Animation Mooc Week 2

The second week of my animation MOOC is over. Yesterday I completed my assignment and handed it in. The only thing I still need to do is peer review (although, because of the way the course is structured I had to say I have already completed the peer review before I could submit my assignment.)

Animation Broadly Defined

I really like how broad their definition of animation is. Last week they suggested that the light show in the harbour in Hong Kong was an animation. I had never thought of it that way, when I watched it from a junk in the harbour it reminded me of a dance performance. But since photography is painting with light, it makes sense to call the harbour light snow an animation.

Light Show in Hong Kong Harbour
Light Show in Hong Kong Harbour

This week there was a video and a reading that suggested that the paintings in Lascaux caves in France, especially those with repeated animals or repeated body parts are animations; that when seen in firelight these paintings look animated. What a cool idea.

The rest of the viewings for the week were tutorials about Adobe Edge Animate and how it works. Perfect for me since I had never used Animate before. There were a good amount of tutorials. I learned enough to get my project started but not so much that I was overwhelmed. The final video was a tutorial about how to create a banner for a school club, and we were encouraged to create a similar type of banner for our schools for our assignment.

Since I am not working a school this year, I decided not to make a school banner. Instead, since I was working on the assignment on Mother’s Day I chose to make an animation to wish my mom a happy Mother’s Day.

Steep Learning Curve

I had a steep learning curve, and as often happens, I bit off a little more than I could chew in terms of expectations – but I did successfully make an animation. I knew how to use Flash, although that was a few versions ago, so decided instead practicing what the tutorial covered I decided to change things a little bit. I decided to personalize it by using my own photos: a stormy sky with clouds that slowly disappear to reveal a rainbow.

I had a steep learning curve, and not just with Animate. I wanted to use my own photo but that made the whole project harder – both harder to make with and harder to get a professional look. I have lots of photos of weather, but finding the right photos took a lot of time. I haven’t done any image editing in a while, especially using Photoshop, so cutting the image into parts kept stretching the boundaries of my abilities.

I was able to troubleshoot almost all of the problems I encountered, usually by Googling another video tutorial. But I kept doing one thing when using the magic lasso tool that lost me 15 minutes or more of careful selecting work that I couldn’t recover in the history. I finally got my images cut up and then figured out how to export the images in the format that animate wanted (versus the version that the help file said would be accepted; an important distinction to be aware of.) I found this video useful.

Even though I had watched the assigned video about the different files that are created when Animate projects are published I still expected to be able to use my finished Animation more easily. I wanted to post it as an entry on my blog, which is a self hosted WordPress site. I found some tutorials explaining how to display it, and even installed the Animate plug in on my site but I didn’t get the animation working. I know that it is because I need to change some settings in my template but I don’t feel confident messing around in there, especially since I don’t have any time to troubleshoot any problems I create and my web mistress Sandra is super busy working for an internal school in Macau. I could get the first frame to display somewhat askew when I previewed the post, but when I tried to troubleshoot the problem the only solutions I could find involved editing the code for the template or seemed to have an animation playing on every page and I don’t want that either. For now I have given up trying to post it. I have handed it in, and I will share it with my mom another way.

Final Reflections

I learned a lot with this assignment, although I was hoping for a more polished looking product to show my mom, but given that it was my first ever Animate I think I was successful. It was a little bit like a kindergarden Mother’s Day craft now that I think about it. Lopsided, not really finished successfully but a heartfelt expression of love and a proud display of new skills.

Happy Mother’s Day mom

My mother, grandmother and I last summer
My mother, grandmother and I last summer

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