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Here’s How to Make a Stop Motion Movie in the Digital Age

Here's How to Make a Stop Motion Movie in the Digital Age

[ Editor’s Note: Presented in partnership with VIMEO On Demand in support of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Animation Camp. Click HERE now to rent or buy the online animation course. ]

Ever wonder how the experts bring Legos, dolls or clay figures to life via stop motion animation? It’s a time-consuming, detail-oriented process that requires lots of patience as well as some basic skills. Indiewire recently spoke to Eric Towner and John Harvatine IV, co-owners of Stoopid Buddy Stoodios and they shared the following expert tips to keep in mind when creating stop motion animation:

1. Create a Proper Set-Up.

Whether it’s at home or in a studio space or garage space, it’s important to get yourself set up properly so you can start animating. The basics a table, a digital camera, which can be any kind of camera, even an iPhone, and very simple frame capture software which you can also get for free on an iPhone. There’s capture software that records the frame and also lets you go back and play the frames you’ve taken. That’s a critical thing in stop motion. Back in the day, you wouldn’t need something like that, but it’s a huge leap forward that’s super helpful.

2. Find Something to Animate.

It can be anything – from an object to a ball of clay that you can form into different things. It can be toys that are posable. What you animate is really only limited to your imagination.

3. Pay Attention to Lighting.

There are no rules in stop motion, but there are some things that look nicer if you don’t do or do do (ha ha!). It’s important to lock down your camera securely so the shot isn’t floating or going in and out of focus. It’s also important to control the lighting. If you were to animate and you have your window open, the sun can move through and mess things up. If you’re in a room where there’s no window and just controllable light sources, then it will look good.

4. Practice.

A big part of wanting to do stop motion animation is making it. Just do it. A lot of people get intimidated and sit and think for a long time about the perfect project, but you just got to get in there and practice. That’s how you get better. That’s how we got started in animation. We just made things and practiced and got better. It doesn’t even matter what it is – it can be a piece of meat thrown across the floor – but at least you’re learning physics and gravity and how movement works. That’s the key thing.

5. Be Bold and Have Fun.

When it comes to animating, one of the first signs of a beginner is timidness in animation. A lot of people make moves that are really small. They’re moving a ball or a puppet or an arm slowly across the screen because they’re afraid to move it too much. You can go big. You can make big moves and it’s going to work out. Once you see you can move a character really far and it looks cool, you have more freedom. It’s a good thing to overcome. 

You can make a career doing this. It seems kind of crazy, but you can make a living moving toys around and taking pictures of it. At the end of the day, we’re just grown up kids playing with toys. You can’t take it too seriously. You’ve got to have fun with it.

For more in-depth instruction on how to create stop motion character animation, you can buy or rent the “Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Animation Camp” here. Check out the trailer below:

Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Animation Camp – Trailer from Stoopid Buddy Stoodios on Vimeo.

Indiewire has partnered with VIMEO On Demand and Stoopid Buddy Stoodios Animation Camp, available now. Enjoy an exclusive opportunity to learn stop-motion character animation from the award-winning team that brought you “Robot Chicken”! Click HERE now to rent or buy the online animation course brought to you by VIMEO On Demand.

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