Stop Motion in Music Videos is not a new idea whatsoever. However every now and then I come across an imaginative stop motion that is worth discussing and recommending. The band or group in question in this case is called “Imaginary People”. The music and song that the video is promoting is also good, which adds to the over feel and mood of the piece. Unfortunately the band themselves give very little away in terms of who they are. Even their website tells you more or less nothing about where they are from, line up , names and so on. They are a New York based 5 piece all male band, that much I know. This blog will therefore just focus on the creativity in their animation and on the stop motion in music videos as a subject. They release the video on December 4th ( 2013 ) to promote their single “Gold Coast”.
The stop motion evokes the early days of stop motion animation. It’s shot using the “Sepia” filter. Which gives that old black and whitish look that was used in early stop motion on 8mm film. Sepia is more accurately described in photographic terminology as a reddish brown color named after the rich brown pigment derived from the ink sac of the common cuttlefish – Sepia. The characters in the animation are made from wood and wire ( in the pipe cleaner style) for arms and legs. It looks like it is running at about 15 to 18 frames per second in order to add to the “old style” look and feel, but it’s difficult to say for sure. The video follows the line of the song lyrics as is true with most stop motion in music videos. There are animals and people living in an imaginary world with a shoe for house, witches, giant eagles. The storyline shows a character cutting of a horses tail. A witch on a broom rescuing a child who has been taken by a giant eagle. The animation has a charm all of it’s own. I would encourage you to watch it and give the band a tweet or a follow perhaps.
How to teach Stop Motion Animation to Kids.
Some general guidelines
Stop motion animation in the curriculum is an incredibly creative and tangible form of artistic endeavor. It makes traditional 2D art seem almost archaic. It brings objects, characters and environments to life in three dimensions. It is also a very modern form of art despite being around for over 100 years. It merges hands on art , modelling and set creation with computer information technology (ICT) in a very accessible way. But how to teach stop motion animation to kids can often seem quiet a daunting task for educators. However I believe from my experience with working with kids that once you explain the basic concept to them they make very good progress. There are also a few things worth relating in order however to put some structure around a class namely:
Step 1 – Brainstorming
This step may need the most guidance. Often kids can get a little lost in the various ideas that are thrown in to the mix. Encouraging creativity is of course key but you may have to guide them a little also. Perhaps suggest creating an animation of a simple fairytale. Or perhaps a poem that is being studied in school in that semester. Keep in mind that the story has to be achievable with the materials available in the classroom.
Step 2 – Storyboarding
Its always a really good idea to create a storyboard. This step does not have to be difficult. A simple A4 sheet of paper divided in to 6 boxes can describe the scenes of the story.
Step 3 – Set and character making
This is a really fun stage. Whether you care using paper/card cutout characters or clay kids love this step. Be careful to ensure that the characters the kids build are not too complex. If your character is too delicate it will be difficult to animate. Give it big feet and simple features.
Step 4 – Animating
Once the kids have created a simple set and a character they can begin animating. Here is where the storyboard comes in to play. Make sure they follow it and do not go of course. It’s a learning process for yourself learning how to teach stop motion animation to kids so be patient.
Step 5 – Editing
Once all images are taken you can start editing. This may involve removing some images or just adding music or voiceovers.
If you want to learn more on how to teach stop motion animation to kids then browse the educational section of this site.
Stop Motion Software for KIDs…
requires a number of important factors to ensure its suitability. There are a number of stop motion software programs on the market today but not all are suitable for younger users. So when you are searching the web and trying the various offerings you must be careful. While some stop motion software programs look relatively easy to use they can be overly complicated for kids. Kids look at software differently from adults. For example a color scheme on the interface that might appear too bright and garish to an adult most likely will appeal to a younger user. So here a few things to watch out for when choose stop motion software for kids.
