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I have been asked to help out with a home school group that wants to learn to animate. Since I am still a noober myself on animating this will be some what blind leading the blind. They are all on AM which is a big help. So it starts next week. I have d/l all the tutorials I thought I could use for beginner. If there any others that might be helpful let me know. I will keep you up to date.


Before they do something like "The door is stuck" you might want to show them the "Keyframing options" vid in my screencam link.

Depending on their age. It may be too dry for younger viewers. But useful if they are wondering why their model isnt' moving like they thought it would move.

My general advice would be to move in small steps and make sure they get it before you move on.
Thanks Robert!! Most of the kids are 14-15 so it will be fun.


If they've never done any 3D at all a fun start is to just make a vase.

make the s-spline, lathe it. they've got a vase!

you can use that as the basis for showing them how to navigate the view. zoom in, zoom out, Turn. Front, side, top...

then they can grab points and mess around with the shape.

change color in the properties...

put it in the chor, render it...

it's low failure-rate stuff
wink.gif Do it like this:
Greg Demo

Oldy but a real goldy...
As animation itself can be a little overwhelming at first for the intial introduction to animation I would focus on the first few exercises in TaoA:M.

Introduce Keekat, have them all dynamically pose him (as in Exercise 1).
Render that out so they have something to show for it.

Introduce the stage and characters for the Can Can dance. Show them the ease of drag and drop Actions.

Reintroduce Rabbit. Have them place him in storytelling poses.
Have them suggest various emotions and as a team select one to see how many variations they make based on the suggestion of that pose.

Reintroduce the Knight and drag and drop a walk cycle on him.
Render in place with the alpha channel on.
Bring this series of sequential images back into A:M as a demonstration of how combinations of moving images work.

Have them personalize a character (choosing one that they've been introduced to already) and make them their own.
Change the color of Rabbits shirt... the color of Keekat's fur. Add gloves and boots to Thom by creating new groups on his feet and hands and coloring them.

If you get that far in the first day... these kids will be overwhelmed.

For day two (or three if they are having too much fun animating) demonstrate how they can alter the models they used before.
Maybe Thom has a slightly bigger head or longer feet. Let them see how far they can push the modification before they 'break' things.
(This will set them up for an introduction to basic rigging)

Demonstrate the 'Take a Walk Tutorial'.
Let them brainstorm what other objects they can animate on a path.
Choose the objects they can model quickly with simple lathing and extruding and set them to the task.
As Robert suggests Lathing a Vase is perhaps the absolute best place to start.
If you can I'd suggest having them draw the silhouette first and predict the object lathing will create.
Introduce them to separate shapes within the same model.

Rockets, arrows, Doors... yeah like in Monsters Inc... luggage... like in Toy Story... all of these objects moving along on a path. This is a good place to introduce them to the Timeline where they can speed up and slow down objects as they move along the path. Ease them in... Ease them out Out.

Have them Render they moving object as a MOV file and call it a day.
If you didn't get it done that day they'll know what their assignment is for tomorrow.

There are some other modeling tools that those that are struggling can use to learn how to model as they build their confidence.
The Font Wizard is great for credits and Logos. Perhaps someone can design a logo or credits for the team.
(This will be added to the final project)

Encourage them to spend as much time as needed after class sketching new ideas out on paper.
As they get free time have them first help others out but if everyone is doing well see if they can turn their extra ideas into reality without your help.

If they take to this easily... move them toward creating a short story with a very basic beginning, middle and ending.
Suggest that they can use the camera as they could in the real world and see what they figure out.

Have them lock down a final project such as 'The Door's stuck' and have them all work to meet that challenge.

If at this point you have to part ways... make sure you've got them a copy of TaoA:M.
Encourage them to work through the whole book. You'll have already given them what they need to succeed.
Challenge them complete all the exercises and redo the exercises they've already done but plus them up again.
Thanks Rodney

I was hoping you would put your "two cents" in. Excellent suggestions! I had not thought about a logo design. I will include this one for sure. The class will be once a week for 20 weeks.


The class will be once a week for 20 weeks.

Very nice. That is an excellent schedule with lots of room to manuever.
This will give the students (and you) a whole week to plot out the possibilities for when they return based on how well they've understood the information.

With that kind of schedule its very realistic to work through the entirety of TaoA:M while throwing in your own personalized touches as well. A 20 week 20 exercise schedule is very realistic.

While its always good to be flexible with kids I would lean more toward keeping extracurricular extensions of the exercises within the scope of the lesson for that week. This'll provided a disciplined structure with definite goals to meet. If they have additional time without personal goals of experimentation they could put that time to good use incorporating some or all of the lessons they've learned with special highlights from each of the kids into a final storyreel. This is where the storytelling element would fit in. Perhaps the end goal might be to really push Exercise 6 for all its worth by taking every lesson learned and adding it back ino the story of Shaggy trying to open that door. Just the brainstorming/storytelling session on what Shaggy should do would be worth attending.

I'm excited for both you AND the kids.
Since it's once a week, find a way for them to get feedback on questions between classes or most of them will hit some roadblock, stop and come to the next class with nothing accomplished and you'll end up covering old ground ( you'll be doing a lot of that anyway) instead of making progress.

It's also a reason to keep each assignment limited in scope.
Thanks Rodney and Robert excellent points. I find myself very excited about this adventure. I was once a teacher and I can remember the first day of school and not only were the kids nervous but so was I.

So we start next week and I will keep you up to date, and who knows we may get an animator or two out this study.


Have your students join this forum. It would be great to see how they are progressing.

One of the students has a laptop Vista 64 bit. When he loads AM it crashes or states not responding. I have changed the compatability mode and the only way into AM is shift key. However none of the custom settings are loaded. I remember there are some settings that need to be changed. Any help?

One little change made the difference. I tried all the compatability modes but still AM was not responding. Finally, left it as a Vista machine and changed the theme and tada it works. He is now on the first lesson


You're probably pretty far into the class now. How is it going (or has it gone)?
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