July 13, 2024 Donate

Education, Saline, Saline Education

Saline High School students are Taking Animation to Another Level

Saline High School students discussing their Animation course work. photo by Jackelyn Martin, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations for Saline Area Schools

Whether they want to learn more to help them go to another level or that they want to combine art with technology or business, Saline High School students are loving learning about animation.

This course has taken hold so well among some students that next year it will be split into two parts – Animation 1 and Animation 2. The course truly does bring together different learning, from creativity to techie know-how. At its core for many of the students who have done the course is summed up by Aidan Sutherland, a senior at SHS who is taking the course.

“Animation is fun for a variety of reasons,” Sutherland told the Sun Times News (STN). “Even with the difficulties we had learning it. Once we got through that I had a ball being able to create the animations I could as quickly as I could.”

Sutherland added, “I took Animation because it looked fun and I was already very familiar with other Adobe products, and it did not disappoint.”

In describing the course, as it will be split up, SHS teacher Colleen Mulder-Seward said Animation 1 for Grades 10-12 will see students designing, creating, and producing 2D animations in a one-trimester class. The students will use Google Slides, Stop Motion Studio, and other digital programs to develop multiple 2D animations. She said students will also explore the history of animation, types of animation, the animation principles, the animation process, careers in animation, and more. Additionally, the students will have the opportunity to compete in an animation competition.

In Animation 2, students will also design, create, and produce 2D animations in this one-trimester class. The students will review the animation principles and the animation process, and will use Adobe Animate and Adobe Character Animator to develop multiple 2D animations. Additionally, the students will have the opportunity to compete in an animation competition and become certified in Adobe Animate.

STN asked Mulder-Seward who the classes are for.

“These classes are offered for students in grades 10th-12th,” she said. “Students are interested in this class for several reasons. Some are already animating independently and want to gain skills to take their animations further. Other students are interested in the mesh of art and technology. Still, others want to see how they can merge business and animation.”

One word used to describe the Animation class at SHS is “fun.” photo by Jackelyn Martin, Executive Director of Communications and Community Relations at Saline Area Schools

She said the animation classes “are a great complement to other classes offered through SHS and the SWWC ( South & West Washtenaw Consortium) programs, namely Modern Web Design, Game Design and Development, Video News Production, Visual Imaging Technology, Introduction to Business, and Marketing classes.”

The main goal of these classes is to produce 2D animations that can be used in business.

So what type of projects do the students work on?

“In Animation 1, we focus on projects that teach the foundations of animation, like swash and stretch mainly through stop-motion projects,” said Mulder-Seward. “In Animation 2, we focus on making professional-looking animated explainer videos, short online marketing videos used to explain a company’s product or service.”

She said these types of videos have become very popular and have been responsible for boosting conversion rates on websites that utilize them.

“Animated explainer videos are the most popular type of explainer video, especially when it comes to intangible tech products like software,” Mulder-Seward said. “Gen Z users are especially drawn in by animated explainer videos. Finally, these types of videos are easier to edit or update when you want to make changes in the future.”

SHS Junior Cody Stedman said he chose to take Animation because he’s interested in animation styles and conceptual character design, “two aspects that are highlighted in this course, acquiring a certification, and knowing that this field is looking for new hires, it doesn’t hurt to have some expertise in another software program.”

Stedman is interested in Multimedia and is also part of the SWWC Video News Production team.

In describing what he likes about the Animation course, he said, “I liked how we could use the Adobe Creative Suite, including Adobe Animate, Photoshop, Media Encoder, and After Effects. I have been using After Effects for a while now, and by using Animate, I have utilized animation more easily with motion graphics through SHS Today, our general news show.”