Building a Program Foundation (Beginning)
Animation is an incredible and challenging medium of expression. Animation has a long deep history, that is intrinsically tied to traditional art, cameras, motion pictures, computers and technology, storytelling and advertising. Examples of animation surround us everywhere, on both big screens and small screens. Animation is "Visual Communication", and as such plays a strong role in a wide range of careers and fields, from statistics and the use of data visualization, to architectural models and walk through, from medical imaging and modelling to game design and entertainment. As such animation has broad appeal to our students and is worth incorporating into our schools and curriculum. Whether you are incorporating a unit in a computer skills course, or a stop motion project in a science class, or implementing a multi-year course sequence as part of your district's CTE (Career Technical Education Program) there is much to consider in planning and decision making.
12 Principles of Animation
Squash and stretch
Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
Follow Through and Overlapping Action
Slow In and Slow Out
Traditional vs. Digital
A major consideration when incorporating teaching animation will be what form of the medium do you want to work with. What would you or your instructor be most comfortable with. On one end, traditional stop motion techniques are the quickest and easiest to get familiar with, or find the resources to use in the classroom. From apps on phones, tablets, and desktops, stop motion software gives both teachers and students the place to explore and learn about the essential of working with a frames, timing, and a wide range of materials, from clay, cutouts, objects, and drawings.
6 Weeks/Unit and Lessons
If you have mainly worked with stop motion techniques on projects, and perhaps included hand drawn materials as a part of that, you may be ready to move forward and expand into the the realm of more advanced 2D animation production as a full course offering. If so, you will want to start to research and investigate possible software choices, more advanced animation drawing techniques and concepts, and possibly find a course or training you can take to get familiar with some of the more technical aspects of 2D animation. In some of the sections below you will find links to additional books and resources you will want to research and practice with.
One to two Year Program
It is possible to move directly into the world of 3D animation production, but spending a good deal of time working with 2D techniques, equipment, and software, will make this jump a lot easier. Additionally, from an educational and foundational perspective, a student who learns animation principles and techniques in 2D will still be in a good position if they choose to move forward and advance their learning in 3D.
Two/Three/Four Year Programs
3D animation is a daunting and challenging medium for expression. Technically challenging just from a software mastery standpoint, artistry and expression are even more challenging. The work of 3D animation that most of us see in movies, games, and advertisement, is the culmination of years of personal and group efforts. If you are ready to offer 3D as a part of your class or course offerings, you will need to again research and consider what software you feel most comfortable teaching and have access to. You will probably want to acquaint yourself with curriculum and projects associated with that specific software. You will probably want to get training yourself, either online, in-person, or some combination of both. And while 3D modelling and animation techniques are similar across platforms, each software has it's intricacies, strengths, and deficits. From an industry perspective, what 3D software an employee knows is usually not as much a concern as the creative content and ability of the employee, as the software can be learned. So, from a teaching perspective, any exposure or opportunity to learn and work with 3D software is a big plus, as it just puts a student further on their path of what is likely to be a life long learning process.
Regardless of what animation projects or approaches you decide to take, or however much time you end up dedicating to it in the classroom, the big take away should be that students end up aware and inspired creatively, and see the connections and possibilities to further explore on their own, or in courses or programs at colleges and universities.
Animation Section 1 (First Year)
In the first year of the course students learn the fundamental skills and technical knowledge to produce 2D animation in a studio based setting, including drawing, pencil testing, scanning, inking, painting, use of various industry standard software. Students learn about the various roles in the profession, the production cycle, and the wide application of the animation skill set.
Animation Section 2 (Second Year)
In this course students build on the foundation animation skills learned and developed in the first year of the course. This year continues to have students work in production teams on a wider variety of projects and on a quicker production cycle. Students also learn more advanced animation graphics production techniques and effects using Illustrator, After Effects, and Cinema 4D. There is a pronounced shift from character driven animation work to broader motion graphics and communications, with an emphasis on the social and business functions of visual communications.
Purpose The Arts, Media, and Entertainment (AME) Industry Sector is a California Department of Education (CDE) program designed to identify and develop curriculum, standards, instructional resources, and assessment strategies for teachers, students, guidance personnel, curriculum planners, and administrators. Leadership in the AME Sector is fostered through partnerships with a variety of media and entertainment industry partners and key representatives from the California Community Colleges, California State Universities, and the University of California Postsecondary Education systems. The program identifies tools, resources, strategies, activities and standards to assure that students are offered challenging, relevant academic and career-related experiences. Through on-going implementation of high quality, standards-based programs, students may access a range of sequential courses of study developing skills in Design, Visual and Media Arts, Performing Arts, Production and Managerial Arts, and Game and Simulation Design pathways, as well as focused in-depth study of specific AME Sector careers.