Stop Motion

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The SLR Camera Simulator

Fade effect FrameThief is a powerful stop motion animation program for the Macintosh.

StopMotion Station turns a PC and compatible image source into a combination of a single frame movie camera and an advanced movie viewer.

Clay Bad Wolf  Tuna Time

A Brief History

 Stop motion photography is a very old technology that students can have fun with using modern techniques. Stop motion technology predates film and photography and can be traced back hundreds of years. The earliest recorded use of what is known as "Retention of Image" dates back to the days of Sir Isaac Newton but did not become well established until 1829 when Joseph Plateau began experimenting with the theory. These early "Thaumatropes" were just coin sized discs that had different images on each side. Strings were attached to the edges and then it was spun. the image would look as if it were one single image.                                                                                           


                                       Early Thaumatropes

After time, this principal was used to create several devises of different shapes but all of which used multiple still images in a circular  pattern that were viewed through small slits giving the illusion of movement.




These same principles are still used today in every type of motion picture we see. The only difference is that with today's technology we can put the pictures together so seamlessly that the brain does not realize it is just seeing a bunch of still photographs. Typically, the cartoons we see today (and for quite some time) are individually drawn images that are photographed and played back at a rate of 24 frames per second. at this rate, the brain perceives what it is seeing as "real life". The brain actually works at a rate of about 60 "frames per second". You can also think of it as the brain deciphering 60 individual images every second. For comparison, a house fly "sees" at about 300 frames per second. This is why it is so hard to kill a fly with your bare hand, they can see and react to the movement five times faster than we can.

Our Project

Everyone has watched a cartoon and has a basic understanding of how they are made. Now you get to be the animator and show off both your technical and artistic abilities. Whether you want to be unique and create a new character or if you want to recreate a favorite movie scene or even spoof one, the choice is yours.

  • Problem
    Each group is to brainstorm and agree upon a suitable theme as well as what they will use as far as props, background and "characters" in their movie. 
  • The movie can be done using Stopmotionpro version 4 (demo- password is woody) @ or with one of the many other free and or demo downloads found on the internet.
  •  For best results, the movie  should probably be done using "Studio 9" .
  • The pictures can be taken using your personal digital cameras or the Tech Ed digital cameras. The story and choice of what you want to use as your players is completely up to you. The only limitations are that it must not be distasteful or obscene and may not contain graphic violence.
  • You may have to touch up individual pics on Photoshop


  • The movie must be at least 1min long at a rate of at least 15 frames per second. If you want to make it longer or a higher quality (frame rate), by all means do. 
  • Your movie will require a min of 3 sequences. (The 1st = an establishing shot)
  • Each group must create a storyboard that roughly outlines the story they want to photograph and what the characters will be so once you start you will have some direction. Storyboards must be submitted before photography can start.
  • If you use downloaded stop motion software; your movie will likely have to be saved as an avi. When you are ready to make the avi be sure to have the proper settings for your frame rate, usually between 10 and 15 fps is good. 20 is even better but requires a lot of pictures.
  •  Once you have finished making the avi you will then import it into Studio 9 where you can add the sound effects or voice overs you desire. All movies are to have some type of sound added. The final product will be submitted with a copy of your storyboard.

Computer (home or Tech Ed class)
Stopmotionpro V4 (demo) (Stop Motion Pro - animation software) Allows 30 tries, (opens 30 times) but will leave a red line through the video. The actual license is very affordable.


MakeAVI - home page is another free animation creator download that can easily generate your animation. It's not a demo, but you can't see the thumbnails when editing, other wise it is an easy to use progam. 

"Photo Shop" software can be used to fix frames, rid of strings, hands etc, or even modify and produce missing frames.

"Studio 9" or "I Movie"(installed on your computers) can take your AVI's and compress them better for internet usage, as well as add special effects and so-on.
Blank paper for storyboard
Digital camera (personal or Tech Ed class)
Clay or any other material including action figures, pose able dolls, props etc.
Cardboard with background for movie

Storyboard including movie plot and characters to be included 30%
Proper setup of background and camera prep, photos saved properly 30%
Final movie file follows all requirements 40%

Due Date:

Helpful tips
Before you start you should think carefully about what you want to do. Not only in the storyboard but exactly how you will have to manipulate the figures etc. Remember, it looks cool to have a car falling off of a table but you will have to have at least two strings attached to be able to make it look halfway real.

- this link may answer some questions and has a few movies you can watch.

 - before starting you may want to check out this site.

-see Davey and Goliath from the TV ads