At the Corner of Stopmotion and Vine


I came across a post some time back (this post has been in my “draft bin” for a bit) from Animation Chefs about using Vine for making stopmotion, and thought: well, maybe. I gave it a try with some Legos. Yeah, it worked, but the six seconds and my own lack of an iPad holder made the movie a little jumpy. Still, kids could easily make something like this. I just did a lot of little swipes in the app, moving the pieces forward, swiping again, etc.

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

Getting the Ball Bouncing: An Animation Experiment

I was playing around with an iPad animation app the other day, bouncing a ball around a screen, when I suddenly was struck by the idea of having the ball get “passed off” from one screen to another. It dawned on me that I might be able to do that with the PicPlayPost app, which allows you to layer in multiple videos as a collage of sorts.

So, I got to work (eh, play) and began building a few videos of balls moving around a screen. When I was done, though, I didn’t like the way it looked or worked. I was having trouble connecting one video to another, and the screens were fairly empty. I killed the project. The next morning, I realized how I could still salvage the idea. One of the things that the screens needed were some obstacles (themed around a pinball machine, and the game of Pong, and a spiral, etc.)

But unlike my first attempt, I realized I needed to plan it out on paper. I needed to “see” the project as a whole, not as parts. I needed a guide because when you start working with multiple videos, thing get confusing very quickly.

Get the Ball Bouncing: The Plan

Now, with a blueprint, I went back into the app and got to work. I created five little videos, paying attention to where the ball began and where the ball ended up (as part of the visual “passing off” of the ball from screen to screen). It worked as I wanted it to except for one of the videos, where PicPlayPost cut off a side in the collage, and I could not figure out how to fix is. That’s why there is a slight delay in the upper right video. The ball is bouncing. You just can’t see it.

I added music to the video in YouTube itself, which is a convenient tool to have available for this kind of animation, which would fall flat if it were silent. I’m still tinkering around with the collage, to see if I can’t fix that problem of the cut video. But for now, this what I got.

Peace (in having a ball),
Kevin

How To Make Their Own Lego Movie


I love behind-the-scenes features for animated movies.

Yesterday, I took my three boys and two friends to a packed moviehouse to watch The Lego Movie. It’s pretty good, poking fun at itself and the corporate environment, with plenty of inside jokes for adults and crazy mayhem for kids. If your children or students saw the movie and are now thinking, I wanna do that (ie, make a Lego stopmotion movie) check out this stopmotion moviemaking hactivity kit resource that I created for the Mozilla Webmaker through a partnership with the National Writing Project.
Making Stopmotion Kit

Peace (in the bricks),
Kevin

 

Stopmotion Fun — Making Facez

The last day of school before vacation, I handed out wikistix and said, “Make something.” Most kids made animals at their seats but one girl got up and pinned the wikistix to our closet door. It stood there all day, greeting students. So, I decided to make a stopmotion animation with it, and posted it to our classroom blog for that student. I hope she sees it (I am sure she will.)

Peace (in the facez),
Kevin

The Dogonauts: A Kickstarter Reward

Dogonauts DVD
One of the first Kickstarter campaigns that I invested in was a stopmotion movie by a married filmmaking team whose blog posts I followed out of sheer curiosity. They were making a longer stopmotion movie called Dogonauts, and when they turned to Kickstarted for financing, I figured that I had to put some money where my RSS had been. I invested in them.

The other day, the DVD of the short film arrived, and Dogonauts: Enemy Line is a lot of fun to watch, and I see I can probably use it as a mentor text for future claymation projects with students (and my sons!). It’s a no-dialogue adventure that pits two aliens against each other as they try to survive a crash on a distant planet. There is plenty of humor as both characters try to rebuilt their spaceships, and both come to an understanding of each other by the end.

Peace (in the flick),
Kevin

Making the Bread Come Alive

I created this quickly for the Daily Create at DS106 the other day. The assignment was to make a stopmotion video of something in the kitchen.
🙂

Peace (in the loaf),
Kevin

Collecting Stopmotion Makes

Over at the Making Learning Connected MOOC,  folks have been dabbling with Stopmotion as part of their playful “makes” and I’ve been collecting them as they are shared. Check out this emerging playlist:

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

 

When Pigs Fly: Toy Hacking

 
pigsfly toy make overview

In our second Make Cycle at the Making Learning Connected MOOC, facilitators Stephanie and Karen suggest we all try to do a little “toy hacking.” What that looks like is up to us (and they are going to be doing a live Google Hangout tonight at 9 p.m. eastern time to talk about how you might go about hacking a toy) and how we capture it and share it is up to us, too.

I was school the other day, and saw a cute little stuffed pig that I often have in the room (squeeze it and it oinks), and thought: how can I make that pig fly? Now, I probably should have been asking myself, Why aren’t these reports cards done yet? Or, why not use my time to clean up the room? Or any other question related to the last week of school (yes, we are still in school).

Instead, I wanted to make the pig fly. I got down to some making.

I gathered up materials along with the pig, including Wiki Stix, string, scissors, and a pair of sunglasses (the pig needs to look cool, right?). As you know if you follow my blog, I have done my share of stopmotion. I considered that as an option, but then wondered if I could do an animated .gif file instead. It’s the cousin to stopmotion, but the file becomes a photo file not a video, and it loops constantly. I’ve wondered about the possibilities of .gif files for some time, yet never made one myself (other than with Pivot Stickfigure, and even then, I would convert it into a movie file).

I set up a camera and as I worked to create a Wiki Stix companion for the pig, and to put wings on the pig, and to get the pig soaring with the help of string, I would reach over and take images every now and then. I ended up with about 20 pictures. Now what? Here’s where I ran into some troubles. I tried two different only websites that touted the ability to create animated .gif files, but I think my pictures were too large. Or the sites stink. Either way, the result was the same.

Fail.

I then remembered that the photo feature in Google Plus now can magically “animate” as series of photos that have the same background into an animated .gif replica. So, I went that route, uploading the pig pics (nice alliteration), but Google Plus would not animate the entire set, only a few of images. It looked pretty neat, but not what I wanted.

Fail.

I went into the App Store, and paid two bucks for a .gif maker called Gif Animator. The first time it rendered the project, the file was so huge it choked my ability to even preview it.

Fail.

Diving into the settings of the app, I changed the output to something more manageable, and did another round of rendering. Success. I had an animated .gif of my pig flying. Now, to host it somewhere in order to share it out with the MOOC and the world. My first thought was Flickr, which used to be able to host .gif files. Not anymore.

Fail.

I put the call out on Twitter for help in finding a hosting site. Nobody responded.

Fail.

So I opened up my search engine and saw that Photobucket has the ability to host animated .gif files. I uploaded the project and finally, there it was: my pig in flight.

Success!
Pigs Fly Toy Hack for #clmooc photo ToyHackPigsFly3_zps898b71f1.gif
I also later realized I could upload the .gif into Google Plus, and the animated file could be shared in my Google Plus circles, so now my pig flies in a few different places. But it does not allow you to embed outside of Google Plus, so that didn’t really help my cause.

The result is that I had a lot of failure along the way, and much of it had nothing to do with the hacking of the toy to make it fly. The failure had to do with the technology and navigating a system for creating and sharing out. That is frustrating, and yet, it is also exhilarating on a certain level to know you figured the workaround. Almost like beating the system. The key is not to give up. And be sure to raise your arms up and give a holler when your vision is reached.

Yahooo!

In some ways, I was as much hacking the technology as I was hacking the toy, and if that’s not what the Making Learning Connected MOOC is about, then I don’t know what is.

Peace (in the hack),
Kevin