In our second semester we have been learning about Stop Motion animation. Stop Motion uses individually photographed frames for each movement of an object to give the illusion of movement. Stop Motion comes in many forms, the most popular being Clay-Mation where a Plasticine model is used. Puppets, dolls, found objects can be also used in Stop Motion.
Some forms of Stop Motion don’t require a puppet or model. People can be used as real life puppets, this is called Pixilation (an example is Norman McLaren’s Neighbours). We had a little play around with Pixilation.
Another form of Stop Motion is Smudge & Click (see the work of Caroline Leaf). This technique involves using a product such as sand/glitter/powder/paint etc to create small movements to tell a story rather than using drawings for each frame. After you have done a movement & taken a photograph of it, it’s near impossible to recreate the previous frame. Smudge & Click requires precision & each movement must be carefully considered. Cut Out animation is another form of Stop Motion & uses flat characters, backgrounds & scenery cut from stiff materials like card, paper & felt. Cut Out can be filmed flat, one layer stacked on top of another, or filmed using multi-plane camera. The multi-plane consists of layers of glass where each layer has a different piece of the Cut Out; the background, scenery, props, the characters. It has a camera at the top to capture the movements. The multi-plane helps add depth to the animation.
We also experimented with Direct Animation, also called Drawn On Film Animation. This technique doesn’t use a camera. Instead footage is created by either scratching drawings directly onto black film stock or drawn onto blank/clear film stock with pens or ink. We were given a Carnival theme for this.
I’m really enjoying Stop Motion. When I heard that we would be doing it this semester, I was mega excited. I’d been waiting to learn Stop Motion since I started uni. Sure, it can be frustrating at times when something isn’t going right but it’s all part of the learning curve & the solution to the problem is usually right there in front of you. The end result is worth any frustrations. Stop Motion is a very rewarding form of animation.
The first semester was all individual work but the second semester is all about team work. We were allocated teams & were named after great Stop-Motion animators. There was; Team Leaf (Caroline Leaf), Team Gilliam (Terry Gilliam), Team McLaren (Norman McLaren) & Team Harryhausen (Ray Harryhausen). I was a member of Team Gilliam along with my classmates & friends, Grace Stephenson & Jack Cooper.
This semester we are to produce 5 Stop Motion Animations, 1 x Direct Animation, 1 x Pixilation, 1 x Smudge & Click, 1 x Cut Out & 1 x Animation using a Stop Motion technique of our choosing for the competition/screening event we have to organise.
Very busy semester ahead of us!