Activity 3: Stop Motion


Students will apply the concepts, practices, formulas and terminology of this traditional form of animation presented in the activity 2 introduction presentation. Students are to generate a 120-240 second (at 12-24 fps) example of a 2D (two dimensional) animation or 3D  (three dimensional) stopmotion. Once the stopmotion is created and tested, students are to digitalize their animation and save it in their digital portfolio as: firstlastname_stopmotion.flv in Animation Unit/Activity 3.

Students will work with their partner from Activity 3 on this project. Both students will need to include their names in projects and have digital copies on their wegb portfolio.

Definition:  Stop motion (Stõp móshen) animation was first envisioned in 1906 by J. Stuart Blackton with his piece entitled “Humorous phases of funny faces.” He created the illusion of motion by filming a chalkboard with chalk-drawn faces on it, one frame at a time. He would draw or erase parts of the chalk faces, slowly giving them expressions and context.  This principle has been adapted to create some of the video industries highest grossing productions. Films such as King Kong (1933), Jason and The Argonauts (1963), and The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993) created the impossible, one frame at a time. The most common, and by far the most popular, example of stop motion animation can be seen in cartoons.

Required Materials:

•Monopod or tripod; or try books, magazines to lean camera on
•Papercutouts, a pencil, or anything that is flat or leaves a flat result (2D)
•A lamp or two to ensure good lighting
•A story and your storyboard from activity 5, you may download the in case you misplaced your original storyboard. Click here to access the work file)
•Software – Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe Premiere CS5
•Digital camera – Capture your optical illusion


  1. Example of a cloth, sand, ink, penciled lines, paperclips, post its, papercutouts and/or rope figure that is flexible and strong: Get objects and figures to use in your movie. Be imaginative in the types of objects and figures that might work for your movie.
  2. Design your characters/objects and how they move — Although this animation will be 2D, characters may still walk, raise an arm, nod yes, moving something, or whatever… be creative.
  3. Design Background Set: Set up the figures (characters) in a particular position and within their set.
  4. Don’t forget to take the cap off! Place your camera in front of the “set” that you are going to take photos of. Check that it can view the entire frame. It is very important to support the camera or place it so that it is sitting steadily and cannot shake as you take the photos. Otherwise, the end result will appear chaotic and lack continuity. Keep in mind that the more photos, the smoother the video results. If you do not have a tripod, good alternatives include balancing on solid books, poster tack on the surface of the set or a piece of solid furniture at the same height.
  5. Set up a good source of lighting. It might be a lamp or a flashlight. If your light is flickering, you need to shut off other sources of light. Close the blind, or curtains etc.
  6. Align and shoot: Take a single photo of the figure in the selected position. This photo shows the Lego set being readied for photographing.
  7. Begin the movement sequence: Move the figure bit by bit – very small movements each time. It may be the entire body if the figure is walking, or it may just be an arm, head or leg. If you are moving only one body part and you find that the figure is tilting or threatening to fall over, make use of poster tack under the feet or other area touching part of the set.
  8. Observe the following sequence of a Lego figure shoot to see how very small the changes must be (and remember that this is only a few of the frames to be taken!
  9. Repeat the movement sequence until your action step is completed, or your camera’s memory is full.
  10. Save the pictures onto your computer in an easy to remember place. Create a new folder in your thawed drive called stop motion images, and upload images there. Rename your images in the order that they will be played. SMOO1.jpeg, SM002.jpeg,SM003.jpeg, etc
  11. Create a new folder titled: Adobe Premiere SM in your activity folder,

Editing Task:

•Launch Adobe Premiere CS5,
•Set up your project settings to the following:◦Location: Thawed drive Animation Unit/Activity folder/Adobe Premiere SM folder (you will need to create it)

  • Go to Edit/Preferences and setup up the General settingsto the following:
    • Default Scale to frame size,
    •  Still Image default duration will need to be changed from 150 to 1,
    • Layer in a royalty-free score,
    • Upload video to Vimeo.
    • Students are to post their stop-motion video on their Wix site for feedback, tag with your name and activity 2.
  • Import your photos, set your inpoint/out points, render your timeline,
  • Export Media as: Firstlastname_Activity5_no_title.flv,
  • Import video to Project panel,
  • Delete photos from timeline,
  • Place your video onto Video track 1

Adding a Title to your Stop Motion:

  • Your video should look like the image below.  The text should read: The following FLIPBOOK ACTIVITY has been approved for DIGITAL VOICES BY YOUR NAMES, WINNIPEG, MB., CANADA.  www.yourwix and


  • DAY l introduction to assignment, find partner, brainstorm theme and props and plan story.
  • DAY 2 30 minutes: complete storyboard (bring in our pencils) and 30 minutes: Complete Photo-Shoot.?
  • DAY 3 upload to D-drive, edit, Output to mov, submit to teacher

Teacher Tutorials:

how to setup your camera:

how to setup your camera on the tripod:

how to take your photos:

how to take your photos:

how to upload your photos to your computer:

How to setup a stopmotion in Premiere CS5:

Add titles to your Timeline in Premiere CS5:



•Make sure your battery is fully charged.
•Stay out of the way of or position the light source so you don’t create distracting shadows over your animation that change with each frame.
•To reduce flicker and create a smoother animation, set your camera’s white balance and exposure settings on manual mode so they don’t change with each shot.
•If you use clay as your medium, try putting wire inside the clay; this will help you move the figures more easily.
•If objects are going to be moving limbs, make sure you can keep them in that one position without holding on to them. Poster tack works well for this, or even looped over adhesive tape.
•Add music and sound effects for additional interest.
•If you do not want every frame saved on your computer, then you can delete them.
•Watch other stop motion animations for inspiration. These may give you some new ideas about how to do your own animation. Wallace and Gromit and Knox are fresh and popular animations.
•You will become faster at moving the figures and judging the distances the more you practice.
•When you are beginning, try shooting the sequences where characters are moving, fighting, etc. in stop motion. when they are talking, just take single shots of their faces. It speeds up the process, and it actually looks okay.
•If you want to make a toy fly (such as a pterodactyl or a bird), attach clear string to it. Hold it up in the air for every shot that you want it to fly. Make sure you have 2 people working on this part.

Criteria and Reflection:

see traditional animation rubric for mark breakdown.

Images must be 720 X 480 pixels (scale to default size in premiere),
Film will be 15 second (at 24 fps – frames per second) (remember that video is set to 29.97 fps, but animation is 24 fps). This means that your film will be composed of 360 images.
Ensure that you use a tripod/solid surface to set up your shots to avoid unnecessary camera movement.
Use the Storyboard from the previous activity as the storyline

The Sandpit from Sam O’Hare on Vimeo.

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo.

Deadline from Euphonie Music and Sound on Vimeo.