Ask me anything   I'm a twenty one year old artist from Belfast. I'm studying animation at the University of Ulster, Belfast. I freelance in both design and photography. This blog is an insight to my work process, my influences and my final pieces of work.

Group brainstorm - draft ideas

Here we got together with all of our research and the previous brain storm to gather up some firm initial ideas. 

Idea 1 - curtains, making it like a tv show/ play.

Idea 2 - space book, Facebook for the planets

Idea 3 - pluto the narrator

Idea 4 - play on words e.g. galaxy the bar

Idea 5 - planets with faces

Idea 6 - satellite zoom from galaxy to street view

Idea 7 - 

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions  #ideation  #brain storm 
Planetary motion diagram

Planetary motion diagram

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions 
Kepler's laws of planetary motion - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia →

Planetary research - Kepler’s law 

Probably a bit more detailed than we need to know, however I think it’s a good idea to at least read through it and understand the deeper stuff we’re trying to explain. Sometimes to be able to explain something simply you need to understand the more difficult stuff first. To explain something simply you must first understand why it’s difficult. 

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions 
Getting the viewers attention

5 Tips to Get the Class’s Attention

  1. Change the level and tone of your voice

    Often just changing the level and tone of your voice, lowering it or raising it, will signal to the students it’s time to pay attention.

  2. Use props like a bell or whistle

    Better for lower level or younger learners, props like these clearly mark beginnings, endings, and other transitions within the class. See our other article on using realia: ‘Realia: 9 Ways To Bring Real Life Into The Classroom

  3. Use a visual related to the instruction

    Holding up a striking picture related to the session, such as environmental debris if the class topic is related to the environment, is sure to get all eyes on you. Don’t comment on it; allow students to start the dialogue.

  4. Make a startling statement or give a quote

    Writing a surprising statement or quote related to the content on the board has a similar effect: for example “More than half of children in California speak some language other than English at home” if the topic is language acquisition.

  5. Write a pop quiz question on the board

    Write a basic comprehension question related to the reading on the board. Students have to answer it on slips of paper and turn them in. This gets students focused right away on course material. The question can then lead to discussion after the quiz.

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions  #engage  #audience 
How to Engage our audience.
Here’s a list that I put together based on phycologists and teachers I researched to make sure we wrote an engaging script.  

How to Engage our audience.

Here’s a list that I put together based on phycologists and teachers I researched to make sure we wrote an engaging script.  

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions  #engage  #audience 
Keeping children’s attention

1. Relate the content to their lives

“Why do I have to learn this?” If you are ever asked that question and don’t have an answer for it, other than, “because I said so,” then you have lost credibility. Why do we need to know grammar? Because it will help you be successful in life. Why do we need to know math? So people don’t cheat us out of our money! Why do we need to learn about the arts? To gain a greater understanding of cultures and history. And on it goes.

2. Relate your life to the content

Learn to be a story-teller. Although I strive to minimize talking, I still believe that an appropriately timed story can work wonders in encouraging and increasing interest in your subject. I make it a point to share with my classes whenever my dogs do funny things. Sometimes I am able to relate music to it, but other times, it’s just me telling a story. One of the Language Arts teachers at my school came up to me at the end of the year and told me about how her students were all writing a few paragraphs about their electives and sharing them with her and with each other. She said that a lot of them wrote wonderful stuff about band and about me and my dogs.

3. Have fun

This will make you enjoy your job more. When you enjoy your job, interest levels will go up with the students. When you have fun, you’ll go home happier at the end of the day. That’s a great thing.

4. Smile

Smiling is a result of having fun. I get too serious some of the times and don’t smile. I’ve had students ask me if I’m upset or tell me to smile more. It’s good for your health.

5. Laugh and get them laughing

Children love laughing. Adults love laughing. Laughing is good for your health too. Be funny. If you can handle it, make fun of yourself. Come up with nicknames for the students. Let them help you make up nicknames. One of the best ways to reduce tension in a stressful situation is to add levity. Because I don’t smile enough, I was told by a handful of students this year that they knew I wasn’t mad only after I would use one of their nicknames. It works.

So, some of these things will help to raise student interest. Some of them will also help to raise teacher interest. The more interested you are in doing the job, the more likely they will be interested. And the more you will enjoy going home at nights and looking back on the accomplishments of the day.

source -

— 16 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions  #research 
Keeping hold of student’s attention

There are countless times when educators need their students’ undivided attention. The following methods are best taught during the first weeks of school. These ideas can assist teachers in providing an ordered and safe learning environment for everyone.

