ANIMATION-MAKING AS THERAPEUTIC PRACTICE
Animation-making differs from other forms of artistic intervention in that it unites the expressive power, introspective scrutiny, and freedom of the arts, with the intensive, detail-oriented labor of the movie-making process. Previous experimentation has demonstrated the efficacy of the process by which participants engage in the creation of their animated shorts as a means of decreasing stress levels, increasing cognitive focus and processing, and building a basic framework for step-based problem solving.
Animation-Making Workshops (AMW) seeks to study and prove through collection of behavioral data (video, photographic images, and sound recording) and assessment of the participants' behavior and social skills of the pre- and post-workshop activities the potential of animation as therapeutic and educational tool.
The process of narrating a story through animation is transformational in the sense that it impacts the participant's confidence in themselves and in their ability to communicate their ideas and feelings with others. AMW engages participants in a twelve-week course, instructing them in the principles of animation-making, from the construction and design of both visual and aural components, to the more cognition-based requirements of devising a story and connecting the use of materials to abstract thought. All participants are trained in the technique of stop-motion animation using industry-standard tools and techniques.
The ideas developed by Melanie-Hani's in her "Good Hearts Model" (GHM) inspired the creation of the AMW. They are organized in three stages:
- Pre-Production or construction phase (storyboarding, character, props and background designs, voice and sound recording);
- Production (animation process or animative-stage); and
- Post-Production (editing, addition and manipulation of visual effects and titling). This last stage might also entail presenting the animation to an audience, a step that may spur reflection beyond the length of workshop.
In 2020, beneath the umbrella of the TTU NEA Research Lab, AMW will expand their scope of work to encompass elementary-age school populations, work with adult-age groups such as veterans affected by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and college students in the process substance-abuse rehabilitation, among others.
AMW IN PRACTICE
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The AMW team has recently worked in partnership with the Burkhart Center for Autism Studies at Texas Tech University. Research has shown that exercising creativity supports children's and teenager's emotional and cognitive development and animation, particularly character animation, serves as a conduit for empathy and emotional connection in people with ASD.
The team was able to confirm that the experience of the animation-making process increased both the emotional development and awareness of the surrounding environment in participants with autism-spectrum disorder. Further data collection from participants is underway and will treat a broad range of variables and factors. Additionally, results from these initial experiences were shared at conferences by the two participating graduate student assistants on the project.
Final Projects from our Fall 2019 Participants.
If, as a parent, you would like for your child to participate in our workshop, or if you are a young adult and are interested in exploring stop-motion animation, please contact Dr. Francisco Ortega :: firstname.lastname@example.org
** All workshops are FREE of charge, and all required technical equipment and materials are provided for each participant. **
To register for the Spring 2020 Workshops