Animex Academy 2022

Prepare to amaze us!

Digital animation is all around us; in films, games, adverts and much besides. In fact the blur between games and film is becoming ever greater. Teesside University is one of the best Universities in the WORLD for giving young people the skills and knowledge to work in the games and animation industry as a career. Graduates from the University work in all of the big names companies you can think of (Disney, Pixar, ILM, Riot, Epic etc). What you may also not know is that the local games and animation industry is thriving and growing rapidly….you can see the huge new building in Middlesbrough currently being built to help with the demand for studio space.

LIVE from 1.15 for about half an hour:

The challenge for the day was to create an animation using code. Challenge below. Simple:

The video was part made in Scratch and part made in Final Cut Pro. You can stick to Scratch, or use your own preferred coding method, or you can try and export into film making software (iMove is probably best in school). Entirely up to you.

Resources to help you complete the task in Scratch or Scratch Jnr are at the bottom of this page. They are aimed at the children, not the teachers!

Below is a guide for teachers that will help to plan the event in your class or school (make it full screen to see the text best – symbol bottom right):

There are many different roles in an animation studio, some of which you will need to cover today:

  • Storywriters
  • Script writer
  • Background artist
  • Character artist
  • Coder

In an animation studio everyone has a role and the team makes the dream work….but with only one day, you may want to work in teams to generate ideas but then create your own personal piece of work so that you get to experience all roles.

Please send us pictures of you at work throughout the day

We will be LIVE at 1.15pm on this page so please tune in to hear from people who work in the industry and maybe have a peek into some other classrooms. Don’t let it slow you down though, just watch while you are working!

What is Animex Academy?

Every year Teesside University hosts the Animex festival. People from over the world, and from big name companies all over the world, descend on Middlesbrough for a week of games and animation talks, showcases and events. Although many of the University students attend, it also has sessions and events for the public and schools. Animex Academy is part of that schools’ programme. Alongside some in school animation workshops by local illustrator and animator Robin Webb, an Animex bus that visited schools and colleges, this challenge day is open to all schools to create a focal point for why we teach coding in schools. It seeks to engage the children in thoughts about what they could do in the industry in later life thereby developing their cultural capital and sense of agency in the world. The event is supported and sponsored by many of the local digital companies as well as the Tees Valley Combined Authority. Animex is an internationally renowned event in the industry and aims to become more prominent in the minds of local people over the coming years.

Help and support

You can use any animation software you want, even stop motion capture if you really want to. The aim is for quality not quantity. The children may plan out a three part story but get them to focus on each scene at a time in great detail (they could code a scene each).

One well-crafted scene is far better than a rushed three scene mess.

The help guides below are all made for Scratch and Scratch Jnr. They are probably the most accessible, best supported and most used services used by schools in the world. Their development comes from some of the first ever research on coding in schools undertaken by Pappert and Resnick and form the basis of their theory of ‘bricolage’. Many people use a similar term ‘tinkering’. It is made by their University department at MIT – The Play Lab – and who doesn’t want to work with that! But before that, let’s hear from people who do this for a living:

And below are some fantastic pieces of advice from Max Howard, a well known studio director, producer and general legend at a company you might have heard of….Disney.

And finally our very own local star Bob Makin who owns and runs Sock Monkey Studios telling it like it is:

Getting started

To get started in Scratch we thoroughly recommend the built in tutorials. No book or scheme can explain the basics better than them. However the tutorials don’t have a linear approach to using them so feel free to use the Progression in Coding framework Spark has created. It ensures that there are clear links to the NC, key progression concepts and ideas as well as links and ideas to cross curricula use to really embed and contextualise understanding. Many schools in the region are using this as the basis of their coding provision and we are happy to help schools implement it. It costs nothing and is far more creative and flexible than most bought schemes. Just let us know:

Click on the image to open the document

The Scratch Jnr version is coming very soon and overlaps the main Scratch one.

Scratch Jnr – for our younger coders

Never used it before? Use the interactive guide below to get the children up to speed in 8 simple video tutorials. You will be amazed at what the children then achieve. We have used Scratch Jnr really successfully in KS1 and also early KS2:

Click on the interactive buttons to watch the help guides (best done in numerical order).

Scratch – for our older coders

Scratch is best used online as long as your connection is ok. This means it can be used by any connected device through its browser. You visit:

https://scratch.mit.edu/

Please watch out teacher guide to prepping for the day to help plan how it will best suit your children. The tutorials on the Scratch website are a brilliant way to get started but we also have some worked examples below to help children with specific ways of working. Your class can use them in advance to get up to speed or use the day to work as a team to develop new ways of making their animations work. Up to you.

The guide below breaks the scene down to show how certain effects were achieved:

The video below shows the code running while the animation is playing while the image to the right links to the code laid out in a document to have a look at.