Featured image from the Wallace & Gromit, The Curse of the Wererabbit
Featured image from the Wallace & Gromit, The Curse of the Wererabbit

#AD4EVER Back to Basics V: It’s Time for Stop Motion Animation

You must have come across a flip book when you were younger and find yourself unable to resist flicking it over and over again once you have started. And after each time it leaves you with a feeling of amazement, as you see static images come to life in front of your eyes.

In this edition of #AD4EVER Back to Basics, we will introduce to you stop motion animation, an animation technique that shares some basic principles as flip books. As one of the oldest techniques in the history of animation creation, stop-motion is a timeless and essential animation skill to add to your knowledge base.

What is stop motion?

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Stop motion animation has been around for more than 100 years, and it is extremely popular within the filming industry. One of the best examples is the movie Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, in which the characters and props were made completely with clay and filmed using the stop-motion technique.

Stop motion animation is a technique in which the objects are photographed in a series of slightly different positions. The series of pictures played in rapid successions creates the illusion of movement. Its process is very straightforward; it involves photographing the objects, moving them slightly, taking another picture and repeating the above steps many more times. When you string these images together and play them quickly, the objects will appear to have moved. This is how stop-motion animation is created.

How it is done?

Animation Desk has a few special built-in tools which are perfect for making stop motion animations. We will show you exactly how you can make a stop motion animation of dancing fruits and veg using Animation Desk.

Plan your animation

Start with thinking about how you want the animation to go and prepare the props. Planning is key to good pieces of work. So look at some examples and get inspirations from them.

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Pick your dancers and give them a photo shoot

Organise the fruits and veg as you want in each frame. Using the built-in camera in Animation Desk, snap a shot of the protagonists. Readjust them a little after each shot and take another photo until you have all the positions recorded.

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Create a new project

Give your project a name and set the frames to 1.

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Import first image

Open layer 2 and import the first photo.

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Repeat until all images have been imported

Add a new frame, import the next stop motion image onto layer 2 and repeat until the whole set of images have been imported.

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Add frame tags

If your animation has any specific change in movement or any sections that require special attention, it is a good idea to add a marking to remind yourself. You can use the frame tags  to label the important frames.

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Work on the details

Starting with the apple in the middle, go to layer 1 in the first frame and draw the apple’s arms using a brush of your choice.

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Use Onion Skin to help

Turn on the Onion Skin so that you can view the previous sketch. Go to the next frame, turn off the viewing for layer 2 and draw the arms. Once this frame has been completed, turn on the viewing for layer 2 and go to the next frame.

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Apply the same technique for the rest of the frames

Repeat the following steps:
Turn off the viewing for layer 2 > Draw on layer 1 > Turn on the viewing for layer 2 > Go to the next frame.

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Draw the facial features

For the final step, draw the facial features of the fruits and veg using the same technique shown above. Once your animation has been completed, you can save it as GIF and share it with others.

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This is all we have for this week’s stop motion animation. Making a good animation isn’t so hard after all, right?

Watch out for the last episode of #AD4EVER Back to Basics coming out soon. We have definitely got something fun lined up for you. If you want to look back at the previous episodes, click here.

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About the author

Charmaine Cheung

As a graduate in languages from the University of Bristol, England, Charmaine is currently working in Hong Kong, specialised in marketing and corporate communications. She has a strong international background, is fluent in English, Chinese and German, and has lived and work in the UK, Germany, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

She has been doing some projects and blogging for Kdan Mobile since 2015.

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