How to animate your story using stop motion techniques | Maartje Simons | Skillshare

How to animate your story using stop motion techniques

Maartje Simons, Animator, composer, drummer

How to animate your story using stop motion techniques

Maartje Simons, Animator, composer, drummer

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13 Lessons (34m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. What is stop motion?

    • 3. What do you need for this class project?

    • 4. Write your story

    • 5. Make a storyboard

    • 6. Make a breakdown list

    • 7. Collecting all items

    • 8. It's time to animate!

    • 9. Add audio

    • 10. Edit your animation

    • 11. You did it!

    • 12. The Carwash Hero

    • 13. Bonus lesson

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About This Class

In this Skillshare class you’ll learn to animate a short 30 second film using the stop motion technique. 

Your project will be to create an animation based on a story that happened in your life.

I’ll take you through the whole process of choosing and writing the story, storyboarding, make all the content for animation, animating and editing, but I'll also tell you all the basic setup and tools you'll need to make an animation.

You don't need to have any experience with making animations. However.. This class is not about how to work with certain software! Although I keep everything basic, you need to get to know the software you are using a little bit by yourself (or find a Skillshare class about that!). You can download a PDF with apps and software, most of them are free, in the class project resources on this page.

To join me during this class you'll need at least a stop motion software program (on your phone or computer), a camera (this can be your phone or webcam), a table, tape and one or two lamps.

I'm drawing and cutting out all my items, but feel free to use other materials like toys, clay, real photos or cutout everything you need from magazines.

This class is a step-by-step workshop you can easily follow along. Although I'm not teaching you how to work with certain software, I'll keep it very simple and fun!

I would like to refer you to my other class 'Animate a birthday greeting with stop motion studio' if you want to learn a simple (and free) stop motion app: 

Meet Your Teacher

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Maartje Simons

Animator, composer, drummer


I'm a Dutch creative in the field of animation, art and music. I've graduated as a drummer and after playing and touring with several bands I decided to make my own children's storytelling show using my own animations, compositions and illustrations. Since then I'm dedicating my life to animation, art, composing and drumming under the company name Life On Marzj

