Making Beautiful Infographics

Recently I wanted to create a visual and simple overview of the English tenses for my students who are preparing for the school competition in English. A student asked me if there is something that she can use to review the tenses, when to use which tense. I replied that we learned them throughout the past four years and that she knows them quite well, implicitly. However, the rules, the time expressions and some spelling changes always come in handy somewhere in writing. That is why I browsed the apps online and chose for making this beautiful infographic:

The tenses infographic.png

The process of making it was quite easy and fast. All you have to do after you register is choose the type of design you need, the layout and then add elements, icons, illustrations and text. Everything works on drag and drop base.

The result was a brief overview of the present, past and future tenses. The graphic can be edited by using this link and more pages can be added for other tenses. I recommend using Canva, although there is other software available. The only downside is that you cannot upload your own images and you have to pay for most of the images available if you don’t want the watermark over them.

The example of the infographic about London with watermarks:

London infographic.png



CGI and 3D Animation

Finally! I’ve enrolled to this course to find out more about animation, and I had CGI animation in mind when we started. Now, my horizons are even wider, because it turns out I already knew some things about animation – stop motion and video editing are also one way of doing it!

Now, I am thrilled to see how to animate by using CGI and 3D. The free tools for creating such animation are:

Sketchup Make


3d Studio Max

So far, I have installed Sketchup Make, which is free for personal and non-commercial use. It was all so familiar to me, like a program I used for sketching the buildings in Google Earth. Then I hit the Google search and found out that it is the same program, only to see that it has evolved a lot. In its previous  version in 2012 it was available for everyone to help making 3D models of the buildings in Google Street view on Google Earth, but ever since the computers are sketching them more precisely, it was closed.

Using camera views and angles you can create animations, as well as using their large warehouse of ready-made models, your imagination can go wild! It’s brilliant!

I hope to find time to try other tools for making animation, because it’s an amazing world. I really enjoyed this course and hopefully there will be a follow up with some new tools on FutureLearn.

Big Scale Animation in the Real World

As opposed to table top, studio set and drawings animation, the big scale animation takes place in the real world where the characters come to life. Many of the big commercials were made with such animation. An example in the course were Ikea, Big Yellow Storage and John Lewis ads. They were all a combination of stop motion animation, but some had computer generated images as well. Numerous conditions had to be taken into account for making those (the lighting, the animation of everyday objects and people, etc.), and they took the plunge on creating something almost impossible, but succeeded massively.

In Week 3 of Future Learn course on Animation, we closely look at the roles of timing and staging in animation.

Timing refers to the number of frames used to create an action or part of an action. This means that fewer frames make the action faster and vice versa. By looking at the Big Yellow Storage ad, we can see the waves get bigger, travel further and appear to hit the wall with more force – all thanks to good timing.

Staging helps in noticing the most important actions in the story. Audience only processes images bit by bit, so directing attention to the key action is really important. Animators do this by combining framing, lighting and composition and making sure that the backgrounds and other objects or characters don’t create any distractions or clutter. In the ad, the camera moves closer to stress the detail and the character of each wave.

Next topic on the course was Pixilation, which encouraged a lot of discussion among the participants and opposing viewpoints. “Pixilation is a stop motion technique where live actors become the frame-by-frame subject in an animation, by repeatedly posing while a shot is taken and changing pose slightly before the shot. The actor becomes a kind of live stop motion puppet. It is a technique which produces strange, distorted human movement.” Some comments were, why use pixilation, when we can shoot a film, whereas others said they appreciate the effort, but find it useless, although it gives another view on the animation. Be what may, I liked the example video called Stanley Pickle and found it quite an interesting technique of animation.

In his music videos, Dougal Wilson used editing videos for animating, and this is maybe my favourite thing so far on the course. I really like this kind of videos, because they are fun to watch and creative.

To conclude, it’s been a very informative week with plenty of practical examples. You can read about the Week 2 and Week 1 summaries by clicking on the links.

Cel animation

Cel is short for celluloid, the material from which the first transparent sheets, used for animating on several levels, were made. Now this term is used when talking about 2D animation.

Traditionally cel animation was made on paper, which included the planning and sketching the animated frames (roughs) or the key positions in a sequence before sketching in every frame of the sequence (inbetweening). Each drawing is then inked and coloured onto transparent sheets or cels, which are then photographed, in sequence, on top of a painted background.

The majority of modern TV and film animation is done on the computer using CelAction, Flash, or other forms of 3D animation, such as Maya.

In week two of FutureLearn Animation, we got to see an interesting video and story “Sleeping With the Fishes” directed by Yusif Al-Khalifa and written by Sarah Wooler who described the process from creating the story to the final video. They won the award on BAFTA for the best British short animation.

Another examples of cel animation im this week were “Little Princess” and “Yoko! Yakamoko! Toto!“. The latter is a fine example of a cartoon that does not need translation or voice-over, as it is comprehensible across the nations.

All in all, week two briefly captured the basics, it’s up to the participants to do the cel animation task now, which can be made with the apps given in Week 1.



Abeceda životinja

Ne možete se sjetiti svih životinja po abecedi? Nema problema! Mali edukativan video uz koji možete vježbati izgovor, životinje i abecedu sa svojom djecom:


Doing animation with FutureLearn

This year FutureLearn grabbed my attention with a phenomenal new course Explore Animation hosted by National Film and Television School (NFTS)  in UK with support from Creative Skillset.

In the following four weeks we will be looking at stop motion or stop frame animation, 2D or cel animation, big-scale animation in the real world and CGI or computer animation.

Already in Week 1 we are doing practical work, our own animation (which reminded me of my course on Malta where I first tried out stop motion animation) and looking at some principles of animation that were introduced by Disney animators, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, in their book The Illusion of Life and later simplified in this video and GIFs:

The illusion of life from cento lodigiani on Vimeo.

Animation can be made from very simple tools and techniques such as Post it notes and pencils, smart phones or tablets that have animation apps or digital camera (which should have auto exposure off). The next level would be animation paper and peg bar, illustration or image manipulation software, modelling clay, acrylic eyes and more advanced equipment. More serious animation uses cel animation jig and animation paper, light box, rostrum, specific cell animation software and wacom or graphics tablet. (note to self – google those words, I have no idea what they are – hope to find out more on the course:). Stop frame animation on a higher level uses armatures. which are actually puppet skeletons that help animators move the characters more easily, animation stage (which we found out on the course can be really huge as Aardman Studios), camera remote switch, rig (for lifting the puppets or making them fly) and lighting kit.

The useful software that was suggested for Stop Motion Animation on the course are the following tools, mostly for iPads, but also for android tablets, smartphones and laptops:

Finally, we got to see a video Miss Todd that shows all the brilliance of animation.

Inclusive classroom

Classroom environment

  • temperature, light and noise may be distressing or distracting for dyslexic students
  • too much visual information, especially around the board or the screen where the presentation takes place
  • books
  • slope to rest on the paper for writing (or simple folder or file)
  • more space

Communication and Interaction:

  • pairs and groups working well together
  • different abilities students interacting
  • clear and ambigous instructions
  • boosting self-esteem, offering concrete strategies for help
  • overview at the beginning of the class
  • small chunks of tasks

Course content and materials:

  • breaking large projects into smaller chunks
  • keeping a pace students can follow comfortably
  • differentiation (giving tasks for everyone or in parts, extra materials for quicker students, support as pairwork or teacher assistants, computers, materials, expectation about how much text students can handle etc.)

Developing independent study skills:

  • memory skills
  • time management
  • organisational skills

(notes based on the lecture by Anne Margaret on FutureLearn)