Showing posts with label Animations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Animations. Show all posts

Saturday, July 3, 2021

Two Great Ways to Quickly Create Animations

A couple of weeks ago in my weekly newsletter I explained why I value having students create simple animations. The short version of the explanation is that I agree with the premise of Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin. The premise is that if you really understand a complex topic you can explain it in a series of simple sketches. Turning those sketches into an animation is a good way to illustrate a concept from start to finish. 

For a few years now I've been using Brush Ninja to create simple animations. Here's something I wrote about using Brush Ninja a few years ago in an eighth grade class. This video provides a demonstration of how to use Brush Ninja which is free and doesn't require registration. 



Brush Ninja is still a great tool for creating animations. Recently, I started experimenting with the features of Wick Editor for making animations. One of the things that I like about it is that you can add sound effects to your animations. Additionally, you also have the option download your animations as GIF or MP4 files. In this short video I demonstrate how to use Wick Editor to create an animation.



This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If seen elsewhere it has been used without permission.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Wick Editor - A Nice Tool for Creating Animations

Wick Editor is a free tool for creating animations in your web browser. It was recently mentioned in Rushton Hurley's Next Vista for Learning newsletter and I immediately bookmarked it when I read about it. This morning I finally got a chance to give it a try. 

Wick Editor doesn't require you to register or sign into any kind of account in order to use it. Simply head to the website and click "launch web editor" to get started. The editor itself doesn't have a lot of text or menus to tell you what exactly the features are or where they're found. You kind of have to just click and try things. That said, watching this tutorial video found on the Wick Editor homepage will show you everything you need to get started. I highly recommend taking five minutes to watch that tutorial video before using Wick Editor.  



Once I watched the Wick Editor tutorial video Wick Editor was easy to use. I made a simple animation of a stick figure running across the screen. To make the animation I used the pencil tool and the onion-skinning tool in the editor. The pencil tool is exactly what you think it is, a pencil for drawing on the screen. The onion-skinning tool allows you to a slightly faded version of your previous frame while drawing on your new frame. That allows you to properly place your drawings in sequence so that they don't overlap unless you want them to. In short, onion-skinning in Wick Editor is like having a sketch pad open so that you can see your previous sketch on your left while creating your new sketch on the right.

When you're happy with your animation drawings you can tinker with the speed at which the frames are played back. After you've set the playback speed you can add audio if you want to include it. Finished animations can be saved as MP4 files or as GIF files.

Applications for Education
Wick Editor reminds me of a slightly more advanced version of Brush Ninja which I've used and recommended for years. Wick Editor, like Brush Ninja, could be used by students to create animations to illustrate science concepts. Here's an article that I published a few years ago describing the process that I used with eighth grade students to have them create animations illustrating forms of energy.

This post originally appeared on FreeTech4Teachers.com. If you see it elsewhere, it has been used without permission. Sites that steal my (Richard Byrne's) work include CloudComputin and WayBetterSite. Featured image created by Richard Byrne using Wick Editor.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

5 Ways for Students of All Ages to Make Animated Videos

Making animated videos is a great way for students to bring their written stories to life on screen. Those could be fiction or nonfiction stories. Some nonfiction animated video topics include making a video to illustrate a historical event, making biographies, and explaining complex concepts in simple animations like Common Craft does. In the fiction realm you might have students make an adaptation of a favorite story or an animation of their own creative writing. Whichever direction you choose, the following five tools offer good ways for students of all ages to make their own animated videos.

Toontastic 3D
Toontastic 3D is a great app for making animated videos that I have been using and promoting since its launch a few years ago. Toontastic 3D can be used on iPads, Android tablets and phones, and Chromebooks that support Android apps. Students can use Toontastic 3D without having to create or sign into any kind of account.

To make an animated video with Toontastic 3D students simply open the app, select a background scene or draw their own, select some characters or draw their own, and then record themselves talking while moving their characters around the screen. When students have completed their recordings they can add background music to their videos. Finished videos are saved directly to device on which the video was created.

