Stop Motion Music Videos

Coldplay just released (August 2nd 2009)  their new music video to their song “Strawberry Swing”. It uses some very cool stop motion animation. The stop motion features Chris Martin on a large blackboard floor with chalk drawings making up the scenes, backdrops and drawn characters. It was directed by a group of visual artists that go by the name “Shynola“. Originally formed in 1994 while at college in London (Gideon Baws, Chris Harding, Richard Kenworthy and Jason Groves), they have collaborated on a number of well known music videos. (Gideon Baws died due to Viral myocarditis on October 11th, 2008. He was 33.) Chris Martin spent a week in Los Angeles making the stop motion. The animators used a guide “pre-made” animation to recreate the scenes with Chris lying on a large blackended floor. The drawings are all sketched around Chris as he moves frame by frame inline with the Directors instruction as they use the premade animated version as a guide. Richard Kenworthy (Kenny) mentions in an interview on the Colplay site.. “we had pretty much all of the animation roughly blocked-out beforehand using computers. It was just a matter of taking one frame at a time with our grid for reference. Luckily, you only need to draw or rub out the bits that have moved since the last frame. We also had this cool portable monitor while filming, which showed you a live feed from the camera, blended with the previous take and our pre-vis.” The finished result of a lot of hard stop motion work […]

Stop Motion – What is the meaning of Life ?

Pay $9.99 and this booklet will tell you! A stop motion movie recently released by “Regent Releasing” across North America called $9.99 is an adaptation of the short stories by Etgar Keret. The story explores the meaning of life through a booklet costing just $9.99. The booklet grabs the attention of the main character Dave Peck , a 28 year old unemployed guy still living at home. The story centers around a group of individuals in an apartment block who themselves are searching for happiness who are cynical about the booklet that Dave promotes. There is a real mix of characters in this stop motion movie. A retired guy “Albert” has a guardian angel (wings and all) living with him. Albert is basically unhappy with life and looks for a way out to anywhere but here. Ron “the underachiever” has a group of 2 inch tall hard drinking students. Zack, a young boy bribed by his father in to drinking his milk for 50c / glass in order to buy the latest toy ( a soccer kicking wind up toy ). But changes his mind about saving the money to saving the piggy bank “pig” instead as time passes. The movie is directed by Tatia Rosenthal (born 1971 in Tel Aviv, Israel), employed 9 stop motion animators (Daniel Alderson, Yonatan Bereskin, Darren Burgess, Steven Cox, Anthony Elworthy, Jan-Erik Maas, Sharon Parker, Andrew Spilsted and […]

Breaking News – Stop Motion – How can a Dentist be Fun?

Well to answer that question you have to have some faith. Faith in making a dentist funny. Just Released August 17th 2009 – by Nickelodeon – Glenn Martin D.D.S. Glenn Martin (a dentist), his wife Jackie, children, 11 year old Courtney and teenager Conor and the dog of course “Canine” decide under duress (Dad’ idea) to set off in an RV around the country to reconnect as a family. Stop Motion is alive and well in this sitcom. It’s placed in Nickelodeon’s “Nick at Nite’’ prime-time block. Aimed at tweens and their parents to enjoy together or so the “blurb goes”.  From my viewing of the previews it looks very good indeed. Nice stop motion animation techniques in full use. If I have any gripe about the technique of stop motion used I would have to say its the replacement mouths. They look too much like they are simply stuck on. I know “they are” stuck on but I think more care could have been taken to blend them in to the features of the claymation characters. The stop motion animation style comes from the hands of Eric Fogel. Eric is the guy behind MTV’s edgy stop motion “Celebrity Deathmatch” series. I love that scene in that series where the referee holds up claymation character of Sylvester Stallones hand up after it had been blown off and says..”how many fingers am I holding up?” Anyway back to Glenn Martin. In the first episode Glenn drives the family and their RV to Amish […]
By |August 17th, 2009|Stop Motion News|0 Comments

Claymation – Just plain funny

It really goes to show that the animation, be it stop motion brickfilms or claymation is secondary to the story. It’s just the method or technique to get across a good story. It’s never more true than in very simple claymation videos such as  Robert Benfer’s (aka KnoxsKorner ) collection of very very funny animations. Take for example the “Pancakes” claymation below… I’m a fan not necessarily because of his expertise at his claymation (although he is very good) but more for his sheer humour. Yes there is a common thread running through his videos. A bunch of clay guys getting in to trouble despite the fact that the danger is staring them in the face. Classic comedy. Forty six thousand plus subscribers agree he is a great comic who happens to use stop motion techiques. So here’s to you  Robert! ..may you get more subs..visit his channel here

Stop Motion – Making things Fly!

Today I played around with layering on Paint.Net.  For those of you who are not familiar with the term “layering” it refers to the placing of images one on top of the other to form two or more layers.  So what can you use this for and how is it applicable to Stop Motion animation. Well for one thing you can make your character ( claymation or lego minifigures ) fly! Below you can see the fruits of my very serious work on this. But joking aside it can be really effective and convincing. I must do a full tutorial on it very soon and put the link here. Brief Tutorial Summary In brief you need a paint program such as my favourite Paint.Net which will allow you to place one image on top of another i.e. layering. You take a photo of you subject (in this case the lego guy) in the various positions including lifting him off the ground with a stick or string or whatever you choose. Then you take a photo of the same scene but with the character removed. Now when you place the image with character over the top of the image of the scene (with no character) you can rub out the rigging / stick or string by using the eraser tool to expose the background…which has no rigging in it.

