What is Stop-Motion Animation?

Stop-motion, sometimes called stop-frame, is an animation technique that gives motion to inanimate objects. It is a technique that has been around for over 100 years. So, you likely have seen at least a few stop motion films but may not have realized what you were watching. When you see the finished product for stop-motion animation is seems so seamless that you may not even realize all of the steps that go into making one.

Making a Stop-Motion

To really learn what stop-motion animation is, you have to understand what goes into it. Most stop-motion begins with an object. Objects can be just about anything, but most often, they can be repositioned or moved easily. Often animators use clay, puppets, LEGOs, or people. Regardless of the object, the principles of animation are the same. First, you place the object in front of the camera, take a picture, move the object, and take another picture. Then, you do this over and over again. Each picture is a frame in the movie. Usually, home-made stop-motion films are recorded at 12 frames per second. This means that you need to take 12 pictures for every second of the film. Hollywood movies record at 24-30 frames per second. A result of these higher frames per second is that Hollywood films are often more fluid and realistic.

After a stop-motion movie’s frame pictures are recorded, the film must be edited. At this time in post-production, frames are spliced together, and/or certain parts of the movie are removed. Then, sounds and voices are added to complete the story. This is the process we use in our Stop Motion Animation Camp at Classroom Antics.

Examples of Stop-Motion Animation Movies

Coraline, Wallace and Gromit, Chicken RunThe Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Nightmare Before Christmas are classic Hollywood stop-motion movies.