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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ruffles

Stop motion animation made simple

For the last few years I've been making silly, low budget, low tech animations using the desk models of my monsters to tell stories for our collective amusement. I've been asked a few times about how it's done so thought I'd do a short series of posts covering the following points.

Model making for animation.

My models have gone through several changes over the years - initially they were built for occasional movement as I posed them but stop motion animation is a lot more demanding so I've found ways of making bits interchangable, on the go repairs etc that generally let me get to the end of a sequence before something falls off. One day I'll have the time and resources to build more professional ones but for now, am having a lot of fun with them and they have a charm all of their own because they are that bit wobbly. I'll be talking about materials, tools, the art of the bodge and so on.

Lighting and photographing animation frames

Again, keeping it simple - I use my camera, a desk lamp and that's about it. This image is actually me recording time lapse of myself drawing but the same principles apply and the photo was handy. Basic kit, nothing overly expensive or complicated and I'll go through the things you need to consider before you start such as how much to move your subject at a time, storyboarding so you know in advance if you'll need to change camera angles and so on. Nobody wants to do a take two with stop motion...

Stop motion software and frame rates.

It can be a bit bewildering looking at software for the first time but there's actually only a few things you really need to understand if you're just starting out, like frame rate and what to do with it. You also don't need a complicated, paid package - I had a glitch with the programme I normally use and discovered to my delight I can actually build a simple film in minutes using the photo app on my laptop. I used it to do this message for my followers on social media...

Most importantly, I'm hoping to share some of the fun of doing stop motion animation and whether you're having a bash yourself, the kids fancy a go or you just enjoy tales of me sticking my fingers together and Mr Thingy falling over, there's be plenty to read over the next few weeks. If you're not already signed up you can subscribe at the bottom of the page and leave a comment if you have any questions or just want to say hello :)

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