Stop motion animation resources? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 08-01-2012, 08:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hello all,

 

I need some resources for my 5 year old and I am clueless.  I watched "Davey and Goliath" as a child if that helps lol.gif

 

Miranda, I hope you are out there!  I saw resources on your blog but I cannot convince Google search to help me find them.

 

Be explicit, I'm clueless. wild.gif

 

Thanks!

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#2 of 6 Old 08-01-2012, 10:08 AM
 
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What hardware do you have? 

 

Mac? PC? iPhone? iPad? Webcam? Still camera? Camcorder? Brand? 

 

If you happen to have an apple mobile device, I'd look into Animation Creator HD (for iOS). It's not stop-motion: you draw each frame, and it might be the best intro to animation for a 5-year-old, IMO. You draw on the screen with your finger, and the program onion-skins the previous frame for you to then draw the next frame. You can set backgrounds throughout, and you can copy, or copy & edit to duplicate frames. Easy to mess around with at a simple level, but you can also do some pretty exciting longer, more complex animations if you want.

 

If you're looking more for a program that does stop-motion with actual scenes and objects, we've had success with Adobe Premiere Elements and iStopMotion. The first is a general movie editing program which has some animation capability, and runs on Windows. The second is a stop-motion program for Mac OS. Both are a little finicky about input devices. We've had headaches with both trying to find a compatible cameras and drivers and such. Webcams seemed to work best, but of course most don't have great optics. You may also find you need a decent tripod, depending on what hardware you're using. And some spot lighting can be helpful.

 

The one thing I'll warn you about with stop-motion is that it requires incredible amounts of patience. My kids are very patient and persistent, but even they have found stop-motion to be exhausting to do much of. It can take an hour or more of repetitive fiddly fine-motor work and mouse clicks to get just 10 or 20 seconds of animation. It's much easier if you have two people involved: one moving the characters a millimetre at a time, then moving out of the light, saying "frame" and the other person sitting at the computer clicking the mouse to shoot a frame each time they're asked.

 

So I would caution you about spending a lot of money on software (and/or hardware) unless you are prepared for the possibility that your child may be super excited, spend two hours at it the first day and emerge exhausted and disappointed by how long everything takes, and not want to return to the activity at all. We got iStopMotion through our umbrella school (i.e. for free) and it's been used maybe a dozen times in the past 18 months by three different kids and one parent. It's great, but it's a lot of work.

 

There is another possibility. That is to use a regular camera, take still shots, and then import them as frames into any simple video editor (Windows Movie Maker or Apple's iMovie). Our little village has had some professional animators come in several time to work with pre-teens and teens, and each time they're introductory collaborative project has been done this way. My favourite was one where they had the entire group of 20 kids enact a giant pinball game on the community tennis court, playing the roles of balls, flippers, plungers, bumpers, and such. Just a Canon Sure-Shot point-and-shoot camera and the basic movie-maker software that came with a computer's operating system. With sound effects it was just amazing! The advantage of this is that you get nice high resolution images, and don't have to buy fancy equipment or software. The disadvantages are in the lack of onion-skinning (you can't see your previous frame as a transparent overlay over your current one), and in the immense file sizes of all those photos. Also, simple movie-makers don't necessarily allow you to easily edit in sound and sound effects. iMovie will do this well, but Windows Movie Maker is difficult to work with for sound effects.

 

I last researched all this almost 2 years ago, so there may be new solutions out there that I don't know about. I also haven't used Windows for several years, so I'm definitely not up to date with that.

 

Miranda


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#3 of 6 Old 08-06-2012, 11:22 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you so much MM!

 

Lots to think about and since he's five, I might let him sit on this one for a while to gauge interest.  I hate to rush in with something this technical (read: me doing most of it) if he's really no totally interested.  

 

Thanks again!

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#4 of 6 Old 08-06-2012, 04:08 PM
 
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My son has had fun with SAM animation. The demo version is free: http://icreatetoeducate.com/


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#5 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 12:33 PM
 
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My son has also wanted to try animation, but we've lacked both the software and the patience.  However, my son loves telling stories and creating sets for movies that he wants to make some day.  He acts them out as plays with whatever figures he's using as characters and narrates it for us, and usually says that he'll make the movie itself when he's older.  

 

We've done a couple of things to create a more permanent product, and both involved taking pictures - just not as many as would be required for a stop animation piece.  First, I've had the pictures printed, and he uses them to create a story scrapbook.  The other thing we've done is create a slideshow of the pictures and story, and added music.

 

I'd like to try videotaping his storytelling, but we have had hardware problems with that.

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#6 of 6 Old 08-07-2012, 12:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stitching View Post

My son has also wanted to try animation, but we've lacked both the software and the patience.  However, my son loves telling stories and creating sets for movies that he wants to make some day.  He acts them out as plays with whatever figures he's using as characters and narrates it for us, and usually says that he'll make the movie itself when he's older.  

 

We've done a couple of things to create a more permanent product, and both involved taking pictures - just not as many as would be required for a stop animation piece.  First, I've had the pictures printed, and he uses them to create a story scrapbook.  The other thing we've done is create a slideshow of the pictures and story, and added music.

 

I'd like to try videotaping his storytelling, but we have had hardware problems with that.

Wow - this is great!  He really wanted to make some Blurb books for his baby Olive - he could have the pictures be his own creations!

 

Thanks for getting my creative juices flowing :)

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