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1. Introduction: Hello. I am Marsh. Welcome to my very first skill share class. How to animate your story Using stop motion techniques, I will teach you to choose your own story and turn that into a very simple 32nd stop motion animation I'm using cut out for this class. But feel free to use toys, clay or whatever you like to rigorous. Join me while I'm making my animation. And go ahead and make one yourself. Are you ready? Let's go. 2. What is stop motion?: over a stop motion. Let's check Wikipedia for that stop motion is an animated filmmaking technique. Enrich objects are physically manipulated in small agreements between individually photograph frames, so that they will appear to exhibit independent motion when the Siri's off frames is played back as the first sequence. In other words, you make a series of photos often object, and in between making these photos, you move your object bit by bit. Play these photos in the sequence and object moves you might hurt of the stop motion feel. It looks a bit rigid. You can see it's an object that moves, but it doesn't look realistic. Not like a real bear in the movie, for example, and that makes it characteristic and charming. In film and animation, you work with frames per second or insured FBS. It's the frequency at which con secu tive images called frames appear on a display. More frames in one second, the more fluid your film will be, while in other animation techniques, 24 frames per second is commonly used in stop motion, it's between 10 to 15 frames per second. For this class, I'm going to use 10 frames per second So 32nd film in this case, I need to make 300 photos in total. In the next lesson, I'm gonna tell you what you need to make an animation yourself. 3. What do you need for this class project?: you will need a camera. This can be your smartphone, webcam or even external camera. Make sure that your webcam or external camera works with your cell fair. You need sulfur or UNEP to make your photos there. Special programs for making stop motion animations. Most of the time, you can add audio in these programs and even edit your whole animation. But if you want, you can record the audio in another program and edit your animation in again another program. One thing you need to know here. This class is not a how to use all these programs class, but I will show you how I work. And the basic tools within the program are very similar, so you will be fine. You need a table or of books Well, because you need to place your items somewhere, right? Right. I use three lamps to make the less shadow as possible, but just to get started, you can use one or two. Get lynched from your living room and make sure they're not too close to the scene. You don't want to move your table or camera while animating to prevent accidents. Tape everything you don't want to move, Put your camera on the stand and also make sure this one can move. I prefer a boom stand so that my camera is straight above the work field. I've made my room dark by covering my windows with tape and curtains. I don't want the sun and how lights changed through the day. Influence my animation. And last but not least, you need items to animate with. This can be cut out, play toys or even stuff from your office or use them all. I've made a PdF fell for you, where you find links to absence softener you can download at the class project page. Next, write your own story. See you in the next lesson. 4. Write your story: 30 seconds is not really long. With this in mind, you need a story that is very simple and don't need a lot of explanation. Another thing you need to be aware of. You need items to enemy, the more you want to use, the more time it will take to make your animation. So when you're writing a story, make sure there are no more than two characters. Use a simple background and not too many props. You have plenty to do, so don't make it crazier than necessary on that you have all the time in the world. But how to come up with this story? Well, that's easy. Start writing down things. You remember little situations that were funny or odd or dramatic or sweet. Or maybe you've heard a funny joke. Write them all down using one or two simple lines so that you understand what you mean. I wrote down some childhood memories, but also some things that happened later in life, and even recently, then after every memory I write down, if it fits, might keep it simple rules. And then I choose the best one, then it right down a story in this case, I use my imagination. This is, of course, never really happened. I use the memory as inspiration and nothing more. But you can do what you want. Of course, I choose the story of my nephew. He was three years old at the time, helping me cleaning my car. He wants become a fire factor, so he only wanted to hold the water hose. I could imagine how he felt like a real firefighter and thought that was very sweet. This is the story I made of the memory. I've changed the characters in a woman and a boy instead of me and my nephew, and instead off the parking nearby my father's house, where we actually clean my car. The whole animation takes place in Carver's, So this is the story. A woman drives her car to the car wash, and a little boy raced there with the water hose in his hands. A little cloud appears and animation dozen to the little boy's imagination. He gets a fire helmet and jacket, and now suddenly the cars on fire. No, the woman is in the big panic. The little boy ends the fire with water and the flames go out. We are going back to reality. The cars claim and a woman gives a little boy a kiss on his cheek, your brushes and feels proud. The end. And then in the end, I give historian name. In this case, I call it the car wash hero. Well, maybe it's a bad title, but I don't I don't care. It's it's good enough for this class. Okay? Okay. Now we can go to make a storyboard. We will do that in the next lesson. 