Maybe you’re like many of us in the Art world that have admired the realm of animation, but were always put off by the inherent technical apsects that often seem like a mystery. Or maybe your excuse not try animation was that the equipment needed to create it was either too complex to learn, or too expensive to buy. Or maybe you’re an art teacher that always wanted to try and do animation with your students, but you felt like your lack of experience or resources made it impossible. Well, kiss all of those excuses “good-bye”, and consider stop motion animation.
Stop motion animation has been around since the creation of early movies. This type of animation is created by taking photographs within a sequence and playing that sequence of photographs at a high “frame rate”. In each photograph that is taken, the object that “moves” is placed in a slightly different location. When the photos are played in order, the object that was photographed, appears to move naturally. Stop motion animation is used to create all kinds of creative animations. Just do a quick search on Youtube.com for “stop motion” and you’ll see what I mean.
Using stop motion is a great way to introduce yourself or students to the world of animation. It can be a fun and creative project to do on your own or with a class of students. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment, or advanced degrees in animation. You can create stop motion films with just a camera and some free programs that you can download.
When I am teaching animation to my students, we use Adobe Flash. Adobe Flash is not a free program but you can download a trial version for free here->Adobe Flash Download
Here is a short list of some free stop motion programs…
MonkeyJam – “What’s MonkeyJam?
MonkeyJam is a digital penciltest program. It is designed to let you capture images from a webcam, camcorder, or scanner and assemble them as separate frames of an animation. You can also import images and sound files already on your computer. Although it is designed for pencil and paper, MonkeyJam can also be used for StopMotion animation and has several features just for that. Movies created in MonkeyJam can be exported as AVI files.”
-From MonkeyJam Website
StopMotion Pro– Professional Animation Program that features a free trial.
Animator DV Simple– Use this free software to create stop motion films with your webcam.
iKITmovie– Animation software that includes lots of sounds. The website features lots of examples that people have made and includes a free trial version.
If you know of any others, please comment and share.