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Summer 2017 in Puerto Rico

As an animation student, the last months before graduation are never easy, however Carolina, Lizbeth and I didn’t make it any easier for ourselves when we decided to create ANÍMATE. It took many phone calls, lots of research and organization and quite some money for materials and plane tickets while we struggled to finish our senior films.


Animator John Webber helped me design my 2D Animation Principles’ syllabus for children. We had various meetings where we spoke on what exercises would be best for a 3-week-long course. He also helped me by donating animation paper, and 21 acme pegs for the students (given by animator Troy Gustafson).


When we arrived to Puerto Rico our home base was in La Parguera, every day we had to drive 45 minutes to Ponce to teach and then drive back once the course ended to prepare for the next day.


In total we had 5 amazing students, which coincidentally were all 14-years-old!


I would start every day by showing an animated video in order to expose them to different kinds of animation. During the course the videos would delve deeper into different techniques and types of storytelling to then finalize the day with a video on the history of animation.


For my 2D Animation Principles course we had a light pad for each student. We taught them how to tape the pegs correctly to the pads and how to use them. I taught them how to flip the papers, how to use the lights on the pads and how to use the ‘Adri’ (the down shooter made from scratch by Lizbeth’s father). Craftsmanship was also a must for the realization of each character’s turn around and for presentation purposes.


The most challenging part was the beginning because understanding the principles and applying them are two different matters. However I noticed that as they tackled the different exercises they asked less and less questions. Only by practicing does one grasp the knowledge!


Two main things I made sure they remembered were the importance of using reference and to have patience.


The students’ overall realization at the end of the course was that they didn’t know animation was that much work. What I was most excited about was that although they thought it was a lot of work, they rarely complained during the class, and sometimes my colleagues and I would have to make them stop working once the class had finished.


For the other main courses, the students were taught How to Tell a Story by Lizbeth and Stop-motion Fabrication by Carolina. The children were also taught Drawing Principles and how to do Claymation and Pixilation. Other in-class activities we ended up doing were daily whiteboard thematic drawings of each student’s characters and Mate (the mascot), and there also was a bit of dancing and loads of laughter.  


Overall the course was a success and when the students’ demo reel was played for the parents they were all amazed and want ANÍMATE to return next year! Go Team!

Puerto Rico June 2017 Student Animation Reel

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