An Intuitive and Attractive interface
It goes without saying that a dull and lack luster interface will not attract the interest of kids. The layout of the interface should be brightly colored and well structured. Buttons with graphical representations of the functions they perform are a prerequisite. Minimal text should appear with long description sentences. The buttons can have captions and floating descriptors but their function should be obvious.
Drag and Drop Navigation
With the advent of touch panel phones and ipads kids now presume everything is drag and drop. Moving images or dropping sounds on to a timeline should all be available in stop motion software for kids. The days of entering text and using keyboards in general to navigate is truly gone.
Kids do not want to read manuals. If they want to know how to perform a function or use a feature then they want to be shown how to do it visually. In other words they want to watch a video tutorial stepping them through the process with easy visual keys. So look for a site specifically designed with video tutorials backing up the stop motion software for kids in question.
We believe iKITMovie meets all these vital criteria.
Paper Cut Out Stop Motion Animation
is one of the cutest forms of animation that absolutely anyone can do at any age. With just a little imagination with a scissors and some colored paper you can create stunning animation. I have selected a few of my favorite paper cut out stop motion animation clips below to enjoy. I have also included the best tutorials on how to go about creating these animations. For those of you who are not sure what cutout animation is exactly let me tell you.
Paper cutout stop motion animation is a way of creating animations using flat characters and props shaped out of colored paper or card or fabric. The shapes are layed flat on a surface and moved incrementally between taking snapshots as in traditional stop motion. It’s a very old technique with some surviving work as far back at 1922. Quirino Cristiani (July 2, 1896 – August 2, 1984) was a great cartoonist who used this technique. A more recent well known series used paper cutout stop motion animation namely “South Park”.
Paper Cut Out Stop Motion Animation is a very popular form of animation in schools. Combining the traditional art and crafts style
seen in all schools with animation takes creativity to a new level. Incorporating art and digital art in a fantastically accessible way. Children as young as 6 years old can become proficient in creating animation with some guidance. Gone are the days of sticking pieces of paper to larger sheets to make a still picture. Innovative teachers are now getting animated. Simple fairy tales such as the three little pigs or Goldilocks and the three bears can be brought to life with paper cut out stop motion animation. It’s easy to get started. All you need is some colored paper or card, a scissors, a webcam and stand , some stop motion software and your imagination.
Smooth Stop Motion – Want to know How to make it?
You see all too many jerky stop motion animation on YouTube these days. It makes viewing the animation and following the storyline far less appealing than it needs to be. It’s very simple to make your stop motion smoother. The results of spending a little more time and attention will not only satisfy you with results but also make the animation more inviting to watch. A smooth stop motion will attract more viewers and fans of your animation. So how do you make a smooth stop motion? The answer is simple – you need to make smaller incremental movements and take more snapshots per second.
The number of images you capture to make up one second of animation is described as “frames per second” or “FPS”. The greater the number of images you capture per second the smoother your animation will appear when it is replayed. There is a limit obviously to how many frames you need to take per second. Thirty ( 30 ) frames per second ( fps ) is considered the absolute maximum required. In fact professional stop motion rarely uses more then 24 fps. Amateur stop motion can be very effective at achieving smooth stop motion at 15 frames per second. In other words taking fifteen images for one second of animation will give you acceptably smooth animation.
Shown below is an example of an animation done at a low frame rate – I would estimate about 5 fps. Below is animation done at 15 fps. You can see the stark difference between the two of them. The 15 FPS is true stop motion animation whereas the first animation is barely animation. It could be seen more as a slide show.
5 FPS – Not Smooth Stop Motion
15 FPS – Smooth Stop Motion
So guys it’s up to you. Start taking more snapshots by making smaller incremental movements with you charcters and take 15 snaps to make one second to ensure that you too can make smooth stop motion animations.
Claymation is a wonderful form of stop motion animation that everyone should try at least once. So what exactly is claymation you ask? Well as the name implies it involves animation with clay. You can not only use the clay to create your characters but also the scenery . With claymation, like with any stop motion , you create a scene, put a character in the scene, take a snapshot or photograph. Then move the character every so slightly and take another photo snapshot. Repeat this process over and over again. When you play back the images in quick succession you get classic animation of an inanimate object.