1. Hold up your hand and say, “Give Me Five.” The children put their hands in the air and shout “five!” As they count down to one, they get progressively quieter until “one” is said in a whisper. Or, after saying, “Give me five,” everyone puts their hand in the air and counts loudly using their fingers from 1 to 5.

2. Teach the children that the five fingers on their right hand stand for the five things they must do when you hold up your hand. Say, “Give me five,” and wait until all the children hold up their hand. Then lead them in saying the five things together.

(1) Eyes — look 
(2) Ears — listen 
(3) Mouth — closed 
(4) Hands — still 
(5) Feet — quiet

Later when you say, “Give me five,” the children are to think of these five things and hold up their hand to show they are ready to listen.

3. Clap or tap in a pattern, for example, clap slowly twice and then clap fast three times. The students are to stop what they are doing and repeat the pattern. If necessary, do it again until all children have responded and are quiet. You may want to vary the pattern.

4. Shake a shaker, touch a wind chime, ring a bell, play quiet music or use any kind of sound maker as a signal for students to be attentive.

5. Raise you hand and stand still until the students are quiet. Or, raise your right hand and put the index finger of your left hand on your lips. The children are to do the same. Another idea is to hold up three fingers which is a silent signal for “Stop, look, listen.” Then wait until all the children have their three fingers up and are quiet.

6. Say, in a normal tone of voice, “Clap once if you can hear me.” Those listening will quiet down and clap one time. Then say, “Clap twice if you can hear me.” More children respond with two claps. Finally say, “Clap three times if you can hear me.” By this time you should have the attention of your students.

7. When you say, “Voices,” teach the children to respond with a quiet, “Shhh…” Use it if the children are too loud. If you want their attention, say, “Voices” again and they respond with a quieter, “Shhh…” Say it a third time very quietly, “Voices.” All students should be quiet and ready to listen.

8. Tell your students that they will be playing, “The Still Waters Game” often, and that they will know the game has begun when you say, “1, 2, 3, 3, 2, 1 still waters has begun.” Ask them to freeze like an ice cube and remain silent when they hear that sentence. Time the children to see how long they can remain still. The goal is to beat their best time. Hold your fist in the air and each time you see someone move or talk, put a finger up. Once you have all five fingers up, check your watch and tell the class how long they were able to remain still.

9. Practice having the children stop, look at the teacher and listen when the lights are flicked off and on.

10. Teach the difference between being silly and serious. Tell them that there is room for both of these behaviors. Then practice by saying, “Act silly!” Let them be silly. Then say, “Now, act serious.” Model this often at the beginning of the year so when you say, “I need to have serious behavior,” they respond accordingly and are attentive.

11. Use a count down or count up system. Say, “You have until five to be ready for……. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Start a count down at whatever number you think the students need to be ready. For example, start with 5, 10 or 15 depending on the activity to be put away.

12. Say, “Boys and Girls…” and then write numbers as a countdown on the board from 5-4-3-2-1. The idea is that there is a consequence if you reach one before receiving everyone’s attention. For example, a child talking may have to move or lose some free time, or use some other outcome for the whole class. Another idea is to hold up your hand and count silently to five on your fingers as you look at a watch. Teach the students if they do not become quiet by the count of five, their recess time will be cut by the amount of time it takes them to become quiet.

13. Use an old fashioned desk bell that you can tap. One tap means the class is getting too loud. Two taps mean that they need to stop what they are doing and listen.

14. Use a target word for a day or week. Have the students pick one that is related to what they are studying. For example, pioneer, Ohio, or fossils. When you say the word, the children stop, look and wait for directions. Or, the children could respond with a definition or short response to the target word; for example, if you said, “Ohio,” the students would respond, “The buckeye state.” Other call backs could include “spaghetti” — “meatballs,” or “Abraham” — “Lincoln.” Let the students suggest new words to be used.

15. Use a piece of poster board to make a noise level monitor. On the left side label it 1, 2, 3, and on the right side, list the type of noise acceptable for each. For example:

1 - No talking 
2 - Whispering 
3 - Normal talking

Use a large clip to indicate the acceptable noise level at any given time.