Animaker
Animaker is a service that students can use to create animated videos in the web browser on their Chromebooks, Windows computers, or Macs. Students create videos in Animaker on a slide-by-slide basis. Animaker provides lots of background settings that students can add to the slides that will form their videos. On each slide students add the pre-drawn characters that they want to have appear in their videos. Each character's appearance and positioning can be edited in each slide. Once the backgrounds and characters have been positioned students can add audio to each their videos by selecting from a gallery of royalty-free audio, by uploading audio recordings, or by using the built-in voice-over tool in Animaker.

Brush Ninja + Screencastify
This is a method of making an animated video that I detailed back in October after using it with a great group of eighth grade students. This method calls for making animated GIFs with the free Brush Ninja drawing tool and then recording a series of GIFs with the Screencastify screencast video tool for Chromebooks. You can get detailed directions for combining Brush Ninja and Screencastify in this post.

Google Slides + Screencastify or Screencast-o-Matic
Google Slides, like PowerPoint and Keynote, provide users with lots of ways to animate elements within their slides. Use those animation tools to make clipart and simple drawings move on the screen. Then capture those movements with a screencasting tool like Screencastify or Screencast-o-matic. Of course, you'll want to include a voiceover while recording. This method can be used to create animated videos like those made popular by Common Craft. You can read about and then watch this whole process in this Practical Ed Tech article.

Draw and Tell
Draw and Tell is a free iPad app that has been on list of recommendations for K-2 students for many years. In this free app students can draw on a blank pages or complete coloring page templates. After completing their drawings students then record a voiceover in which they either explain the drawings or tell a story about the characters in their drawings.

Friday, November 2, 2018

How to Use QR Codes to Share Animated Videos

Earlier this week I answered an email from a reader who had heard someone talk about using QR codes so that people could watch animations made by students. Not having heard that person speak or seen the actual presentation my guess was that the process went like this; students wrote stories, students then made videos about the stories, and finally students made QR codes to link to their videos. That's the process that I outline in the following video.


Thursday, October 18, 2018

Why Have Students Make Simple Animations?

Last week I wrote about having middle school students create presentations from a combination of illustrations and videos that they made. In that post I shared Brush Ninja animation tool. That's just one of many tools that students could have used to animated GIFs to include in their slides. The point of the activity wasn't to have students learn how to use Brush Ninja, it was to have students create animations to demonstrate their understanding of a process.

In the example that I shared last week students made animations to illustrate forms of energy. That topic was a fairly natural fit to illustrate with animations. But animations can be used to illustrate nearly every topic that is taught in K-12 schools. I was turned onto this idea many years ago when I read Dan Roam's Back of the Napkin and Unfolding the Napkin books. These books make the point that if you truly understand a concept, you can illustrate it with simple drawings on the back of a napkin or other blank canvas.

You don't need to be artistically inclined at all in order to make effective illustrations. In fact, in Unfolding the Napkin I learned that simple stick figures were often all that is needed to illustrate a concept. And if you do use the concepts of Unfolding the Napkin in your classroom, you will have to remind some students to focus on the concepts first before getting hung up on the aesthetics of their sketches.

Watch the following video in which Dan Roam explains the concepts of Unfolding the Napkin.


Tuesday, March 27, 2018

How to Create Animations With ABCya Animate

ABCya Animate is a free tool that students can use to create animations. It can be a great tool for elementary school and middle school students to use to create animations to use to tell a short story. For example, in my demonstration video the animation I started to make could be used as part of a larger story about marine life or ocean ecosystems. To complete the story I would need to add some more drawings and perhaps some text for clarification. Your students might also use short animations as part of larger multimedia project. Watch my demonstration video embedded below to learn more about how to use ABCya Animate.


Three more free animation tools were featured in this Practical Ed Tech post.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Create Animations With ABCya Animate

ABCya Animate is a fun tool from ABCya that enables students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations.

The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

Applications for Education
ABCya Animate could be a great tool for elementary school and middle school students to use to create animations to use to tell a short story. For example, the animation that I started in the picture above could be the beginning of a short story about flying to visit grandparents. To complete the story I would add some drawings to represent my family and perhaps some text for clarification. Your students might also use short animations as part of larger multimedia project.

If you want to create instructional animations of your own, try one of the options highlighted in last week's Practical Ed Tech Tip of the Week.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Three Good Ways to Create Instructional Animations

Earlier this week I shared five ways to create animated movies on Chromebooks. Creating animated movies can be a lot of fun for you and your students. But sometimes you just need a short animation to get your point across or to remind students about an important point. That's when the following three tools are handy.

