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Easy and Creative Stop Motion Animation Techniques

Stop Motion Animation is a very creative hobby. It is also very inexpensive to start out in; and you can probably do it for no cost at all. All you need is a typical digital camera, some basic software, and a few ideas. Here are some thoughts and tips to get your creativity flowing in this hobby.

When thinking about doing some kind of animation you have to think outside the box and realize that just about anything at all will make a good subject. And you have to think about the fact that just about any medium will work well also.



Two Dimensional Ideas

Working in two dimensions gives you a lot of creative and inexpensive options. You can simply draw pictures on paper and erase then redraw them to show the motions you want to make. An alternative to erasing is to draw series of pictures on separate sheets of paper and photograph them individually. This can give you extraordinary results but is very challenging to make sure the images stay cleanly tracked without slippage which would make it very jerky and shaky.

An excellent way to draw pictures is to use some kind of an erasable surface. This tends to be much easier than drawing pictures on paper and two excellent mediums for this are the dry erase board and the chalkboard. These make it very easy to erase potions of your drawing and redraw the motions. I highly recommend using a dry erase board if you want to get some great looking animations and if you have some skill in drawing.

Drawing images of figures and objects then cutting them out and using them in animations is an excellent way to get very creative and very expressive animations. There are two important additions you can make to this style of animation. You can cut the drawing into segments to show motion. An example of this would be to draw a human form then cut it into its different parts like arms, legs, head and torso. This way you can move them individually much as a human moves. Another way to enhance cut out drawings is to make multiple drawings of the same object to show motion or rotation. A good example of this would be a face. You would draw multiple faces such as one with the mouth closed and one with the mouth open. This way you can alternate between the drawings and simulate talking.

Three Dimensional Animation

There are some exciting possibilities available to you when you start to think about doing animation in three dimensions. And the first place you could start is with clay or play-doh. If you don’t have any of these materials you can easily make some out of flour, salt and water. Another very simply yet very expressive technique is to use wire. You can easily shape it into figures and objects. It holds its shape well yet is easy to manipulate into simulations of motion. Wire is so effective that it is often the frame over which many modern figures are made. This technique is called using a wire armature.

Action figures and dolls make great animation subjects as long as they have movable joints and body parts so you can articulate them. But you don’t have to stick with that. Just about any three-dimensional object can be used in interesting ways. You can draw small eyes, noses, and mouths then attach them to any object and come up with an interesting anthropomorphic little project. You can even carve potatoes or apples and get some great videos. And just moving objects around can be the source of some interesting videos. Watching furniture move around a room can be a good idea or watching items move around a desk can also be interesting.

Animating yourself and the real world is also a fun way to approach the hobby. If you stand at attention and take a picture then move forward six inches, stand at attention and take another picture you can come up with a great series of pictures that show you magically sliding around without moving your feet. You can also do the same thing by jumping into the air and snapping a picture of yourself. Move forward six inches, jump, and snap another picture. With this technique you can create an animation that shows you floating around.

Some final tips

Don’t forget the camera. If you really want to make your animations special you should move the camera as you take your series of pictures. You can do this by either zooming in or out or panning from side to side. This moving of the camera is the single best way to make your animations stand out.

While the medium you use for your animation is very important and can turn a plain animation into something special to look at you should put some time and thought into the story of the animation. This is what can turn it into something truly remarkable. Surprise your viewers and keep them guessing as to what will happen next.

Just about anything in your every day world can be transformed into something extraordinary with a little bit of animation magic and a little bit of creativity. Just look around your house and you will discover lots of great ideas.


Tutorials with Complete instructions and videos

Pipe Cleaner Animation

Use Pipe Cleaners
I show you how to do an easy stop motion animation with pipe cleaners. And I show you how to make a little animation studio with just a box and a few materials. I also have a 1 minute stop motion animation I made and you can watch. The picture is a screenshot from the little animation. Stop Motion Animation with Pipe Cleaners

WW2 Stop Motion

Use a Diorama

New Tutorial on how to use a Diorama to make a stop motion animation. I created a 1 minute long animation with a WW2 Diorama. I show you some tricks and techniques that I used. Use a Diorama to Make a Stop Motion Animation

Dry erase board animation set up

9 Creative Techniques for stop motion animation. This tutorial comes with a video and an animation. I show you a setup I made with a dry erase board. And I do an animation that shows the 9 creative techniques. Tutorial: 9 Creative Techniques

Lizard animation

Use Clay

Using a wire armature and playdoh to make an animated lizard. This shows the basic concept of using a wire armature which is used in most stop motion animation characters. The lizard Animation

A Knight Animation

Use Paper

A Paper Knight A video tutorial that shows you how to do an animation using a simple drawing. This stop motion work uses a drawing of a knight. It uses 114 images, took me 90 minutes to do and the animation lasts 28 seconds. See the Tutorial here


Beginners guide to animation

Beginner's Guide to Animation: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started

To beginners, making an animated movie can seem like voodoo magic. And in fact, until recently, animation was expensive and time-consuming. But now with the help of Beginner's Guide to Animation, anyone can make animated movies, using a digital camera, basic software, and a computer. The book begins with an illustrated guide to setting up a simple animation studio at home, including a list of essential items. Then, new animators hit the ground running with six innovative, instructive projects designed to develop technical skills and explore the potential of animation. A full collection of scannable templates makes it even easier to get started and to finish up. Tips, tricks, and clear instructions on editing, scoring, even making your own show reels and shorts make this the complete one-volume guide to amazing friends and family-and everyone on YouTube!-with great I-made-it-myself animation.

Klutz book of animation

The Klutz Book of Animation: Make Your Own Stop Motion Movies

Welcome to the wide-open world of animation. It used to take an empire the size of the Magic Kingdom to make an animated film. And to get viewers, you'd need access to cineplexes or television networks. In other words, you were either in the industry or in the audience. That was then. Today, creating animation for a potential audience of 600 million requires a laptop, a camera, and an internet connection. That's it. The barriers have come down, the people have taken over, and the results are amazing. The Klutz Book of Animation is a complete how-to treatment of this newly accessible art form. It combines practical instruction and ready-to-shoot scripts. Real-life samples of all the projects are viewable online - the perfect marriage of book and web. Speaking of web, the software you'll need is available as a free download. It's plug and play on any computer (PC or Mac). Attached to the book is a piece of low-tech, non-toxic clay, ready to be molded into a million different heroes starring in a million different films - all of them animatedly yours.

Secrets of Clay Animation

Secrets Of Clay Animation Revealed 3!

Secrets of Clay Animation Revealed 3 is a book teaching all methods the experts use to make stop motion films from start to finish. After reading Secrets you will know how to create several types of armatures, learn how puppets are sculpted, make a motion control rig, light your sets, make your own surface gages, use video reference, chroma key, capture programs and more.

Stop Motion Craft Skills

Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation, Second Edition (Focal Press Visual Effects and Animation)

This authoritative primer of the craft skills required in model animation teaches the basic building blocks of the creation of character driven animation.


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