stop motion

Stop motion animation is an animated filmmaking technique in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames so they may appear to show independent motion or change when the series of frames are played back. Any kind of object may be animated, but puppets with movable joints or plasticine figures are most commonly used. Puppet models or clay figures built around an armature are used in model animation. Stop motion with live actors is often referred to as pixelation. Stop motion of flat material such as paper, fabrics or photographs are usually cut out animation.

The term stop motion relating to animation technique is often pronounced with hyphen as stop motion. Both orthographical variants with and without the hyphen is correct but hyphenated one has a second meaning that is unrelated to animation or cinema: a device that automatically stops a machine or engine from doing something is wrong. Before the advent of chronophotography in 1878 a small number of picture Sequences were photographed with subjects in different poses. These may be regarded as a form of stop motion or pixilation but very few results were meant. But a few celluloid films were established in 1888, setting the standard for moving image animation that could be presented via mechanisms such as zoetrope.

stop motion animation

In 1849 Joseph Plateau published a note about improvements for his Fantascope. A few translucent variations had improved picture quality and it could be viewed with both eyes by several people at the same time. Plateau stated that illusion could be advanced even further with an idea communicated to him by Charles Wheatstone, a combination of fantascope and Wheatstone stereoscope. Plateau thought the construction of a sequential set of stereoscopic images would have been a more difficult part of the plan than adapting two copies of an improved fantascope to be fitted with a stereoscope. Stop Motion Animation is the only art form in the world that may take advantage of and use every other art form or technology known to humanity.

The reality is that stop is a technique which utilizes photographic methods as it captures medium and plays back those sequences of photograph a little to produce a continuous motion on the screen. In the simplest form, stop motion is a photographic film making technique where an object is moved in front of the camera and photographed many times. Essentially the use of taking many pictures of moving objects is essentially one of the oldest filmmaking techniques. Edward Muybride was the first to discover that by lining up a series of cameras and having one take a picture right after the other one in succession that the result would demonstrate the motion in real time and were subject to just reviewing the still images one by one.

The history of stop motion animation is very rich. In 1888 Louis Le Prince patented the design for the very first motion picture camera. This is a very crude camera but they demonstrated the basic principle of motion picture. The very first documented stop motion animated film is accredited J. Stuart Blackton and Albert E Smith for Vitagraph The Humpty Dumpty Circus which was released in 1898. There is a lot of speculation as to when the technique was discovered but at least now the first commercial release was with this film. The Humpty Dumpty Circus was co-directed by Albert E Smith and J .Stuart, a short film featuring stop motion animation. It was one of the earliest examples of stop motion animation using toys and miniatures.

motion animation

The next film which was released in 1926 is German filmmaker Lotte Reignger created the first feature length stop motion animated film titled ‘’the adventures of Prince Achmed’’. She introduced intricately cut silhouette figures and filmed them against backpit glass channels. Reigner’s work demonstrated the artistic potential of stop motion animation. King Kong- The iconic King Kong utilized a combination of lives action footage and stop motion animation for its spectacular creation effect. Willis O’Brien the film special effect supervisor brought the giant ape to life through painstaking frame by frame animation. The film is still available and has been put onto BLuray, Amazon offers it both new and used.

The art of Claymantion– Ray Harryhousen a renowned stop motion animator popularized the technique using foam rubber and metal armatures to create more flexible and expressive characters. His voyage includes The 7th Voyage of Sinbad and Jason and Argonauts showcased his excellency on stop motion.

The nightmare before Christmas –Tim Burton ‘The nightmare before christmas’’ brought stop motion animation to mainstream. Directed by Henry Selick, the film combined dark storytelling, stunning visuals, and innovative character design to captivate audiences and solidify stop motion in modern cinema. That is a true Christmas classic and it is sure to be on television over the festive season. With the advent of digital technology stop motion animation experienced resurgence. Filmmakers like Nick Parkand Henry Selick continued to push the boundaries of the medium  while incorporating digital enhancements. The production company Laika has produced several critically acclaimed stop motion films using a blend of traditional and digital technique. Stop motion animation remains a beloved and versatile art form and it is appreciated for its tactile and special aesthetic.

It continues to inspire both independent animators and big budget production contributing to the ever evolving landscape of animation. Stop motion animation is a work of love that requires patience and persistence. It may be time consuming but the result is very rewarding. One should embrace the process and learn from each attempt tweaking the methods and enhancing the skill. Once all the frames are captured the time is to bring the animation to life in post production. Stop motion software may be used to fine tune the sequence adjusting timing and add any necessary effects of transitions.

One should consider using software packages to add sound effects or transition. One might consider using other software packages to add sound effects or music and additional transition to enhance the all through experience.

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