Animation Tips & Tricks: Stop-Motion

Forums Resources Animation Animation Tips & Tricks: Stop-Motion

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    Animation Pagoda Staff
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    The Me Bird by Gabriel Kempers and Maria Ilka Azêdo


    Stop-Motion is known for being a very painstaking and detail-oriented craft. Any medium can be used for stop-motion, including live action footage. Most people who have not experimented with stop-motion animation before struggle with getting the frame rate to match the proper timing, which may result in choppy movement. Getting fluid movement requires 12-24 frames per second, a knowledge of animation timing, and some practice.

    Time can be saved by shooting 12 frames per second and doubling them for a total of 24 fps, but the rules of timing will still need to apply. The more frames you have, the slower the action will appear when played in real time. In general, it is better to have more frames than not enough, because slow footage can easily be sped up and adjusted in post-production, but there isn’t any way to extend the length of an insufficient number of frames without causing flicker.

    Off Book | PBS Digital Studios: Frame By Frame: The Art of Stop Motion

    Vugar Efendi: The Evolution of Stop-Motion


    Pixilation stop-motion uses staggered frames of live action elements.  This type of stop-motion can be rather hard on human actors since they have to remain in still poses for long periods of time.  .

    The Creators Project: Rone- Gravity

    Willy Richard: Stop motion final 2010

    Norman McLaren – Neighbours

    Replacement Stop-Motion

    Feature-length stop-motion filmmaking has gotten a lot more complex over the years, requiring entire crews to construct intricate sets and puppets. 3D color printing has revolutionized this field, leading to a new modern form of replacement animation.

    Vimeo: LAIKA’s Rapid Prototyping Department

    Academy Originals/Credited As: Head of Puppetry Georgina Hayns

    DBLG: Bears on Stairs


    Stop-motion puppet armatures can be built from wire or custom-milled steel skeletons.  The steel ball bearing armature is preferred in the industry since it is more durable and less likely to break.

    Michael’s Animation Blog: Armature Research

    Puppet Scale

    Stop-motion armature puppets should typically be constructed at a medium scale of 8-12 inches.  An armature that is too small will be fragile and difficult to animate or sculpt in fine detail. An armature that is too large will make it nearly impossible to construct the corresponding scale set at a size that will fit in one room.


    Metamorphosis or morph animation is particularly suited for claymation and stop-motion.  Objects can be made to appear to transform into something else by sculpting different key poses. It takes some experience to create believable transformations, but in the hands of skilled animators it can be very captivating.

    Clay is relatively inexpensive compared to many other professional animation supplies and software, so it is a good introductory medium for beginners.

    Guldies: Magic Clay

    Vimeo: Jan Švankmajer Dimensions of Dialogue Parts 1-3 (NSFW)


    Lego bricks are one of the more unusual mediums for animation. Generally Lego bricks are not considered up to most professional production standards, but with a little creativity it’s surprising how well the plastic toys can work out.  The interlocking components are perfect for both replacement and morph animation, and the jointed minifigures can be easily animated as well.

    Vox: How fan films shaped The Lego Movie

    The White Stripes: Fell In Love With A Girl

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