Flip Anim provides possibly the easiest way draw and create an animated GIF. In the following short video I demonstrate how to create animated GIFs by using Flip Anim.



Loopy is a free tool for creating your own animated simulations or illustrations of a concept. This free animation tool is designed to showing relationships between two or more parts of a system. It's perfect for showing cause and effect or for showing a workflow system. To create an animation on Loopy you simply have to click on the blank canvas to place a circle that represents the start of a system. Then click on the canvas again to add another element to your system animation. To connect the two (or more) pieces you use a drawing tool to connect them. Once you've drawn the connections you can add cause and effect commands by selecting them from the Loopy editor.

Parapara Animation is a free animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. The tool is easy to use and it does not require registration in order to use it. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how to create an animation with ParaPara Animation.



Friday, April 21, 2017

Loopy Makes It Easy to Create Animated Simulations

Loopy is a free tool for creating your own animated simulations or illustrations of a concept. This free animation tool is designed to showing relationships between two or more parts of a system. It's perfect for showing cause and effect or for showing a workflow system.

To create an animation on Loopy you simply have to click on the blank canvas to place a circle that represents the start of a system. Then click on the canvas again to add another element to your system animation. To connect the two (or more) pieces you use a drawing tool to connect them. Once you've drawn the connections you can add cause and effect commands by selecting them from the Loopy editor.

Applications for Education
It took me a few minutes of playing around and remixing existing simulations to get the hang of how Loopy worked. Once I had it figured out, I quickly saw the potential for Loopy animations to help students understand how systems work. Give your students some time to use Loopy and they could create animations to illustrate their understanding of cause and effect relationships in science and engineering.

H/T to Lifehacker

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Comprehensive Guide to Creating Explanatory Animated GIFs

When it comes to crafting explanatory videos and images no one does it better than Lee and Sachi at Common Craft. Recently, they published a comprehensive free guide to creating animated GIFs as explanations.

In How to Create ExplainerGIFs you will learn how to create animated GIFs using software that you probably have already. Through the guide you'll learn how to publish and share your explanatory GIFs. If you need images to use in your GIFs, How to Create ExplainerGIFs has a section devoted to finding images appropriate for crafting explanations.

Applications for Education
Having students create an animated GIF to explain a concept could be a good way to get them to think about how the individual parts of a concept come together to form one cohesive process.

The examples section of How to Create ExplainerGIFs are a good source of ideas for using animated GIFs in school. In the examples you will see animated GIFs used to bring graphs to life, a GIF used to explain how a sewing machine works, and a GIF to illustrate a soccer rule.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Explain 3D - Machines and Systems Explained With 3D Animations

Explain 3D is a site that offers a collection of 3D animations of simple machines. The animations use the Unity web player which enables viewers to zoom-in, zoom-out, and rotate animations 360 degrees. Recently Explain 3D made all of the animations available for free. In addition to the animations of simple machines like elevators and hand pumps, Explain 3D now offers 3D models of the universe and electrical systems.


Applications for Education
Explain 3D could be a good source of models to include as part of a larger lesson that you're constructing for your students to view online. To get the most out of the models your students will probably need you to explain what is happening and or the connections to the larger lesson.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Hemingway and Poe Animated

A couple of years ago I posted a short animated telling of Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea. This morning Open Culture featured a longer animated version of the same story. Both versions are embedded below.




the old man and the sea from Marcel Schindler on Vimeo.

In looking up the shorter of the two animations above I came across a post from four years ago in which I featured a short animation of Poe's Tell Tale Heart. That video is embedded below.


Applications for Education
Watching these animations is not a replacement for reading the stories, but they could make good support material for students who struggle with reading the text.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Explain 3D - 3D Animations of Simple Machines

Explain 3D is a free site that offers a small of collection of 3D animations of simple machines. While the animations are free to view, you do have to register in order to see them. The animations use the Unity web player which enables viewers to zoom-in, zoom-out, and rotate animations 360 degrees.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there are eight Explain 3D animations. I'm not too keen on the machine gun animation, but the rest could be useful explanatory aids.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Create 100 Frame Animations on ABCya Animate

ABCya Animate is a fun new tool from ABCya (disclosure, an advertiser here). ABCya Animate allows students to create animated GIFs containing up to 100 frames. On ABCya Animate students build their animation creations by drawing, typing, and inserting images. Students can change the background of each frame, include new pictures in each frame, and change the text in each frame of their animations.

