Traditional Hand Drawn Animation


Today’s essential question: How can I create the illusion of motion through a series of drawings?

Today we will explore the precursors to animation, and create our own hand drawn thaumatrope and flip book.

Precursors to Animation


thaumatrope.jpgA thaumatrope is an optical toy that was popular in the 19th century. A disk with a picture on each side is attached to two pieces of string. When the strings are twirled quickly between the fingers the two pictures appear to blend into one due to the persistence of vision. Thaumatropes are often seen as important antecedents of motion pictures and in particular of animation.

Play with the thaumatrope Ms. Lawson has brought in, then create your own.

Flip Book

flip_bookA flip book is a book with a series of pictures that vary gradually from one page to the next, so that when the pages are turned rapidly, the pictures appear to animate by simulating motion or some other change. Flip books are essentially a primitive form of animation. They rely on persistence of vision to create the illusion that continuous motion is being seen rather than a series of discontinuous images being exchanged in succession

Play with the flip book Ms. Lawson has brought in, then make your own.


Stop Motion Animation

Today’s essential question: How can I create the illusion of motion through a series of photographs?

Today we will create a stop motion animation. We will download the Stikbot Studio App and create a quick 5 second animation that looks like an ordinary inanimate object (such as a USB drive, key chain, pen, chapstick, etc) is moving on its own.

This animated keychain is an example of what I am looking for:

The StikBot Studio App is set at a default of 10 frames per second. This means that you will need to take 50 photos to make your 5 second clip. Follow these steps from the iMore website to get started!

Getting started with StikBot Studio

  1. Download and Install StikBot Studio from the App Store.
  2. Tap Open.
  3. Tap the Video Camera icon.
  4. Tap OK to allow access to the camera.

Set your scene

At this point your camera will be enables and ready to start taking photos.

  1. Set you camera on a small stable location like a tripod for best results.
  2. Set up your initial scene.
  3. Tap the red face to take your first shot.
  4. Make a small adjustment to your figure. You’ll see a ghost image of your previous position so that you get the motion “just right”.
  5. Tap the red face to take your next shot. You’ll notice that the ghost image in now gone awaiting your next stop motion movement.
  6. Continue until you have completed your scene.
  7. Once you’ve completed your scene, tap the video editor icon.

Modify your animation

Once you have your desired scene completed, you can add sound effects, dialog, text, and items from your camera roll in the video editor.

  1. Tap the new scene you’ve created.
  2. You can preview your video by tapping the play arrow.
  3. Press the pause button to stop the preview.

Exporting and sharing

Once you’ve completed your awesome animation you’re ready to save and share it!

  1. Tap the export icon.
  2. Tap YES to save your movie to the camera roll.
  3. Choose your video format.
  4. Tap OK to allow StikBot to access your photos.
  5. Tap OK once the export to camera roll is complete.
  6. Go into your Photos.
  7. Tap your movie.
  8. Tap the Share icon.
  9. Select the method your wish to share your video. For this class, you should upload it to YouTube and then post the link to your blog.

Today we will:

  • Download the StikBot Studio App. If you do not have a SmartPhone, please partner with someone who does.
  • Create a 5 second animation showing an inanimate object mysteriously moving across the screen on its own
  • Log in to YouTube using your school Gmail account
  • Post the animation to YouTube
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • A picture/screen shot of one frame of the animation
    • A link to the video
    • The answers to the following questions:
      • Describe what is happening in your animation.
      • How did you create this animation?
      • What was easy? What was difficult?
      • What advice would you give to someone who wants to try stop motion?

Principles of Animation

Today’s essential question: How can I use the principles of animation to make a realistic animation?

Today we will view several examples of the principles of animation.

12 Principles of Animation



1)    Squash and stretch: Squash and stretch is when an object changes shape based on some sort of impact or movement. For example, when a hard rubber ball is thrown, it may hardly change shape, but when a softer ball is thrown, it may change shape depending on the force of the impact. Squash and stretch is used in animation to give it a more realistic feel. For example, if in an animation, a character is punched in the face, squash and stretch would be used to show the impact in the face, and it would show the impact on the hand too.

2)    Anticipation: Anticipation in animation is the same as anticipation in real life. When a character is going to kick a ball, the anticipation would be the character moving his foot back before kicking the ball. Another example is a character preparing to run by putting one foot behind its body, and getting lower to the ground. Anticipation is used in animation to give the viewer a better understanding of the action that is about to happen. For example, if there is an animation of baseball game being played, the anticipation for the batter would be to move the bat behind his head ready to swing. The anticipation of the pitcher would be to lift his leg up and get ready to throw the ball.

