Animation Day 2: Alpha Channels and Masking

zeroToday’s essential question: How can I create fade and masking effects when animating in Adobe Flash?

Today we will complete two short tutorials. They will teach us how to fade an object, as well as how to reveal an object using a mask.

Today we will:

  • Complete the following tutorials:
  • Upload both the flash and SWF files to our Google Drive Accounts
  • Share the files with Ms. Lawson

Animation Day 1: Principles of Animation and Bouncing Ball Tutorial

Today’s essential question: How can I use the principles of animation to animate a bouncing ball in Adobe Flash?

Today we will view several examples of the principles of animation.
We will then create our first animation using the bouncing ball tutorial.

12 Principles of Animation

Principle-of-animation-Edited-2

(credit: http://jordannwharton.wordpress.com/year-2/unit-67-3d-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:

Bouncing Ball Tutorial

Open Adobe Flash on your computer.
Then follow the steps in this handout to animate a bouncing ball!

Today we will:

  • View examples of and discuss the principles of animation
  • Complete the bouncing ball tutorial (upload both the flash and swf files to your Google Drive account and share them with Ms. Lawson)

New Project: Typographic Animation

Create-an-Animation-cropped.jpg

Today we will begin our animation unit.

There will be three parts to this unit:

Part 1: Animation Mini Lessons

You must export the flash file as a SWF, upload to Google Drive, and share the file with Ms. Lawson in order to receive credit.

  • Bouncing Ball
  • Cat Rotation
  • Ghost Dog Transparency
  • Masking
  • Motion Path

Part 2: Typographic Vector Still

Vector Still Project Requirements:
  • Created in Adobe Illustrator
  • Illustrates the meaning of the word
  • Uses only the letters in the word (and potentially the definition of the word)
  • Follows Principles of Graphic Design
Examples of Typographic Vector Stills

 

Part 3: 5 Second Bumper Animation that Brings the Typographic Still to Life

Typographic Animation Project Requirements:
  • Created in Adobe Flash
  • Uses only the letters in the word (and potentially the definition of the word)
  • Illustrates the meaning of the word
  • Follows the Principles of Animation
  • Sound adds to the meaning of the piece
  • 5 seconds long
Examples of typographic bumper animations:

Precursors to Animation

Thaumatrope

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. If you have time, try making 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. If you have time, try making your own.

Today we will:

  • Overview the animation unit
  • View examples of typographic illustrations and animations
  • Learn the basics of animation with the following hands-on exercises:
    • Thaumatrope
    • Flip Book
  • Create a new blog post with the answers to the following questions:
    • How does animation work? (Hint: it is an optical illusion)
    • How does computer animation save time over traditional hand-drawn animation?
    • Describe your favorite word animation from today’s class. What did you like about it?
    • Describe your current feelings about the animation unit.
  • If you have not yet finished your Green Screen project (complete with artist statement), please do so ASAP.

Digital Storytelling: Last Day

Today we will finish our digital storytelling projects and write our artist statements. Here are some outstanding finished projects:

Artist Statement Brainstorming Questions (final artist statement must be in paragraph form):

  • Describe your concept. What story are you trying to tell? Why did you decide to combine these particular characters, accessories, and backgrounds? What inspired you to create this particular project?
  • Explain how you created your project. What parts of your project did you create yourself (either by taking photos or drawing imagery)? What parts did you download from the internet? How did you modify the images you downloaded from the internet to make them uniquely yours?
  • What challenges did you face while creating this project? How did you work through these challenges?
  • What do you want people to see, feel, or think when they see your project?
  • Hindsight is 20/20. What would you do differently if you were to start the project today?

Today we will:

  • Finish our digital storytelling projects
  • Create a final blog post with the following:
    • a FULL SIZE PNG or JPG of our completed project
    • an artist statement in paragraph form about the project that is a minimum of 150 words

Digital Storytelling: Final Projects and Artist Statements

Today we will finish our digital storytelling projects and write our artist statements. Please check your folders, as I have written feedback & suggested changes/additions based on your last blog post.

The more images you combine to tell your story, the better the project will turn out. Here are some outstanding student examples. Notice how many images were combined to create these scenes:

Artist Statement Brainstorming Questions (final artist statement must be in paragraph form):

  • Describe your concept. What story are you trying to tell? Why did you decide to combine these particular characters, accessories, and backgrounds? What inspired you to create this particular project?
  • Explain how you created your project. What parts of your project did you create yourself (either by taking photos or drawing imagery)? What parts did you download from the internet? How did you modify the images you downloaded from the internet to make them uniquely yours?
  • What challenges did you face while creating this project? How did you work through these challenges?
  • What do you want people to see, feel, or think when they see your project?
  • Hindsight is 20/20. What would you do differently if you were to start the project today?

Today we will:

  • Finish our digital storytelling projects
  • Create a final blog post with the following:
    • a FULL SIZE PNG or JPG of our completed project
    • an artist statement in paragraph form about the project that is a minimum of 150 words

In Process Critique

Today’s essential question: How can I use Photoshop to transform my artwork into an even more realistic scene?