There are some challenges when creating claymation however. Firstly you must ensure that you use the correct clay. An oil based clay is a must. Water based clays dry out too quickly and will cause cracks to appear on your characters. This will be very unappealing to your viewers. Also you will have to support more complex claymation characters with multiple limbs for example. You can avoid such issues by making more basic characters. Make their legs chunky for example. Make their arms short with basic hands. Don’t bother with five fingers for example. Just make a “mit” like hand with a thumb. Also give them short necks. Long slender necks will move easily. Make the face with basic features. Use beads for eyes with a hole in the center so that you can use a pin to move the eyes.
The most famous claymation characters cannot go without a mention here..Wallace and Gromit. We all love them. But claymation characters have been around for years. For example back in the 70′s Gumby was the most famous claymation character. Plonsters is one of my favorites. See the video animation of the Market below.
I would urge anyone to give claymation a try. Just start off with a simple “blob-like” character with simple features. Get it to move across the screen to start. Get him to smile and blink perhaps. Once you’ve learned the basics you can start to open up your imagination to unlimited creativity.
Looking for Animation software for Kids?
If you are looking for animation software for kids then you have come to the right place. Kids are the most demanding of users. They will require any stop motion software or animation kit gives them great features. Features such as an easy and attractive interface and enough wiggle room to allow them to be as creative as their minds will allow them to be. We have developed iKITMovie to meet and exceed any kids expectations of animation software. When we started developing our software we asked kids what they wanted in an animation kit. Their top five items were:
- Sound effects, Music ,Voiceover
- Works with Webcams
- Overlays – Muzzle flashes, explosions
- Timeline layout
- Cool looking interface
The most requested feature by far was the ability to add multiple sound fx to an animation. This we have done with iKIT but also we have included some 2,200 high quality sound fx in a library right in the application itself. No need to purchase or go looking all over on the internet for sounds. Sound fx such as footsteps, gunshots, screams, explosions and more are all included and ready to drop in to the timeline by dragging and dropping.
We have delivered on all these demands and more. For example we added background image and video replacement technology. This feature is also called Chromakey or greenscreening. With this you can put in a still background image or video image to wipe out a background green or blue color. This saves you lots of time creating backdrops for you animation. We included lots of still images and videos in a library that ready to use with iKITMovie. So now you do not have to go searching the internet for something to use in your animation.
A YouTube upload button was also included to make it far easier to upload your finished animation directly to your very own channel.
A good Stop Motion chroma key affect if well executed can make an ordinary animation a little more special. What is chroma key? Well think of the weatherman or even superman. A character in front of a blue or green screen in a studio is seen by the viewer with weather maps behind him in the case of the weatherman. Were in fact he only sees a blue / green screen, we see images of maps of states, clouds etc etc. And in the case of superman we see a sky and clouds moving in the background ..the cameraman in the studio sees an actor dangling from support wires in front of a green screen. So now with Stop Motion software such as iKITMovie you too can change the background.
Changing a background with stop motion software used to be difficult. In fact a lot of the stop motion software available does not have even have a stop motion chroma key feature. So you would have to export your finished movie to another application that has chromakey in order to add backgrounds. And the stop motion software out there that does have chromakey is tricky to use at the best of times. Not only does iKITMovie stop motion software make it easier to use stop motion chroma key it also includes a library of still images and video images ready to use for backgrounds. When we reviewed stop motion software with chroma key the two areas which we felt that let them down were “A” only a single color could be chromakeyed out and “B” they did not give you any video or still images to work with. You had to search for appropriate images/video yourself either online or offline, resize them and import them in to your stop motion software. We felt that this slowed down they creative animation process. So we set about addressing these two issues. After over 14 months of development we believe we have addressed both these issues and more.
iKIT allows you to do stop motion chroma key out up to 3 colors. This is really useful if you have any shading in your backdrop. While to the naked eye you may think that your blue / green backdrop looks all the same color throughout, it invariably will have slight differences in shading of the blue/green ( whichever color you are using ). To help with this iKIT allows you to click on up to three different shades of your backdrop. This will ensure that all your blue or green is chromakeyed out correctly so that the background image or video can show up. So if you are looking for stop motion software that gives a great result without spending too much time on lighting etc then iKIT is for you. Its perfect for what you would expect from good stop motion software.
