Accessible Animation

Your students probably don’t know who Monty Python was. You may not even know who they were.1

But certainly one of the very memorable parts of the essential British sketch comedy programme from the 70’s and 80’s were the amazing interstitial animations created by the only American Python, Terry Gilliam.

In this video from 1974, Gilliam demonstrates his relatively simple process, using illustrations cut from old books and magazines, mixed with a lot of imagination, to tell short, funny stories. Or just be very silly.

This is often called stop motion animation and the technique is still being used in 2017, most notably by the animators at South Park.

It’s also a process that is very accessible for students in telling their stories.

It starts with illustrations that can come from a variety of sources, and then requires only a camera like the one that’s probably in their pocket and one of many video editing apps.

Something fun to start the school year.

2 thoughts on “Accessible Animation

  • August 5, 2017 at 9:14 am

    Just so you know, although South Park may look like stop motion, it’s actually computer generated using 3D software. :)

    • August 5, 2017 at 10:49 am

      Hi Ryan, thanks for taking time to comment.

      I know South Park is all done ON the computer but not GENERATED by it.

      According to this post from the South Park Studios blog, the “construction paper used in the pilot episode was scanned into a computer database” and they use those textures and colors to create the current programs.

      So, Terry Gilliam’s original process of manipulating paper to produce animations remains in the DNA of South Park, even if the paper isn’t actually present. :-)


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