We've all been there. For those that have used Pivot Stick Animator, you will know children from as young as Year 1 can come up with something akin to the top animation in a jiffy. Often this may be the extent to a Pivot journey, using only a small part of the software's potential. Here are 5 tips that go beyond the basics:
1. Paint your own background:
Use a program such as Paint, and create a scene for your stick figure to move in. White background? Less exciting unless you're doing a snow topic perhaps. A pretty sophisticated background can be developed in a short period of time:
*remember to save as a .bmp file
2. Convert another image file to a .bmp file to use as a background:
Recently my Year 5 students were allowed a lesson to revisit Pivot - most had used it in Year Two. We searched for platform game backgrounds such as Mario or Sonic and realised you can't just File>Load Background. This lead to some discussion about file formats. To convert .jpg files to .bmp files we used the following site:
The main things to remember when resizing are:
(a) to click 'Custom Size' and type in 506 x 415 for the image size. This is the size of the Pivot Stickfigure background in pixels.
(b) to make sure you select BMP as here:
(c) press the yellow button:
(d) Voila! This image can be added to Pivot now as in File>Load Background. Your Pivot Animations will now have something of the 21st century about them...
3. Saving your animation as a .gif file:
Many Pivot animations do not end up being used outside the software. When saving an animation, look at the drop-down selection box as you see here:
Save your animation in this way as a .gif file and they can be added anywhere images can be added - how about a class montage using your favourite movie-creating software? Or added to a class page on your blog?
4. Use the keyboard to speed up the animation process:
If you drag your character slowly using the central orange dot, AND AT
THE SAME TIME tap the enter key or spacebar, every keyboard press will create one frame of your animation. Drawback being the rest of the character's body is not moving, but useful for gliding/floating. Saves clicking Next Frame all the time.
5. Use a website such as Droidz and YouTube to use as an inspiration for your students:
This one requires discretion and I would not suggest you show this website to your class necessarily. However it does give many ready-made characters that can be incorporated into longer Pivot projects - suitable characters and props that you could download ahead of a lesson for your children to use. It will inspire them to make their own too. Indeed, YouTube has many Pivot projects (many with just white backgrounds?!) but again preparation ahead of time is necessary, unless you are happy with your class watching a violent stick battle....!
So have fun with Pivot - it's so much more than: