Smith Micro Graphics Software Blog

Increasing Student Engagement with Animation Software- Lesson 1

Posted by Emmy Rey on Jul 30, 2015 9:00:35 AM

Doug Craven, "The Crave" to his students, is the Communication Technology instructor who developed and runs the Animation and New Media Specialist High Skills Major program at Anderson C. V. I. in Whitby, Ontario. He uses Anime Studio Pro in his classroom and in his own animations. We ask him to tell us why he prefers to use Anime Studio Pro.

There are two main reasons students like to take my program. Firstly, I buy them pie and secondly, I’ve built the program around engagement.

I use Anime Studio Pro in the classroom because I like it when my students are engaged. When the impulse to learn comes from them, they learn more quickly and more deeply. They also have the freedom to be creative, which is fundamental to learning.

With that said, students also need to know that what they are learning “matters.” Since many of my students are preparing for careers in Animation and Game Design, knowing that they are developing industry-standard skills engages them.

When choosing the tools students will use, I ask myself three questions:

a. Is it widely used in the industry?

b. Will it foster the skills students will need in the industry?

c. Does it “pop”? Is it satisfying and fun to use?

Anime Studio is becoming more popular among industry professionals.

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Here are a couple reasons that you should consider using Anime Studio Pro in your classrooms.

1. Anime Studio Pro is versatile.

ASP teaches a variety of animation techniques. Students in my class start with simple point animation. They then create multi-layered characters, which they animate with point and layer movement. Finally, they learn bones and how to rig their characters. At the same time, they are learning some basic animation theory: squash and stretch, timing, anticipation, ease in/ease, follow-through and secondary motion.

The “Irate Birds” assignment (sorry … copyright issues) integrates all of these approaches and is basically the “test” of their first unit. They must accelerate a bird across the screen and have it hit a wall. They may use any of the techniques they’ve learned to accomplish this.

2. Anime Studio Pro offers instant gratification, but rewards deeper learning.

We all like things that are familiar or easy to learn. When it comes to digital art, most of my students fall back to good old MS Paint. Part of attracting students to a new application is to let them have early success with it. One of my first class assignments, “Starry Starfish,” is just a five point star with a simple rig. Students do have to solve problems even with this basic work. For instance, they realize that without enough points, the starfish arms do not move realistically. To personalize their work, students can add facial features or have it move to music.

What impresses me about ASP is that students do not have to stop at the most basic level. ASP’s learning curve is sometimes steep, but it’s worth putting in the effort to master. I wrote above that the software I choose has to be satisfying to use. Software that offers only instant gratification quickly becomes boring, but ASP offers so much more.

Take rigging as an example. “Starry Starfish” can only do so much, but students who continue learning about rigs have so many tools to discover: different binding methods, Smart bones switches, bone physics, animated parenting and so on.

Anime Studio is a powerful tool for my students. It engages them and rewards their work, helping them become better artists, storytellers and animators.

It also helps if you buy them pie. They really like apple. :)

To learn more about how to use Anime Studio in the classroom, please contact us.

Keep your eye out, there's more to come next week!

Happy Creating!


Topics: Moho (Anime Studio), News, Education, Digital Artists

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