Sunday, 27 March 2016

Bring a character to life

Have you ever wished it was possible to really bring a character to life?  In today's cookie you will learn how to bring alive book illustrations, historical portraits and even your pupils' own illustrations.  It's fairly simple too!

Difficulty rating:

This activity involves App Smashing (combining one or more apps for an overall effect).

App List

Morfo - £1.49 - You will only need a copy of this app on your own iPad/iPod so do not worry about the children downloading this app.
**FREE OPTION:  Chatterpix -  If you cannot afford to download Morfo, then Chatterpix is a free option.  By no means can you achieve the same standard of effect by using this app.  However, you will still be able to make your image speak so it's ideal for those on a tight budget!
Aurasma - Free - You will need to register a username and password for Aurasma which you are happy for the children to also sign into on their own devices (if they are using them) so I tend to have a personal login and a school login.

What to do

Choose the character that you would like to bring to life. Today, I will be bringing to life a picture of Henry VIII (a favourite historical character of mine).  Below is the picture that I have chosen to bring to life.
**Top tips for choosing a picture: Your subject should be facing forward and their head should not be on an angle.  This will make your animated face more realistic.

Open Morfo and select the picture that you would like to bring to life.  Then, follow the simple instructions to show the size and shape of the character's head as well as the position and shape of the eyes, nose and mouth.
Here, I have pinched and dragged the lips to the correct place. 
Click on the 'Record' button to record a message or question.  I most commonly use this technique to pose a question to my class.  For example, in this case 'One thing I'm famous for is having six wives.  What can you find out about them?'  Once you are confident with using Morfo, you can use combine speech with facial expressions (happy, sad, angry, surprised, fearful and disgusted) for a more dramatic effect.  

Save your video by clicking the 'SHARE' button.  This confused me a little at first as the envelope displayed made me thing I would be sharing with a wider audience.  However, when you click the tab, you have the option to 'Save a Video'.  Click this to save the video to your device.

Now to bring your picture to life.  Take the original picture (I sometimes frame mine using cheap wooden frames for effect) and open Aurasma on your device.  To save time, today I've simply used the photograph on the computer screen.  As Aurasma responds well to visual prompts, this is also possible (though I would personally recommended printed pictures for more of a wow factor).

You will need to create an Aurasma account in order to create your own 'auras'.  I get children to sign into this account also.  All you need, is an email address, a username (of your choice) and a password (also of your choosing).  

Add an aura

Once you have signed up, click on the '+' button in the top right corner.  If you cannot see it, first click the magnifying glass at the lower centre of the screen.  Aurasma will now ask you to select a trigger for your 'aura'.  Hold your camera over the part of the picture that you wish to trigger the video and take a photo using the button at the lower centre of the screen.  **Note:  The coloured bar at the top of the screen tells you how likely Aurasma is to recognise your prompt.  If the bar is in the red, the app will not allow you to progress.  Try repositioning your camera, moving it closer or further away from your prompt.
Select a trigger area of the
image for your aura

Aurasma will now prompt you to 'choose an overlay'.  At the top of this page, you have two choices 'library' (this contains a bank of animations that you may wish to use) and 'device' (these are photos and videos that are held on your device - like good old Henry VIII).  Click device.  Then, select 'upload'.  Find your desired video, click on it and press 'choose'.  You will then be asked to name your 'overlay' (the video/image that will appear).  

Once Aurasma has loaded your video, you will be prompted to reposition it.  This, newer, feature is handy because it allows Henry's head to appear in the correct place.  You can pinch and drag the video to a location on the screen that suits you.  
Although there will be a small black frame, I have
positioned Henry's head in the correct place.
Finally, you will need to name your aura.  I always choose to save my aura's privately - after all, I don't want everyone to hear my morphed voice when they point Aurasma at the picture of Henry VIII!  

Now, sit back and watch the awe!  Give your children devices and pictures and watch the awe on their faces when the pictures come alive and speak to them.  Alternatively, if you have limited technology, you can use one device and gather children around.

The finished product!  This video does not contain sound.  
However, the message is read as in the video above and can be
heard by those using the application.