Animation Adventures

Today we have been on an amazing animation adventure where both Jenson and Wren produced their very first full length feature animated films! It was to do with the fact that today is Wallace and Gromit's Wrong Trousers Awareness Day. We couldn't not celebrate this dynamic duo and their brilliant escapades!

Last week I brought an animation kit by Aardman Animations for just £35. I must say it is brilliant! I'm not technical by any means but luckily Simon is and he helped me to set it up late last night in readiness for this morning. By all accounts, Jenson would have been able to set the software up such was its ease to use. Combined with a webcam purchase for £20 from Currys and the children were away: little animators in the making!

Jenson was up first as film maker. He created the scene: a Ninjago LEGO tower with Ninjago goodies and baddies and then I talked him through what we would be doing. 

Jenson isn't one for patience and he's certainly not delicate - more like a bull in a china shop. This task tested skills that he barely possesses. Yet, despite this, he successfully completed what was asked of him. He made tiny adjustments to the position of the mini figures and then with the click of a mouse button the frame was captured. His first attempt was just 14 frames long and here it is. I particularly love the little guy running, which is really effective. 

His second attempt was 38 frames long and was a serious improvement on the first. It could almost be classed as a short film. Almost. Ha ha. Jokes aside I LOVE it and Jenson does too! Mel, our friend who pops round on a Friday to clean, was equally impressed as was Simon. 

Not to be left out, Wren had a little go at animating her first film too. Bless her, it was titled Puppy Races and basically involved lots of cute fluffy animals trying to get to the finish line first. A cute dog won if you're wondering. It was a world away from Jenson's more aggressive film and if they had been subjected to The British Board of Film Classifications, Jenson's  would have been an 18 and Wren's a U!!

We spent a good hour this morning making our animations and it was only about 9.30am by the time Jenson's attention span began to dwindle. The fact it had lasted for as long as it did when he woke up at 5am this morning is testament to how much he enjoyed this activity. 

His brain was clearly aching and so we moved onto a much gentler task of colouring in Wallace and Gromit pictures that I had downloaded from Arrdman. Colouring may sound like a really childish thing to be doing, but hey, he is a child and he spent a good hour sat there concentrating on the task. It was great to see that his concentration levels are improving and his colouring skills are also fantastic too. It was a good exercise for him to do.

Of course the day wouldn't have been a true Wallace and Gromit day without crackers and cheese! 

Jenson next had a go at drawing Wallace by following step by step instructions that I downloaded from the Aardman website. I don't doubt that Wallace is quite a tricky character to draw and it took him a few attempts to get going, but once he got into the facial features he was able to translate what he was seeing really well. 

The early start was beginning to take its toll on Jenson, so I suggested we all might want to settle down in front of the TV and watch a few episodes of Morph. Jenson was in hysterics. I must say it beats the rubbish that is on children's TV these days.  

From Wallace and Gromit inspired animation we moved onto a puppet shadow theatre, which I guess is another form of theatrical animation. It was all Jenson's idea after he found a torch and shone it on to the wall! My studio backdrop came in remarkably handy!

Here Wren is looking thoroughly unimpressed at a dinosaur that is trying to eat her! What you can't hear is the roar that said dinosaur was making.

Poor old bunny was next on the menu.

I got involved in a few scenes too, which mainly involved either granny and policeman or granny and dragon. After an hour of this and constant roaring, I suggested we might like to break for a late lunch! 

Jenson and Wren had stuffed themselves on crackers so I ate lunch (almost) peacefully on my own while they got stuck into some role play. The role play took over from puppet theatre and they spent a lovely hour or so together. It got to about 2.30pm and Jenson was semi falling asleep so I said they could watch some TV for a bit. It was a much more modern animation that you've probably all heard of - Ninjago! It gave me an hour or so to get some work done though. 

We went to The Exmouth for tea because I couldn't be bothered to cook and I was pleased to see Jenson easily make friends with another little boy and get stuck into tag and chase with him almost instantaneously. He was happy, confident and comfortable in himself. A lovely way to end a lovely day.