Stop-motion Experiment Day 1

After many weeks of teaching, I’ve taken some time off to focus (at last) on learning how to make a stopframe animation.  Brendon set up a basic animation rig for me, but I’ll write about the rig, software and equipment in a future post.

Today was all about remembering how to use the camera and the frame-grabber software, and fine tuning the animation stand, so I just made some very rough animations using salt on glass.

For the uninitiated, stopframe animation is when you animate objects or drawings by  taking a picture, moving something, taking another picture, moving something again, and so on.  This job is made a lot easier by using frame-grabber software that let’s you preview how to move the object before you take the picture.  The camera sends a “live feed” image of the scene you are animating to your computer, which is what makes all of this possible. But.. I’ll explain how that works in the upcoming post on the software setup I’m using. 🙂

Lessons learnt today:

  • If the live feed from your camera to your computer is not working,  consider checking if you have removed the lens cap from the camera before working yourself up into a frothy while checking the battery, software settings and USB cable.
  • It may seem to be a good idea to animate on a piece of glass set upon black paper.  In practice, this is also a really good way to make a mirror.  The result is that the backdrop to your animation is also an attractive reflection of the animation rig, lights, and camera.

  • Glass is also great for showing up every greasy fingerprint you make while manipulating the salt.  Moving the salt around with a fine paintbrush works better than fingers.

  • There is (surprisingly enough!) a reason why the frame-grabber software beeps after a shot is complete.  It does this to signal that it is now safe to put your hands back in front of the camera.  If you don’t wait for this beep, you will create an entire animated sequence that includes your hands in nearly every shot.  Which may, or may not be what you intended

  • Salt – while great for animation – attracts water out of the atmosphere.  This means that when you return to your animation after a couple of hours, the lovely white kitty cat you crafted, will have turned into a grey puddle of very salty water.

OK so it’s super crude, and the video quality is not great, but at least I’ve started animating again!

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Learning about Stop-Motion: The Software « Masha

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