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Fluid Animation: The Mannequin

Due: May 15 (for Seniors) / May 18 (for Underclassmen)

Animating can be a time consuming process, especially when multiple parts are working in tandem with each other. The Human form, a complicated system of sub-systems, can be broken up into different segments and controlled in a variety of ways based on the “Parent to Child” hierarchy, with a central item influencing the movement or direction of a subjective item (i.e.: arm-to-hand movements). This understanding is replete in 2D animation to 3D animation, the study of ergonomics, robotics and kinetics, linking strategies and flow-charting as well as a near infinite amount of other disciplines common in both commercial and industrial realms.

Enduring Understandings
Students will become familiar with the concept that the process of animation is a system - a series of events in sequential order, that produces an illusion of movement or motion. And, the students will understand how to manipulate the system in order to generate custom animations based on a principle of “parent to child” heirarchy.

Manipulating the Mannequin
The student’s task is to locate, on the Internet, images of the classical artist training model – the Wooden Mannequin. Any image of the Wooden Mannequin can be acquired, but is important to keep in mind that a higher resolution image will produce more stunning results. Once an image has been acquired, the Pen Tool will be used (in Photoshop) to extrapolate the Mannequin from its surroundings. Also, the Pen Tool is responsible for cutting around, and through, certain parts of the Wooden Mannequin as this will allow for different sections to be severed from others. For instance, severing an arm from the torso will allow the artist to freely move the arm around, in a variety of directions, when assembled in applications like Flash. Remember to slice around the elbow, knee, neck, wrist, ankle, and waist joints. Once these items are extrapolated, the different sections should be relocated to different layers in Photoshop. Make sure that the layers are named appropriately. Once this is done, the Wooden Mannequin is ready to be brought to life. By using Flash, it’s time to make the Mannequin walk, dance, jump around, or whatever.

A bit of advice: Instead of piecing the mannequin together on the stage, instead create the mannequin as it's own movie clip. Create the background as it's own movie clip. Drag both movie clips to different layers on the stage. This means that both movie clips are a minimum of 1 minute apiece.


Activity Steps Rubric

  • Create a new folder in your Fluid Animation folder and title it "Mannequin"
  • Locate image of Wooden Mannequin on the Internet, saving it to a "Mannequin" folder.
  • Extrapolate Wooden Mannequin from background (10 pts)
  • Using the Pen Tool (in Photoshop), sever the body segments
  • Name the layers appropriately (Call the left hand layer "Left Hand") (10 pts)
  • Import layers into Flash (Import into the Library) (10 pts)
  • Perform step-by-step animation sequence (when necessary) (10 pts)
  • Animation should be no less than 1 minute (not frames), at 36 frames-per-second long in real time. (10 pts)
  • Create an animated background for your mannequin (it could be a dance floor, a scrolling background - pretty much anything that would create that illusion of movement) (10 pts)
  • Create a song for your animation in FL Studio (export as .mp3), import it into your movie, and drag it to a new timeline (along with your other timelines) *note: You must create your song to match the actual time of your animation (10 pts)
  • Render (Export) as Shockwave file to your student Multimedia/Fluid Animation folder and save it in a folder called "The Mannequin" (10 pts)


Upon completion of the exercise, the students will render their animation out as a SWF file. This animation will be graded according to the provided rubric.