Leo Tapia was seizing his chance to be George Lucas, recreating a scene from the 1977 classic “Star Wars.”
Han Solo was in a bar, facing off against a bounty hunter who wants to take him back to Jabba the Hutt. But instead of fishy green Greedo, it’s another creature. And instead of actors and costumes, the action was playing out with Legos.
Tapia, a rising junior at Bryan Station High School, was part of the Living Arts and Science Center’s Stop Motion Animation Lego camp, which ran Monday through Friday. For his project, the 15 year old took the first two days to shoot the initial photos. He spent the remainder of the camp combining it, editing and adding visual effects.
His favorite part? Putting it all together to form a one-minute-long final piece.
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Tapia was one of 12 students who put their imaginations and hands to work by building the storyline, sets and characters from scratch for their animation class.
The students were allowed to use all sorts of technology to create their films including film making, visual effects and photo editing programs.
“I’m just going to shoot stuff as it comes to me,” Eli Barton, a rising seventh grader at Edythe J. Hayes Middle School, said as he shot the “taco man” part of his film. He said he had no direction for his film. He was building characters and sets, like the taco man, that were colorful and could use a line of fishing wire to ease the movement of his film. “Taco man” was featured on the front of Eli’s set as more of the protector of his Lego fortress.
Eli, 11, spent two days building his Lego set before he began filming.
The class was taught by Duane Keaton, the art and drama teacher at Lexington’s Southern Middle School, who also runs an after-school film making club at the school called Southern Films.
The class “is combining several passions of mine: Legos, art, film making. So, this is like a dream come true to teach this class,” said Keaton, who has been teaching summer classes at LASC for 12 years, though this is the first time he taught the Lego animation class
Keaton said the students toggled around with specialized software to put their movies together. They could use any application from Adobe Creative Cloud, including Premiere Pro, Photoshop and After Effects. He said he did not think many of the students knew how to use the software, but he was willing to help them out.
“I like the creativity that they allow here, and that they have such a wide variety of things that I can do,” Keaton said of the Living Arts and Science Center.
LASC offers more than 160 different classes for all ages throughout the summer. Although this specific Lego class is not offered again this summer, there are several other classes featuring Legos in the upcoming weeks, like a Lego robotics class June 19-23. Keaton is also teaching another film class, 2 Weeks to Film, July 17 to 21 for 6th to 12th graders. A full list of summer classes and prices can be found on LASC’s website, Lasclex.org.