Stop Motion Animation – An Expert Review And Recommendations

You may watch music videos, advertisements, television shows, and motion films that seem to be animation, unlike computer-generated (CG) animation from DreamWorks, Disney, Pixar, or Warner Bros. These animations appear to be moving pictures just like 2D animation, except in this case, moving objects are in 3D shape. You may find this surprising that these objects are natural, and the production team never physically does these movements. And it is the contribution of Stop Motion Animation.

This article will explore the magical world of stop motion, some legendary films, and games about stop motion software. Furthermore, you will fall in love with this fantastic world’s most aesthetic and appealing arena.

What is a Stop Motion?

Stop Motion is a technique used to produce an animated film. In making it, the animation maker physically moves or manipulates miniature models of the character.

Then the maker captured it as a photograph. Following this, all these captured images are played sequentially, and it will be considered a motion picture, or you can call it a film. The technique is similar to 2D animation making. But stop Motion is 3D in nature.

Making such animation is pretty time-consuming. Moreover, unlike conventional motion pictures captured in a video camera, it restricted individually before making a film.

Generally, 12 fps is considered a standard, while 10 and 6 fps are also good. It will appear very jittery and shaky. However, a stop-motion animation film made at 24 fps is considered the highest standard in this industry.

So imagine if a single second of this kind of film contains 24 photographs. How many photos does it take to make a 1-minute stop-motion? It has 1,440 photos. Do you think that is difficult or is stop-motion the most challenging form of animation? The answer is yes. It isn’t easy and takes a long time to make.

You may be surprised that a movie by Christiane CegavskeBlood Tea and Red String (2006), took 13 years to make. It was a handmade film; he worked alone, animating as low as 10 seconds per day. This stop motion took the longest to make. Besides this event, Coraline (2009) took 500 employees to work 4 long years.

4 Types of Stop Motion

Generally, there are four main types of stop-motion animation. Apart from these four types, several forms of stop motion also exist. First, we will learn about these 4 types. Following this, we will obtain prudence about the others.

  • Lego and action figure
  • Claymation
  • Cut out
  • Silhouette

1. Lego and action figure

Numerous makers make animation using Lego characters or miniature action figures. It is the most common way of making among makers. You will find many YouTube channels that make their stop-motion content using Lego and action figures.

Animators get paid on YouTube, depending on what firm they work for. Usually, they are paid 50000$ to 100000$ annually. This is the most inexpensive, moderately common, and easy to use among all kinds of stop motion techniques and instruments.

Any solo content creator can work with Lego characters for their stop motion. Lego even published their app for making stop motion, which helps new stop motion animators to create.

2. Claymation

Claymation is the most commonly used stop-motion animation technique. In this technique, animators create characters from malleable plasticine to animate in a fixed set, part of which can be made from the same clay. The clay wrapped around a metal skeleton called an armature to provide some strength and movable property to the character.

Plasticine clay characters are set and photographed traditionally, and this still picture finally turns into a moving picture from 12 FPS to 24 FPS. There are many famous stop-motion movies created through Claymation. Chicken Run (2000), Coraline (2009), ParaNorman (2012), The Boxtrolls (2014), and Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) are some famous examples. Finally, Claymation is one of the most challenging, time-consuming stop-motion techniques.

3. Cut out

Cut-out or paper-cut animations are one of the oldest and simplest techniques. Some stories or projects could be too large or long to do with other sophisticated techniques. Cut-out stop motion comes there as salvation.

Generally, paper cut-out animation creates animations using 2-D characters, props, and scenes cut from materials such as cards, paper, fabrics, etc.

To achieve the desired illusion of movement, the animators carefully divide characters into smaller pieces. Then assemble the pieces and move each part in small steps. After that, take photographs of each frame. These still photographs are used to create moving pictures as an illusion.

However, it is impossible to create some leap movement of the character to adjust to audio. So mainly, this animation is used for silent or mute films. Mainly a narrator narrates the story with the movement of the character. 

4. Silhouette

This animation style is quite old. Long before people used computer technology, silhouette animation already existed. It was first invented independently by several artists. However, a German film director named Lotte Reiniger popularized it during the early 1900s.

Silhouette animation is character-focused stop motion, with dark silhouettes cast against a contrasting background. Silhouette films are traditionally monochrome, with the foreground solid black and the background being various shades of gray.

The more distant an element is intended to be, the paler the shade of gray, thus creating an illusion of depth. It utilizes figures cut out of paperboard, sometimes reinforced with thin metal sheets, and tied together at their joints with thread or wire, which are then moved frame-by-frame on an animation stand and filmed top-down with a rostrum camera.

Nowadays, pure silhouette films made professionally are rare, and fewer still are animators who work primarily within its confines.

Best 6 Stop Motion Games

As you are still reading this article, you are a stop-motion lover. What if you find furthermore that there are a bunch of stop-motion games out there? Now we venture into 6 stop motion games that can keep you confined in the dreamy world of stop motion.

