Mobile Stop Motion | Jamie Bartlett | Skillshare
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12 Lessons (33m)
    • 1. Class Trailer

    • 2. Equipment

    • 3. Animatable Materials

    • 4. Lighting

    • 5. Setup

    • 6. App Settings

    • 7. Stop Motion Basics

    • 8. Animating Forwards

    • 9. Animating Backwards

    • 10. Color Correction

    • 11. Sharing Your Project

    • 12. Thanks

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About This Class


In this class I’m going to show everything you need to know to start making some fun, stop motion animations right on your smartphone! I’ll show you how to set up your workspace with quick lighting and backdrops. Then we’ll jump into my favorite free stop motion app and animate using a few different methods. Along the way, you’ll learn some tips and tricks to animate efficiently.

Stop motion is a lot of fun and easier than you might think. With a little bit of planning and practice you can start making animations to share with friends.

So go grab all your inanimate objects and let’s animate!


1. Class Trailer: Hi guys, I'm Jamie Bartlett. In this class. I'm going to show you everything you need to know to start making some fun stop motion animations right on your smartphone. I'll show you how to set up your workspace with quick lighting and backdrops. Then we'll jump into my favorite free stop motion app and animate using a few different methods. Along the way, you'll learn some tips and tricks to animate efficiently. For the class project, you can animate with anything you can find around your home. You can use small objects like candy or pasta to spell something or grab your backpacker person, animate its contents. Stop motion is a lot of fun and easier than you might think. With a little bit of planning and practice, you can start making animations to share with friends. Go grab all your inanimate objects and let's animate. 2. Equipment: So before we get started, we need to collect a few items. First, we need a smartphone. It can be an Android or an iPhone. Next, you'll need to download the Stop Motion App, it's called Stop Motion Studio. There's a free version and a paid version. I'll be using the free version because it has all the basic stuff we'll need for this class. Next, you'll need a tripod, some binder clips, two rubber bands, some sort of light source, it can either be a big open window that lets in a lot of light. It could be some lamps around your house or it could be a ring light like I'm using. I'll show you how I built that in another video. Lastly, you'll need some backgrounds. You can keep it simple and just animate on your dining room table or you can pick up some poster board at a hobby store. I got all my colors at Hobby Lobby for around $0.50 to $1 a piece. It's really affordable if you want to just get some fun colors. So go and collect all your equipment and then we'll set up. 3. Animatable Materials: Now that you have all of your equipment, what are you going to animate? Well, you can pretty much animate anything. You could grab some of your kid's toys or some candy. Foods are really good one because it's easy to have a lot of it. You can go grab a bag of marshmallows, or some pasta, coffee beans, cereal. Any of that would work great. One of the examples I'll be using is a backpack and I'm going to animate the content's coming out of that. So if you would like to do something like that, feel free to grab your backpack or your purse or any item like that with some stuff inside. Other than that, just be creative. Look around your house, see what you have and go grab it. And if you're coming up blank, just go on Instagram and search the hashtag stop-motion, and you can find some pretty cool inspiration there. Once you know what you're going to animate, let's start setting up. 4. Lighting: I'm going to go into a little more detail on the lighting options you have. The first one being natural light. Natural light can look really great as long as you don't put your objects in direct sunlight. If you have a lot of sun coming in new window, you might want to move further away from the window so it's more indirect and not so harsh lighting. One of bad thing about natural lighting is that it can be very unpredictable. If the cloud comes up by and covers up the sun during your animation, you're going to notice that slight shift that sunlight in your animation and also the sun does move. You might not really notice it, but when you're animating and it takes you an hour to do something, the sun might go behind a tree or might start getting darker as it gets closer to evening. The inconsistent light might not bother you, and it can be fun in stop motion, but that's what makes it unique. If you're looking for more consistent lighting, try using a different option and not natural light. Next is lamps. If you're going to use lights from around your house, make sure they're all the same color temperature, you don't want to be mixing warm and cool lights. Another thing that I learned the hard way was that you do not want to use fluorescent bulbs because they flicker, and that slight change of light shows up in your animation. Also move away from other light sources like windows. If a lamp that you have is too harsh, you could try wrapping the front of it with some parchment paper to diffuse it a little bit. Lastly, you could use a ring light. You can buy ring lights on Amazon or any photography shop, but they tend to be a little more pricey. I ended up building one myself using just foam core board and some LED tape lighting. This light works great because I can easily just pop it on my tripod and it gives off some really even looking lighting. I've even animated in the middle of the night and it just worked great. To build a ring light, all you need is some foam core board, some LED tape lighting, and some freezer paper. I'll put a link to the LED lights that I used in the notes to this video. To build it, all you need to do is cut a circle out of your foam core board. An easy way to do this is just grab a pencil and some string and make your own compass to get a nice circle. My circle is 20 inches in diameter. That's the Mac circle I could get on my foam core board. Then I use the LED strip lighting with adhesive backing to spiral it around my circle from the outside in. Then once the tape was all in place, I cut a circle on the inside as big as I could without going too close to the tape. Next, I just took strips of freezer paper and wrapped it around my circle, and taped it on the back. That's for diffusing the light because the LEDs are very bright and it's as simple as that. 5. Setup: