Sunday, January 20, 2013

Making Stuff: Stop Motion Animation Option

Stop motion animation is a process by which physically manipulated objects or drawings can be made to look as if they are moving unaided. It begins with a series of still images taken of a scene wherein carefully planned, but slight, changes are made in each still shot. Run together, these still images create the illusion of movement. Digital stop motion animation is like an analogue flipbook animation created with a digital still camera and video editing software like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. Popular examples of commercial stop motion movies and television series include: Wallace & Grommit, Chicken Run, Coraline, and James and the GiantPeach, to name but a few. Stop motion animations can be music videos, or short stories, or full-length movies.
In this workshop, youll learn the basic principles of stop motion animation, and make a short movie of your own.
Stopmotion animation comes in a range of forms, including: whiteboard line drawings, hand-drawn images, action figure or doll stop motion, Lego stop motion, claymation, and so on. Search YouTube for examples, or check out the following:
· (an example of what's often referred to as "pixelation")
· (an example of object animation--in this case, beads on a bead board)
· (this one is just too clever for words!)
· (an example of 2D paper animation)
· (whiteboard and markers animation)

You can find a quick overview of the process here:

And there are lots of useful affinity spaces available online, including: and

Quick tips and hints: Do a quick trial run of the process first (e.g., five frames + a title and a credit page)  to get a fell for the technical dimensions of the process; watch a lot of exemplars of the type of stop motion animation you plan to create; Map out a bit of story idea first before doing anything else; keep your camera absolutely in the same position (taping it down if need be); use simple backgrounds; take care with lighting and shadows (including where you and your team mates' shadows fall); use your cameras playback setting to check image quality; tiny movements of key pieces are better than big movements; a music soundtrack will add extra-dimension to your video, too.
Have fun!

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