Visual Arts Group
the starting point
A health fair at the Petchey Academy exposed the students to the role of the body’s organs (lungs, heart etc) and how to measure their performance. It also taught the participants how the body processes and uses chemicals and nutrients and how this can affects their future lives. Students were given lectures on the heart and heart disease and the health risks from smoking and eating food with high levels of saturated fat.
The narrative of the film had been discussed in class and once finalised, the students were shown examples of storyboards. They storyboarded each shot defining the different scenes the group needed to create. The boards were reviewed and amended.
The workshops began by the children considering different ways of visualising the body. The children in the class had different ideas and their own references from a variety of sources including their biology text books.With the help of visiting doctors, they began to get a picture of how the heart, the arteries, lungs, stomach and liver may look at different stages of health, particularly as a result of the affects of smoking and a diet high in saturated fats.
Over a number of sessions, the children created montages from magazines to interpret what they had learned, and then made paintings of the character with healthy and diseased internal organs. Finally the group painted background scenery. Stop Frame
For parts of the film the class created stop frame animations using a Canon digital camera and a tripod. The children made large A3 paintings and drawings as backgrounds and smaller pieces that could be overlaid and moved in-between every photograph taken. Although this was a long winded process the small teams could see the immediate effect of the animation in the back of the camera.
We used stop frame to describe what happens to the digestive system when bad food is continually eaten, how the blood pumps round the heart, what happens when the heart is placed under strain, and also the effect of smoking on the lungs and arteries. Taking around 36 frames for each story with the digital camera, the frames were then captured and saved into a folder, ready to import into the motion graphics program Adobe After Effects. The folder was imported as a Jpeg sequence and the sequence placed into a new 720 by 576 composition which was rendered as a QuickTime, ready to edit in Final Cut Pro.
The students had presentations from heart specialists at UEL which gave the children opportunities to understand the workings of the organs and the essential role they play in processing food and chemicals imbibed. Workshops focussed on the heart and how it can be damaged by an unhealthy lifestyle including inactivity, smoking and poor eating habits.
The students from the Petchey Academy identified sports heroes and role models, learning how the body absorbs food and nutrients to increase sports performance. They also looked at examples of people considered at risk of heart disease and identified what had contributed to their condition.
Visual stimuli were presented to the class to inspire their interpretation of the science and assist them in the creation of the animation. Slide shows, photographs and power point presentations gave comparisons of what a healthy and unhealthy heart, arteries and lungs look like.
Animation and editing
Other elements created in class involving characters and backgrounds were scanned and opened in Adobe Photoshop, where the parts we had decided to animate were cut out. Their artwork was later re-composed for the scenes in an After Effects composition, the same aspect ratio as the stop frame. Movement was added to specific parts, for example the legs of the main character when running. Once each picture had been animated in After Effects and exported as QuickTimes the clips were imported into Final Cut Pro where each scene was edited matching them with the soundtrack created by the choir.