Week 4 – Sticknodes Redux and PuppetWarp

This week the Prep-Gr 2’s discovered the Sticknodes library and consolidated their skills with new characters, the Gr 3-4s looked at the PuppetWarp feature in Photoshop and how it can be used to manipulate and animate a character. The Grade 5-6s were still editing their trailers from last week, and they will be on camp for the next week, so we will catch up with their next project in a couple of posts time.

Sticknodes

Building on what we did last week with the Prep-Gr 2s and Sticknodes, I showed the students how to access the Sticknodes library. It’s a bit of an involved process, choosing to import a character and then add the character to the stage. I decided that I would make up a sheet that showed the characters and, at least for the Preps, they would come up and ask for what they wanted and I would import them in myself.

sticknodes-characters

Some of the characters have such specific pivot points, it’s not easy to choose the right one. The kids had to learn to zoom in and manipulate before zooming out again. Probably not that ideal on an iPad, but they enjoyed it just the same.

Here is a grade 2 example.

PuppetWarp with Photoshop

The lesson – indeed the image as well – for this lesson must be credited to Greg Hodgson who provided it as part of the Adobe Generation Professional: Animation course over at the Adobe Education Exchange. As I mentioned in the last post, the problem with the Simpsons characters from the last class with the grade 3-4s was that the characters couldn’t move any apendages. This lesson, although not using a Simpsons character, works to address this problem.

This actually tied in really nicely, not just with the Photoshop animation we did in the previous class, but with the animations they did with Pivot Animator in the class before. Essentially with PuppetWarp, the students created their own pivot points, manipulated them, and did so frame by frame. I provided them with a Photoshop file that had the image of cat four times, so they could have four different versions of the cat. From there, their animations could jump from one pose to another. This provided an easy way to understand how the process worked. Even though their animations proved extremely short in the end, they did a good job in making some interesting poses. I tried to get them to not make adjustments that were too extreme – we wanted the poses to be at least partly realistic -but kids being kids, some didn’t heed my instruction.

Here is the tutorial, again based heavily on Greg’s tutorial at the Adobe Education Exchange, where I go through the process.

And is one example. Be prepared, it’s only really a second long. On Photoshop it can be looped, but when exported into a video file, it only lasts as long as the frames do.

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