Blog Operation Entertain-my-Kids: Stopmotion Animation Finding ways to boost wellbeing and feel good at home are imperative towards maintaining healthy bodies and minds. Getting creative with the kids is a great way to keep them entertained for hours and help their imaginations continue to run wild while staying at home. Over the course of our closure, we'll be sharing quick and easy-to-follow guides for fun family crafts using bits and pieces from around the house. There are loads of different ways to create an animated film: Disney films like Pinocchio and The Little Mermaid are drawn frame by frame, by hand. Feature films like Frozen and Toy Story use computer graphics, again, frame by frame. We’re going to have a go at creating our own stop-motion animations. Stop-motion animation is when photography is used to capture each frame, before moving the subjects for the next shot. This technique is used in some of the most popular animations of all time: Wallace and Gromit, The Nightmare Before Christmas, James and the Giant Peach and The LEGO Movie to name a few. These famous films all use three-dimensional animation. We’ll be creating two-dimensional animations, which are flat and easier to light and move around. We’re going to be telling the story of a little pig who wants to fly. Copy ours – or follow the steps to create your own amazing story! Equipment needed: Scrap paper (to plan your story) Pens and pencils Scissors Blu/white tack (you can use Sellotape or glue if you have some) Coloured paper or card (or you can colour your white paper) An old magazine (optional) Decorative paper and materials (optional) A light or good natural light from a window A flat table or surface Smartphone with a camera Stop Motion Studio app (free download) A tripod for your camera (or something you can strap your camera to that will keep it still as an alternative) First, you need to plan your story. Have a think – take your time. There are no limits to where your imagination can take you. 1. Use a piece of scrap paper to storyboard your idea. Split the paper into squares (or rectangles). If doesn’t matter if they’re not the same size. Then sketch out what happens in your story. Your storyboard doesn’t have to be a masterpiece. 2. Then, draw arrows in a different colour to map where your objects are going to move throughout your animation, and when. This will help you when you put your animation together. 3. Once you’ve planned your story, the next step is to create your background(s), your character(s) and any props in your story. You could cut out pictures from magazines or create your own. Our story takes place outside in the grass, where a little pig lives. Our main character is the little pig, and there are also some birds flying past in the sky. We also drew and cut out some speech and thought bubbles to use in the story. Have a think about how your characters are going to move in your animation. Have fun and take your time making your characters. Trial and error are all part of the animation process! When you’ve made all your characters, it’s time to get animating! 4. Set up your background on a flat surface on a table. Set up your camera on your tripod or alternative (we've used a lamp and fastened the camera to the top). Point the camera at the scene. You can use the free Stop Motion Studio app on your smartphone to record your animation. Make sure you’re not standing in the way of the light. You don’t want your shadow to appear in the film. 5. Using your storyboard as a guide, place your characters where they need to be and take a photo. Then, move the character slightly in the direction you want it to move and take another photo. Top tip: the faster you want your character to move in the film, the further across the scene you need to move it for each photograph. Here, the birds are flying in the sky fast, so travel further across the page in three frames. If it moves slowly, just move the character a little bit. Here, the birds haven't moved as far in three frames than the "fast-moving" images above. Keep moving your parts until you’ve recorded the whole thing. Follow the instructions on the app and have a look at your finished masterpiece. What do you think? If you want to have another go, try again. Check out our finished stopmotion animation of a little pig who wants to fly! When you’re finished, share your movie with us on socials and revel in the glory of your incredible animation skills! How did you get on?