Stop Motion – Minifig Easy Talking Tutorial

Today I was actually going to list my top ten favourite funny brickfilms. That’s stop motion animation with LEGO®  bricks for those who are not familiar with the term. But while I was looking back at my favourited brickfilms on YouTube I was reminded of the fact that I never tried the simplest dialogue test with minifigures. That is the method of taking a single snapshot and editing it to paint in a simple open mouth.  So below you see the single snapshot taken of the minifigure guy with his unaltered face – mouth closed. Then I opened the jpeg in Paint.Net (a free alternative to PhotoShop) and simply painted on the mouth (black) to create an open mouth as shown below the image to the left.           Then I imported the two images in to my stop motion software (in this case I used iKITMovie) and copied and pasted the frames back and forth until I have an animated mouth opening and closing in line with my dialogue. It took all of ten minutes to create this little animation. Which is quick in stop motion animation terms.     The result is not bad for a ten minute test. Click here to see the result. I will do a full tutorial on this and put it on the StopMotionCentral site very soon. The video is at the bottom of that page.

Stop Motion Puppet – Recession Buster !

I came across a nicely described page on how to make a stop motion armature puppet recently by a guy called Kevin Forbes. It’s a real straight forward no nonsense how to tutorial on creating the puppet on a budget. He kindly agreed to allow me to reproduce some of his tips here. Thanks Kevin. Kevin used plastilina, some hardening clay for eyeballs and teeth, two tubes of plumbers epoxy, two spools of armature (aluminium) wire , some wooden dowels, a plank of wood, some nuts and bolts and some modelling /scupting tools. I like the way Kevin has laid everything out here ready to make is claymation puppet. Really well organised. The first step in the process is making the internal armature.  Kevin uses aluminium wire though he does not specify the gauge. ( Marc Spess sells this type fo wire on his Claymation Website )Normally you use annealed aluminum armature wire 16 or 18 gauge. But I am not sure what he has used here. Either way you begin by winding the wire on itself to form a double layer. Typically you sketch out the character size on a piece of A4 paper and match the stickman to that figure. Kevin shows us his sketch of the below with the stop motion armature completed.  Kevin hot glued the wire together from three double wrapped lengths. One for the legs, one for the body and one for the arms. He also wrapped and glued in a pair of nuts to use for tieing down the feet. There is an alternative this using tie downs and then […]

Breaking News – Free Stop Motion Magazine Launched!

John Ikuma – Culver City, California has just launched a free online stop motion magazine called Stop Motion. It’s free. Who is John Ikuma? John is a lifelong stop motion enthusiast. By his own admission he favors old school animation. John worked as an intern on American stop motion animated television series “Robot Chicken”. John has also worked on visual effects for the movie “Hired Gun” John got the inspiration from a 1979 special effects (including stop motion) magazine called “Starlog Cinemagics” . It featured photo illustrated “how to” articles on make-up, miniatures, set building, stop-motion animation and optical effects for the 8mm and 16mm amature fantasy film maker, with step by step instructions on building stop-motion armatures, mold making and prosthetics, creating traveling matts and much more. It only ran for 11 issues by the way beginning 1979 before it was sold to Starlog Press who ran it for a further 37 issues until 1987. So after some deliberation John launched his magazine this month. We want to give John a plug here for his efforts in launching his Magazine. It has a range of interviews and a number of very good tutorials. Simple Wire rig constuction for example for the beginner on a budget. Contratulations John and I hope many people subscribe and download the magazine. Get your copy here now.. Click to Download
By |August 12th, 2009|Announcements|0 Comments

The Fantastic Mr Fox – Not so Fantastic ?

You may have heard the book by Roald Dahl “The Fantastic Mr Fox has been made in to a stop motion animated movie? The Movie is out on November 13,2009. The trailer I have watched a number of times and then decided to dig out the book and read it again. The Fantastic Mr Fox Trailer My interest in the movie is for two reasons. One that it is stop motion animation, something which I am obviously keen on as I am involved in running stopmotioncentral.com but second because I have fond memories of the book. Let me warn you that this story does not end happily! There is no “lived happily ever after” in this critique. From what I have learned about the movie from watching the trailer and reading about it, I fear that the movie has been made in to yet another “dumbed down” please everyone attempt at a blockbuster. The appeal of the original book was that it was a good story number one but also that it was charming. It was a true classic in that it did not try to be hip or cool or fashionable. The movie seems to be the opposite. It tries too hard to be up to date , hip and cool. Making references to fashionable phrases and dialogue. Why! Fashion fades..classics last! An example quote from the movie ” Badger ,,demolitions expert”.. Fox ..”What ! Since when” Another one… “I don’t have a bandit hat but I modified this tube sock” hmmm. This is about as far from the book as you can get. But heh..maybe I should move […]

The Most Basic Lighting for Stop Motion Animation

The first rule for lighting animation stop motion movies is Do NOT use natural light!  At least for close stop motion work like animating minifigures or clay characters. I know there are plenty of stop motion movies on youtube of people and objects outdoors during daylight hours..but that is a different kettle of fish altogether.   There is 3 point lighting and all sorts of positioning of lights and reflectors that you can read about anywhere on the web but I have found having tried a good few of them is that a single lamp with a piece of paper wrapped around the bulb can have very good results indeed. Be careful that the paper does not burn or catch fire obviously ..so turn of the lamp when you leave the room for a break or whatever. The paper diffuses the light enough to avoid reflections or glare on your character for animation. It also means you can move the lamp up close to your subject confident that you won’t get any nasty glinting reflections.