stop-action animation

Discussion in 'Dioramas & Displays' started by lizzienewell, Dec 4, 2005.

  1. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

    Has anyone tried doing stop-action animation with their models. It would involve setting up a scene and then moving things in the scene one cell at a time and photographing each change. Then move the photographs into a paint program and export as a video file.

    I've messed around a bit with cell-animation worked this way. Cell-animation is when you draw each frame. Actually I used Corel draw to repeat things and then moved items in each frame.

    It also might work to photograph the model from different angles and then montage the photos of the model into a scene.

    With the way I've build my models trying this looks tempting.
  2. nebeltex

    nebeltex Member

    stop action?

    i have thought about stop action filming. i understand it can be a real challenge. i like the look of natural sunlight on model photographs but i'm not sure if time constraints would obviate that. artificial lighting would liklely be best. i have seen an mpeg of plastic soldiers in battle done with stop action. it was neat, even if it was a little kitsch.... cheers, c.b.
  3. goney3

    goney3 Member

    The most important thing to remember is timing. With animation there are 24 frames per second. So when you do your scenes make sure that you think in this restraint.
    For Example:
    While a dive bomber might be taken as one picture per movement (in a very fast dive)... a tank would be 15-20 pictures per movement (so it appears to be moving much slower, but thats still pretty quick for a tank). Nine times out of ten most people forget about timing and their animations come out looking very "weird" and choppy. This also gives your models a since of weight and depth you wouldn't get otherwise.

    Since most of us are on budgets... I highly recomend using web-cams (if you have one) They can be picked up at Walmart for around $30 nowdays. Most include software that lets you take frame by frame and it automaticaly converts it into a movie file afterwords... its fun, cheap, and impresses your friends. Not to mention makes great practice before you go out and buy very expensive cameras and making a movie-epic in your garage. ;)

    I'd love to post some examples... but my current "built-list" is just a Panda and a J-3 Cub... so I don't have much to work with (card models wise).
    But I studied Classical Animation is college and would love to answer any questions. :)

  4. lizzienewell

    lizzienewell Member

    It's an interesting problem. I think that it would work best to start with my background and then move a rough drawing of the model through it to figure out the speed.

    I might be able to use a panorama shot for the background. I'd have to deal with the change in perspective. Or use a video camera pointed outside of a moving automobile. Hm that might be jerky. It might be easiest to have the craft move through a single still shot.

    My models have warpable wings so I'd want to show the wings warping. Next I'd rough in location of wings and get the timeing of that right. Once that is all planned I'd have to set up the model on a jig under good artificial lighting and move and photograph according to plan.
    Next montage the model into the background.

    I think that Corel's graphic suite might have some functions that will produce frames partway between other frames which would reduce the amount of work and make things smoother.

    I'm not sure that I have the time but it would be cool.

    It's fun to see who else is interested in this sort of thing.
  5. hpept

    hpept Member

    goney is right. Timing is the key point in stop motion animation. I did a very raw test with my new AT-AT walker to show how bad a wrong timing can influence an animation. I must say that a 4 legged creature is maybe the most difficult thing to animate, so please have pity. I would like to remind all that also George Lucas had to accurately study the walk cycle of elephants to reproduce a credible walk of the AT-AT.
    About using paper models for stop motion, i think this is too bad, because the models are very lightweight and tend to move around when manipulated for positioning. Usually stop motion models are heavyweight (made of clay or have a metallic frame covered with flex foam or rubber) with flexible joints, two things that are hard to be in a paper model. If i find a way to pubilsh the small movie i made, i will post it.
  6. jleslie48

    jleslie48 Member

    I did a simple one with my orrery:


    I rotated the mechanism the same amount for each snapshot. then strung them together and made the animated gif image.

    I should of been more carefull about when I replace the orrery back on the table after each rotation.

    there used to be a paper star wars stop action movie, it really worked quite well.
  7. hpept

    hpept Member

    here is the small animation i did. The walk cycle is not complete because i don't have an elephant here to copy the motion steps :-D
  8. SteveM

    SteveM Member

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