3)    Staging: Staging in animation is when you make an idea clear to the audience. The idea could be an action, a personality, an expression or a mood. The key point to staging is to make sure you catch the viewer’s eye and that they are draw towards the idea that is taking place. The animator must use different techniques to make sure the viewer is looking at the right place at the right time. This could be something as simple as moving the camera so that it focuses on the key event or idea taking place.

4)    Straight ahead action and pose to pose: These are two different approaches to the drawing process. The straight ahead action in hand drawn animation is when the animator starts at the first drawing in the scene and then draws frame after frame until they reach the end of the scene. The pose to pose action is when the animator carefully plans out the animation, and draws a sequence of poses. These are usually the starting pose, some poses in the middle, and the final pose. Then that artist, another artist, or a computer draws the inbetween frames. This is similar to key framing with computer graphics, but it must be changed slightly since the inbetweens may be too unpredictable.

5)    Follow through and overlapping action: Follow through is the end part of an action. For example, when throwing a ball, the hand continues to move after the ball is released. Overlapping is just starting the second action before the first action is finished. This keeps the viewer interested because there is no dead time between actions.

6)    Slow in and Slow out: The principles of slow in and slow out in animation is to make the animations look more realistic. This is as simple as a ball bouncing. The ball starts out stationary in your hand. Then when you let go it builds up speed until it hits the ground. Then it would come back up slightly slower than when it went down. Then when it reaches its maximum height it stops and repeats the process. Every time the ball hits the floor or its maximum height it loses speed, so the ball would eventually stop bouncing.

7)    Arcs: An arc is used for an action or movement. This could be moving your arm. You would have a key frame at the beginning and at the end of the movement. The arc is the action in between the two frames. This is usually used for characters but can also be used on objects.

8)    Secondary action: A secondary action is an action that comes from another action. Secondary actions are used to heighten interest in a scene, and to add a realistic complexity to the animation. If the secondary action becomes more interesting than the main action, then it is either the wrong choice for secondary action or it is staged wrong.

9)    Timing: Timing is an important principle because it gives meaning to a movement. Timing can affect how real a scene looks. Timing is used for characters feelings, and facial expressions. For example, if a character is shocked, you should be able to tell he is shocked because he should look shocked in his facial expressions right after the shocking event has occurred. If the characters shock was delayed, and the character didn’t react until 5 or more seconds after the event, the scene would not be realistic, and you could lose the viewer’s interest.

10)  Exaggeration: Exaggeration is used in animation to help the audience know for certain how a character is feeling or acting. For example, if a character is angry in a scene, you could make him furious, with his eyebrows down, and gritting his teeth. A scene has components such as action, objects and emotion. Exaggerating all of these can create an uneasy and unrealistic scene, so finding a balance of exaggeration is important.

11)  Solid Drawing: Solid Drawing is used to make the main character or object stand out from the rest of the animation. This is so the character does not blend in to the background, and so that the character can easily stand out for the viewer. Solid Drawing is always drawn on its own layer so that it can be animated more easily.

12)  Appeal: Appeal in animation is the same as acting in a film. The way the character or object looks, moves and interacts with other characters has a large impact on the viewer and how much interest they have in the animation. Usually, the more realistic the character the more interest the viewer has.

Videos Illustrating the Principles of Animation:

Today we will:

  • View examples of and discuss the principles of animation


Today’s Objective: Today we will try to get our movie trailers to at least 60 seconds. Once you finish your movie trailer, write an artist statement (as you do with every assignment).


Remember to make a blog post at the end of class for any work that you do today! If you do not have something to write about (Elyse), make a blog post about the movie.

Netflix is a privilege, it should not be an excuse to fail.

Last Week!

Today’s Objectives: Today we will continue working on our movie trailers. Remember that they need to be 60 seconds in length.

We can only finish watching COCO if you also remember to make a blog post today.


Keep up the good work and let’s finish strong!



Today’s Objectives: Get to know the new Triumph Board. Continue working on movie trailer edits.

Feel free to grad a Senior if you need help with Premier specific issues and refer to the previous blog posts for tutorials and project requirements.

Remember to create a blog post by the end of class and speak to Ms. Thompson if you have any questions about your progress report. 


Editing in Premier: Audio & Text


Here are some tutorials that show how to add audio and text in Premier: