Introduction Stop Motion Animation

Introduction to Stop Motion Animation

Stop Motion Animation or sometimes called stop go or stop frame animation is the art form to create animated movies by compiling many snapshots together to give the illusion of motion from normally inanimate objects. In fact all animation is essentially stop motion animation. 2D animation such as drawn or sketched animation cartoons is stop frame animation. Just as 3D animation with dolls or puppets is stop motion animation.

Capturing Still images for Stop Motion Animation

There are a few ways to capture images for stop motion animation. The pioneers of modern stop motion animation used film cameras to still images. This was a very difficult way to capture your images as there was no way of predicting how the images would appear until you had the “negatives” developed. A concept that is completely alien to the modern animator. 

Stop Motion Animation with Willis O' Brien

These days we capture images digitally and thus the result of the capture is instantaneous. We also have the ability to compare the previous images taken and the current proposed snapshot about to be taken. This facility is called onionskinning. Something that you can now take for granted with any stop motion animation project.

Fortunately there are a number of software applications available for any aspiring animators these days. You can even create animations with your smartphone ( although they will be basic and can be tricky to create). Installing a software package on a PC or Mac and connecting up a webcam or a DSLR camera will open up a world of opportunity for animating. 

This is how you get started

StopMotionCentral has lots of advise on how to start  with stop motion animation.  Not a lot is required to be honest. Here are the basics:

  • Software – Refer here to some good stop motion animation apps and software



  • A DSLR camera if you want very high quality images and you are studying animation or contemplating a profession in animation


  • Subject – This can be anything from LEGO minifigures to claymation characters or action figures or even paper cut out 2D characters.

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