This past weekend was spent at the 48 Hour Animation Jam in Glasgow, #theAniJam with a team of my students. Organised by animation company Smudge Digital, the event was held at the Citizen M hotel in Renfrew Street.
On Friday we drew a theme from a hat and ended up with ‘cheese’. We were also given a ‘clock’ as an object we needed to include in the film. We also saw the other 11 teams and heard which themes they’d drawn, which included ‘rock’, ‘air’ and ‘trip’.
Back in our room we took advantage of the wall-sized whiteboard to produce a mindmap and brainstorm ideas. We finally settled on the idea of ‘Say Cheese’ – the phrase associated with taking photographs. After throwing this idea around for a while we decided on creating a story about a family who try to take family portrait photographs, but fail each time. Set over the space of several years, the story shows the family growing up and ageing in each photograph, and each time something occurs that prevents the photograph from working. Our final film can be seen on Youtube. Please press the Thumbs Up icon to ‘like’ our film, Say Cheese!
By the Saturday and Sunday there was quite a sense of cameraderie in the hotel as each team worked on their animations. Teams happily wandered around, seeing what others were working on, chatting and sharing a beer or coffee.
By Sunday afternoon the pace was fierce, especially for the 3D animators who had found the deadline a serious challenge.
The 7pm deadline came round very quickly, but my team had most of the work complete well in advance, with some extra time at the end to create an animated credits scene. At 9pm we gathered at the Centre for Contemporary Arts to view all of the films, which were being shown at the awards ceremony of the Glasgow Short Film Festival. The screening had its share of laughs – sometime at the antics of the on-screen characters and sometimes at the poor quality animations. There was also some tears – sometimes from laughter, but also from those that had failed to complete their animations in time.
So now we look forward to the results of the judging on Monday 23rd of March.
The technical stuff:
The animation was created using mostly Adobe Photoshop, Flash and Premiere Pro. Most of the graphics were produced in Photoshop, with a few being created in Flash and Illustrator. The animation was assembled in Flash and exported as swf files. These files were then converted into mp4 format using Swivel. Sounds and music were created in Garage Band. Finally, the film was assembled and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, where the sound and visuals were combined.
Here are the resources for my session at the Computing at School (Scotland) Conference 2014 & also the Education Scotland events in November /December 2014.
There are additional resources in the zip file that I didn’t have time to cover during the session, however these contain notes on how to use them.
Here’s a good ‘story’ that explains computational thinking in a non-computing way – Searching to Speak (pdf)
Some delegates at the conference also had a go of the Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset that I brought along – see their reactions in the video below! I’m looking for ideas on how the headset can be used in education. I f you have any ideas, then please leave a comment or get in touch.
Notes and resources from my presentation at the Education Scotland National Qualifications support event for Higher Computing Science on Thursday 29th May 2014.
Learn to code websites
- Crash course in EnchantJS
- Tutorials coming soon for this at http://teachgames.wordpress.com
Presentation [Google Drive]
Tasks to go with the example files [Google Drive]
Zip file containing all of the examples from the presentation.
Over the past year I’ve been working with Fife illustrator Michael Philp on a comic book adaptation of the story of King Robert the Bruce, the Wars of Independence and the Battle of Bannockburn. The comic is now complete and has gone to print.
We’re launching the comic on 22nd March 2014 at Little Shop of Heroes, a comic book store in the shadow of Dunfermline Abbey where King Robert the Bruce is buried. Helping out will be actor Jock Ferguson of Herald Events who will be appearing as King Robert the Bruce! Also that week Strathleven Artizans will be unveiling a reproduction of the Bruce’s throne in Dunfermline, and costumed actors will be re-enacting the coronation. Later this year, in June, will be the Bruce Festival, a medieval fair in Dunfermline featuring battle re-enactment and jousting.
Find out more about Robert the Bruce at www.kingrobertthebruce.com.
It’s the end of the first week back at college after the holidays. What have I been up to and what is on the horizon?
- Finished One Game A Month 2013 and ranked number 8 in the high scores
- Started One Game A Month 2014 and am planning only two games this year, one made with my students (until May) and then a personal project after that.
- Teaching a variety of subjects this term – Fashion photography, Photography Graded Unit 2 (HND), 2D animation, 2D Animation (Advanced), Games: Media Assets, Portfolio Production, Portraiture, Corporate Photography. The new block starts in March, but most of my subjects continue until June.
- Anticipating a change of management at work. As part of the college merger process a number of head of department jobs have been advertised internally, so each department may have a different manager in the very near future. Uncertain times!
- Started teaching on the Adobe Generation Animation course this week and am looking forward to starting a new course on Video in February.
- Heading to Aberdeen in February to run an animation workshop at the Aberdeen Learning Festival.
- Looking forward to participating in, but not teaching, the Adobe Generation App Design & Game Design courses later in the year.
- Looking forward to publishing my first comic book in March and releasing a short film in April (details soon).
- Hoping to start on a World War 2 history project in the Summer.
This week’s big news from Adobe was an update for Flash that includes support for the HTML5 Canvas element. Up until now the CreateJS toolkit avoided the use of the canvas tag, so this update has been long awaited.
Included with the update are additional HTML5 Canvas code snippets that allow you to construct interactive applications by choosing common scripted actions from a list. The Code Snippets panel has been around since Flash CS5 (I think), but so far it has only been for Actionscript. The arrival of code snippets for HTML5 Canvas will make it much easier to create simple interactive animations directly in Flash.
I hope to have some examples to share with you soon, but for now a screenshot of the new feature will have to suffice!
Learning through Gaming is part of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas 2013. Held at Dundee College, the conference featured a series of presentations from educators and industry specialists on the use of video games for education.
Along with David Renton of Reid Kerr College I presented a session on current classroom practice, with reference to a variety of video games that are being used in education. Part of the session looked at a recent competition, designed as part of the conference, to get students designing an ideal learning environment using the Minecraft videogame.
- Lemonade Tycoon
- Brain Training – schools use Brain Training [BBC]
- Professor Layton & the Curious Village – Presentation from Clackmannan Primary School
- Lego Star Wars
- Manga High
- Polarity Shift
- Time Explorer
- Skills Express
- Game Dev Story
History project involving video games
Serf’s Quest 2004 – http://www.r-e-m.co.uk/rem/xrem.php?T=26281&view=
BBC Games – http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/interactive/games/