Students Learn Animation with Amazing Results

The Year 11 ATAR Applied Information Technology students have been creating animated children’s TV show advertisements using Adobe Illustrator and Adobe After Effects. These videos are the result of hours of trial, error, backward steps, learning and effort. The students have really shown a huge amount of persistence. Staff Member and Digital Illustrator, Nicola Davies has been expertly coaching them and helping lift their skills.Mia Northcott, ‘Catch Morque’

Although we were given quite a large amount of time, this turned out to be the most challenging factor of this project. A great deal of time management was required for this task, as we were required to learn how to use new software, come up with a story plot, design and animate the characters and background, edit our exported animations and source soundtracks that were usable within Australia’s IP Law (Intellectual Property).

For my animation ‘Catch Morque’, the plot idea was challenging to come up with because I’ve never watched shows like Dora the Explorer when I was younger, so it was an unfamiliar genre to me. I did watch shows like ‘The looney tunes show’ with Road Runner and ‘Tom and Gerry’, so after some time, I ended up following that style of comical idea.

My backgrounds took some time to plan. I did quite a few sketches and none of them looked the way I wanted them to, so I ended up ‘winging’ the backgrounds, and going with the flow in Photoshop. It took quite a while to get my ideas together, but once I started painting them, it became a relatively quick job.

I procrastinated over scene 2, where the spider flexed his muscles because I didn’t know how to approach the design of the character. I knew that it wouldn’t fit with the rest of the animation, but with Miss Davies help, I managed to get something out for the scene. I was also faced with the difficulty of animating the spider’s web. Miss Davies also helped me with the animation by teaching me some extra features in After Effects, which was very useful.

While animating, I found there were limits with the software, where I wasn’t able to scale and position my animation the way I wanted, however, I worked around it and found an alternative. Lastly, I’ve never used Premiere Pro before because I don’t do a lot of video editing, so it was a bit difficult for me to work with, especially the audio and transitions.

The best part of this project was definitely being able to express and turn my imagination into a moving image that everyone can enjoy! Even though animating and editing were at times, a bit of a struggle and did sometimes test my patience, I am totally amazed and proud of what I have been able to create. If I hadn’t chosen AIT this year, I would never have dreamed of being able to do what I have done in this assessment. This project has strengthened my skills in Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects and Premiere Pro, which I think makes this project not only extremely enjoyable, but also very productive and beneficial. Another great thing I enjoyed about this project was being able to enjoy watching the rest of the class work with everyone. The projects were all amazing and beautifully put together! You can definitely see the vast amount of work and effort reflected in them all. This animation task was the most difficult to accomplish, however by far my absolute favourite assessment I’ve ever been given at Santa Maria.Esther Nicholls ‘Outback with Grandpa’

Throughout the production stage of this project, I encountered many complications, but for me, I think one of the biggest struggles was creating the backgrounds. As I was still new to the concept of digital art, I often found myself quite frustrated because my digital drawings did not reflect my original intentions at all. In fact, in the early stages of creating my animation, I recall my Uluru looking more like an orange sponge. After feeling rather annoyed and worried that my characters may well be floating around in a white empty space, a good friend taught me the basics of digital art (for example, making a hill actually look like a hill), as well as using Adobe Photoshop brushes, correct canvas size and simple layer tips to help better organise the background and prepare it for animating in Adobe After Effects. Not only did this help lessen the stress overhanging my project but was a realisation that, asking for help didn’t mean I was incapable of achieving something on my own, but meant being able to gain outside knowledge I would never have reached working by myself.

One of the other major challenges I faced during this project was my management and allocation of time. Our class was given an ample period to complete our animations, including over the winter break. However, Part A (which was a written section regarding target audience, design criteria and storyboard) ate into the time I had given myself to begin Parts B and C (creating the animation and evaluation). This pressure, along with the added stress of drawing my backgrounds, made me anxious about meeting the project deadline. However, I soon realised the majority of the class, in some way, had the same concern. It was encouraging to know that I was not in this alone and we, as classmates, were able to bond further through the help, support and feedback we gave to each other.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of this animation project was being able to collate my skills and knowledge from prior assessments and put it all together for one final project in Year 11 AIT. For me, ‘Searching for Grandpa’ isn’t just another assignment, done and dusted. It represents both the challenging and fun times that furthered the skills I can now apply to other areas of my academic life.

But if I had to pick one best thing about this project, it would undoubtedly be getting to watch everyone else’s animations at the end. I say this because I was so used to focusing on my own project for five weeks, that when the time came for the class to present, it was so refreshing to see my classmates’ original animated trailers which demonstrated their expressive creativity and ideas that I would never have even thought of!

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