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  • Writer's pictureKaren Ruffles

Stop motion animation - sounds and special effects.

In this final post on creating simple stop motion animation, I'm going to give a few pointers on choosing video effects and working with sound to enhance your project.

Adding music to stop motion animation.

One thing I want to talk about before we go any further is copyright on material you use from other sources. I'm going to be doing some blog posts about how this affects visual artists, but it's important to consider the creators of what you hear too. There are plenty of sources of royalty free music out there, but be careful to check out the licensing terms very carefully before using anything. Sometimes a credit is all that's required - naming the person/their website when posting your film online for example, but some licences mean that by using a particular piece of music, you are in turn agreeing to your work being available for others to use. To find out more and for links to resources, check out Creative Commons

Following on from last week, I'm using the Photos app on my laptop as an extra simple way of showing you how to put things together. Again, the basics are the same whatever software you use. I've already added in a short video clip to play with, now I want to add a sound effect. Rather than opting for one of the stock music options, I'm going to add my own custom audio, circled at the top there.

I uploaded my sound effect and Photos added it to my clip for me, circled at the bottom in the picture. Those two blue markers represent the start and finish of the clip so I can adjust the length of the sound - handy if you only want music for a particular scene for example. I can also slide the music clip along the video timeline to where I need it and if I hit play it shows me a preview of the two put together so I can check it's right before saving. One thing to watch for - if you add extra visuals to the start of your film such as a title card or fancy animated effect, it will change the position of your audio. So long as you're in the editor, you can adjust it back so don't panic but as always, easier to save sections as video clips in their own right as you go to avoid problems later. Here we have the boys demonstrating all of this in action for your amusement :)

Thank you Stephen and Mr Thingy. I also need to say thank you, as discussed earlier, to ZapSplat for providing the free sound clip - they do actually have an amazing library of effects and are adding music to their collection too.

Video effects for stop motion animation.

The final stage for me is adding any visual effects to the film. Photos has a limited choice of filters, circled in black on the screenshot but it's enough for me to show the difference that something as simple as changing from colour to black and white can make in terms of changing the feel of your film. Again I suggest saving a version of your project as is before making further changes just in case.

Above we have the clip in its original colourway, below shows how by selecting the 'Inky' option, it's converted for me to a completely different look. Because the films I put out are generally in black and white as it goes with my artwork, I normally take my pictures that way too so I can see exactly what I'm getting from the start but don't be afraid to play about with after effects.

I think that this concludes what I can usefully talk about without getting into more complex software or being too specific about styles - for example I apply a vignette (darkening the edges) and old film effects like lines and grain to achieve a very old school look with horror overtones but you might be wanting to create something bright and bold. This affects how you handle things like transitions, the way clips are joined together, so I of course fade to black but you might want scenes to overlap or have a very dynamic 3d animated transition. If you do have more specific questions and would like me to cover more in a future post, please do get in touch or comment below. I leave you with a complete animation of my own to finish the journey from photo to film. See you next week for a new sort of adventure!

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