Catamount Arts recently announced three free online workshops as part of the sixth annual Vermont Animation Festival, hosted by Northern Vermont University. The First Cartoons, Introduction to 3D Animation, and Experimental Flipbooks will take place Saturday, March 27. All workshops are free, but class size is limited, so online registration is required by March 25.

NVU’s Kate Renner will teach The First Cartoons: Thaumatropes and Phenakistoscopes, on March 27 from 9:30-11 am. Two of the first animation devices ever invented, thaumatropes and phenakistoscopes were popular in the early 19th century. Using easy-to-find supplies, workshop participants will learn about the science of animation while creating a thaumatrope with a dowel and paper and then a phenakistoscope with paper, pencil and a tack. Designs can be simple or complex, creating the illusion of movement with science and imagination.

This class is appropriate for students of all ages, but younger students (ages 4-10) should work with a helpful adult. Supplies will be provided for participants who register before March 19; those who register after the 19th must acquire supplies on their own.

NVU 3D Modeling instructor Danni Foley will teach Introduction to 3D Animation to students 16 and older from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., on March 27. Learn how to create a 3D model of a bouncing ball, the classic starting exercise for any animation project, using Autodesk Maya 3D Animation Software. Danni will also speak about the expanding role of 3D modeling in the animation industry and share their personal experience as a professional 3D modeler.

No prior experience with animation or Autodesk Maya is necessary, but Autodesk Maya 3D Animation Software and a laptop or desktop computer are required. A 30-day free trial of the software is available. This software cannot be used on a phone or a tablet.

Finally, Vermont Animation Festival keynote speaker, Alan Jennings will teach Experimental Flipbooks for students ages 4 and up (small children will require help from an adult partner). Among the most basic forms of animation, flipbooks are the distillation of animated movement and small scale film making. This workshop will look at two methods for making animated sequences. The first will use stream-of-consciousness, straight-ahead animation. The second will use a moving image reference as the basis for a brief segment.

Supplies for Experimental Flipbooks will be provided to participants who register before March 19. Those registering after the 19th will have to find their own supplies (unlined index cards, rubber band, a pencil and an eraser).

The Vermont Animation Festival features workshops, screenings, and artist talks appropriate for beginner and experienced animators. This year’s keynote speaker is Vermont’s own Alan Jennings, an experimental animator based currently in Boston.

For more information about the Vermont Animation Festival, including how to register for workshops and access supplies, visit or


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