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12 Basic Principles of Animation

Despite a lot of efforts made to facilitate animation with computer technology many artists struggle to produce compelling works in the field. Our previous post on the topic revealed that brilliant animation is all about sticking to the very basics. Adhering to the laws of physics is how you begin, but what about more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal?

In 1981 two bright Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas introduced twelve basic principles of animation to produce more realistic works. Since then the principles have been adopted by almost every professional animator, and have been referred to by some as the “Bible of animation.” Originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today’s computer animation and can be found not only in character animation, but also in user experience design.

Twelve basic principles of animation below are paraphrased from The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, one of the “best animation books of all time,” and illustrated with examples made using Animatron.

Squash and Stretch

Considered the most important principle “squash and stretch” gives a sense of weight and volume to drawn objects. It is best described with a bouncing ball, which appears stretched when falling and squashed when it hits the ground. Even slightly exaggerating on shortening and widening animated objects will give them that realistic feel.

18 Best Websites With Educational Apps Reviews

Technology is developing rapidly, and it seems there is an app for just about anything these days, and education is no exception. If you try searching for “educational apps for kids” or “educational product reviews” on Google, there are approximately 35,300,000 results the search engine comes up with. Amazon.com offers around 14,000 educational apps and games, and the App Store features over 80,000 educational apps, as stated by Apple. How are teachers and parents supposed to sort through this vast variety of choices and find the right ones?

Whether you are a teacher looking for ways to enhance your classroom experience or a parent searching for new educational apps for your children, these are the best websites to head to.

  1. AppEd Review

    “What makes an app good to use in the classroom?” When a student approached Dr. Todd Cherner of Coastal Carolina University with this question, Dr. Cherner realized he had never actually thought of an app worth, despite having used various apps in his classes for a while. After short research, it turned out that a comprehensive app evaluation and review rubric was yet to be developed, and this is how AppEd Review was created by Dr. Cherner and his colleague Dr. Corey Lee.

    AppEd Review is an excellent source of app reviews. It allows filtering by platform, subject, grade level and price as well as types (content-based, creation-based, skill-based, teacher resource apps). The reviews include an original app description, a comprehensive app evaluation and instructional ideas for using the app.

    In addition to app reviews, the website also offers a blog where the authors share useful educational tips and ready-to-use App Lessons with description, lesson plans and all the necessary instructions. Readers can also subscribe for new reviews and receive a monthly Roundup.

  2. Teachers with Apps

    Founded by Jayne Claire, a Special Education teacher, and Anne Rachel, Early Childhood educator, Teachers With Apps (TWA) is aimed at helping teachers and parents wade through the growing number of educational apps out there.

    The website is divided into categories - Teacher Tools, Parent Page, TWA Picks, Noteworthy and others. Reviews are organized in the way of blog posts, with links to the website or App Store where one can download the app from.

    There is also a blog where one can learn the latest educational news, read the app review digest or find some great ideas for enhancing the teaching/learning process.

How to Make Your Own Political Cartoons With Animatron

2016 Political Election Set

It feels like the whole world has their eyes on the US 2016 presidential elections. People take sides, make bets, discuss and argue who the next US president is going to be. If you have been following the news (or even just browsed the Internet recently), you probably know that these elections are among the most controversial ones in history. With less than four months until the Big Day, the debates are only heating up more every minute.

How will the elections end up? Who is going to be the president?

The good news is that now you can take control over the situation! With the new free Political Set introduced by Animatron you can now create your very own political cartoon and make candidates do and say whatever you want. We have prepared a full set of animated candidates running for President and added other prominent figures to help you make your animations more fun and engaging.

You can bring your political cartoon ideas to life in these four easy steps:

  1. Open the Editor and choose the Political Set.

  2. Place pre-animated characters on canvas.

  3. Upload your own images or audio files to make your cartoon more live. Check this tutorial to learn how.

  4. Download the cartoon or share via social media or direct link. This tutorial will explain the process in detail.

Be a Hero or at Least Have a Hero Banner

Click on almost any website these days, and you’re likely to see a hero banner. No, this doesn’t mean images of capes and hammers and a collection of super cool gadgets, but the idea is kind of the same. The hero banner is one of the first things that visitors see on your website, and when done well, it’s intriguing enough to keep them on the site and get them to do something — or better yet, buy something.

Some people consider their home page to be a hero banner, but that’s not technically correct. In some cases, a landing page can be a hero banner, but if the banner is on the home page, it’s only a part of the page. Unlike a typical homepage, which may be packed with information and links, a hero banner is generally focused on one specific call to action.

Your homepage will likely have contact information, links to social media, primary and secondary calls to action, logos, and links to other pages on the site – all of which are important – but the hero banner is strictly focused on one key message. It leads visitors to another part of your site, perhaps your homepage or another landing page, according to your site’s primary purpose.

Hero images have become so popular because they pop. They add interest to your site without a lot of clutter, while helping express your key messages and establish your brand. And unlike carousel images, they don’t hide content on your site. Users don’t have to go searching for the banner they just saw or wait for the carousel to come back around.

Your key content is located front and center — right where it needs to be. And thanks to easy-to-use banner maker tools, they aren’t difficult to add to your site.

6 Common Storyboarding Mistakes to Avoid

When you are creating an animated video for your business, one of the most important steps in the process is the storyboard. A rough representation of how your video will play out, shot by shot, a storyboard not only helps you plan for the production of the video, but it can save you time and money in the long run by giving you the chance to work through potential problems before you create the final product.

