Stop Motion Animation Explorations
Bring you stories to life! Stop motion animation is a simple step-by-step process to create movement on a screen. The tools are easy to use (and often free) to animate your world. Use a wide variety of materials to tell a story, a joke, or even a surprise.
Share your creations with us using the hashtags #StopMotion and #TinkeringAtHome.
Create animations with everyday materials.
Two Frame Animation
Bring an everyday object to life with only two images.
Put yourself and your friends on the screen.
Physical Meets Digital
Put yourself and your friends on screen.
Discover stop motion animation as an art form.
You can create animations without technology - you only need some simple materials - a flipbook is a way to make drawings move with a pencil, a stack of thick paper and a binder clip to hold them together. Make a simple drawing on the opposite side of the binder that you change just a little on each page. As you work flip through the pages to see it move. You can also do a drawing on just two sheets of thin paper and by rolling up the top sheet use a pencil to show it changing.
Some of these ideas are very very old. This is an example of an ancient toy - when you spin it you see the animal drawn on both sides running. This may be the first example of a thaumatrope.
A thaumatrope is an early invention in animation and very simple to make. It consists of two images (or frames) that are glued/stapled back to back and this card or disc is spun on strings or turned on a stick between your hands. Check out this guide to get started.
Look around your house and find an everyday object that you want to animate. A pair of scissors, a coffee cup, a stuffie, or your favorite toy, anything! Then think about how you want to bring your object to life with two images. You can get started by adding personality to your object with a set of eyes or a mouth made out of paper. Experiment with creating simple, repetitive movements like swinging back and forth, jumping up and down, something appearing and disappearing and watch what happens when you combine your two photos into an animated GIF. You can use the free Stop Motion Studio app or even Google Photos on your phone to put the two frames together.
Ready to try? Go to our activity page to get started.
Stop motion animation on a large scale is really fun to try at home and with friends. All you need to do is hang a webcam up high, find a long USB cable to connect to your computer, and download a free animation software. You can find lots of props around the house or make your own out of cardboard. We found large blankets and fabric pieces, hula hoops, and cardboard props like wings, clouds, or a skateboard inspiring. It's fun to play with the perspective and make movies where you're flying, gliding, or doing other seemingly impossible stunts.
This stop motion flavor is unique for a number of reasons. The most exciting part might be that you actually get to be an actor in the movie! Aside from learning how to craft a story and experiment with creating special effects such as flying or disappearing, you will have to work and plan together with a group of friends, switch between operating the camera, moving the elements around the screen, yelling "all clear", and acting on the stage.
Scratch is an easy to use online coding platform for telling visual stories and making games with code. Stop Motion animation is a great way to create unique characters that can become the main character in your Scratch project or a game. Combine your hand-drawn and hand-crafted elements with existing backdrops from the Scratch universe to send your animated character on and adventure.
Want to learn more? Check out this step-by-step guide on how to add your own handmade sprites to Scratch.
The world of animation is filled with amazing artists and their work. Here are some examples that might inspire you or get you curious. You’ll see where some ideas that current artists are exploring came from the earliest explorations of the art of the moving image. Some ideas are made possible by new technologies (like the fact that anyone with a smartphone, tablet or computer can create stop-motion animations). These advances help artists to make the world's largest stop-motion animations to the microscopic world of Dot!
Charlotte "Lotte" Reiniger was a German filmmaker who created the 1926 animation “The Adventures of Prince Achmed." This is believed to be one of the first feature-length animations. It is a beautiful story that uses paper puppets to create silhouettes that are moved frame by frame.
“Fresh Guacamole” is a stop-motion animation that was nominated in 2013 for an Academy Award by the artist PES. This film is the 3rd is part of the stop-motion cooking genre of films. The film uses props for beautiful animation as well as social metaphors to tell the story.
Oskar Wilhelm Fischinger was an early animator who created abstract musical animations long before computers were used to create animated graphics (he also inspired the Disney film Fantasia). A wonderful example is “An Optical Poem” 1938 - a stop-motion animation created using paper cut outs suspended by wires.
GAME OVER Project created “TETRIS” a video performance of the GAME OVER Project. In this stop-motion project live performers sit in rows in an auditorium to recreate the Tetris computer game. Adding to the human element the soundtrack is composed of singers making the sounds of the computer beeps and music.
Sumo Science: Dot is a stop-motion animation that has a 9mm girl named Dot moving through a microscopic world. The film was shot using a cell phone and a microscope attachment. Buttons, coins, flowers and even a bee show up in the animation.