Stop-frame Animation – Workshop Overview
Stop-frame animation is a fantastic tool to represent even complex ideas in a playful and creative way. It can be particularly useful, when working with groups with different backgrounds and aid with overcoming language barriers.
It is an animation technique that physically manipulates an object so that it appears to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a fast sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop motion animation using plasticine e is called clay animation or “clay-motion”. Not all stop motion requires figures or models; many stop motion films can involve using humans, household appliances and other things for comedic effect
Though the concept is simple, it takes a lot of patience and an understanding of some basic techniques to make your animations not only move, but come to life.
During our workshop participants learn how to Script and Storyboard their animation, Create Characters using a variety of materials such as: Cardboard Cut-outs, Plasticine/clay or Objects, then Photograph and Animate their short story with a simple editing software. The workshop concludes with the viewing of the animations and group discussion.
It is important to remember movements that are closer together will slow down the action, while movements that are farther apart will speed it up.
Using different variations of movement can enhance your animation as well. Think for a minute about how you move in real life. Sometimes you move quickly or slowly. Sometimes you pause and don’t move at all. Having good variation is important for the viewer.
Adding a few eight to twelve frame holds is important when you want to emphasize a part of the animation and let the audience focus on one thing. Because of how quickly our eyes see these frames go by, you should never add a hold for less than six frames or the audience will think it is a camera jerk or mistake.
Not all movement happens in a straight line. Think about how we walk. As we take each step our body rises up and then comes down. If it were a perfectly straight line, we would appear to be floating forward. Most patterns of movement happen along a curved path of action called an arc. Using arcs in your animation will create realistic movement that is natural to our eyes. You should keep each frame properly registered for smooth transitions.
Movements should be staggered by a few frames to create a natural animation. This becomes crucial when dealing with complex scenes involving multiple objects moving separately, or the elaborate movement of a character.
When you’re animating a film with toy characters, like LEGO minifigs, you want the camera to be as still as possible, or move gracefully, like a camera does in a feature film. What NEVER looks good, is a camera image that’s constantly wobbling off-kilter, as the animator bumps it with their sleeve. The best way to avoid this problem is to fasten the camera down with tape, or apply a few rubber bands, strategically.