5. Make a storyboard: making a storyboard is very important. Before animating in the storyboard, you make little drawings to visualize your story so that you can get a better idea of what you want to make and very importantly, what you need. Drawing your story board is very easy because you don't need to be good at drawing. It's not important. You need to be able to draw everything at the right place, but you can use stick figures if you want. So what are the highlights of the story? A woman drives a car to the car wash. Boy dreams the boy comes firefighter cars on fire. Boy kills the flames. Guards clean. Woman kisses the boy so these air seven highlights. But I can make six scenes out of it and then together with its title in the credits, that makes eight. If I would divide 30 seconds into eight, you get 3.75 seconds. But some scenes needs a bit more time for the viewer to understand what's going on, and some need a bid less so. I will make the storyboard first and then decide how long it single tick. So I started with a title and I start drawing, - I'm gonna write down the back room colors I want to use to white for the normal situation and yellow and the boys dreaming. So the moment that the cars on fire Now it's time to write down how long teaching will take , and it's a bit off a guest. So I think the title needs three seconds, for example, and then the second seeing needs a bit more because it's the first real seeing that you see what's going on. So it's a guest. So maybe later, during animating, I might change my mind. But maybe? No, maybe yes, maybe not. I'm not sure. Yeah, I always improvise a lot. Now we have the story, but you can easily break down the pictures you will need for your animation. We will make a breakdown list in the next lesson. See you there 6. Make a breakdown list: it is very useful to know what items you need to make or get to be able to make your animation. That's why it's good to look at your storyboard and write down a list off all the things you see in each scene. You can make the next categories a background. This can be one color like I'm using, but it can also be the scenery like mountains or hills. Characters, props, Arctic characters using items like a water hose, for example, set dressing things on the set like offense or billboard. Words like the letters I use for the title in the credits. Okay, let's start with the first scene background. That's white characters. Nothing. Props, Nothing said dressing nothing. This is easy words. Yeah, a title. I need the letters. The carwash hero. Okay, let's go to the next seat. - Way , way. Now we know what we need. Let's get started collecting all items. See you in the next lesson. 7. Collecting all items: I love drawing, so I've decided to draw all items and cut them out. In this lesson, I give you a quick view of how I work. It's all up to you if you're going to do the same or you stores or clay or something. I look at the storyboard and decide to draw the boy first. I draw his head first with his eyes close, I make two versions off his eyes. Open one pair that look to the right and one better look into the camera. Now I can make him blink. As you can see, I draw the end of the neck ground. I want to move his head a little, and with a rounded neck, it looks better where you draw arms and legs separately. You would do the same, by the way, when I finished the drawing, I'm going to paint. I'm using gouache paint. If someone wants to know. I also want to make the letters for the title and credits I first paying three sheets of paper in three different colors. Then they write down the whole alphabet and then I cut them out. One thing you need to know when using cut outs and animation. When you cut paper the size are always white. It looks better in your animation to pay them black. Yes, I know it's a lot of work. You would be crazy, not simply use toys. Instead, put all items in an envelope so that you will not lose anything, and it's best to put them in a heavy book to keep them flat. Make sure you have everything and then you're good to go. Next, it's time to any made. 8. It's time to animate!: I'm all set. I've take everything down, set my camera and covered my window my lambs already and have tweezers. So that is going to be easier to move the smaller Scott outs. And of course, I've got all the good I was ready, Emma storyboard nearby. I'm using the stub motion program Dragon frame and have my remote ready. I've turned onion skin on and I've checked my camera. I mentioned onion skin. You might like to know what that is when you're making a photo and then move your item. It can be a great help if you can see on your screen the first photo you've already made While you're moving your item a bit for the next photo with onion skin option you can. Your animations will be much mother of and using this option and you will even work first. Let's set up the scene. I'm going to make the whole animation in the same scene. But you can also decide to make all the scenes in your store aboard separately. Choose 10 frames per second and then save you're seeing and we can start any made. Yeah, The first thing is the title. I wrote down on my store report that this scene will take three seconds. This means I'm going to take 30 photos. With that in mind, I'm going to improvise a little, sometimes just start over again. A couple of times. I place the first letter and click, and then the next click and so on. And after 30 photos, check how it looked like by pressing play I showed you. I have a remote trigger frame. Sandman, when you buy to sell fair where you are using a free app on your phone, you don't want to touch your phone every time when you make a photo. Most of these APS have a remote at available. You can dilute this up on another phone or tablet or even your PC or Mac. With this, you don't need to touch your phone. That is also the camera, and that makes a much better result. Okay, let's fast forward the rest of the process and joy thing . - Yea , I finished my animation. Now I can export my animation and give it a name. The cars hero, Rough