Monday, June 4, 2012

3rd Grade Cel Animation

The 3rd graders gave old-fashioned animation techniques a try this spring! A colleague (who has since returned to the animation biz) let us in on the secrets of traditional animation and designed this lesson some years ago. The students view storyboards and short cartoon clips, and we discuss the work it takes to animate even one episode of Spongebob Squarepants.

Read more about the Cel Animation process!

1. Research the animation process with students. View storyboards, sample animation cels, and different characters.
2. Students sketch out an original character on 8.5x11" paper in a HORIZONTAL format (because that is the way a TV screen goes!). I have students give their character a name and write a brief character sketch including personality, "habitat," etc. Students are encouraged to think of characters based upon animals or inanimate objects come to life.
3. Trace your character to a clear transparency sheet with a permanent fine-tip black marker.
4. On the opposite side, use acrylic paint to color in your character (but not the background).
5. Draw and paint a background on a separate piece of paper. The background is done separately in traditional cel animation (so that it only had to be painted once in each scene!). We use the tempera "hockey pucks," similar to watercolors, which are cleaner and easier to handle than acrylic for this step.
6. Use clear tape to attach the dry character to the background.

A sad mouse chef

An olive, who is also a cowboy

Pony (clothes inspired by Waldo?)


Superhero Crayon!

Teddy, the car