I love living in New York City, and I am constantly walking around exploring new areas that I’ve never seen. In my 10 years here, I am still discovering new areas. One thing I’ve noticed, in almost everywhere I go, is the amazing street art/graffiti that covers the streets. I’m not talking about the traditional spay painted “tagging” graffiti, but these pieces of art work that scatter the scafoldings, walks, traffic posts, etc.
Throughout the summer I had been taking pictures of the really cool pieces that I would come across. I wasn’t sure exactly what I was going to do with them, but I wanted to start keeping a record of what I was seeing.
It finally occurred to me that these pieces would lend themselves so perfectly to animation. I decided to do a test animation so I could develop a process. I chose to animate a flying bird that had a scroll in its feet. My thoughts were that the bird would fly in and then the scroll would unravel.
First I had to bring the photograph into photoshop and remove the bird from the brick wall background. Then I broke the bird apart, separating it into the two wings, an open and closed eye, the two parts of the beak, the body, and the scroll. Once this tedious process was complete, I brought it into After Effects, and just did a simple animation to it. I think that this is a great idea, and some of the images I took would be perfect for this. I am excited to try to do some of the other ones.
The math problem animation proved to be much more difficult in deciding the best way to approach its animated solution. The question which can be seen here, involves a basic understanding of algebra and geometry. In order to properly explain it, we would have to show the steps need to solve the problem, in addition to any needed equations/theorems.
As with the word problem, a narrative explanation along with a story board, were drafted up.
“Color associations visually represent the equality of the hypotenuse BE2 to the area of square BCDE . The animation begins with the square rolling off of the triangle to show explicitly that side BE of square BCDE is shared. Next the equality of all sides of BCDE is demonstrated by superimposition and then as the square is reassembled by color association (ie. equal lengths will all be the same color). When the square is reassembled with four sides all of the same color it will roll back on to triangle BEA.
The lengths of legs EA and BA are given, 3 and 5 respectively. Each of the legs will be colored differently. Remember, leg BE will share the same color as sides CB, CD, and DE of square BCDE. The animation will then remind the viewer of the Pythagorean theorem and solve for the length of hypotenuse BE. The solution is BE = √34. At this point in the animation the screen splits and the formula for the area of a square is represented. Using color association the animation will demonstrate that the side BE2 is equal to the √342, or 34.
It is important to note that equity throughout the animation is demonstrated in using two strategies. First, superimposition (a common Euclidean method for demonstrating equal lengths) and color association (a fun and clear way to show equalities throughout the solution of the problem).”
The animation of this seemingly simple little piece took close to 30 hours. Despite the frustration I had with auto-orienting the letters of the segments to their lines, I think the piece turned out to be pretty successful.
My boyfriend and I collaborated on a project this summer where we created animated solutions to SAT prep questions. We created two different animations, a word problem and a math problem. These two prototype animations were pitched to several different educational establishments.
We started off with a traditional SAT sentence correction problem that can be seen
After much brainstorming we drafted up a written narrative and storyboard that we felt would creatively explain the correct answer.
“The essential knowledge required for the solution of this verbal problem is to make comparisons one must compare two like objects. To visually represent this concept a scale is animated as either balanced or unbalanced. The animation begins with the image of a scale both sides empty and thusly, in perfect balance. A raven then flies onto the screen and places several of Shakespeare’s seminal works on one side of the scale (ie. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, Hamlet, etc. all titles will be visible to the viewer). As the scale becomes unbalanced it adjusts appropriately. To demonstrate the inequity between the individual Edgar Allen Poe and the literary works of William Shakespeare the raven then flies off screen and returns with an actual animation of Edgar Allen Poe. The raven places the animated Poe on the opposite side of the scale and the inequity is animated as the scale adjusts rapidly due to the increased weight on the previously empty side. Clearly, the man Edgar Allen Poe is not comparable to the literary works of William Shakespeare. At this point the raven returns and removes Poe from the scale, the scale tips again to the side of Shakespeare’s plays as the opposite side is now empty. When the raven returns it is holding the stories of Poe and places them on the scale. The equitable comparison between plays and stories is animated as the scale comes into balance. “
After many hours battling with how to make the scales balance appropriately and recording a dozen takes for the voice over, I am pretty happy with the final product.