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How to make a stop motion animation

How to Instagram Meet the Maker

I recently posted a stop motion animation on Instagram as part of the March Meet the Maker challenge and received a great response so thought I'd share how I do them. I'm sure you'll realise it's actually much simpler than it seems and you might like to have a go too! I'd always thought you would need thousands of images for a five second animation and you'll be pleased to know that is not the case.

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What you need

  • Camera (phone is fine)
  • Tripod (very difficult without one as I've discovered!)
  • Remote shutter if you have one (not essential but does make it easier and quicker)
  • An app or program to combine the images in a sequence and save as video

Before you start

Before you start have a think about the type of animation you want to create. For this example I wanted all the tools and materials to appear to arrange themselves neatly in a flatylay style arrangement. For this type of animation it's much easier to take the photos in reverse so set everything up as you want it to look when it is finished and then take things away. This will make more sense when you see the series of images below. 

Set up

Flatlay photo

Set up your camera and tripod (and remote shutter if using one) to make sure it covers all the area you will use (and remember you can crop the animation at the end so better to have too much in the picture than not enough). For an animation like the one above, I point the camera straight down.

Set up your first image (or last one if shooting in reverse as I have done) and take a few test shots to ensure everything is looking as it should.

Take your images

Stop motion images

Again, using the above as the example, take a photo with everything in place then move one or two items a bit, take a photo, move them a bit more, take another photo and so on. See the few images above as an example. For my animation I moved each item about three times before taking it away completely and moved more than one at a time.

Create the animation

Photoshop animation

Now you need to combine the images and create the animation. I use Photoshop for this (because I have it and am used to it) but there are lots of apps out there which do the same thing. Here are a couple I've heard of that are availabe for both Android phones and iPhones:

  • Stop Motion Studio
  • Stop Motion Builder by MEGA Brands

Let me know if you use one how it goes!

Essentially, no matter what you use, the process is the same. All the images need to be placed in a sequence, decide how long each individual image should play for (I used 60 images playing for 0.1 seconds each and this created a 6 second animation) and then the final animation saved as a video file.

(If you have photoshop and want to know how to put this together in that just contact me and I'd be happy to let you know the steps I take. I just don't want to go into that detail here if most people don't have it).

And there you have your first stop motion!!

I hope this all makes sense - I realised it's harder to explain in words than I'd thought but hopefully the images make it clearer. Next time I make one I'll take a video of the process.

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