This short animation was made by Primary Teachers using Animation In A Box with the new mini rostrums stands. These easy to assemble, affordable stands make animation projects with young children even easier. The camera from the box screws into the tripod thread on the stand in seconds, making it a very sturdy animation set-up. 

These mini rostrum stands are only £30.00 plus postage. Have a look at them here, Animation In A Box Rostrum Stands
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The Animation Challenge

A great opportunity to create a short animation film and enter into a fun music focused competition.

Using preprepared sound tracks from the silent music genre and era of film making, animate to the music and create a short animation for screening in Birmigham on the big screen.

More info here

Remember keep your ideas bold, simple, fun and entertaining.

Let me know how you get on and I can post your creations here.

I'll try and find time to create a short example, which I'll post here.

Comments (1)

A tribute to Andy Wahol.

Made by the art department of Kingshurst Academy, on a recent teacher training day, the teachers wanted to create a fun resource they could use with their students to inspire understanding about Andy Wahol. As well as creating an animation example that could be used to demonstrate the process and be a starting point for creating other short animations based on famous artists.

The four teachers created the art work in about 1.5 hours.

Then using Animation In A Box they shot the animation and added the sound in just under 2hrs, using the software and camera.

This style of drawn animation was first created by some year 10 students, and is very effective for creating a sense of movement and time, and doesn't require a huge number of different drawings.


Hello from Pudsey Bear

Animated Pudsey Bear. This is a great example of a simple idea, also only one feature on Pudsey is being animated at a time, making the short sequence easy to watch for the viewer.

This animation was made with Animation In A Box in only 2 hours. This great studio solution makes animating quick and easy for all ages and abilities.

Made for Children in need.


This film was made yesterday, with a small group of teachers on a training event, from Wrington Primary School, in North Somerset. Touching, simple and very relevant for today. I love the way the rain drops, look like tears, falling onto the mud. Made on the day long animation masterclass, with Oscar Stringer

Special effects are also animation

All the special effects we see in films, TV programmes and adverts, are a form of animation. Similar to stop-motion animation, special effects are drawn, painted or composited onto individual frames, one at a time. This short tutorial video shows you how to make a Lego Indiana Jones wink, drawing onto the individual frames, that have already been captured. Using the drawing tools that are a feature of the animation studio software that comes with Animation In A Box, from The Real Animation Company. You can draw and paint simple effects onto your already captured animation. The key to success here is making sure the effects are quick and don't last too long, also a sound effect can be added to them to give the effect more depth and have been planned in advance. Painting a wink onto a Lego character is a good place to start.

Using a sound clip to inspire

Space Moves from Gail West on Vimeo.


Animation tutorials, for Animation In A Box.

Two new video tutorials using the excellent Animation In A Box, perfect animation software for kids of all ages. These videos will introduce you to some basic principles of stop-motion animation, helping you to kick start your animation projects and improve your technique. This all in one package is perfect for children wanting to make their own animation films. weather they want to use lego, toys, felt or plasticine. More to come.

Animation at Brighton Museum and Art Gallery

These animations are too brilliant not to share! Made by staff from the Brighton Museum and Art Gallery and local children's hospital, on a day long training event, I delivered.

The staff from the hospital wanted to animate using felt, as potentially it would be easier to work with. Almost instant and simple to prepare. Some of the young patients they would be working with could be animating stories etc in their hospital beds.

I love the simplicity of this film. Just animating the legs on the big bird, is enough to really bring the character to life and give him a fun personality.

It's got legs from Animation For Education on Vimeo.

This film mixes felt and plasticine to great effect, retelling a local classic about George VI.

A right royal dipping from Animation For Education on Vimeo.

I like the special effects in this animation. Using a long strand of hair, instead of fishing line, they were able to make the objects fly though the air. They thought it was cheating, I think it's creative problem solving.

Helga's Spell from Animation For Education on Vimeo.

We used a fun and easy to use webcam, which delivered great results even in poor lighting conditions.

The snail and the elephant from Animation For Education on Vimeo.

This animation-cam is now available from the Animation for Education website.


Using Classic works of art, as scenery.

A fun day working with year 8's, these films were made in short 2 hr sessions.

Working with the art teacher at Dulwich Prep, we both wanted to try something different with our approach to creating scenery.

