Beginner’s Guide to Stop Motion Animation

Did you know that you can make a stop animation in only 6 steps? It sounds way more complicated than that, but it isn’t. If you want to know more about how stop motion animations are made or even make your own, take a look at these 6 simple steps. 

1. Materials 

A great thing about stop animations is that you don’t need a lot of expensive equipment to make them. You will, of course, need a camera, and if your phone camera is the only option you have, that is good enough. When it comes to making the characters and scenes you can use any material you want, whether that is clay or paper. You will also need something to hold your camera in place, a computer, and an animating program.

2. Story

Just like with any other film or cartoon, you need a great story. Or just any story if this is your first time making a stop motion animation. Write down whatever idea comes into your head, no matter how simple or how complicated it is. You will need characters, places, and the basic plot. If you don’t have any ideas, try to recreate your favorite story or film.

3. Storyboard

A good idea is to make a storyboard especially if you have a lot of scenes and characters. Storyboards serve to guide you while you are taking photos so that you always know what you need to do. Even if your idea is very simple, a storyboard can help you be more efficient and focused. There are a lot of storyboard templates online that are easy to use. 

4. Scenes and figures

Now that you have your storyboard and you know exactly how the scenes should look and what characters you need, you can start making them. This is where your creativity can shine through so don’t shy away from making unique characters and places. It is your story so you can do whatever you want! The most popular material for characters is clay, as it is the easiest one to move and change. However, if you are working with paper, make sure that all elements are separate so that they are easier to move. 

5. Taking photos

Now that you have everything ready, it is time to make your first animation. You need to put everything into the first position and take a photo. Then you are going to move the characters slightly towards the second position and take another photo. Keep doing this until you have gone through your whole storyboard. Just be careful not to move the camera because this will completely ruin the composition. This part of the process can test your patience as it takes the longest and you have to be very thorough. On the other hand, many people find it relaxing and therapeutic. 

6. Editing

Upload all of your photos onto your computer and into an animating program. Many of them are free such as MonkeyJam or SAM Animation, but you can also use iMovie or Windows Movie Maker if you are more familiar with these programs. Run the photos together and press play. That’s it – you have made your first original stop motion animation! Since this was your first animation, it probably turned out very simple. However, if you want to take your animation to the next level, you can also add voices, music, effects, and many more great features.

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