What is Stop Motion Animation?

Research – 9th January 2017

Created in 1897 by E.smith and J.stuart, stop motion animation consists of editing several pictures together to form movement. To produce movement from still pictures a minimum of 10-12 frames per second creates the illusion of an object coming to life. This technique requires physical manipulation to the object and no hands should be shown, otherwise the illusion fails. The first ever stop motion animation was called “Humpty Dumpty At The Circus”, the idea behind it was animals and acrobats all at the circus.

There are 3 types of stop motion animation:

  1. Clay Motion Stop animation – This type is commonly manufactured by plasticine however, any soft modelling material can be used. An example of this technique is Shaun The Sheep. Everything in this TV show is made completely out of plasticine; set, characters and props within the show. Every detail including sheep poo had been moulded out of this material.
  1. Cut Out Animation – This method uses 2 dimensional objects to create a story. Paper, card and fabric make the characters and sets. This procedure is the easiest out of the 3 techniques as 2d objects are easily moveable and there are endless possibilities and story lines that could be made from paper. “Love story” is a stop motion animation that tells the story of a couple though the years and is entirely made from using card and paper. Very cleverly done and is very much my favourite paper cut out animation on YouTube.
  1. Pixilation – The last of the 3 techniques consists of using people within the animation. Having a person as a “puppet” moving very slowly to create a moving image. This technique is usually combined with 3d objects moving to help tell a story. Most animations use a person and has them lying down, then they move in a certain way to give the illusion of an action such as walking. The Target advert uses this method and is one of the most creative adverts I’ve seen. It gives the illusion of a woman flying through the sky and swimming through the sea. The story told makes the woman seem as if she’s traveled miles. however, its just the objects moving around her, she just stays in the same place but gets into different positions.

Out of these three methods my favourite is the clay-motion. The reason for this is because its so seamlessly made and its so hard to tell its created entirely from pictures. Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep and chicken run (all made by plasticine), were my favourite programmes I used to watch and never knew they were made in this way. Knowing this insight to the production element, I love them even more than I did back then. the constant change of expression and the movement they make, it looks as if it was just an animated production.

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set of Wallace and Gromit
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Wallace and Gromit
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