16. Say “1, 2, 3, eyes on me” and the children say back, “1, 2, 3, eyes on you,” with their faces turned toward you and looking at your eyes. Or, say “1, 2, 3, Look at me” in a sing song voice. Another teacher-child response idea is for the teacher to say, “Hey, oh,” and the children reply “Oh, hey.” Or, the teacher says, “Freeze, please.” And after giving instructions, the children say, “Melt.”

17. Use, “Teacher Says,” like “Simon Says.” For example, “Teacher says, touch your nose,” “Clap once,” or “Teacher says, look at me.”

18. Say in a robotic voice, “Miss Moore to Class - Come in class” and smile! This method can be used with individual students as well. Or, use a special phrase when something is really important; for example, say, “Mrs. Brown’s class…” instead of saying, “Boys and girls.”

19. Buy a large rain stick at a science store. When you turn it over, it sounds like rain falling. When the children hear the sound, they are to stop what they are doing and listen.

20. For an assembly of the student body shout the school name and have the children respond with the name of the school mascot, i.e. the administrator shouts, “Memorial” and the children respond with, “Bulldog!” After they shout the mascot name they are to be silent.

21. Let your voice get quieter and quieter as a signal for the children to be quiet. Talk softer or not at all until they are still. Or say softly, “Tootsie Roll, Lollipop, we`ve been talking, now let’s stop.”

22.Teach young children the following chant:

  • Teacher says; “1, 2.”   Children say: “Eyes on you.”
  • Teacher: “3, 4.”   Children: “Crisscross on the floor.”
  • Teacher: “5, 6.”   Children: “No more tricks.”
  • Teacher: “7, 8.”   Children: “Sit up straight.”
  • Teacher, “9, 10.”   Children, “Let’s begin!”

23. Sing the following words to the Frere Jacques tune: “Are you listening? Are you listening? Everyone! Everyone! If you are listening, if you are listening, look at me, look at me.” Other ways to end the song are: “Snap your fingers” or “Pat your head.”

24. Sit in your chair and start singing one song after another with no pauses. The children all join in the singing and come to group time. You can do the same thing with poetry. Start reciting poems that the children know and they will repeat them with you as they join the group.

25. Use motions like circling your hands quickly, then slow down and clap. You can also do the motions to a song like the “Itsy, Bitsy Spider.’ When all of the children are copying the gestures silently, sing the song through.

source - Leah Davies

— 16 hours ago
#creative solutions  #keeping attention 

Teletubbies style research

Thinking of visuals for the planets I started to think about how much I loved the sun in the Teletubbies.  I thought this could be a fun idea for the part with the sun in our animation because younger viewers will find it interesting and older viewers will understand the link to the 90’s show. 

— 16 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions  #teletubbies 

CBBC style research

This is a CBBC game I really like the outline stroke around each item it adds depth to the scene even when an image is a still one that’s been animated.

— 17 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions  #research 

CBBC style

I began looking at generic CBBC TV shows to see how to make something 2D not look so flat. By having separate layers that all move for example with the CBBC advert the background water swirls as well as the foreground.

— 17 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions  #research  #style 

James May - transitions 

While researching how to create interesting visuals I also began looking at how James May keeps transitions clear. Everything zooms and fades into each other as can be seen in this clip. eg. at 5:32 it zooms through doors into a draw into a folder. There are also edits between scenes that are of the same style such as edits between the jail and out again. 

— 17 hours ago with 3 notes
#creative solutions  #research  #style 

James May - figure research 

How James may makes visuals look interesting!

— 17 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions 

James May style research

This was a great insight in ways to show figures. With our script being so full of figures we needed to look into ways of showing them visually. The use of numbers following planets moving, a speed gun, a number count down on a clock and a speedometer. 

— 17 hours ago with 1 note
#creative solutions  #research  #style 

Style research - James May

Things that I noticed through visuals are green screening the narrator and using backgrounds to make more interesting viewing. For example as James is talking of an explosion and one goes off behind him with is a nice touch. As far as timing goes he speaks slowly and clearly about each thing giving time for the visual to sink in. And another thing I like is the use of old sourced videos which have movement in the arms and mouths. 

— 17 hours ago
#creative solutions  #research  #style 

Style research - James may 

Looking at style research James May is animated and composited in After Effects. The style looks flat but plays more on humour than beautifully scientific visuals and is why it so popular and effective with young people. 

— 17 hours ago
#creative solutions