We found large prints of classic, recognisable art work from the Masters. These small posters not only acted as a great source of inspiration for the students, but also made excellent backdrops to their films.

We shoot the animations using the Hue Webcam, which acts as a great Rostrum camera, allowing us to film, downwards.

Enjoy the films, there are 12 in all.

Selection of animated shorts, using famous art work as scenery

from Animation For Education



Selection of animated shorts, using famous art work as scenery from Animation For Education on Vimeo.

Reducing your carbon footprint

Most of us are aware of climate change and the effects of our carbon footprint, these are big themes, global issues on a scary scale, effecting a lot of people.

So for two twelve year old girls, from south Wales, who are part of a collective of creatives looking at these huge themes, the challenge was to share their thoughts, ideas, emotions and fears on this huge topic. And they have, brilliantly.

This short film, simply communicates with strong visual ideas, in true cartoon style, the magnitude of the problem.

To be able to take such a huge theme and reduce it down to a short 30 second animation is an important skill for all filmmakers.

The car from Animation For Education on Vimeo.


The Tate Movie project

During the summer break I've been working as a facilitator for the Tate Movie project. This is a fantastic opportunity for children (aged 7- 13 yrs) to be part of an incredible animation film, due for release in 2012, at cinemas and on CBBC

The Tate are touring the UK, working in schools,at festivals and the Tate galleries, with children to create art work, plots, sounds and ideas for an animation film that is being created by Aardman animations.

Essential all the ideas for the film, come from the children, through these workshops. It's been a great summer, being part of this tour and over the weekend I worked at the Thames festival with the BBC in the Talk and Do tent, along side the Tate Movie Project.

The reason for this posting is to let you know that children can still be part of this unique project, via their website.

The website is one of the best websites I've seen for a while, packed with great ideas that are fun and inclusive. It's all completely free and all you need to do is sign up.

On the website you can find out what art work the animators at Aardman need, then draw it at home or school and send it, via a freepost address or email to Aardman. If the art work is included in the final film, the young artist will be credited in the film! fantastic, I'm jealous.

On the website you can; watch some demo clips, of art work children have created, that have then been brought to life by animators at Aardman. Submit ideas for the script and make noises for inclusion in the final film. This website needs your creative input!

Spend some time exploring the site and get involved. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to be involved in an amazing, creative, huge idea.

The clip below was created by animators at Aardman using art work made by children, it will give you an idea of the look and feel of the project.

An amazing example of stop motion techniques and art

This video speaks for it's self, it is huge, stop motion on a whole new scale. Fantastic creativity and with elements of Banksy thrown in towards the end. This technique and approach could be scaled down in the art room or if working on a graffiti wall.


Genre, Genre, Genre.

This wonderful short adaptation of Humpty Dumpty was made in a day by English Teachers at Saint Lawrence School in Bradford On Avon. They took the Nursery Rhyme and gave it a totally new look and feel by focusing on using strong visuals and giving it a new treatment.

The two teachers treated the film with ingredients associated with classic French Film Noir. These ingredients are;

Black and White look
Slightly out of focus shot at beginning
Camera at strange angles, off centre
Close ups - hinting at the characters pain
A dark story/adaptation
French dialogue
Tragic sound track.

The English department at the school will be trying this next year with year 8's (13 yr olds) Taking a Nursery Rhyme, giving it a treatment, studying genre and rather then creating storyboards, students will make animations based on their ideas.

Brilliant! Enjoy the film, they really enjoyed making it.

Umpty- The movie from Animation For Education on Vimeo.


Mixing it up!

This colourful, short animation was made in only fifteen minutes, by an art teacher wanting a visual teaching resource - explaining the rules of mixing primary colours to her students.

This is a perfect example of teachers using stop motion animation as part of their professional toolkit-to inspire students, bring areas of learning to life with visual simplicity and develop new skills.

This fun, unique approach to creating individual teaching resources, will contribute towards a personal teaching style, her students will warm to and remember for a long time.

Also a fun educational teaching resource suited to VLEs, handheld devices and blogs!

Mixing colours from Animation For Education on Vimeo.


The importance of using correct punctuation

The following was made by teachers for use as a teaching resource on a recent teacher training event in Devon. The short film simply highlights the importance of using correct punctation when playing Pacman with your Granny and was made in a few hours using Zu 3D animation software.

