Part of Unit: Intermediate Narrative Production
Lesson Plan Overview / Details
Students learn the fundamentals of drawing vector art and animating it in Flash in the context of video production by interpreting short fairy tales and using animal figures to create simple characters in the development of a narrative. Students will use the draw tools, animate simple objects, and learn the fundamentals of key frames. Students then output their product as a animation video short with titles.
- 50 Minutes
- Instructor Overview
- 50 Minutes
- Creating characters and scenes.
- 200 Minutes
- Adding sound and narration
- 100 Minutes
- Animation and assembly
- 100 Minutes
- Class presentation
- 50 Minutes
California Career and Technical Education Standards
- AME.A.A22.214.171.124 Proficient - Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective use of the ...
- AME.A.A126.96.36.199 Advanced - Create original works of art of increasing complexity and skill in a ...
- AME.A.A188.8.131.52 Proficient - Develop and refine skill in the manipulation of digital imagery (ei...
- AME.A.A184.108.40.206 Advanced - Demonstrate in their own works of art a personal style and an advance...
- AME.A.A220.127.116.11 Proficient - Review and refine observational drawing skills.
- AME.A.A18.104.22.168 Advanced - Use innovative visual metaphors in creating works of art.
- AME.A.A2.2 Know the component steps and skills required to design, edit, and produce a prod...
- AME.A.A2.3 Use technology to create a variety of audio, visual, written, and electronic pro...
- AME.A.A2.4 Know the features and uses of current and emerging technology related to computi...
- AME.A.A2.5 Know the writing processes, formats, and conventions used for various media.
- AME.A.A2.6 Understand technical support related to various media and design arts.
California Academic Content Standards (Reinforced)
- ELA.8.R.NAGT.3.5 Identify and analyze recurring themes (e.g., good versus evil) across traditiona...1
- ELA.9-10.R.CAGT.2.6 Demonstrate use of sophisticated learning tools by following technical direction...2
- ELA.9-10.W.2.2a Write responses to literature that demonstrate a comprehensive grasp of the sign...
- VA.9-12 (proficient).CE.CETOA.2.5 Create an expressive composition, focusing on dominance and subordination.
- VA.9-12 (proficient).CE.CETOA.2.6 Create a two- or three-dimensional artwork that addresses a social issue.
- VA.9-12 (proficient).CE.SPMT.2.1 Solve a visual arts problem that involves the effective use of the elements of a...
- VA.9-12 (proficient).CE.SPMT.2.3 Develop and refine skill in the manipulation of digital imagery (either still or...
- VA.9-12 (proficient).CE.SPMT.2.4 Review and refine observational drawing skills.
Objectives and Goals
- Learn and use the drawing tools in Flash.
- Learn the fundamentals of animation and apply them to a digital story.
- Develop skills in the process of digital storytelling.
Activities in this Lesson
- Introduction - Hooks / Set
As far back as there have been stories, animals have been part of a child's education, even as far back as the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. They all used images of crow, lamb, and grasshopper to teach their alphabet - just like we still do today on shows like Sesame Street or other popular cartoons.
Stories with animals provide information and learning about important social and moral conventions of their time. One primary example of these stories are the Aesop's Fables. Aesop's Fables are moral tales written by a Greek slave who lived around 600 B.C. & have been teaching children moral values for thousands of years! An equivalent closer to our time are the tales of Brer Rabbit & Fox from the old south.
The Tortoise and the Hare is an exmple of such a story with a moral message. The message is: Slow and steady wins the race! One of the earliest moral lessons we learn. We are naturally drawn to these animal stories and their experiences. They are easy to understand and offer practical advice about life.
Animal stories are so powerful that some say they influence kids to all sorts of behavior. Itchy & Scratchy is a carton that makes fun of violence by making it absurdly over the top. As far back as 1762, Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote that The Crow and the Fox, an Aesop's fable in which a fox tricks a bird into dropping a piece of cheese by flattering her beautiful voice, would entice young people to "imitate the villain" and become liars. Whatever your view about the potential of influence, it important to understand the cartoon or animated animal as a powerful medium for portraying values and morals.
PROJECT: Your task is to create a Flash representation of an Aesop Fable (or animal tale from your own ethnic traditions) of your choice and bring the moral tale to life using modern animation tools. Each student will participate individually; produce an illustrated animation using Flash and incorporating illustrations, text, sounds, music, and voice narrative. Use the Internet and your own digital images to help create the illustrations you will need (keeping in mind all copyright laws) .
The Crow & The Fox
- Getting Started - Lecture
To get started, students will need to select one of the fables to illustrate. See the attached catalog of Aesop's Tales or one of the numerous online sites that catalog the tales:
If students want alternatives from other cultures, have them search online for examples. The story they select should be:
- Short: no more than a few paragraphs or even a single paragraph.
- Use an animal or non-human as the primary character.
- Have a moral.
Some alternatives might be Brer Rabbit from the American South or similar stories from early American folktales. Let students select a story that reasonates with them as long as they are able to articulate the moral of the story.
TASK: Students should review the stories using the below resources and select a story the they feel fits their needs or own philosophy. Once they have selected a story, have students read the story out loud in class and get feedback from other students on the appropriateness and applicability of the moral to today's society. Guiding Questions: Does the story still fit? Why do you suppose those animals are used to present the story? What symbols or metaphors are used to construct the fable?
