An Animated Short: From Wrapping Paper to a Digital Greeting

I know, I know, its only the end of November, but as we all know preparing quality work takes time. For the last 3 weeks I have been working with my students in the school's ICT suite to develop graphics for use in their own personalised and Desk Top Published Christmas cards.

The process took the students through
  • Wireframing a draft Christmas Motif
  • Editing this to create a final coloured design
  • Copying and pasting this motif to create repeating patterns (wrapping paper style)
  • And finally experimenting with how different background colours and colour sequences in their designs effected the seasonal appeal of their image.
Bulleted ListMy favourite file name has got to be "complicated," expressing the students view of his work, as he included 2 colours in his background pattern and developed a similar process in recolouring sequentially the Christmas trees on his paper. Mathematically the task provided opportunities to use flip and rotate tools in MS Paint, enabling exploration of ideas around translation, rotation as well as line symmetry. Linking patterning to these ideas also provided challenges around rule making, and requiring visual prediction skills, and editing to ensure all spaces within the design followed the rules we had decided upon for our patterns.

This week most of the students have chosen their "favourite" wrapping paper design and used design wizards in MS Publisher to create their card, including this design on the front, and some including the smaller design motif elsewhere, personalising the greeting. They are very attractive as outcomes and even the simpest of designs, when repeated have produced some really intricate outcomes.

One of my students, building on our units of work last year, has developed a real interest in using Pivot Stick Animator to tell short visual stories. It's been a bit chilly this week and during lunchtimes he has been working away on this.

Very imaginative and creative yet somehow "Pythonesque" or "game like," he extended his use of the wrapping paper design to form a background and structure for his story including characters, who navigate a maze of santa's sleighs, falling between gaps, or limboing under others, transforming as they move shapes from one sleigh to another. This has inspired some thought about how easily we could extend this project to use images we have already developed to create digital online christmas cards.

To make this movie
  • The pivot animation file was saved as a .gif file
  • The gif was imported to MS MovieMaker along with a suitable sound track.
  • The gif was dragged to the timeline and sound track added
  • After some editing in MovieMaker to get the look and feel right, the completed movie was then exported as a video file in .wmv format.
I have posted previously about this and you can read about it by following this link. The completed movie can now be played standalone in a Media Player, or could even be uploaded to somewhere like Google Video for hosting and inclusion in a blog or school website like I have done with J's permission here. So J and I will begin the festivities here early and with no apologies by wishing you all a very Merry Digital Christmas.

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