In this activity students employ their creativity and existing skills in order to create 3D artworks in the form of a stop-motion animated film. Students will learn how they can create a video that appears to make things come to life by physically manipulating inanimate objects.
Organize the students into small group but explain to them that they can switch places with others throughout the activity so they can experience different roles and tasks. The first thing they’ll need (if they haven’t previously created one) is a storyboard. They should then make a list of all the material they need to make the elements of the film and start modelling the plasticine or play dough to create characters and scenery.
Once that’s done, the photographing begins! In stop motion technique, the elements are photographed frame-by-frame, making small changes to emulate movement between each shot. This takes quite a long time and lots of patience – it takes approximately 24 frames for each second of film. The frames are then assembled in film format thereby creating the animation. Organise the students so that whilst one group is manipulating the characters and sets, another group is photographing and adjusting the scenery. Directors should keep a close eye on the original storyboards and co-ordinate any last-minute changes.
With the pictures all taken and saved on the computer, it’s time to produce the film. We like using Monkey Jam, a great piece of software that allows the editing of animated images. Encourage learners to explore the functions and effects and to apply these where appropriate in order to improve the quality of the end product. When they’ve finished, ask them to save their work.
Time needed 3 hours
Software to create an animation film: Monkey Jam – http://monkeyjam.org/.
Digital camera or webcam.
Materials to build the characters and sets (in this case plasticine).
Hints and tips
To improve the making of the film, have a previously created storyboard to hand. This will help students to organise their work and to track their progress.
Teacher supervision is essential in order to guarantee a good final result. Co-ordinate the tasks and guide the students through the preparation and filming.
If they wish to include dialogue, they will need to investigate lip sync and audio editing.
To facilitate the production of the film, ask students to save their files using file names that will help them easily identify individual scenes e.g. by using numbers.
You can also build the sets and characters using other materials, such as paper, cardboard or Lego!
- There is other software that allows you to easily create stop motion films: Animator DV Simple+ http://www.animatordv.com/download_free.php for Windows, Luciole http://ubuntu.allmyapps.com/apps/install-luciole for Linux or Frame Thief http://www.framethief.com/index.html for Mac. To make a 3-D stop motion film try Muvizu – http://www.muvizu.com.
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