1. Vokabulantis

This is a cloud funding game; nearly 2045 contributors pledged 89000 euros to bring this project to life. The co-op game will take you on a journey in a world of love and language, a story of two friends, Kurt and Karla. They have fallen in love with each other. After a series of events, they go on a mission to save a world of language- The Vokabulantis.Vokabulantis Stop Motion Games

A fully digitalized real-world gaming experience is ensured by constructing miniature sets, puppets, animated effects, and a user interface. All these elements used in Vokabulantis are handcrafted. Isn’t it wonderful!

2. Harold Halibut

This one comprises a good narrative with a tale of friendship. A science fiction game with the essence of stop motion can blow your mind when you explore it. The story of this game revolved around a spaceship-sized city that emerged on an ocean on an alien planet. In this game, you will play a scientist named Harold.

Harold Halibut is one of the best Stop Motion Animation game.You will find yourself on the verge of 250 years since your spaceship has left an Earth threatened with a cold war in search of a planet where the human race could be saved. You can quickly pre-order it on Steam.

3. The Neverhood

If you want to live in an imaginary world that can make you forget about reality, this could be the right one. The Neverhood was released in 1993 for Windows. Here you will play as a mystical being named Hoborg, who created his world using an unusual material, “Klay.” Here you can use your full imagination and creativity to create Klay man and other substances by using this Klay. Maybe any computer on this planet can run this game since this game requires a shallow configuration. The Neverhood stop motion animation game

OS: Windows 95

Memory: 8MB RAM (16 recommended).

Graphics: 640×480 Super VGA 256-color monitor with 1 MB VRAM.

Processor: 75 MHZ Pentium processor.

Storage: 10 MB Hard disk space.

4. Armikrog

You will be Tommynaut and explore space with your alien talking dog Beak-Beak. You will fall in love with these characters as the creator of the legendary stop-motion game The Neverhood builds them.

Armikrog gameThe original soundtrack by Terry Scot Taylor in this game will catch your whole consciousness and put you into the world of Armikrog. You will get this game available on Steam. This game also doesn’t require too much of a heavy-packed computer. System requirements are the following:

OS: Windows XP

Memory: 2 GB RAM

Graphics: Pentium 4 or equivalent

DirectX: Version 9.0

Storage: 2 GB available space

5. Floogen

This list is the most recent game according to the publishing date. In this game, you will discover a world full of parasitic being Floogen, and your objective will be to terminate their empire. Floogen

Floogen is well-detailed and with unique graphics. The fighting within this game is quite challenging and breathtaking. Unlike previously discussed games, this requires a sound system.

OS: Windows 7 (Windows 10 is Recommended)

Processor: Quad-core Intel (Core i3 would be better)

Memory: 4 GB RAM

Graphics: Intel i3 or AMD Equivalent

Storage: 2 GB available space

NB: Broadband Internet connection is required.

6. The Dark Eye

The Dark Eye is a  psychological horror adventure game that first appeared in 1995. The game features combined 3D graphics, stop-motion animation, and video segments.

The Dark Eye Stop Motion Animation gameMoreover, it has an unconventional interface, storyline, and characters popularize it. The characters are mainly lifelike and realistic in appearance except for their clay-modeled distorted faces. This near-realism, uncanny appearance, and macabre story of  Edgar Allan Poe sometimes cause an environment of unease and anxiety.

Most Remarkable Stop Motion Animations

Compared to other computer-generated or hand-sketched animated movies, stop motions are limited in number. There have been many stop-motion movies released in the past few decades. Some of them have acquired extraordinary reputations in this field. A brief discussion of the most highlighted few is given below.

1. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) is one of the most incredible stop-motion animations ever created. It is a story about a fantasy world, its great monsters, and their crisis during the Halloween celebration and recovery through a whole new concept of Christmas.

Legendary director and creator of some excellent stop motion movies like Coraline (2009) and James and the Giant Peach (1996), Henry Selick considered it one of his masterpieces. If you are a stop-motion lover, you must watch this movie.

2. Coraline (2009)

Another great movie from the same director, “The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993),” won the hearts of stop-motion fans. Every fan may expect a sequel due to its overwhelming success at the box office and mostly positive critical response. However, English writer Neil Gaiman thought differently and ensured no Coraline 2 was coming out.

Coraline provides a unique stop-motion horror story about a brave, curious, and intelligent little girl discovering another fake dangerous world, which imitates her new residence and the characters she encounters in her new house. This movie has visualized the story so vividly that you may enter into an extraordinary world like Coraline and feel every detail as if you are Coraline on a dangerous journey. 

3. Mary and Max (2009)

This amazing Claymation describes an unlikely friendship between two pen friends, Mary Daisy Dinkle, and Max Jerry Horowitz. Mary is an isolated Australian girl deprived of parental love and affection who accidentally found the address in New York, which belonged to a severely marginalized and mentally unstable Jew, Max. They become friends and go through some ups and downs. After some extraordinary turn of events, their unorthodox friendship prevails in the end.  

