STUDENT SPOTLIGHT – “My Stop Motion Camp”

“My Stop Motion Camp” – by Ezra!

Last summer, I went to a one-week stop motion animation camp at the Digital Arts Experience in White Plains. When I took my first ride there I felt a mix of excitement, curiosity, and nervousness. And when I sat down in a bright blue chair and saw what the place looked like, I felt even more nervous. The building was humongous, and everything about the inside was bright.  There were bright lights and bright neon chairs.  It looked very high-tech and grown up. I was the youngest kid there.

The Digital Arts Experience first day of Summer Camp.

The Digital Arts Experience first day of Summer Camp.

When the class began we were introduced to our teacher, Nick. Nick taught us how to make a basic stop motion animation with a penny. We used Logitech cameras and computer software called FrameByFrame to snap photos that were used to make the animations.  I worked with a partner named Will. First we animated ourselves for fun.  Then we did the basic penny animation. Afterward, we made what I call a “minimation,” an animation that lasts less than a minute, of two sugar packet “cars” crashing and a flash drive “police car” rescuing them.  By the end of the day, I didn’t feel nervous; in fact, I felt confident for the next day.  I had learned a lot in seven hours.

Stop Motion Animation with Legos in Westchester

The next day, I started to work on my Lego animation. At first, I was wondering what it should be about, but then I remembered the book I had written over the summer, The Equardonator.  It was about a kid who built a robot suit to wear and then stopped cyborg gorillas. I decided to make an animation about The Equardonator 2, about a pesky kid who tried to steal the skateboard trophy, and the Equardonator had to stop her. First, I made a basic sketch on paper.  Nick told me that since I was overflowing with ideas for what was going to happen, I should put them down on paper first. After that I made my custom minifigures to go with my animation. I worked on this for the next two days, and it was a success!  I even had one of my minifigures have a dream within the animation!

On my last day, I made a few minimations. I made Lego Eat Pizza, Lego Bank Robbery, Ultimate Lego Battle, Lego FOX Sports, and Lego Red Assassinate. Later that day, we presented the animations to our parents. I felt very proud of myself.  As I worked during the week, I became more and more confident of my skills, and less intimidated and nervous.  This was my favorite week of camp over the summer, even though it was at the very end.

Since camp ended, my parents have bought me my own Logitech camera to make more animations and minimations. I have started a Youtube channel, and I have posted my animations on my channel, which is called The Lego Detective.  If you want to see my animations and minimations again, you can!

Interested in joining The Digital Arts Experience’s Summer Tech Camps for 2014? Check out our website and video below for more information!


What is Processing & Why Do We Teach it to Kids?

Written by Cristina Calabrese, Director of Operations & Founding Member at The Digital Arts Experience – Friday, Jan. 24th, 2014

When I first heard about Processing 6 months ago, I had no idea what it was. Did it have to do with writing Microsoft Word Documents? Was it about typing? Is it related to my computer’s quad-core processor? Nope.

One of our programming instructors, Byron, describes it nicely in his course syllabus:

“Processing is an open source, free to download language. It was developed to initiate non-programmers into computer programming through the instant gratification of visual feedback. It is a simple language branching from Java. Thus the learning curve for future language learning is dampened by playing in this colorful environment.”

Still not sure exactly what it is? That’s okay! After reading a little bit about it, I too was not entirely sure what Processing is used for and why it exists. When Computer Science Education Week hosted “The Hour of Code”, I stumbled upon Khan Academy’s Introduction to Javascript and proceeded to take their series of lessons to start me on my journey. So wait a minute, is it Processing? is it Java? is it Javascript? What’s this all about? HELP!

Introduction to Processing.js / Javascript
Khan Academy’s Hour of Code: Introduction to Javascript

Processing is based off of Java; which is why it’s kid friendly. The syntax and code is broken down a lot more and is easier to read and write.

Processing exports into Javascript, which can be embedded into websites. Did that spark your interest?

Processing provides instant feedback. As soon as you input your code, you will immediately see what you’ve created. Colorful shapes, animations, visual effects and more.

For example, to create a rectangle, you’d simple type:

rect(200, 100, 40, 75);

rect = Draw Rectangle. The 4 numbers are the x-coordinate (200), the y-coordinate (100), the width of the rectangle (40) , and the height of the rectangle (75). On Khan Academy, your rectangle will end up looking like this:

Computer Programming for kids

    Using Khan Academy’s Computer Programming lessons, learn how to draw shapes and create art using math!
  • You can create video games.
  • You can program your computer to do your homework.
  • You can create colorful shapes and art.
  • You can create 2D animation and visual effects.

