Pick up your pencils, Scouts, because the Animation merit badge is finally here.
Drawing from the wisdom of animators who have worked at Disney, Dreamworks and EA Sports, the BSA has created a merit badge sure to please any young man with an interest in making art come to life.
Requirements were released this week, officially making the Animation MB the BSA’s 136th current merit badge. (That count doesn’t include the Computers merit badge, which was retired at the end of 2014. See the full list here.)
Boy Scouts who earn this one will plan and create animation using two different techniques. They’ll tour an animation studio or business where animation is used. They’ll explore careers in animation.
Along the way, a spark will be ignited within Scouts that could lead some to pursue a career in animation. Will a recipient of the Animation MB some day work on the next Pixar hit or videogame phenomenon?
The odds are pretty good.
In writing the Animation MB pamphlet — available at Scout shops and ScoutStuff.org — the BSA turned to experts including the dean of the School of Digital Media at the Savannah College of Art and Design, an award-winning director/writer best known for his comedic animated shorts, and an art director for EA Sports who worked on the Madden series of videogames. Meet these and other pamphlet writers below.
One other fun fact about the pamphlet: If you turn it on its side and flip the pages, you see a cool, flipbook-style animation. Check it out!
What’s the patch design?
The patch design shows an animator’s disk — a light table used to create hand-drawn two-dimensional animations. On it is a bouncing blue ball that conveys motion — a key part of animation. Drawing a bouncing ball is typically among the first projects a student must master when learning to become an animator.
Animation merit badge requirements
1. General knowledge. Do the following:
a. In your own words, describe to your counselor what animation is.
b. Discuss with your counselor a brief history of animation.
2. Principles of animation. Choose five of the following 12 principles of animation, and discuss how each one makes an animation appear more believable: squash and stretch, anticipation, staging, straightahead action and pose to pose, follow through and overlapping action, slow in and slow out, arcs, secondary action, timing, exaggeration, solid drawing, appeal.
3. Projects. With your counselor’s approval, choose two animation techniques and do the following for each:
a. Plan your animation using thumbnail sketches and/or layout drawings.
b. Create the animation.
c. Share your animations with your counselor. Explain how you created each one, and discuss any improvements that could be made.
4. Animation in our world. Do the following:
a. Tour an animation studio or a business where animation is used, either in person, via video, or via the Internet. Share what you have learned with your counselor.
b. Discuss with your counselor how animation might be used in the future to make your life more enjoyable and productive.
5. Careers. Learn about three career opportunities in animation. Pick one and find out about the education, training, and experience required for this profession. Discuss your findings with your counselor. Explain why this profession might interest you.
Animation merit badge resources
Find cool videos and more at this Boys’ Life page devoted to Animation merit badge.
Animation merit badge team
These are the men and women who helped write the Animation MB pamphlet:
Rick Richards’ 2D/3D animator screen credits include the Jimmy Neutron television series (2003); The ChubbChubbs! (2002 Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Short); Shrek (2001 Academy Award® winner for Best Animated Feature); Antz (1998); The Prince of Egypt (1998); Balto (1995); We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story (1993); An American Tail: Fievel Goes West (1991); and countless TV commercials and video-game cinematics.
Tina O’Hailey currently serves as the dean of the School of Digital Media at the Savannah College of Art and Design and its Atlanta, Savannah, Hong Kong, Lacoste, and eLearning locations. She has been an associate chair of the animation department and a professor of animation, motion media, interactive design and game development, and visual effects. Before becoming a professor, she worked as an artistic trainer for DreamWorks, Walt Disney Feature Animation, and Electronic Arts, Inc. She is the author of Rig it Right! (Focal Press, 2013) and Hybrid Animation: Integrating 2D and 3D Assets (Focal Press, 2010).
Ty Coyle is an award-winning director/writer best known for his comedic animated shorts. His film Baxter, seen in cities nationwide, was named Best Animated Film at the Los Angeles International Underground Film Festival in 2013 and Best Student Film at the New Jersey Film Festival in 2014. Baxter was also nominated for a Student Oscar at the 41st Annual Student Academy Awards. In high school Ty began exploring art through foundation studies with painting and drawing, and was introduced to computer animation. At the Savannah College of Art and Design he earned a bachelor of fine arts degree in animation. Upon graduation, Ty moved to New York City to begin working on commercials as an animator and layout artist.
Kyle Martin is a visual effects artist with AutomationDirect.com, where he creates animations and videos to help customers understand technology and to promote new products. He earned his bachelor of fine arts degree from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013.
Chris Folea, an Eagle Scout, is a visual effects artist with AutomationDirect.com, where he has been creating animated promotional videos to help customers understand technology and has produced advertising spots for local movie theaters for more than seven years. Chris also created the computer-generated character “Ethan” for the 2015 Cub Scout handbooks. In his free time, he runs a YouTube channel where he creates Blender™ 3D software tutorials as well as comedy and parody videos with high visual-effects production values. His other projects include the animated series Ray and Clovis on YouTube. Chris received his bachelor of fine arts degree, summa cum laude, from the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2013.
Tony Stanley is an art director for EA Sports in Orlando, Florida. He has worked on the video games Madden NFL, NFL Blitz, EA Sports MMA, NASCAR® Kart Racing, and many more. Before joining EA, Tony was an animator for Walt Disney Feature Animation Florida. During his 10 years with the studio, he worked on The Lion King (1994), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996), Mulan (1998), Lilo & Stitch (2002), and Brother Bear (2003). Tony is also a Scout leader for Troop 826 in Kissimmee, Florida.
Rick Folea, an Eagle Scout, is the Animation Merit Badge Team Lead, Programming Merit Badge Team Lead, and coauthor of the Robotics and Digital Technology merit badge pamphlets. He serves on the Northeast Georgia Council Executive Board. Rick works at AutomationDirect.com, where he uses animation and video content to teach customers how to get the most out of the company’s products.
Animation merit badge cover
Feel free to use this high-res version to promote the Animation merit badge in your troop, district or council.
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