The University was approached by an after school club which works across several primary schools in Brighton with the task of animating poems written by students to accompany their live spoken performances of the poems at the Jubilee Library as part of the Brighton Festival. We had the opportunity to meet the children and talk about their poems before homing in on one in particular to produce work for. I teamed up with fellow students Mhari Netley and Adam Hester and picked one by a year 4 student of Hertford Junior School based on the painting ‘Girl in a Swansdown Hat’ by Roy Little.

We immediately got to work by reading through the poem and picking out certain words and phrases to produce imagery for. The animation didn’t need to exist as a direct word-to-word visual translation of the poem, as the child would be speaking it, so we used visual signifiers and gestures to translate it. Quite early on we established that we did not know the pace it would be read, and so trying to match the visuals up with certain parts of the poem real time would be extremely difficult. We concluded that creating a short and quite fast paced animation which could loop several times throughout the performance would be much more effective, as it would be relevant at different times as the words are spoken.

Below is our written on scan of the poem itself. Full credit goes to the author and child genius Billie for the fantastic writing.

Here is our produced animation:

We largely used simple boils edited together to construct the piece. The working dynamic resolved itself into Mhari and Adam producing the drawings, and I was the editor digitising them and placing them into Adobe Aftereffects and animating them since I had the most experience with it. The process itself was a discussion about what we want to happen, the drawing of the frames, using the Adobe Capture app to quickly vectorise them before sending them to be to be edited into a series of GIFs and then placed into Aftereffects. Once this method was established, we worked extremely productively. I feel that if we were each working individually we would have never been able to produce something of this quality and length, but as a team we were able to share the lengthy responsibilities which come with animating and were able to cover a lot of ground.

We worked extremely hard on this short project and are all very proud of what we have produced!

Below are a selection of original scanned drawings before being digitised and edited into animations:

Below are a selection of boil GIFs we created from drawings which were used in the animation:



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