…all while using math, algebra and basics of code logic.

Khan Academy was an EXCELLENT resource for me in my first real adventure into the world of coding. It is completely free to join and their mission is simple:

“We’re a not-for-profit with the goal of changing education for the better by providing a free world-class education for anyone anywhere. All of the site’s resources are available to anyone. It doesn’t matter if you are a student, teacher, home-schooler, principal, adult returning to the classroom after 20 years, or a friendly alien just trying to get a leg up in earthly biology. Khan Academy’s materials and resources are available to you completely free of charge.”

It took me about 4 weeks to complete all of their lessons and training, but I’ve learned so much along the way. And I’ve also created some really neat programs! Want to see my latest work? Check out this simple painting app that I programmed a few nights ago. Complete with “The DAE’s” staple logo colors blue, pink, green! Additionally, I urge you to sign up for KhanAcademy for free, too and check out all of their amazing programs, tutorials, lessons and more!

Basic Painting App! Made by Cristina.

Now that you have a better understanding of the power of processing, it should be a no brainer as to why we’d want to teach this to kids! It gets them involved in the world of coding without the intimidation of some of the harder languages such as C++ or Java. It teaches them the logic and understanding behind code while allowing them to explore creative outlets. (All while using math! Wow!)

Here at The DAE, we’ll be running a number of Processing classes for kids and teens ages 8 – 17 in Westchester, Fairfield and Rockland Counties. See our upcoming course schedule below:


Thursdays, 4:00-5:30PM (Ages 8-12) 02/13 – 04/10

Thursdays, 6:00-8:00PM (Ages 13-17): 02/13 – 04/10


Saturdays, 10:00AM – 12:00PM (Ages 8-12) 03/01 – 04/26

Saturdays, 12:00PM – 2:00PM (Ages 13-17) 03/01 – 04/26


February 17th – 21st – Ages 10-16

9:30AM – 12:00PM: Computer Programming with Processing

12:00PM – 1:00PM: Lunch & Activity Break

1:00PM – 3:30PM: Computer Programming with Processing

3D Character Design

Intro to 3D Animation with Blender: Classes at The Digital Arts Experience in Westchester

Hey Westchester! Summer is fast approaching. It officially begins in the Northern Hemisphere on June 21, 2013, at 1:04 A.M EDT, to be exact. At around the same time, The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) in White Plains, NY will be busily preparing to begin its summer camps for kids and teens that start the second week of July.

Although their camps will run Monday through Friday from 9:00AM – 4:00PM, The DAE wanted to provide alternate options for weekend classes. Starting the day after the summer solstice, The DAE will begin an 8-week Saturday 3D Animation class for teens ages 16-20.

The class, entitled “Intro to 3D Animation using Blender” will give teens the opportunity to explore the open source program Blender, and learn how to create their own stunning 3D characters and animations.

The DAE’s very own Animation instructor, Nicholas Sceusa, was recently interviewed by Phil Shapiro, educator and open source software enthusiast via In the interview, Nick discusses his use of Blender at The Digital Arts Experience in Westchester, and how he teaches it to high school students. To view the blog entry, please follow the link: Teaching the open source creative tool, Blender, to high school students.

The Digital Arts Experience’s classes are small, 100% hands on and focus on collaboration so your teen will develop social, technical and creative skills for the present and for the future. The classes are held at a max of 6 students so that everyone gets the personal, individualized attention they deserve. Everyone also gets their own 21.5” iMac computer to work on throughout the class, to enable them to work with the most up to date digital arts tools and technologies. To sign up today, please refer to the teen program application form.

As for the Summer Camps at The DAE, kids & teens can choose their area of interest in either: Animation, Graphic Design, Moviemaking, Photography and Web Design. These 2-week programs are all project based, so everyone will leave with completed projects and work to show for a portfolio. To view the summer camp application, please refer to this link.

The Digital Arts Experience (The DAE) is a community focused learning & production facility located in downtown White Plains that teaches courses for kids, teens and adults in Animation, Graphic Design, Moviemaking, Photography, Web Design, Blogging, computer/smart phone basics and more. In addition to teaching classes, The DAE also offers creative and design services to help your business grow. With their in-house professional photography/video studio, fully equipped recording studio, 4 computer labs with all of the latest professional software and industry active staff, The DAE prides itself on being not only a resource for the community, but a productive place you can go to meet other like-minded individuals who share your interests.

Stop by at any time for a tour of its brand new, state-of-the-art 8,000 sq. ft facility, or feel free to call 914-644-8100, e-mail, or visit for more information!