Archive for the ‘Stop Motion Tutorials and Tips’ Category
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.
There are many mistakes made when creating stop motion animations but here I have tried to illiterate the top 5 commonly made mistakes in order to help you improve your work.
Stop motion animation is an art that is accessible by people of all ages and abilities. It need not be confined to art and animation students in third level education or professional animators in the film industry. A ten year old child can easily master the art of stop motion with very little instruction from a professional. However no matter what age you are there are some basics that you need to take in to account in order to make the best presentation of your animation possible. Here I try to explain the most common or top 5 mistakes that those new to stop motion tend to inadvertently make during animation.
- Mistake 1 – Poor Lighting
This is key to creating a pleasurable viewing experience for your audience. If you set and character are poorly lit either by too little light or too much direct light then your viewers will soon tire of the animation. Another key element of lighting is that the lighting source must be reflected or filtered light. Harsh direct light will cause glare on your characters or objects that you are animating. This is especially true when using LEGO minifigures. Their hard shiny bright surfaces reflect light easily and thus are not as easy on the viewers eyes as you would like them to appear.
- Mistake 2 – An unsteady Set
I have seem all too many animators make the mistake of not securing their set before they start animating. The result can be a very distracting moving set mid animation which will dampen the viewers interest in the animation immediately. The illusion of animation will be dashed in such circumstances. So make sure that you secure your set with duck tape or bolts to a base plate to avoid this happening.
- Mistake 3 – Poor focus
Focus your webcam or whatever type of camera you are using or you will not keep the attention of your audience. If you are using a webcam most will allow you to focus through software. Avoid using a cheap webcam that insists on automatically focusing everything for you does not allow you to manually take control.
- Mistake 4 – Hands in the frame !
Again I have all too many times viewed stop motion animations on Youtube with hands flitting in and out of frames. This is an absolute show stopper for a viewer. If they see that you were not either organized enough or too lazy to take the frame again then they will not be willing to invest the time watching your animation. So keep your hands clear before taking your snaps. And if they do end up in there..then take the snap again before moving on to the next shot.
- Mistake 5 – No storyline !
This is a classic mistake that all newcomers to animation make without realizing it. You have to tell a story when you animate. The story can be very simple but there must be a point to your work. Freytags pyramid is a good starting point in order to put some structure on your animation. If you can’t think of simple original story, simply retell a classic story in your own way. A lack of a storyline will not engage your audience and they will simply move on.
I hope this article has helped you to avoid mistakes made while creating stop motion animations when you next turn on your computer and open your favorite stop motion software to create a great animation?
It can be difficult at times to decide the best approach to teach stop motion. Those new to the art of animation and using stop motion software may prefer to follow written step by step guides whereas others much prefer video tutorials. Most people prefer to watch a video tutorial. ” A picture paints a thousand words” as they say to come up with good stop motion ideas.This leads to a bit of dilemma for a website owner trying to promote stop motion. And as Google does not reward you for good video tutorials simply because it cannot see or understand the quality of a video content. On the other hand google very much likes written content. Thus you are sometimes forced to create a written tutorial in order that google pushes those interested in learning about stop motion to your site!
So the only solution to ensure that both your budding stop motion animators and search engines are happy I guess is to have a balance of both? I have seen some instances where a video promoting the topic in question has a transcription tagged underneath. Thus if you wish you can choose to read what was said or described and also watch the video on the same page.
There – I have got that rant off my chest! From now on we promise to put up more videos on stop motion and transcribe the content on the page also so that you can check on what has been said in writing. That should keep our stop motion animators happy and all search engines happy.
Of even easier still visit our stop motion tutorial page and browse at you ease to pick out what you like.
Bye for now guys. Happy Animating.
I have to admit to also not reading the manual when I should or not following the instructions accompanying a self assembly piece of furniture. So when I get questions which are answered on our site either in the FAQ or the video tutorials from users of the iKITMovie software I have to give a little smile to myself. I never mind answering these questions because they are firstly easy to answer and secondly our customers are always glad of the assistance. Also it’s great to get feedback and know that our software is being used by creative individuals of all ages around the world.
One common theme that runs through the majority of the hand full of support calls is to do with image resolution. Especially when users are capturing their still images with a digital still camera. Most digital still cameras capture images at their maximum image resolution by default. So I have come across users who have captured their stop motion images at 3648 x 2736 and then loaded them into iKITMovie and wondered why it runs slowly. We step them through how to reduce them in size but it could have saved them time if they had viewed the Getting started video tutorial online. Even if they had viewed the tutorial it is common to find that most people do not know how to check the size or resolution of the capture images once they have copied them to their PC.
It’s not generally known that it is very easy indeed to check the resolution of the images. By simply floating the mouse cursor over the thumbnail of the image on their PC the screen resolution is shown ( as seen in the image below )
Depending on the power and memory available on their PC we recommend at least 640×480 image resolution. 800×600 or HD 960×720 can also be used if they have say 3gb of RAM. We are considering creating a filter on import to automatically change the resolution size for users. They would be prompted if the image size is too large and suggested that they reduce the size to a predefined choice.
More later..bye for now. ,Diarmuid
In these recessionary times it’s good to know you can still get good results on a shoestring when it comes to building your own set for your stop motion movie. All you need is a few desktop lamps and a cardboard box! That’s it! Below you can see a simple setup used by my nephew James for his contribution to our stop motion movie gallery. A simple box lined in this case with black paper.
The backdrop James used is a photo of a digger in a quarry which suited his animation down to the ground. No need for Chromakey really with stop motion animation at this level. It complicates things unnecessarily and takes the emphasis away from the stop motion animation itself.
The reason for the cardboard box is to build up the sides around your character to avoid any shadows and reduce the influence of unwanted light such as windows and so forth. This is really important as each snapshot should have the same amount of light as the next. Otherwise you will get a flickering effect when the animation is played back. Thus spoiling the movie. Also the box is very useful for attaching your backdrop painting/ drawing or photo.
As for your lighting you can cut a hole and cover it with greaseproof paper with you lamp shining through. This softens the light in order to avoid hard shadows. Closing the blinds on your windows during the day is normally not enough to ensure a constant lightstream. As the sun goes behind a cloud you may not notice the difference in your set but it will be there on the photo.
So make the small effort to visit your local store and get some boxes and good luck animating.
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