They have used replacement animation on the Pacman. One model with mouth open, another with the mouth shut. This technique is common in the animation industry and helps speed up the process.

Zu 3D animation software is a newbie on the block, designed with the help of professional animators, it has some great pro features, as well as being able to add sound and titles within the application. Good education price too. More info here.

Let's eat Grandma from Animation For Education on Vimeo.


Never green screen with a frog

This fun film was made by teachers from Elm Park Primary school on the recent ATI. (Apple Teachers Institute) Made in about 5 hours, after careful planning, it high-lights the pro's and con's of working with green screen in animation. Works and looks great in full screen mode.

The film industry use green and blue as their chroma key, because actors (Human not frogs) don't have any green and blue colour hues in their skin tones. So with animation projects, technically you could use any colour background to key-out.

Tips for working with a Green Screen;

1-Use green paper with a matt finish from the art department.

2-Make sure it's crease free.

3- Don't include any green in the models that you intend to animate, best stay away from some yellows that have green hue connections.

Lighting is key!

4- If you can, use a white room with no windows or a blackout, then use ordinary classroom lights. Mixing the light source can cause problems with some cameras and software. Light has different colour temperatures, daylight is blue and florescent can be more orange.

5- If you can't blackout windows and have to use daylight (The above film was made this way) Choose a location where there is a good natural light source. BUT not if there are clouds being blown in front of the sun or trees moving in the wind. Essentially the best natural light is flat light (a cloudy day) with an even light. Strong sun can cause harsh shadows which you want to avoid. A room that is north facing and doesn't see the sun direct would also work well.

6- Keep models 5 inches away from the green screen, so shadows don't fall on the green screen. Shadows will mean a slightly different shade of green which will result in a messy outcome.

Dans ma trousse

Another inventive fun MFL animation made by teachers during my residency in Gateshead. I like the simple approach to pimping the contents of the pencil case, a quick and effective way of creating easy to animate characters. Made in a day, the song gave focus to the idea.

Look out for special guest, Pritney the glue stick!


Man on wire- The animation

A lovely animation, made by two teachers, they arrived at the course prepared with the idea of animating the song Philippe Petit, we decided card cut outs would be easier to animate, with a mix of plasticine. The film was made as part of a week long residency for Gateshead education authority, during the four days, I worked with both teachers and students. In total 22 films were made and on Friday the schools involved will be able to watch their films on the big screen, at the Odeon cinema in Gateshead. More examples form the week to follow.


Vote for your favourite animation


Animated science- Light And Shadows

This short animation was made today in Bristol by teachers on a course I was running, a simple way to demonstrate how the sun moving through the sky during the day effects the length of our shadows. Students in key stage 2 look at light and shadows as a science topic.

Using animation to visualising processes and outcomes of simple science experiments is an effective way of cementing understanding.


London's Burning- The making of.

London's burning for KS 2. Animating a historical topic area is a great way for students to cement and consolidate their learning and understanding of the topic. Cram in facts and information on location, number of deaths, when, etc.

I have also included a behind the scenes, "The making of" clip. Shows how the teachers without their music trolley used technology and a crisp wrapper to create a simple sound track.

On the iPhone he used the app Ocarina for the music and she uses a crisp wrapper for the sound of fire ripping through the buildings. Using a plastic wrapper is apparently the method used in films during the 1940' - 1960's to create the sound of fire, very effective. The sound is captured straight into the laptop with the built in webcam on a HD webcam.


Of Mice and Men - Three short scenes

These three short extracts were made by year nine students at the Newline Learning Academy in Kent. The students did a great job of adapting their understanding of this fantastic classic in just one day. Each group of five students chose a scene from the book they wanted to bring to life.

They were able to choose any scene from the story and all four groups veered towards the most dramatic scenes, involving plenty of conflict. This enabled the students to explore both the character's inner conflict and the external conflict situations the character's were in.

These two short extracts really demonstrate how animation, like drama, is a great way of exploring in detail the essence of a scene or a character.

Enjoy the clips.


Working with sound- POV. Keep it painfully simple. Part 1

My latest project is in Devon with a small group of Primary teachers on stage two of the Persistence Of Vision Project. Briefly this project aims to use animation in a variety of forms with different education authorities to explore poetic themes and poetry at both key stages in Primary. Running over a year there will be four training sessions for teachers from five schools within Devon.

