giving a talk about CG to a class of second graders


I’m giving a talk about my job in CG to a class of second graders. They are doing projects in iMovie. What should I show them about animation and CG? I was thinking about a simple demo of squash & stretch, but I don’t know if that would really “wow” them. Then I was thinking I could put Houdini on my laptop, and bring that in and maybe do something quick with them. (I’m more of a Maya guy, but i don’t have maya for my Mac laptop…)

Any thoughts? Any cool iMovie tricks I could show them?


How about a simple green screen comp?
Comp in a dinosaur in the class room, or set up a simple green screen in the class and comp the kids into a premade background.


Show them B-Reels (they’re all over YouTube) and then see if you can show them the finished sequences.

They’ll get it… Kids are so smart these days.

The TRANSFORMERS stuff always works on them too. :slight_smile:


I agree with CGIPadawan. I remember the old “Schoolhouse Rock” bit on how a bill becomes a law from when I was a kid. The trick to getting them to understand is to make it tangible, relevant, and fun. There are numerous entertaining breakdowns on the web. I think that they’d dig it if they could see, in a fairly generalized way, how something goes from a concept drawing to a realized model or render. Kids are smart. They’ll get it, especially if the context is a film they recognize.

If you’re going to demo software to them, I think that Houdini might be a little heady. I’m not saying that they won’t get it, but it’s really a lot for a 7 year old to absorb even just visually. I mean, even casually, it’s a lot to take in for some adults too.

Personally, I’d probably demo with Sculptris. Digital sculpting is relevant to what we do. Being a free app, it’s something that their parents could probably download for them to experiment with at home. IMO, it’s a nice way for them to potentially continue the experience outside of this class. The important thing is just to get them interested. If they can touch it then it’s real. Who knows? You might just have a future CGS gallery artist sitting in the class. :slight_smile:


I agree. 7 year olds will want to get stuck in immediately and not sit listening to waffle or watching someone show them what to do. Sculptris will be fun for them, and fun is key at that age.


We did green screen at the state fair and if anybody knows people at American state fairs well…let’s just say they aren’t tech savvy. Regardless, our booth was always a hit with everyone and the kids. A can’t miss. We also did a 5 step photo head swap in photoshop that almost everybody could figure out. Not sure if it would work with all the 2nd graders but we had some pretty young ones even get through it. I also like Dylan’s sculptris idea. Just give them a sphere and let them go bananas with it.



See if you can get permission to get some footage from old shows you worked on, in order to be able to show some progress and what you do to get to a final shot.


Show them an example of VFX from The Avengers. Trust me, second graders love The Avengers :slight_smile:


It’d be pretty cool if you comp each of the kids into a basic scene with them running from a dinosaur; burn the pics to a CD, and let the teacher print them out to give to the kids. Would be a great keepsake.


we had career day once and I did the forensic animation stuff. Kids loved the car wrecks, explosions and other fun stuff. I dumped the aviation crashes and police shootings at the last minute. Had an airline pilot, firefighter and cop in the room :banghead: . Out of 15 careers, I placed 3rd in popularity. I had nothing on the firefighter and cop :bowdown:

If you are really brave, setup a kinetix mocap setup and have the kids do some fast infrared mocap on the fly.

My presentation was about 7 years ago, so I didn’t get into anything heavy. I just showed movies and moved along quickly and with lots of enthusiasm. You’ve only got about 2-3 minutes before you loose the little guys. I asked them lots of questions as well, so that they explored my presentation actively instead of me lecturing or just telling them what’s what. It probably helped that I have coached young kids for sometime, and my first career was as a marine biologist working in educational outreach programs. I had good mentors for presentation tactics, especially with those that have small attention spans and even smaller bladders.

Good luck!


You could show comping different layers like the ones already made here they have one with cg fighter jets and another with someone running from a dino :slight_smile:


Perfect for Grade 2.

Thank me, later. :smiley:

EDIT: OK… I didn’t see that one with the impaling… NOT GOOD FOR GRADE 2! :argh:


2nd graders using iMovie. I’m not even that old and that statement makes me feel ancient.

The TRANSFORMERS stuff always works on them too.

Anything to do with this, or the Avengers, or Batman should keep them well entertained!

You could maybe show some of the breakdowns from VES this year, like from The Hobbit and the other major VFX movies, those were very cool, not too technical and fun to look at!


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