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This is a tutorial on a few advanced techniques for stop motion animation. I won't get into the really serious advanced techniques that they use in studios. I will cover some advanced techniques that are perfect for you if you are learning how to do animation and want to make your work better and make it look better. There are a few things you can do and a few things you should know and I will cover them. And you can see how all of this is applied to my short animation called "DragonSlayer 7 The Adventure Begins" I have created this into a 1 minute short video and you can watch it right here in the embedded youtube video below.


Here are the areas that I will cover in this tutorial:

  • Storyboarding
  • Transition Shots
  • Establishing Shot
  • Lighting
  • Set Design and Building
  • Bolting armatures to the floor or ground


In this tutorial I use the set and other things from this video I made. Watch the video to get a feel for what I have done with this project.


The picture below is most of the set that I used to make the animation. I arranged the rooms to be side by side with a door between them so the character could move freely between the rooms. If you have watched the video you know that there is also an outside scene where the character opens up the door and steps out onto the porch. I wil also show you more about this scene and particularly talk about the lighting.

Two room animation set




Storyboarding is one of the most important things you can do when beginning your stop motion animation project. I can't stress this enough. You really need to draw out some kind of a storyboard. It is very necessary and very helpful. It will save you a lot of time and a lot of trouble!


The Storyboard doesn't have to be complex and you don't have to be an artist. You can just draw stick figures if you want to, and that will be fine. The point of the story board is to tell the story in a visual way and to show what camera angles and what shots you are going to take during the animation.

The picture here shows the first page of the storyboard for the video that goes along with this tutorial.

I will take a look at the first two frames of the storyboard and then show you how this applies to the video.

You want to lay out the camera angles and shots here so you can build your set and set up your camera and miniatures the right way.

Two frames of the storyboard

Ok, Here are the first two frames in the storyboard. Frame 1 is the opening shot. It is a shot of the figure standing near the table. And frame 2 is a closeup of the figure. See how laying this out makes it easy to do the camera work?

The first scene

And here is a picture from the series of photos that I shot for this first scene.

The second scene

Once I shot the series of pictures for the first frame of the storyboard I then moved on to the second frame of the storyboard as shown here. I call this the closeup shot where the character looks at his arms and hands in amazement because of the transformation that occurrred.

So, it is very important to draw out some kind of a storyboard so you can understand visually what will happen in the animation. It will help you get the animation right and it will show you any difficulties that might occur. For example I know that I have to get a camera up close to the figure in this second shot and I have to leave space for it when building the set. And I have to make sure the area has good lighting.


Be sure to storyboard the whole story!

NextOk, let's move on to the next lesson in this tutorial: Transition shots - they are an excellent way to improve your animation and make it look much more professional.


The animated mouth

How to make talking figures in stop motion animation

Ever wonder how they make the mouths move in an animation? I have the tutorial right here. Now you can make animations that talk! How to make talking mouths in stop motion animation



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