- Do I have a pedagogically sound reason for using animation? (Will it aid learning?)
- Do I have time to create a DIY animation? (It’s a tedious, time-consuming process.)
Begin with the BasicsBudget animation requires getting down to the most basic elements of animation:
- Images to animate
- A way to animate them
1. Open Your Mind About What “Animation” IsBudget-conscious animation requires creativity and a willingness to think differently. If you’re thinking you can create a Disney cartoon with zero budget, you’re probably dreaming. But with some very basic computer programs (and a dream), you can do far more than you might think. On a recent project, I wanted to have an animated character that would wrap up a lengthy curriculum with a little fun. I was working in Articulate Storyline, and I didn’t have access to any other tools (or budget). I took a light bulb icon, colored it yellow, and added some shapes to make a face: For animation, I simply used the standard entrance and exit animations in Storyline, added sound effects, and popped in some word balloons. The client flipped over it. While it took me some time, the budget was exactly zero. On another occasion, I developed a 30-second ad for a sign company. I used pictures of “signs through history” along with text graphics, and I animated it all to flow with music. While not “animation” in the Looney Tunes sense, it was quite effective. And I did it all in POWERPOINT. Time: One full day. Budget: Zero.
2. Get the Necessary Tools and TrainingI have a video background, so coming up with outside-the-box ideas for animations is really just an extension of my experience. That’s why you’ll need to develop a great deal of expertise with the tools you have – and acquire new tools if you can. Most anyone can make a PowerPoint presentation, but few understand the real power of the program. You heard me right: dull, stodgy old PowerPoint can be a great tool if you know how to use it. Online training programs for PowerPoint abound, and the same is true for L&D programs like Storyline and Captivate. Understanding the capabilities of your tools unlocks creativity. If you have a small budget, consider investing in tools that will serve you well into the future. It’s tempting to go ahead and purchase straight-up animation programs, but I’d recommend getting a good video editing program first. You’ll find that, along with helping you develop animation, a good editing program will be useful in a variety of additional ways. Adobe Premiere Pro is only $21 a month and well worth the investment (though you’ll also need to invest in training). Final Cut Pro is another well-known professional system that might be worth a look if you’re an Apple user. If you do want to invest in animation tools, check out this site with reviews of the latest entries to the market. Some of the platforms that seem to focus on ease use include Powtoon, GoAnimate (aka Vyond), and Moovly, which also has editing capabilities.
Must-Have Tools for Any Instructional Design Budget: price points, features, and examples of these tools for expanding your eLearning toolkit.