Monday, February 23, 2009...2:48 pm

Stop Motion Magic in Exeter

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Mayhem on Saturday morning at Animated Exeter, when I got my first taste of a full-day animation workshop for 12-15 year-olds.

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Disappointingly, despite the promise of Plasticine modelling in the brochure, workshop leader Josh vetoed it on the grounds that it would be “too messy”. Frankly I thought this was a bit too grown-up, until I had to sweep up at the end and I realised his prescience. Still – as no one running animation workshops for kids seemes to want to bring in modelling clay, I think it opens the field for someone else to offer it. Watch out for the Plasticine Unbound Animation Day next February at the festival.

exeter1The kids were really nice – though this may have been down to Josh’s verdict that the workshop was the calmest he’d had for a year. I even got a “special thanks” credit on one lad’s film – just under his mum. Bless. In the excitement of it all I forgot to take a picture of it – but I guess my ego can manage without. My contribution was the impressively minimal moonscape and space background for his work “The Alien Tea” [see above].  

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And while the quality of the animation was a bit variable [let’s face it, when you’ve only got 20 minutes or so to film, it’s going to be], the graphic ability on show was really impressive. The kids produced a whole range of inventive characters, with bold, clear styles, and used a range of techniques to animate them. One team of two did replacement animation – creating a whole series of nearly identical figures to be filmed in sequence. It was a labour of love and impressive that they managed to get the whole lot done, and shot, by the time they had to run for a train. I also really liked the knight in armour here. Not only was it a cool design, but the artist had thought through his animation and drew a number of different leg positions, as well as different head angles.

 No video examples from the day, unfortunately. One young animator had the presence of mind to film his animation on his mobile as it was playing back on screen. Sadly, I am not yet so tech savvy…

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