Saturday, December 7, 2019

Fun Holiday Tech Project With Google Slides

Students can use this process to make animated holiday cards for family members or just for fun. Everything can be created using Google Slides.

I'll give a brief overview of the process below. If you want to see my usual directions with video tutorials (not just for holiday animations), you can find everything you need to introduce it in class for $2 on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Here's a summary of the process:

1)  Make a Plan - Students really need to decide in advance what shapes they'll use and what's going to happen in the animation. Once they get going on later steps, it's hard to make a big change. In my example above, I knew I wanted the ornaments to float up on the tree and some words to appear.

2)  Create the Shapes - When you first use this process, it's easiest to make everything and have it be part of the first frame. Just start a new Google Slides presentation and start building.

I like to have students create their art using basic shapes in Google Slides (instead of looking for clip art online). In my example, I did use a graphic from Pixabay for the border. I created the other elements myself. Here's how my first frame looked*:

3)  Create the Animation - This is the heart of the process. You duplicate the current frame, then move the animated elements on that frame just slightly. To duplicate the frame, click on it in the left panel and (if you're on a Chromebook or PC) press ctrl-d. (You can also right click on it and select Duplicate slide.)

So in my example, I duplicated the first slide. Then on the second (new) slide I moved some of those ornaments on the floor up, just a centimeter or so.

You continue that process of duplicating the slide and moving the objects until all the animation is complete. As I said above, it's hard to fix a mistake once you get going with this. That's why a plan is important. Here are some other tips:
  • I frequently click through the slides to preview my animation to make sure the objects are moving like I want them to. Sometimes they're not and I have to delete some frames to do a section over.
  • Some frames should display a little longer, so I duplicate those a few times without changing anything. For example, I made several copies of the first frame, the last frame and that frame where the star lands on top of the tree. I wanted a pause at those points.
  • You can animate text the same way. I made the text box, then had one word at a time appear. I've seen some people who like to have each letter appear one by one. It's up to you. When you do text, you especially will want to duplicate some frames multiple times to pause it at times. Otherwise the words go by too quickly. 
Click here to see all 40+ slides of my animation in slideshow format.

4)  Publish the Slides - You can publish the animation so it plays as a full page in a browser tab. Click here to see how this would look.

You can publish a presentation by going to the File menu and selecting Publish to the web. This window will open up. Check the boxes as shown, then click Publish.

That will make a link that appears as shown below. Copy that, as it says, by pressing ctrl-c. That's the link (more or less) that you need to share with others so they can see your animation. But don't share it yet! See the next step.

5)  Share the Link - You can paste that link in an email, add it to a website or share it any other way you like. Just remember one important thing. At the end of the link you'll see a 3000 when you paste it. Change that 3000 to a smaller number such as 100 or 150. 
I usually paste it into the address bar in a new tab and then change the number, so I can play the animation and see how it will look. You can keep doing this, adjusting the number how you want, with larger numbers making it play slower. Experiment with a number that works how you like it to. Once I've got a good number, I paste the link again, change the number, copy it again, then share that link.

6)  You can also turn it into an animated GIF! - I use the site Tall Tweets to do this. They have something called Tall Tweets Studio now, but I suggest scrolling down and clicking the Classic version. I also recommend teachers make copies of students' presentations and convert those for them, since there are some privacy and terms of service matters involved with granting access to Google Drive for this process. Since it has some other settings to experiment with, this option is only recommended for older students.

Again, the above 6 steps are a brief overview of the process. See my published lesson on Teachers Pay Teachers for a "ready to assign" document with everything students need. You'll want to show them my examples from this post, though, since the general directions are not just for holiday animations.

*Actually, if you want some behind the scenes info on my animation, I used a slightly different process. I worked backward to build my animation, because I wanted to start with the final image of the decorated tree. I did this just to be sure I had enough bulbs and that they'd look right. 

This is an advanced technique and I'd only recommend it to students who have made a few animations as described above. Besides thinking backwards, the only real change is that after duplicating a slide, I dragged it above the slide I just duplicated. So instead of duplicating slide 10 and moving the objects on frame 11, for example, I was always duplicating frame 1, then dragging the new frame up so it became frame 1. Then I moved the objects (in a backwards direction) on frame 1. This is harder to describe than it is to do, but I don't recommend it for beginners.

No comments:

Post a Comment