animation by rough animation. Well, there's no audio on it yet that's gonna be covered in the next lesson to see you 9. Add audio: most of the time I make my own music from animations so you can get it to you can use a force recorder. For example, If you play guitar or not instrument, just go for it. Or maybe you know someone that can play an instrument, and you can ask what you like. Music for my animation is only 30 seconds or their websites with free music you can download in the period you can download. I've put some links for you. Maybe you like to record your voice and text to your animation. You can use a voice recorder on your smartphone, for example. And of course, there are plenty of free abs and so far available. Guess what you can find. These also in the PdF animations are much more fun with sound effects like the sound of footsteps of water. You can make them yourself, or you can download them for free online. And yeah, I put some things in the pdf also specially for you. Oh, all right, be aware that is not allowed to just use any music you like. You can get into trouble if you use someone music and not clearing it so be sure you have to permission. Otherwise, you get into trouble and get ban on YouTube. For example. We are almost there. One more step and that is editing. See you in the next lesson. 10. Edit your animation: now we can make the final movie. Editing means you can cut scenes if you think they're too long or change the order of the scenes with cut and paste. Or you can add your audio to the film again. Keep it simple. You probably don't need to do much anymore here anyway. In most of motion programs, you can edit your scenes and at audio, I prefer to use editing so far, like Adobe Premiere or move a fee in the pdf, you can find some links I am using Adobe Premiere. I've already made the edit for the music and most sound effects, except for one so that I can demonstrate how I put this sound at the right place, first of a load animation and then the felt with all the music. Let's listen to it a little bit. Okay, now I'm going to add the last sound effects, and that is the kiss sound. I go to the part where the woman kisses the boy and dragged the sound effects to the right place, assuming a lot so that I can see exactly where the mouth touches the cheek, and that is where I want to sound effect. As you can see, the kiss sound is a very small way foul. Um so that's why I need to zoom it in a lot. And I turn off the volume because when I zoom in, I will see that in a bit. This is zooming in. You see where it starts, you see the little white thing, you know, it's fled, and then it goes a bit like a bigger white thingy. Um, there's that is the kiss, so I don't need to hear it. I can see what I do, but and then turn on the volume. Of course. Yeah. Perfect. No. One export the whole animation. I wanted to be an MP four. I could choose a YouTube for months, but I decided to keep this standard form it. The audio is checked. Amount going to give it a name. The go large hero final because it's the final version. Save, click export and done. Yeah, we're done sealing the last lesson. That's the next one. But you get that 11. You did it!: Oh, yes. Congratulations. You finish the class, and maybe you've made your first animation or you're about to do that. So what did you learn? Exactly? You've learned. But a stop motion animation is. And what do you need to make a stop motion animation And to regimen story and a storyboard to make a breakdown list and any mate, of course, but also have to add audio and edit and even know how to work with cut outs. Thank you very much for taking this class. And last but not least, I love to see what you've made. Please feel free to share your animation in his class so that we can all enjoy it together . Don't forget to give me your follow here on skill share. And if you're interested on my profile, you can find links to my website and YouTube. General, the last thing before I go is sharing my result. Enjoy and keep up the good work 12. The Carwash Hero: 13. Bonus lesson: I'm back. I simply cannot say goodbye to you know, I'm just kidding. If you've seen the end result or took the lesson about editing, you might so something strange. I've added some text to the thinking cloud so that it would be more clear for the audience with the boys dreaming about. I don't want to make the whole animation again, So I decided to cheat a little. And this is what you get. If you're improvising a lug, it is my own full. But I don't mind. I've made some words in Adobe Illustrator and exported thes as a transparent PNG foul. This makes it easy to animate the words on top off the animation. I will show you how to do that. First of put the word hero at the right place on top off the cloud. Now I need to see where this cloud is going to. Okay, so I want this word to follow this cloud. It has to be in it the whole time. And that's easy. First I need to cut a little bit. I want the word here to appear in the cloud is standing still. So first it appears, and there when it's at the right place when it's standing still for, well, the word hero, Pierce. I want to change the position and the rotation. So I'm going to click on this little clock button thing, and that means I'm going to any me. The next step is to put the word hero at the right place, frame by frame while the cloud is moving. I'm so glad this is a 10 frames per second. Animation, this is not going to take Tula and to even help you not falling asleep. I will fast forward the rest off the process. Stay awake. You can do it. 01 more thing if you're wondering. But the dotted line is doing there in the animation. It's just a guideline to see how toe animated word hero is going. Exactly. You will not see this when you're export your film? I promise. So that's fast forward, Shelby. - Okay , let's check the whole animation and see how it works. Making any areas hero. You you Oh, no! Bikers fire! Oh, don't worry. Oh, my car's clean. Thank you by. Okay, well, I am. Okay. Bye.