4. Corpse Bride (2005)

This is another Claymation, a musical dark fantasy film directed by Mike Johnson and Tim Burton. Animator Brian Demoskoff created the Claymation part. He created 300 puppets for 30 characters, some of which were as costly as 30000 USD. Stop Motion (Claymation) is considered one of the most expensive and time-consuming animation techniques.

This movie is about a boy from a wealthy novice family named Victor and his dilemma to decide between his love-at-first-sight fiancé Victoria or his tragic corpse bride Emily.

5. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Instead of a more fluid 24 frames per secondFantastic Mr. Fox (2009) shot at 12 frames per second so that viewers would notice the medium of stop-motion itself. This is a Claymation based on a children’s novel, “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” written by British author Roald Dahl, describing Mr. Fox’s life story, family, and friends. He was threatened with an existential crisis due to a few dangerous rivals he created through his activities. His intelligent and meticulous decision finally saved him and his family. Watching this movie was the most pleasant one and half hours for anyone who loves stop Motion.

Best 5 Stop Motion Animation Apps for Android

Stop Motion is gaining vast popularity despite its complex process of making. It is a time-consuming art for those creative people passionate about it. This portion of this article will help you to get this vast workload done within a glimpse of your eye by just using these 5 apps for the Android platform.

1. Stop Motion Studio

You can film your project with a built-in camera app within this app. It also controls exposure, ISO, white balance, and shutter speed. After capturing photos, you can import a camera roll and process or edit it to a stop-motion film. Moreover, it also supports advanced features like remote control, a green screen, and animating animated faces or avatars of your character. 

Play Store

2. Lapse It

This award-winning app is mainly used for two purposes, one is to time-lapse photos, and the other is to use the same techniques in making an animation video. Most of those features are similar to the previous one, but it will allow you to speed up time-lapse up to 240 milliseconds. Another unique feature is uploading your project directly to YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Google Plus, and other social media sites.

Play Store

3. Motion!

Another productivity app that will allow you to make stop motion effortlessly and neatly in Motion! This app is very light and not jam-packed with unnecessary features. A most interesting feature of this app that will surprise you, it can produce flipbooks.

Play Store

4. Clayframes

You are a stop-motion animator and don’t know that Clayframes can’t happen. It is a professional app, but it functions like anyone can handle this. Despite an app of only 730KB, this could be one of the best.

App Store

5. I Can Animate with

This software is excellent if you’re starting an animation career. You can get the fundamentals for free; the controls are relatively simple. Slow motion editing is one of this app’s strengths. It provides a timeline of frames that will help you cut more specifically.

How To Make Stop-Motion Movies

Animated movies are always considered different from traditional films. As a concept, stop motion filming techniques may seem plain and more superficial, but it is the most complex and tiring job.

Stop-motion animations are more commonly seen than you may think. And there aren’t any special techniques for that. In some cases, stop motions are blended with other recent and traditional ways of animation.

Stop Motion has many branches, some of which are already discussed above. A summary of the animation process is discussed below.

At first, the animator might fix his settings, mostly camera and stage with character and background. Then the required lighting must be adjusted. All settings must keep still and steady for accurate and quality pictures.

Stop motion animation captures one frame at a time, whether each second requires 12 to 24 frames.

Higher frame rates provide a more smooth and more fluid final video. Physical objects like characters and backgrounds ought to move between frames. This movement must be kept at a minimum level.

After taking enough still pictures, a stop motion animator may rapidly play back the sequence of pictures and create the illusion of movement into finished objects. The objects in 2D drawn animation artists mostly sketch, but in stop motion, physical objects are used instead of Drawing.

In earlier times, filming stop motion was more rigid due to technological shortcomings. Animators cannot see how their work looks until their film is developed. So they must keep track of the character and other objects manually and carefully. A lack of fluency, a bump on the set, or lousy light may jeopardize the whole work, and the animator may start over again.

Final Thought

Switching from an analog camera to a DSLR significantly relieved the animator. Corpse Bride was the first stop-motion film captured with a digital still camera. However, animators must use another video camera for hindsight because of the lack of an instant viewing monitor.

Later digital cameras with displays make it easier. With time, new software related to stopping-motion animation has been developed, making it easier to create stop-motion animation more efficiently.  

Hawlader's passion for technology has driven him to be an avid writer for over 16 years. His vast knowledge of the Windows and Android operating systems is a testament to his proficiency in the field. In addition to his expertise in open source software, he also possesses an extensive understanding of the open-source platform, making him a valuable resource for technology enthusiasts. His contributions to FossGuru writers with research-based articles have helped readers to stay up-to-date with the latest trends in the tech industry. Furthermore, Hawlader's curiosity for scientific breakthroughs has led him to be a keen reader of science blogs, keeping him informed about the latest developments in the field.

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