Toon Boom is very useful in education, using industry-standard animation software prepares your students for jobs in the digital industry by helping them build powerful and marketable skill sets. However, it also teaches other key skills that help students be successful regardless of what career path they take: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Students develop these skills using trial and error, not just through theory and grinding away at a problem. It is important that students are given opportunities to learn these skills through experience. Art and animation programs are excellent at providing these opportunities. In this post, we’ll look at how Toon Boom Animation Harmony and Storyboard Pro offerings can help facilitate these skills.
Skill #1 – Critical Thinking in Animation
In the context of creating art, I tend to view critical thinking as the ability to visualize an idea in your head and being able to navigate the tools at your disposal to put that idea on to a form. Of course, there are many other areas of critical thinking involved in coming up with your idea. For instance, you might have to think through the theme of your art or what kind of message you hope to convey. All of this is a crucial part of the creative process and a good animation program should provide tools that help facilitate this process.
Tools like Harmony can provide the bridge between the idea that exists in your head, and the visual representation of your idea that exists in the real world. Once you’ve got your idea in your head, Harmony provides the tools and interface that you need to put that idea onto your screen. But to do this, you must think critically about what tools you have available and how they can be used to convey your idea as accurately as possible. Harmony has many tools that can help you realize your idea. Having a deep understanding of these tools and how you can manipulate them to your liking helps you think critically about a problem and develop a creative solution for it.
Skill #2 -Communication
Communication is arguably the most important skill for anybody who wants to work with other people to have. Effective communication allows collaboration to be constructive instead of destructive. It allows for a team of people to be efficient instead of inefficient. Art and animation programs will often reinforce communication by providing assignments that require multiple participants.
Students who are put into group project situations quickly learn the effects of good and bad communication. Harmony and Storyboard Pro both provide easy-to-use interfaces and tools, which help make communication easier. Having a UI that is relatively stripped down makes it much easier to show team members what you’re working on and what still needs to be done. Such tools also help make collaboration more seamless.
Skill #3 – Collaboration
Communication and collaboration are similar, but I wouldn’t say they’re the same. Communication is more about how you impart information onto other people. Collaboration, however, is the act of you working with other people to produce something. Clearly, communication is a part of the collaboration, but collaboration is not necessarily a part of communication. This means that learning how to collaborate effectively might also help you become a better communicator. Additionally, in almost any job, you will likely need to collaborate with coworkers to accomplish a goal. Providing students with the opportunity to collaborate with their peers will help build their communication and collaboration abilities.
Storyboard Pro provides a great tool for making collaboration easy. Storyboard Pro has a built-in collaboration feature that allows you to split a project up into parts. You can then distribute those parts to different team members, so each member can make changes to their part without interfering with everyone else. This provides a relatively hassle-free way of collaboration. Instead of getting hung up on the technology and figuring out a decent workflow for your team, you can spend more time delegating tasks or working together to figure out what needs to be done next. This allows you to focus on collaborating instead of trying to make your tools work right.
Skill #4 – Creativity
Of course, creativity is self-explanatory in the context of art and animation. An individual must be creative if they wish to pursue a career in this field. Much of what we have already discussed could fall under the umbrella of creativity in some way. Beyond what’s already been discussed, Harmony helps you focus on your creativity simply by providing a comprehensive set of tools.
Creativity is often constrained by the tools at your disposal. In the modern era, with all the digital tools at our disposal, creativity is almost limitless. There are millions of possibilities at your fingertips and Harmony has no shortage of possibilities. Additionally, Harmony allows you to use a stylus, so you can be as expressive as you want. The use of a stylus helps bring an artist back into a comfortable element, free from the constraints of a mouse and keyboard.
One of the most exciting things about software like Harmony is how the software, itself, can be used as a creative tool to express ideas in a way that’s never been done before. Consider how digital music production gave rise to electronica music and the many techniques that are used in all genres of music since. Software like Harmony has the potential to create new and unique ways for artists to interact with their work and potentially create something that’s never been seen before.
That’s my breakdown of the four critical skills that Toon Boom Animation solutions can help reinforce for students. I want to emphasize that these skills are much more than just using the right software. The point is that software like Harmony helps an individual focus on these skills and less on a clunky, hard-to-use platform. Having the right set of tools often makes a job much easier to do. Additionally, those tools can inspire new ways of approaching a problem. We wish you the best of luck on your creative journey!
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