“I am often asked to come into the school after hours to meet the teachers and set the ball rolling. Each teacher then sets his or her class a special project. I come in later to provide the technical support to make their films”. This form of co-operation is achieved through INSET (In Service Education Training).
“I have found the Moviesetter program to be a good program for children. With it you can easily combine images and sound, and it is not very memory intensive. However, it is not as steady on playback as Take-2 because the picture is made up of cut-and-paste parts to create, say, an articulated figure in the manner of jointed cardboard cut-outs. I saw Stan Hayward demonstrate Take-2 and I’ve used it ever since.
“I did a two week project in Hull using four independent Amigas, two video cameras, and groups of eight adult Community filmmakers. Some had already completed a three year animation course, others had made experimental films. Because the memory capacity varied on all four Amigas from 1Mb to 10Mb we had to be very careful in our choice of computer when using DeluxePaint. Coloured pictures are extremely memory intensive. For example, if we were to load line drawings with 32 colours we might only be able to record up to eighty frames before ‘saving’ onto disk. The fact is, you can never have too much RAM memory. The number of frames is completely dependent on the complexity of the frame information.
“My experience in Hull has convinced me I need four Amigas in my workshop with the A4000/030 as my master.”
Although other computers could be used, Steve gives these reasons for his choice of Amiga:
1. It is the cheapest most flexible option in every respect.
2. It is capable of producing a video output directly without further equipment.
3. The graphics chips give faster screen changes for animation.
4. There is wide choice of useful peripherals, like genlocks, digitisers, etc.
Steve’s solution to a workshop set¬up is ideal. Unhappily, it costs far more than most schools can afford. In this situation the visiting self-contained unit is the best practical answer to the problem. Animation project funding can come from external sources such as Regional Arts Boards, or through the Signposts Scheme run by the Eastern Arts, or even local arts officers working through council Leisure and Recreation departments.
A more modest workshop could cost around £500 complete. A teaching pack for teachers consisting of a video and booklet is obtainable from Steve.
Not long ago, on a visit to Rolfs Cartoon Club, Suzi Lewis-Barned said, “We receive many letters from children who would like to do something in animation when they leave school at sixteen. It is very difficult to find a reassuring answer to those with artistic rather than academic prowess.” Perhaps this is the answer- Animation Workshops for all ages!
Amigator Disk Magazine.
In conclusion, for all you Amiga animators, I direct your attention to one Gerry Paquetter, a Canadian, a co-ordinator at Algonquin college’s Animation/Television program. This two-year course was established by Gerry in 1988.
The college is equipped with sixteen Amiga 2000HD’s each with 3Mb RAM used mostly for line (drawing) testing, they introduce students to computer assisted and generated animation. Believing in the interchange of information, Gerry founded Amigator, a disk-magazine in the fall of 1991, designed to unite a special interest group of animators working on an Amiga. Initially, a newsletter appeared bi-monthly as an animation forum, but cost of production prompted him to convert to disk. A sensible decision, in view of the fact it now comes complete with moving pictures in colour.
“Amigator is an international forum for Amiga animators,” Gerry explained. “Our main goal is to establish a world-wide network of individuals using this unique platform to assist them in animation production at all levels. Whether your work is commercial or artistic, if you’re a professional, student or even a novice, Amigator is here to serve your specific animation and computer needs. If you produce animation as part of a video service, television production, entertainment, educational, games or multimedia application, then you can benefit a lot from being a member.
Printed in Animator Issue 32 (Spring 1995)