operating on a shoestring, no-money budget the rest of the supplies are cheap and easy to find. The kids had a blast and are still talking about it.