Tuesday, April 25, 2017


Free stock photo of black-and-white, cartoon, donald duck, spotlight

As you know, I teach the math of animation as one of my classes in high school.  I have been integrating Pixar in a Box from Khan Academy with actual math work.  Since this is a short week, I'm taking a bit of a break from teaching to let students create a short animation in the old fashioned way before computers.

I"m starting with a You Tube Video showing how Walt Disney people created the early animated films one slide at a time.  There is math involved in these early films.  Some of these early films used over 50,000 individual drawings. In addition, the pages have to be presented at a specific rate so the finished product looks great.

The going rate for most feature films was 24 frames per second and animated movies were created using this same rate. Now a days the rate is 30 frames per second to meet NTSC standards.  This means it takes 1800 frames to create one minute of animated film.  A five minute long film requires about 9000 frames. 

The original process required the best artists to make the main drawings with gaps in between so another person called the "inbetweener" could fill in the gaps making the action much smoother.  These first drawings were only of the characters, the background was added later.

The original process required people to plan the story ahead of time so they knew what was going to happen when.  This allowed the main artist to create the key action points so the inbetweener could provide the connecting frames.

I am going to have my students create a few seconds of film with the beginning of a story.  I plan to use my iPad to actually film each drawing so as to create the actual film.  I'd like to show these creations at the next assembly or at graduation. We'll see where the principal will let me do it.

Again, I'd love to hear your thoughts.  Thanks for reading.