Pick a few of the sample student animations to view and discuss as a class at http://www.umass.edu/aesop/
We are attempting to create something similar with the addition of sound and voice narration.
- Aesop's Fables (entire catalog) [ Download ] Use this PDF for students who want to review the entire Aesop's collection of Fables.
- Complete list of Fables with their associated moral. [ Go to Site ] This link provides a quick and easy way for students to select a story by it's moral if they prefer.
- Samples of animated Fables. [ Go to Site ] Samples of Fables that have already been animated by other students using Flash.
- Flash Scaffolding - Guided Practice
This assignment assumes some basic knowledge in creating a new Flash file, importing images, and using the core tools to draw, color, and transform objects.
Have students create a new Flash file to practice along as you demonstrate. The attached Trace Bitmap in Flash.pdf can be handed out for student reference. The goal of this practice is to get students comfortable with using Flash (or another vector based drawing program) to create characters and objects to use in their Aesop's Flash Fable.
The steps to demonstrate:
If students are unfamiliar, be sure to cover the basics of how to create a new document, set it up, and navigate the different tools and pallettes. Some brief descriptions of these steps can be found here:
- Have students practice using the Brush and Pen tools to trace out a picture of an animal.
- Use the Brush and Paint Bucket to fill in areas with colors and gradients.
- Use the Selection tools and the Free Transform tool to alter what they have drawn and refine it.
- Have them import different objects and either trace them or by doing a Bitmap Trace. This should be the method for creating backgrounds to be used in the different scenes of the animation.
- Trace Bitmap in Flash [ Download ]
- Adobe Support: Learning Flash Professional Videos [ Go to Site ] This is a free series of video tutorials. Learn how to use Flash Professional CS4 with tutorials selected by experts at Adobe.There's everything from Getting Started for beginners, to New Features, Workflows, and Overviews.
- Making Characters and Scenes Practice - Independent Practice
Once students are comfortable navigating in Flash and using the different tools, have them create their first scene on their own.
- Review their story with them to make sure they are comfortable with selecting the main characters and that they understand the story well enough to illustrate it.
- As an optional step, have students create a storyboard consisting of all of the major scenes of the story. This can be done as a traditional storyboard or with index cards. Review how to make a storyboard with students if you choose to add this task.
- Have them start in Flash by creating the main character or protagonist of the story.
- Once they have the main character, have students create their first scene. This is the first scene of the fable. Students should create (draw) all the characters and objects for the scene seperately and then import or create a background in which the scene is set. The background can be a bitmap image that they convert by tracing in Flash (by hand or using the Bitmap Tace function).
- Adding Narration and Sound - Guided Practice
Students are required to have at least two of the following audio components in this project:
- A voice narrative or dialogue that accompanies the animation and helps to tell the fable.
- Sound effects (animal sounds, wind blowing, etc.) that enhance the visual storytelling.
- Music soundtrack. The music should fit with the story and help to enhance the emotional impact of the story.
Students have several options for recording narration an sound effects in Audacity, GarageBand, SoundBooth, or any other audio program availble to you. Field recrdings can be made with digital recorders, laptops, cellphones, or portable tape machines. Use whichever method best suites the environment and resources.
A brief overview for recording in Audacity with links to additional resources is attached below.
For GarageBand, try the following sources:
An Introduction to Garageband:
For SoundBooth, recording in Adobe SoundBooth:
Files that are recorded by students can be imported into the Flash Timeline to be played in the Fable. See the attached video below: Adding Sounds and Audio to your Flash Fable.
If you have music and sound effects libraries to use, have students select sounds and music that fit their fable. Students can acquire royalty free sound effects and music by searching online. A few sample sites are listed below. 15 or 30 sec. clips are available from freeplaymusic.com. Also, try the following sites::
- Finishing the Fable - Independent Practice
To finish up the Flash Fable, students will need to:
- Create simple character animations like a character speaking or moving across the scene.
- Add text elements (titles, captions, and credits).
- Add navigation buttons (Next, Back, Home, etc.).
- Publish the fable as a stan-alone Web page.
Once students have all of their scenes completed, they should concentrate on adding text elements, simple animations, and navigation components. Keep these tasks simple by only creating simple motion tweens and buttons that move from one frame to the next (unless the student wants the animation to be self running). If students want to get more complex with animation at this stage, you may choose to show some examples of how to create frame by frame animations to supplement the basic motion tweens. See the attached videos. Also see:
Cartoon Smart (Free Flash Tutorials for Animation)
On the same site, there is a more sophisticated walk cycle tutorial for more advanced students: Walk Cycle Tutorial.
Last step is to have the students publish their Flash Fable. This is best done by doing a "Publish Preview" first, and then clicking "File: Publish" if all is well with the preview.
That's it! Have fun.
- Creating a Motion Tween [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] This short video shows how to make a simple motion tween to create the illusion of the character walking across the scene.
- Creating an Animated Walk Cycle [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Use this short tutorial for more advanced animations invloving character motion. From: http://sclipo.com/videos/view/animated-walkcycle-with-sunshine-sally
- Creating a Navigation Button [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Shows how to create a button that allows the user to navigate from frame to frame and between fable scenes.
- More Animation Basics [ Watch Video ] [ Download Original Video ] Some additional work on animation.
- Assessment Types:
See attached rubric.
- Flash Fable Rubric [ Download ]