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Diary: DFI Animation Workshops

Sep 08, 2010 — Education

My name is Rahab Elewaly and I’m an Animation Artist. I was very pleased to be invited by the wonderful Doha Film Institute Education team to teach animation workshops for the next two months. My little students range between the age of six and eleven years old. They are very smart, funny, creative, and cute animators (in the making).

Rahab Elewaly

I will accompany my students on a journey though the different steps of making an animated movie. During each class they will learn a new aspect of the animation world and apply it to a class project. The classes will start with the history of animation and go through story development, character designing, storyboarding, animating, and end up with the shooting of their projects under a special animation camera.


Class One
In our first class we talked about the history of animation. My students were shocked to know that cavemen where the first people to draw animals in sequential motion. They were excited to see examples of the Zoetrope and the way it makes still images come to life. They also learned about Eadweard Muybridge, the English photographer that made it possible to project animation on a screen. Later on, the whole class was in giggles as they watched “Plane Crazy” – the first animated Disney movie.

They were eager to know more about the history of famous animated characters such as Mickey Mouse and how the animators came up with their design ideas. They were shown how to create filpbooks and each one of my very imaginative students made their own very creative fipbook.

Class Two
Our second class was so much fun for both the students and the staff, as we all took part in their animation projects. My class learned about the different steps of making an animated movie by showing them examples of a famous film (The Lion King). They also learned about the different types of animation techniques by watching examples of different animation styles.

Animation Class 2

They were happy to see all the tools they will be using during the course of the class such as, lightboxes, storyboard sheets, punched papers, pegbars and the animation camera. They were even more excited to know that each one of them will get his or her own tools to use in class. Then the whole team joined in on a group project. We made several fun stop motion projects using whiteboards and the help of very talented and funny student volunteers.

Class Three
The third class was all about how to create animation stories. My students were Introduced to:

  • The three- act structure of storytelling (beginning, middle, and an end).
  • The difference between animation stories and other stories.
  • How they could make their stories fun, exciting, and creative.
  • How to organize their thoughts and filter out any unnecessary information.

Animation Class 5

We explored the limitless possibilities of the animation world (animated characters could fly to the moon and back several times without a scratch). I tried to suggest project ideas that brought their creativity level even higher. They were asked to draw three circles on a piece of paper. On the first circle they chose their characters and sets, on the second one they wrote a problem or a need that their characters have, and on the last circle they came up with a creative solution to solve the problems. We all joined in on a creative brainstorming game (the students and the teacher quickly complete each other’s thought to form a fun yet a complete story line). Then each one of my animation team had the chance to share his or her short story they’ve written with the rest of the class. It’s been so much fun so far and there’s lots more to learn as we dive deeper into the world of animation.

Class Four
Our fourth class was about character design. My students joined me on a step by step lesson of drawing simple human and animal characters. I showed the class how we start all drawings with a simple geometrical shape, and then we start building up on to them to make them look good. We had an in-class exercise where they learned how to spot the main characteristics of their classmates (they liked the idea of starting with the teacher though) then we moved on to various birds and animals. They were shown several comparative drawings of real and cartoonish animals, and then they each chose their favorite animal to draw. Their eyes brightened when I asked them to pick any person in class to draw looking like a cartoon character.

Animation Class 4

They did such a wonderful job that we all knew who the models were just by looking at their drawings. On the second part of the class we talked about model sheets. I showed them several examples of model sheets of famous animation characters like Goofy, Superman, Stitch, and Popeye the Sailor so they feel like they are doing the same thing famous artists did. My kids drew a frontal view and a side view drawings of their creative characters such as, Fancy Pants, The Slow Dragon, Skullgum, Eebbaa with her magical hair, Grumpy Chair, and many more fun characters…

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