Yesterday's session focused on two areas;

1- Group discussion and evaluation of their first attempt of animation with classes.

2- Working with sound.

In this blog I'm going to share the excellent work the teachers created and elements of the approach to achieving the outcomes in a short space of time.

So the afternoon was given over to "Working with Sound".

My aim during any training session is to encourage simplicity when devising ideas, so for this sound effect session, I played the group four sound effects that I thought had a poetic quality and would encourage visual ideas.

They were only allowed to use 1 or 2 of the sound effects in their animation, from the four I played them.

The groups then brain stormed ideas and created simple models from plasticine, this took about 30 minutes.

Then the groups filmed for 45 minutes.

Then using Movie Maker added the sound effects to their animations, as well as titles and transitions.

The whole task only took 2.5 hours to complete.

This approach to encouraging visual thought processes and focusing minds is a fun challenge and can be used with all age groups and abilities. Using a sound effect to stimulate ideas within groups also creates restrictions which again focuses minds and prevents ideas and stories from becoming too ambitious.

If the ideas feel uncomfortably simple I think that's good. Simple doesn't mean boring! Using only one sound effect to inspire falls into that bracket of painfully simple.

Poetry is about reducing an idea/experience etc down to a true and uncluttered essence, there is no reason why animation and film shouldn't do the same.

Here are their films.

The teachers now spend the next three months, working with their classes using these techniques for adding sound to their animations and allowing sound to influence ideas for visual story telling and as an opening to exploring poetry. I will meet them again at the end of April when we shall be able to watch and evaluate the work they created.

A short warning for the festive season!

Thanks to students at the Institute Of Education for this short animation, made in a day on a recent course I ran.

Merry Christmas to you all, where ever you are!

Best wishes



Music copyright issues

Working as judge last term for several local authorities, running animation/video celebrations (prefer the word celebration rather than competition) revealed a pattern regarding music. Schools still don't use copyright free music or create their own sound tracks for their animation films. Consequently the LA can't screen the film during or use it in any way, the film can't be added to a website or Youtube, esentaily it can't be published any where outside the school.

It's a big issue, you can't use a music track by Robbie Williams or Don Maclean or any one else regardless of they are alive or not. You also can't use just a snip of the track, 30 seconds or less. You can't use other peoples music at all, ever! Even if they're your friend and you went to college with the lead singer of Blur! (which I did, sorry had to name drop)

But music does add a huge amount of atmosphere, meaning and depth to an animation or film project, so including it is crucial and also an important part of the process, so how do we get around this copyright issue?

Simple, make your own music. The animation below is a great example of a very simple sound track that was recorded with the voice over in about 5 minutes during a student teacher training day at Hope University in Liverpool. A student with very basic piano skills played the melody while another student acted out the voice over, perfect collaborative learning.

Use your student's music skills, or friends, family and work colleagues., if you want your film to have life outside the schools walls and be published or celebrated in the wider community.



Teacher Training at the IOE, London

The three films below were made by teachers new to the world of stop frame animation. A variety of ideas, an animation for KS 1, a Gok inspired make over film and a simple story with a happy ending. We used the Hue webcam and I can animate animation software. Great for team building the day brought individuals together from different schools around the country and gave them confidence to use animation in their school. One teacher noted that is was the "Best course she has ever attended!'

There is an advanced animation course happening on the 4th December 2009.


Visual Literacy in Boston, Linc's.

These fun animations were made by Primary teachers embarking on a visual literacy project as a cluster group. Retelling and adapting stories familiar with the class, some of the adaptations may not be totally recognisable to their students. Especially Bear Hunt!

Enjoy. These examples were made in a day on recent teachers CPD day, short, focused simple ideas.


Not one, but two!

These two excellent animations were made today at the Hampshire languages conference in Basingstoke, in just 20 mins. A willing participant from the audience created the plot for each film, animated the fuzzy felts and then added the voice overs using iMovie. Simple but effective.

We used I Can Animate software to capture the animation sequence


Animation with MFL's

Hola! Today at a golf course in Sunny South Gloucestershire we animated fuzzy felts! On the fram Fuzzy Felts. I was hoping to create a new film genre, using the subtle tones of the French language with Fuzzy Felt, but no volunteers so we used Spanish instead. This film was made in just 20 mins proving that it doesn't take a long time to make an animation, by Ben and Elena. Thank you!

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