Today we will critique our digital storytelling pieces with 1-2 partners. This is an in-process critique, so we are looking for potential, rather than perfection. Please copy and paste the following questions into a new blog post, and answer then with your partners about YOUR artwork. The peer critique will conclude by the end of 1st period. We will then spend 2nd period modifying our projects according to the suggestions we received during the peer critique.

Here are some projects that are off to a great start. What are some things that are working well in each project? How have these projects inspired you to improve your own piece?

Questions for In Process Peer Critique

Unity
  • How has the artist established unity throughout the piece?
  • Is the lighting consistent? How can it be improved?
  • Do the characters, costumes, background, and props go together?
  • Do the characters appear to be in, rather than pasted on top of, the environment? What are some ways the artist could make the characters realistically look like they are in the scene?
  • What are some changes that could make the piece even more unified?
Craftsmanship

Project requirements:  no pixelation, backgrounds neatly removed (no green or jagged edges), images photographed from appropriate angles, all parts of artwork are proportional to one another

  • What are some ways the artist could improve the craftsmanship on the project?
Originality

Project requirements: no copyrighted characters, piece created from a minimum of 6 images, at least 3 of which were photographed by the artist, any images taken from the internet must be noticeable modified

  • What are some suggestions to ensure the originality of this piece?

Today we will:

  • Critique our digital storytelling pieces with 1-2 partners
  • Create a new blog post with the following
    • An image of our artwork as it currently looks
    • The questions in this blog post (copy and paste)
    • Answer the questions in this blog post with the feedback your partner gave you about YOUR project
    • A second image with any of the suggested changes made to the project after the peer critique

 

 

Matching Lighting with Filters, Dodge, and Burn

Today’s essential question: How can I use filters and the dodge and burn tools to match the lighting throughout my Photoshop collage?

By this point, you should have started combining your images in Photoshop to create a scene. The lighting likely differs throughout, making it obvious that the scene was created from several different images. Today we will learn how to create the illusion of cohesive lighting through filters and the dodge and burn tools.

Adjusting Color with Photo Filters

For an image to look cohesive, the lighting needs to be consistent throughout. The image below was clearly Photoshopped because Mckenzie is not as blue as the background:
blue_woods_no_filter

We can change that by using Photo filters.

  1. First, select the layer with Mckenzie on it in the layers palette on the bottom right hand side of the screen. At the top of the screen, go to Image -> Adjustments -> Photo Filter
    image_adjustments_photo_filter
  2. We can then select different photo filters from the drop down menu, and preview them to see which one is the best fit. Similarly, we can also preview the intensity of the filter by adjusting the slider. For this particular image, the Cyan filter at 40% seems to create the most realistic effect:
    cyan_filter
    blue_woods_filter

Now let’s see if we can create a similarly realistic effect with a warmer background. Once again, notice how the original photo looks awkward when first placed in the scene:
orange_fire_no_filters

  1. Once again, we will select the layer with Mckenzie on it in the layers palette on the bottom right hand side of the screen. At the top of the screen, go to Image -> Adjustments -> Photo Filter. This time, the Warming Filter (85) at 60% seems to create the most realistic effect:
    warming_filter
    orange_fire_filters

Establishing a Clear Light Source with the Dodge and Burn Tools

Photo filters match the colors of each piece of the photo collage, but for a truly unified image, we will need to establish a clear light source. This is where the dodge and burn tools come in. They will allow us to add highlights (dodge tool) and shadows (burn tool) in a similar manner to traditional drawing.

In the image with Mckenzie, the fire is a natural light source. Therefore, we will want to darken the left side of Mckenzie, the bottom portion of Mckenzie, the ground area around Mckenzie and the fire, and the bottom portion of the logs.

  1. First, we will select the burn tool burn_tool from the tool bar on the left side of the screen.
  2. Next we will adjust the settings at the top of the screen. It works best if you set the exposure of the burn tool low, and darken your desired area slowly. This is how I have set my burn tool:
    burn_tool_settings
  3. Now select your desired layer in the layers palette on the lower right side of the screen. I always duplicate the layer (Layer -> duplicate layer) before dodging or burning it, so I can go back to the original layer if I mess up.
  4. Paint your desired area with the burn tool. You can adjust the size of the brush at the top of the screen, or by using the right and left brackets. Slowly shade the areas you want to darken just as you would with a pencil. You will have to select each layer in the layers palette on the lower right side of the screen before you can use the burn tool on any objects in that layer. Notice how we have now created a clear light source by painting shadows with the burn tool:
    orange_fire_filters_burn_tool
  5. If you would like to highlight any parts of the image, click and hold on the burn tool in the tool bar on the left side of the screen. The dodge tool dodge_tool should appear in a drop down menu below it. Select the dodge tool, adjust the setting at the top of the screen so the exposure is set to 15-25%, and paint as needed to create highlights.

Here is a side by side comparison of the original collage, as well as the collage after we have applied photo filters and the burn tool:

Be careful not to go overboard with the dodge and burn tools:
intense_burn_tool

Today we will:

  • Continue building our scenes in Photoshop
  • Create cohesive lighting using photo filters, dodge, and burn
  • Create a new blog post with the following:
    • An image of your progress so far
    • A few sentences describing any challenges you faced today, how you worked through those challenges, and what you would like help with