Week 3 – Can’t knock the classics!

This week I brought some reference cards and foldover clips along and flipbooks were made. I had several examples which were eagerly thumbed through. Only a couple of people really got into flipbook making but I’ll bring more supplies next week and I think other people will come around to it. I think it might seem a bit of a daunting task as there is a fair amount of drawing involved. Really you need at least 20 pages to get a good flip on the go and you have to draw every page from scratch so it isn’t like stop motion where you can just move a thing and take a picture.
Some people are quite self conscious about their drawing abilities and so an iPad came out again to play along with a bit of Lego. Again; some excellent minifigure walking was produced. I don’t know if some people are less keen to leave their comfort zones than others or if the people who will try a wider range of things have a larger comfort zone to begin with. I’d like to to be able to instill the message that it is fine if something isn’t quite right or even looks bad because you can learn from it and move forward.

A roaring success of this week’s session was the praxinoscope. A Victorian persistence of vision toy where drawings on a disc are reflected in a cone of mirrors  and when you spin it the drawings come alive. Some wonderful things were made with this from bouncing balls through to some pretty nifty abstract shapes. I think it’s popularity comes down to the immediacy of the device. you do some drawings on a bit of paper, put it on the praxinoscope and give it a spin. Then you see moving pictures right away.   Next week I hope to bring a bigger one which is a bit more like a zoetrope in that you work on a long strip of paper rather than a flat disc.

Week 2 – Pixillation

I tried to get people a bit excited about pixillation – using people and objects as the things to be animated – and I busted out the laptop to show some good examples. Shiny, a film made with clothes and Fresh Guacamole by animation legend PES among others.
While examples elicited a good response it didn’t really fly. It could be partially because the space is rather limited in the room but there is always a bit of a barrier when trying to get people up and moving around, especially if at least one of those people is to be on camera!
Again Jess did some fantastically paced plasticine stop motion and really took on board any advice she was given.

I did break out the lego for this session in conjunction with Michel Gondry’s video for the White Stripes’ Fell In Love With A Girl as an example of a way it can be used. It didn’t get used that way. Tom did some really excellent walks with a minifigre though. Several in fact. Each time improving on the last. I think he could do some really exciting stuff if he’d step outside his comfort zone. Though given the time animation takes it’d need to be more of a stroll than a step… The rest of the lego was used to great effect by other people in conjunction with plasticine.

Week 1 – Back in the NAS Lynx!

This was the first workshop of six that we are running at the NAS Lynx Centre in Weston Super Mare as part of the Exploring Diagnosis project.

Last time we were here we had workshops for larger groups of people, perhaps 20  at once, and we set up simultaneous activities like a green screen, iPads and modelling clay for animation.

This time, Dom (workshop leader) and Lena (the centre manager) discussed smaller groups for people who expressed an interest in animation.

Dom writes

“As in previous workshops we had a box of plasticine (modelling clay) and a pair of iPads with an animation app installed. Everyone enjoys making things with plasticine and a couple of people really took well to animating.
Often I find with people new to animating that there aren’t enough frames in the animation. It all goes by too quickly. The animators don’t usually mind this as they can see the elements they expected on screen but for anyone else it is difficult to see what is meant. This is one of the reasons I was particularly impressed with the Pokemon animation which rolls on to the screen, gets poked and then fills the screen with a cloud of black ink. The pacing is very good. Jess asked for advice and then used it.

People are often reluctant to re-do a thing that isn’t right the first time because “it took ages”, though the “ages” in question are usually between 5 and 10 minutes. I’m hoping to get to the point where the animators are happy to look at what they’ve done and if it isn’t quite how they hoped perhaps make it again, taking into account what they’ve learnt.

EU-AIMS scientists answer questions from the autism community about EU-AIMS research

Ginny Russell recently led on a film about the autism community’s questions for a biomedical consortium that is developing drugs to treat autism called EU-AIMS.
Two public events organised by members of the EU-AIMS Ethics advisory board (led by Ilina Singh, University of Oxford) one in the UK and one in Denmark were conducted as part of the consortium’s on-going PPI activities in 2014 and 2015.

Sixty-six individuals submitted written comments on the consortium’s research after these events, most were questions that autistic adults or parents of individuals with autism had raised. We summarised their questions in this video and put them to the scientists at the EU-AIMS 6th annual Meeting in 2017.

An associated paper is available here http://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/exploringdiagnosis/files/2017/11/hex.pdf