It also helps you refine and share your vision with others, who may not have a complete understanding of your concept based on the script alone.

Despite the importance of storyboarding, many new video creators either skip the process altogether, or make some big mistakes that delay their production schedule — or worse. If you avoid these mistakes, though, you will have a more successful video, and an easier time making it.

Why Animated Videos Are Best for YouTube Marketing

If you are marketing any sort of product or service, you’ve undoubtedly realized that YouTube is an important marketing tool. With more than a billion unique users every month and more than 6 billion hours of video watched every month, it only makes sense to promote your company, product, or service online.

Now granted, not everyone using YouTube is watching to learn something — there are far too many funny cat videos on the site with millions of views to make that argument. However studies show that a high percentage of YouTube users are in fact using the site to search for work-related information as well as how-to videos and other useful information.

In fact, according to one study in Forbes, more than 50 percent of executives report watching work-related or business videos on YouTube every week, and of those, 65 percent visit the marketer’s website after watching.

But while it’s clear that YouTube is important for marketing purposes, the question then becomes “What should we put up there?” The answer is animation.

Promoting Creativity and Collaboration With Technology

Raise your hand if you grew up visiting the “computer lab” at school. Chances are, if you are in your mid-20s or older, you probably learned “technology” at school in a dedicated classroom with a teacher who specialized in computers — and by technology, you learned how to perform basic functions (i.e., word processing) and maybe play a few educational games.

The world of classroom technology is different now than it was in the 1980s and ‘90s, and even to some extent the early 2000s. Technology is no longer treated as a separate subject or an elective. Rather, technology and computers have become inextricably linked to the educational process.

Children as young as kindergarten are issued iPads to practice reading and math skills, and play games and create work via apps. Computer workstations are replacing traditional desks in many classrooms, and in those that aren’t, students are bringing their own tablets and laptops to school and completing their work on apps like Google Docs, and emailing them to teachers instead of turning in printed documents.

Yet for all of the access to technology that students have, the overwhelming majority of schools only use the internet to research information. The traditional classroom environment often makes it difficult for students to use technology to its full advantage.

One major area where technology in the classroom can make a significant difference is in collaboration. With the right tools and applications, students can learn from each other, both in the same classroom and around the globe, in a number of exciting ways.

4 Simple Tips for Illustrating Your Explainer Video

So I see you’ve come a long way since scripting your precious explainer video. Well done! You’re approaching the halfway point and it’s time to consider all of the graphics, icons, logos, text styles, fonts and visual style elements you wish to incorporate. During your beginning scriptwriting phase, you should have pooled a decent amount of reference to kickstart the process, so pin up all of your favorite browser tabs and get to it!

  1. “Good artists borrow, Great artists steal”
    Remember that famous and possibly implausible Picasso quote that Steve Jobs was so fond of? It’s not to be taken literally. So, please don’t go thinking I’m condoning your breaking into the Sistine Chapel and taking a chisel to your favorite wall. It’s best to assume this means you should take your favorite elements and transform them into your own style. If you happen to “steal” the exact same color palette, be sure that it’s the only element you use from that artwork. If it uses culturally identifiable shapes or patterns, be sure to avoid absolute similarities. Don’t let people confuse homage for perversion, when referencing another artist’s work. And always be sure to get permission from and credit another artist’s work if you absolutely must copy it.

6 Basics to Brilliant Animation

Hey there! Ever wonder how the seasoned pro’s over at Pixar and Dreamworks create such brilliant and beautiful moving works of art? Believe me, I always wanted to sample a little of the secret animator sauce they marinade their meals in. But, it might shock you to know it’s really all about the basics… and sticking to them. You don’t have to be Eadweard Muybridge to achieve a sense of realism. Allow me to reveal those basics with you, now:

1. Lines are the Key
Anyone can draw a line and the simplest of lines can be beautiful. It can show the direction a character is moving in, or simply act as a center line for the character to pose on. One line can set the start of an action and another line be used to accentuate its movement to the end of the action. Conquer your self-esteem and draw out your key poses with stick figures. Even the pro’s start with stick figures.

2. Simple Shapes
Ovals, rectangles and triangles, being the simplest shapes you can draw, also happen to be the best and most commonly used shapes to animate with. Ovals are great for just about every need. They can be 3-dimensional, rigid or squishy. Rectangles can be solid features, or flexible portions of a character. You’d be surprised just how versatile a rectangle can be, especially when you pull out the corners. Triangles are great filler shapes and greatly enhance character and object silhouette.

The Flipped Classroom: Does It Actually Work?

What is the flipped classroom

According to the U.S. Department of Education, approximately 7,000 students drop out of high school each day, totalling in 1.2 million annually. That is a staggering number: 25% of freshmen who walk into a classroom on their first day of school will not graduate with their classmates. One of the reasons why students quit school is that the traditional one-size-fits-all model does not seem to work: it often results in limited student engagement and general lack of interest for school. Is there anything we can do about it?

Flipped classroom: a new approach to education

In the traditional educational model, the teacher would typically be the focus of the classroom, presenting information to students and trying to squeeze as much contents as possible into the lesson. New topics are covered in class, and students would normally be given some homework to read from the textbook and do some exercises to practice what they learned. In this environment, students’ engagement is limited as there is simply not enough time for them to discuss the topic with the teacher or work independently during the lesson, as all their time is dedicated to listening to what the teacher has to say. While teachers strive to make the learning process as engaging as possible, an approach known as “flipped classroom” is gaining more popularity every year.

What exactly is a flipped classroom?