The feature that I like best about ABCya Animate is that students can see the previous frames of their animations while working on a current frame. This helps students know where to position items in each frame in order to make their animations as smooth as possible. Students do not need to register on ABCya Animate in order to use the tool or to save their animations. When students click "save" on ABCya Animate their creations are downloaded as GIFs.

Applications for Education
ABCya Animate could be a great tool for elementary school and middle school students to use to create animations to use to tell a short story. For example, the animation that I started in the picture above could be the beginning of a short story about flying to visit grandparents. To complete the story I would add some drawings to represent my family and perhaps some text for clarification. Your students might also use short animations as part of larger multimedia project.

Monday, March 4, 2013

5 Apps and Sites for Creating Animations

This afternoon on Twitter I was asked for some recommendations for tools that students can use to create animations. The first one that came to mind was the one that was freshest in my mind, that was Sketch Star. After sharing that link I went back into my archives for some other tools that students can use to create animations and came up with four others. Here are five tools that students can use to create animations.

Sketch Star from Miniclip is a fun and free tool for creating animated comics. On Sketch Star students can create draw animations from scratch or use pre-made shapes and characters. Students build their animations frame by frame. Each frame appears in a timeline that can be altered by dragging and dropping the frames into different sequences. The length of time that each frame is displayed can be adjusted too. Completed projects can be saved online.

Stop Frame Animator from Culture Street is a neat tool for creating animated stop motion movies. Creating your animated stop motion video is a simple drag and drop process on Stop Frame Animator. To get started creating your stop motion video select a background scene then drag your characters into place. While you have nine background scenes to choose from, the only characters you can use are wooden manikins. You can position the manikins' arms and legs in every scene. After choosing your scene and characters you can add some other props like chairs and beach balls. And if you want you can add sound effects and music to your video by selecting them from the Stop Frame Animator gallery.

Animation Desk is an iPad app (free and premium versions available) for creating short, animated videos. The app allows you to create drawings using just your finger on your iPad's screen. In the free version of the app (the version that I tried) you can create up to 50 scenes in each of your projects. In each scene you can include as little or as much as you want to draw on the canvas. There are a few different brush and pencil effects that you can use in your drawings. The opacity of the colors you choose can be altered too. When you have completed drawing all of your scenes hit the play button to watch your animation unfold. If you're happy with your animation you can export it to YouTube.

Draw Island is a free online tool for creating drawings and simple GIF animations. Draw Island offers you your choice of four canvas sizes on which you can draw. Draw Island offers two canvas sizes for creating simple GIF animations. To use Draw Island just head to the site and select a drawing tool. You can draw free hand (or should I say free mouse?) or select pre-defined shapes to use in your images. When you're done drawing just click the save button to download your drawing or animation.

Wideo is a service that allows anyone to create animated videos and Common Craft-style videos online. You can create an animated video on Wideo by dragging and dropping elements into place in the Wideo editor then setting the sequence of animations. Each element can be re-used as many times as you like and the timing of the animation of each image can individually adjusted. Wideo's stock elements include text, cartoons, and drawings. You can also upload your own images to use in your videos.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Create Animated Comics with Sketch Star

Sketch Star has gone offline. 

Sketch Star from Miniclip is a fun and free tool for creating animated comics. On Sketch Star students can create draw animations from scratch or use pre-made shapes and characters. Students build their animations frame by frame. Each frame appears in a timeline that can be altered by dragging and dropping the frames into different sequences. The length of time that each frame is displayed can be adjusted too. Completed projects can be saved online.

Applications for Education 
To save Sketch Star animations you do need to register for an account with an email address. If your students don't have email addresses you could use the Gmail+1 hack to register them. Sketch Star also asks for birthdays. I just selected 1/1/1969 (not anywhere close to my real birthday) and got into the service.

Using Sketch Star could be a good way for students to create animations to go along with creative stories that they write as part of a language arts lesson.