Stop motion is a technique where an inanimate object is animated through series of multiple of short recordings of the same object moving. When all put together that inanimate three dimensional object appears to be in motion. You can play around with stop motion endlessly as there is a lot of potential to be creative. We will cover some basic techniques and ideas on where to start.
The stop motion animation is probably the most inexpensive way to start on video animation. All you need is a digital camera, a simple piece of editing software and a decent idea.
You can always choose whether to use two dimensional or three dimensional animations. Both leave a lot of room for ideas and experimenting.
Two dimensional stop motion animation
This is a very inexpensive option, because simply with a piece of paper or any surface that can be drawn on and a camera you can do so many things. Basic concept is to draw a figure, delete it and do the next motion. You can also use multiple sheets instead of erasing but this can cause complications when trying to be accurate, and the resulted animation can appear shaky.
The best way to do this would be to use some sort of erasable surface like dry chalkboard. This way you can quickly erase only parts that will be in motion very fast. If you have skill in drawing using dry chalkboard would be a wise decision. It allows quick and easy redraws, and your animations will look very good in black and white.
Other than drawing to create stop animation, you can use paper cutouts. This is a very fun and creative technique. There are also things you can do with the cutout objects that will make creating stop motion animation easier and more efficient. Like separately cutting out characters parts that will be used frequently in motion (eg. Limbs or other mechanical parts). Another thing you can do to further enhance your cut outs is to create multiple cut outs of the same object. Lets take a hand for example. You can make a closed fist, an open hand and a hand pointing with index finger, which you can switch around as you need them to create better and faster stop animations.
Three Dimensional animation
When starting with three dimensional animations you need to realize that any 3D object can be used for stop animation. Although objects with movable parts or joints are preffered. The first obvious choice would be play-doh, clay or wire. In case you don’t have any of these a combo of salt water and flour will serve you just well when you first start.
Wires are easily manipulable to create shapes and hold very well, on top of that you can easily move parts and change the shape of object at will, making it perfect for stop animations.
Action figures with movable parts are very common to see in stop animation videos. If you have some Lego figures laying around they can be a great object used for stop motion videos. They have movable parts plus you can replace parts as you wish.
Keep in mind that there is no limit to objects that you can use. There are stop animations that have just furniture moving around and they are amazing to watch.
In the end don’t forget to use your camera. Switch angles, move around, zoom in and out and make your animations have more detail and depth. Play around and find your own way to make stop motion animations.
Click here to see a post with great examples of stop animation videos, and hopefully give you an idea to start working on your own.
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