Scaling with 2D Animation

Colored text (red or grey) is used for Web links. Watch the animation above right. Also, watch the larger version of this animation which is large enough that it needs its own page. The ten screen movie clips at the top of this page teach how this type of animation is created.

This series of screencasts is for digital palette explorers who are getting their first experiences with the power of animation  to express ideas, to provide new perspective for thinking, learning and teaching. It also provides another way to think and teach about the mathematical concept of scaling, a numerical relationship between the actual size of an object and the size of an image that represents it on a map, plan, or diagram. This is expressed as a ratio. This series begins with the mathematics of rapid growth (as in the images above of fireworks, surf, tornados and swelling circles), using Microsoft Excel calculations and chart creation. It then takes the challenge of understanding those ideas to a different plane, using animation to further unpack an aspect of exponential change over time. The animation editor is Adobe Flash.

Animation is one of the fundamental elements of the digital palette, the new literacy of the 21st century. This series shows how to gain greater understanding of complex numerical ideas in science and mathematics through the visualizations that animation can provide. If this series gets challenging, switch to a simpler series, Flash Series 1.

At the top of each page is this series of video compositions that show the blow-by-blow actions on the computer screen. They walk and talk the viewer through the process, introducing more of the major features of the world’s most commonly used animation editor. Watch. But more importantly, pause and do. That is, stop the screencast and actually do some piece of the action. Then, continue with watch, pause and do.

One of the goal of this activity is to animate a circle so that it grows at a scale that matches the 23% annual growth of knowledge in the world. Thinking about the nature of scaling enters school curriculums for intermediate and middle school students.

If not owned, Adobe Flash CS5 can be downloaded, installed and used for free for thirty days. It will be needed to follow along with these activities.

This work is linked to related compositions:

  1. The Knowledge Society (article)

This series consists of the following clips and their durations:

  1. Bullet 1 is 3 mins & 20 secs, exponential thinking creates challenge.

  2. Bullet 2 is 1 min & 15 secs, spreadsheet to setting stage size.

  3. Bullet 3 is 2 mins & 15 secs, setting the stage-backgrounds.

  4. Bullet 4 is 4 mins & 17 secs, how to animate an object.

  5. Bullet 5 is 50 secs, how to set more scaling points.

  6. Bullet 6 is 1 min & 5 secs, hiding, camoflaging graphic areas.

  7. Bullet 7 is 2 mins, transparency.

  8. Bullet 8 is 3 mins & 37 secs, a second animation layer.

  9. Bullet 9 is 2 mins & 7 secs, changing dates text animation.

  10. Bullet 10 is Next Steps.

2D animation is a key element of digital literacy.

Growth: It’s a Trip of Many Clips