Animation Software & Examples
With the wide variety of free-to-use animation software now available, there is no reason not to incorporate animation into art and STEM curriculum.
A collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy, Pixar In A Box looks at how animated moves are made, and in the process helps students answer an age old question: Why do I need to learn this stuff?
Their answer to this question is a series of interactive lessons, each of which demonstrate how a concept introduced in school is used for creative benefit making movies at Pixar.
Check out the video under the Start Here link.
Pencil2D Animation is a free, open source, cross platform program that can be used to create traditional 2D animations in a wide variety of styles. Supports both bitmap and vector drawing, onion skinning, and importing reference and background images. Resources include getting started and tutorial videos. Make a great tool to introduce animation ideas and concepts or as a "first program".
Pencil2D User Showcase
Here are some examples of what you can do with Pencil2D. The wide variety of animation styles it supports is amazing.
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Alice example project
Here is an example of how the Alice programming language can be used to create animations. While there really isn't much of a plot, you can see how complex scenes can be created. And, as Alice is a programming language, you can add options to change the story with each telling.
- YouTube URL
Alice is a freely available 3D programming environment that makes it easy to create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web. Alice allows students to learn fundamental programming concepts in the context of creating animated movies and simple video games. In Alice, 3D objects (e.g., people, animals, and vehicles) populate a virtual world and students create a program to animate the objects by dragging and dropping command tiles. Alice allows students to test their animations at any point, giving immediate feedback.
Stop frame animation -- think Chicken Run or the old Gumby cartoons -- can easily be done with programs like Clay Animator (free!). Includes information and videos as to how stop motion animation is created.
The Deep by PES
Adam Pesapane (aka PES) is an American director and stop motion animator who uses man-made objects to portray sea creatures in "The Deep". As part of Showtime Network's "Short Stories" series, he shot the video to look like an imaginary nature documentary.
Using simple objects and some background music, your students can create equally interesting stop motion animations.
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Randy Krum highlights the best examples of complex data displayed in visual format - infographics - found in magazines, newspapers and on the Internet.
This site can be used as a springboard for the best ways you and your students can present complex topics.
Infographics, the graphical and sometimes animated illustration of diverse data, has gained in popularity, because graphics is such a popular media of communications.
When creating content for your web site, training video or classroom presentation, it would be nice to be able to capture what's on your computer screen as you go thru the steps of a process. There are many options out there. One our webmaster uses is CamStudio, a free, open source program.
Alien Song ("I Will Survive")
This video was created by Victor Navone using Animation Master. Check out this link to learn how it was created.
This video, after it had gone viral, was good enough to get Victor an interview and a job at Pixar.
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In addition to making Alien Song ("I Will Survive"), Victor has a great web blog where he talks about the animated movies he's worked on, tutorials, and more.
A very robust yet inexpensive tool for 3D animation is Animation Master from Hash. While not free, it is easy to use for budding animators and can be used to teach the basics of computer animation.
Free to use, Unreal Engine 4 can be downloaded and installed to classroom computers as well as personal systems at no cost.
With full access to the complete source code and tools, Unreal Engine 4 levels the playing field to give everyone the resources needed to learn professional-quality development. In addition, schools and students receive regular updates, making it easy to stay current with the latest in development for games, cinematic content, visualization and real-time production.
Unreal Engine 4 is a complete suite of game development and animation tools originally made by game developers, for game developers. The people started discovering that it can be used for everything from 2D mobile games to movies and virtual reality. Think a high end version of Alice-3D available totally for free.
This tutorial steps you thru installation and creating your first animation.
RenderMan is the software that brought you everything from Toy Story to Finding Nemo and Cars.
RenderMan is now free for all non-commercial purposes, including education and personal projects. While RenderMan is complex, it can be a great asset for your advanced students.
Just browsing thru the site will give you new ideas.
Not every teacher can be an expert on all of these tools. Spread the skills around and then you can concentrate on your classroom and go to your "experts" when you need something.
Remind your students about copyright issues when scanning in or capturing images or music for their projects.
HyperStudio allows you to create storybook like animation or "card stacks" that can import images from pod casts, web cams and more.