Saturday, September 20, 2008

Stop Motion How-to: How Stop-Motion Animation Works

Because this is the first post in Stop Motion How-To section, let's start with the basics.How exactly is stop-motion animation done?

Animators take a model made out of plastic, clay, wood, and even flexible toys. Anything that can hold its position will work. The model is placed in front of a still camera. If the animator wanted the model to wave its arm, he would move the model's arm a tiny bit, then take a picture. This process is repeated until the animator has completed the wave motion.

The amount of pictures needed to form the wave depends on how fast the arm needs to appear to be moving. Most animators shoot at 24 fps (frames per second), which is the same speed at which a live-action camera shoots. Some animators even shoot up to 30 fps in order to make the animation appear even smoother.

Stop-motion animation was the first type of 3D animation to come into the entertainment world. It was mostly used for the kind of special effects now accomplished through CG. King Kong (1933) probably features the most well-known stop-motion character ever. Stop motion has come along way from the crude animation of King Kong to huge blockbusters such as Wallace and Gromit, Nightmare Before Christmas, Chicken Run, and many others.

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