Monday, 4 February 2013

Extreme animation

I needed to prepare a day's work in Creative Media with the cross-curricular theme "Extremes". As I've often mentioned before, I'm a great believer in allowing the 'undermind' to do the sorting out when wandering in a fog of vague ideas - a couple of years ago I posted about the Philosophers Stone and reckoned that base ideas turn to gold given:
  • A good night's sleep.
  • A sense of urgency
  • Enough time for what Guy Claxton calls "the undermind" to do its job
  • Some ideas to build with

In this case my sense of urgency was growing but not enough to make me actually think hard - so often a barrier to creative thinking. In my mind were two pieces of information about Powerpoint 2010 that I thought may be useful at some point
  • Slideshows can now be saved as video - this means they can be uploaded to a Google Site without adaptation.
  • Objects can be animated to move over a handdrawn line - rather in the way Textease has allowed for years
I was looking back through videos I've curated on the MEA website I was struck again by Michel Gagne's extraordinary animation below - best watched full-screen with headphones...


I can't remember when the word Extreme drifted into my head but this is a pretty extreme piece of animation - completely abstract, entirely black and white (apart from a couple of frames) and using avant-garde music. Certainly an extremely long way from the animation most students will have experienced.
Thus the three became one: Make a black and white abstract animation using PowerPoint, save as a video and share via a Google Site wiki.
Not having Ppt 2010 on my laptop I thought I'd experiment with the animation possible with a Google Presentation. For the presentation below I used grid patterns I found online, removed the white backgrounds using my magic wand (Paint.net) and saved them as PNGs (which allow transparency unlike JPEGs). It's also possible to animate Shapes and possible to apply several animations to one shape.
Themes that allow students to experiment with functions of applications without too much constraint often produce surprising results and help to develop independence. You can also see at a glance their ability to come up with creative solutions and technical competence.