Good Stop Motion Ideas
Whether you are looking for some good stop motion ideas for kids or beginners you have come to the right place.
Cutout Paper Stop Motion animation.
Paper cut out animation is a really nice way to do stop motion. It is especially good for telling stories. Like the one example I have given below from Caitlyn McHarge who recreated her near death experience of a car crash. Caitlyn has told the story with colored paper cutouts like many you will see on YouTube. However she has been really clever in her use of sets to give a real sense of movement. I was sad to see that her animation has received very little views for such an expertly created animation. She certainly has some neat good stop motion ideas in her animation.
Clay Morphing Claymation Stop Motion
Another good stop motion idea that is reasonably easy to execute is described as morphing claymation. This involves creating a character of object the morphs in to something completely different often randomly to entertain the viewer. There are absolutely thousands of really good examples of this technique on Youtube. I have just pulled up one example to show you the claymation morphing in action. The undisputed king of the claymation morphing techique is guy called “Mamshmam” ( YouTube channel name ) aka Callum Bowden. Callum uses an oil based clay ( a must ) called Belgrave clay. But note that paticular brand of clay is only available in Australia. There are many other oil based clays out there that are just as good, such as Van Aken, or Claytoon. He has lots of tutorials on his site to give you some more good stop motion ideas for you to try out.
There are a number of really good stop motion animators who use LEGO’s to animate. One of the est out there is guy called Michael Hickox. His channel MichaelHickoXFilms is well worth checking out. Watch the animation below from him and you will be inspired to try some of the things he does in his brickfilm. Most of the techniques are straightforward and can be done by beginners. Take a look and pick out a scene you like from his “Lego Halloween” animation and try it for yourself. It can be a simple 30 second animation to start. For example do a scene with lightning and make a character appear in the flash. Make sure you do like he does however and add atmospheric music and good sound fx. The animation is full of good stop motion ideas. Watch it a few times and practice.
How to do stop motion
So you want to know how to do stop motion ? Well this article will tell you all you need to know about making a stop motion animation video. You will need a few things first to get started. Namely a computer , some stop motion software, a camera and something that you want to animate.
A good place to learn how to do stop motion is by browsing youtube. There are millions of stop motion videos there which can inspire you by giving you ideas for your stop motion animations. There are also lots of tutorials online which will teach you everything from the basics to the advanced techniques such as “ease in – ease out”. Try to search in youtube for videos that have lots of views and are more recent were possible. This will ensure that you get more up to date information especially when it comes to the latest stop motion software and cameras. Its also worth noting that there are some channels dedicated to stop motion and these will most likely have the best animation tutorials, tips and tricks to help you.
Some basics you will need include, stop motion software, a webcam or digital still camera , a computer and some lamps. If you are very new to stop motion then I would recommend using a webcam. A webcam is easy to secure and place within a small set placed on a table for example. Anther advantage with a web camera is that they are relatively inexpensive and robust. You don’t want to be tying up a large DSLR camera on your set if you wish to use it for everyday use also.
This page on how to do stop motion sets out the basics of creating a set and animating your characters. Some notable items which are common to all animating that you should watch out for include lighting and securing your animation set. Because stop motion relies on very small incremental movements that you need to control step by step, any unplanned movements will be a disaster. Also a poorly lit set without good lamps will have shadows which can not only distract the viewer but can cause undue flicker. Both of these unintentional additions to your stop motion will ensure that your viewers will not be engaged.