Dan Beard Merit Badge Challenge
March/April 2021

Completing the Merit Badge

There are 5 requirements you must complete to earn the merit badge. We will discuss all of them together and for #3, you will create an animation of your own which is a big task you need to accomplish.

Your Homework

Before we meet on our first Saturday, please review the History of Animation by going to these 2 links. You don’t need to read every word. Just review them and get a feel for the history. We will be discussing them during our 2nd Zoom meeting. I will be adding 2 more links to some video history on YouTube which do a great job covering some details.

Day 1

For our first meeting, we will be concentrating on learning about the 12 Principles of Animation. The link to the video is below the image with the numbers. Please watch this before our first Zoom meeting. It is about 30 minutes long. After the Zoom meeting, you will need to decide which of the 2 principles you want to demonstrate. Then you will make a cartoon type story board that outlines what your video is going to do. Both of these are due before the 2nd day we meet on Zoom. I will review your 2 choices and your cartoon panel drawing and make some suggestions over email. Please keep the scope of your animation short and simple. I’ll help you know whether you are on the right track, if it is going to be too much work, or if it will be too little.

See for the requirements.

12 Principles of Animation

The video you are creating must be at least 8 seconds long and show me the 2 techniques you have selected. If you want to split that up into 2 animations showing one technique each, that is fine. Remember, 1 second of animation is 24 frames, so you will need 172 images or more to create a video that is long enough. We will be discussing techniques that you can use to reduce this work quite a bit.

Below are some examples of storyboards showing a plan for an animation. These are just ideas, don’t feel like you have to make anything fancy. I just need to see what you are planning to do so I can help you.

Image result for animation storyboard

The key is to show me the key parts of your animation. How well they are drawn doesn’t matter. This is very much like a cartoon and is concerned only with conveying a story.


The other decision you have to make is how you are going to create your animation. You may choose any method you wish. I have listed a few options to help provide some guidance. I’ll be showing some of them in our Zoom discussion so we can see how they work. It is important that you pick one that you are comfortable with. Creating 176+ images is going to be hard enough without having to learn how to use tools or work with items you are not familiar with. So keep in mind what tools you have, what you enjoy working with, and know that you can complete in the little time we have before the 3rd meeting.

  • Cell Animation – Hand-drawn (Disney) [very hard]
  • Limited – Like old cartoons and anime [hard]]
  • Stop Motion – Frame by frame picture taking [easy]
  • Claymation – Requires skill in modeling with clay [hard]
  • Cutout – Paper cutouts [medium]
  • Zoetrope – Circular motion with strobe light [hard]
  • Flipbook – Most popular and very portable [medium]

Here is a video on how to make a flipbook.

There is software out there that can take a lot of pictures and make a movie from them. These are great when creating a stop motion animation. You can also take pictures of each page in your flipbook and make a movie out of it.

I can’t really offer much help in the creation of your movie. Whatever you do though, you need to be able to email it to me or show it over Zoom. I need to see it so I can review it. If you did it on a gaming device or phone, make sure that it will be visible over Zoom. Some devices have flicker which creates filming problems. You always want to have a backup of the work you have done. Nothing is worse than working a long time on a project only have it disappear or fail because of a technical problem.

Day 2

When we get together for our second meeting, we will be discussing the storyboard and getting feedback from each other. We will also discuss what you have chosen for your medium, and the way you are going to create your animation. We will continue our discussion on the 12 principles as needed to reinforce your understanding of what you have chosen to demonstrate. And we will review a couple of badge requirements such as visiting an animation studio and discussing what jobs exist related to animation and the industry. I’ll be adding links here later so that you can watch the videos on your own time and we will just need to discuss them when we get together.

NOTE: Creating your animation is going to take a lot of time. Be reasonable on how much you are trying to do. Get an early start and don’t worry about small imperfections. Do your best to work through them. You can always go back and fix things as needed. Don’t forget that you are trying to demonstrate 2 of the 12 techniques. If you find that you just can’t do one of them, email me which technique you want to switch to. Changing your mind is not a bad thing. The important thing is showing me that you understand the techniques, not the quality of your movie.

Day 3

Requirement 3c : Share your animations with your counselor. Explain how you created each one, and discuss any improvements that could be made.

On our last day, we will be reviewing the animations everyone created together. I like to share them with everyone, so if you don’t want to do that, let me know when I ask for your video.

If your video is done and meets the requirements, I’ll mark you ask complete with Dan Beard and they will get with your Scoutmaster to get you your blue merit badge.

If you are not done, we can continue working together over email and once you have finished the project, I can inform Dan Beard that you have completed the merit badge. If you just want a partial for the merit badge, let me know and I’ll make that happen. But I encourage you to make the effort to complete since you have the information fresh in your mind.

If there are any requirements that we haven’t yet completed, we will finish them up on this last day.