Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Teaching Animation At Parsons

Since 2006 I have been teaching Animation Design in Parsons School of Design's Pre-College Academy Program. This is a program for teens who are interested in art to have a college art experience, and learn techniques and approaches that aren't normally offered in their high schools.

During the school year, we meet once a week, but during the summer, we meet daily. This August, we had a 2 week Academy that I team taught with Illustrator/Cartoonist Leah Hayes.
Students learned about character design, story telling and sequential narrative, and design/layout in Cartooning class. Then, in my Animation class they learn principals of Traditional Animation (anticipation, squash + stretch, drawing for movement, drawing frame by frame), and how to apply them to Adobe Flash (our tool for animating).
The students learn a great deal in a short amount of time, and I am always very impressed by how far they go.
Here's a "pencil" test done by student Olivia Accardo, for her Sea Creature character:

And this is what she came up with for her "final"-- this was all done in 9 days of learning and experimenting.

Eventually I will blog more about student work and show the class compilations online.
But in the meantime: one student surprised me the other day by sending me this link to his blog, which details his experience in the program and shows his daily progress in both classes. As one of his instructors, I was very excited and proud to see this, but subjectively speaking, I think it offers a good report of the learning process that one goes through to figure out how to make their character come to life.