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Learning Frame by Frame at TICE Animation

For #TICE2020, we are thrilled to have the return of TICE Animation, led by Chloe Rodham. This year, we are joined by Whitley Bay High School to discover the incredible, fascinating world of Animation. To kick their journey off, Chloe visited the school to give a taste of what is possible for the Insight Stage.

Chloe began the morning by introducing herself, sharing her vast experience as well as briefly touching on what was in store for the day. The students were already off to a great start, being able to contribute phrases like ‘onion skinning’, ‘frame by frame’ and ‘tweening’ when asked about Animation techniques that they knew of. They impressed both Chloe and Mr Robinson before the activities had even started! 

After hearing all about the various job roles within Animation, they thought about all the animations they had seen over the last month, picked them apart and figured out how they were made. Some students produced some excellent points about how computer animation tries to emulate other more traditional styles. This analysis showcased how many different, equally well-respected techniques there are in the field.

“At first I only thought of the mainstream jobs like Pixar Animation and DreamWorks, I never regarded anything else, but the insight stage had open my eyes to a wider range of careers I’d never consider.”

Lucas Hogarth, Whitley Bay High School

Next up was character design. Everyone used provided keywords to start coming up with designs and made a sheet called a turn around (where the character is seen from different angles.) Once their designs were complete, they were put into groups of the same character with wizards, scarecrows, pirates and explorers all working together. They were challenged to combine the best bits of all the characters and then work as ‘inbetweeners’ – using provided keyframes to complete a walk cycle. The classroom was full of energy, focus and inspiring teamwork. After a quick lunch break, they had the opportunity to see the results of their walk cycle and eagerly spotted the designs they had worked on. 

The afternoon brought a different element to the Animation industry, focused particularly on pre-production skills. The task was to come up with an idea for an Instagram story campaign to encourage people to visit Whitley Bay. After considering what makes Whitley Bay unique, each of the four groups worked together to come up with an idea and transferred these ideas onto large Instagram frame sheets. 

Mr Robinson did a great job at standing in as the client, grilling the students about their design choices. Ultimately the ‘client’ was looking for something which used the platform functions, had a consistent design across the panels and was positive about Whitley Bay. Each group pitched their idea and not only did they do a convincing job of presenting their ideas, but the concepts were also to an industry standard. There were seas, seagulls, famous Whitley Bay – even a muscular seagull stealing fish and chips and ice cream from tourists! The winning animation featured a giant sausage dog visiting lots of familiar locations. It had a hint of comedy…the dog had ice boots at the skating rink and its paw on a sandcastle as the ending. Such a fun idea!

“I really enjoyed the workshop because it went into detail about so many jobs in the industry. It was creative and fun as we got to design our own characters and then, in the end, we got to see them do a walk cycle and watch them come to life.”

Student, Whitley Bay High School

A huge thank you to Whitley Bay High School students for such an exciting start to TICE Animation. We look forward to seeing you on the Explore Stage.

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