For set up, I'm going to use one of the pieces of my poster board and put my tripod over top of it. I want the center of the tripod to be over the center of my image. We're going to be putting our phone on one of these bars right here. To do that, we need to go grab those two rubber bands and those two clips. First, take one of the clips and one of the rubber band and put the rubber band inside the clip. Then clip it onto the bar and do the same thing with the next flip. Flip the top arms of the clips out of the way so that when you put your phone on top, it's nice and level. When you put your phone on, makes sure that the camera is facing towards the middle of the tripod, that way it's centered directly over your image. To attach your phone, just take the rubber bands, wrap them around your phone, and then hook the rubber band onto the arm of the clip underneath. Then just give your phone a little wiggle to make sure it's not going anywhere. Also, make sure that the rubber bands aren't overlapping any of the buttons or in the way of the camera. Also, you want to make sure that your phone is 100 percent charged or plugged it in because the last thing you want to happen is in the middle of animation, your phone die, and then you have to plug it in and move your phone and it messes up everything. Another handy tip is to use your headphones as a remote shutter, that way you don't have to touch your phone to take a photo and risk bumping anything. I plugged my headphones in and then take the cord and wrap it to the top handle of the tripod, so it's not going to get in the way or fall in my shot. Now we're ready to open up the app. Once you have the app open, go ahead and push the New project button and then go into the camera by pressing the camera button in the top right corner. Now, we can set up our shot. The first thing I want to do is make sure I can't see any of the table past my poster board. I'm going to adjust my tripod legs until I get it lined up where I want it. While I'm adjusting legs, I'm also going to make sure that I keep my phone level. Depending on how your phone is hooked on to the tripod, it might mean your tripod is not level, but your phone is. Be aware of that. It's important to make sure you're framing your shop the way you want it in the end, because unfortunately you can't crop in the app. Now you're ready to set up your lights. 6. App Settings: Now we need to decide what aspect ratio we want our final animation to be in. By default, is going to be 16 by nine. If you think you want to post it as a square to Instagram, you need to know where those boundaries of that square is going to be, because the live view in the app is always going to be 16 by nine. You don't want to be animating outside that square, and then find out once you're done, that half your animation is going to get cropped off. We have to go about this in a roundabout way. Start by making a new project and going into the camera and then take a photo. Then back all the way out to the project manager, tap on the film clapper, scroll all the way to the bottom till you see masks, and then swipe over to the square mask. Then back onto that and go back into the camera, grab the slider on the left and pull it all the way down. That's going to show you that picture you took with that square mask added. Now you can take those rubber bands and line them up on the borders of that square so that when you go back to start your animation, you know exactly where that square boundary is. The first time you open up the camera in this app, all the camera settings are going to be set to automatic. We need to go through and disable those and set them manually to what we want them to be. The reason that we want to take everything off of automatic is so that nothing adjusts or automatically changes during your animation. Because if any of the focus or the exposure adjust and change in the middle of our animation, we're going to notice that in the playback at the end. Now the automatic settings are actually pretty good. You just want to make sure that you take it off of automatic and lock those settings into place, so nothing changes. To do that, we'll start with the white balance. Click on the WB and then take it off of auto. Now in this frame, all I have is something that's yellow and blue. The white balance could be off. The easiest way that I found to do this is just grab something that's white like a piece of paper or some leftover foam core board that you have, stick it under there and then just ingest it until it's white balanced. Next is the exposure compensation. Now we want to make sure that this is taken off auto because we don't want it compensating for anything. Let's leave that slider at zero, tick it off auto and we're good to go. Next is the focus. We can actually set the focus and take it off the automatic at the same time, just by pressing on the screen where you want it to focus. Next we have the ISO and we want that to be as low as possible to reduce the noise. Next we have the shutter speed. This is actually where you're going to want to expose your image correctly by moving the slider up or down to make it brighter or darker. It's also important to expose all the objects that's going to be in your frame. Right now I just have a pair of scissors in there that are blue. But maybe in my animation, I'm going to eventually be moving something that's white into the frame. If I were to do that now, there's a good chance that it might be overexposed. As you're setting up the exposure, just put all the objects that you're going to be using in the frame and expose it based on that. Finally, we have this thirds guide that's helpful for composing your shot. I like to leave mine on, but if you don't like it, just go ahead and tap on the guide in the upper right corner to turn it off, and now we're ready to start animating. 7. Stop Motion Basics: Before we get started doing the really fun animations, we need to learn how to use the app to animate first. To show you how simple this is, I'm going to animate the scissors going around in a circle. I have my scissors where I want them and I'm ready to take my first photo. Once I have my first photo taken, I'm going to start to move my scissors around in a circle. One thing you need to know is that the more photos you have, the smoother your animation is going to look. You can see what I'm talking about. I'm going to move my scissors around in a circle, but I'm only going to move them four times. Now that I have all four photos, I can play it back and see what it looks like. As you can see, since there's only four photos to make up a complete circle, it's pretty choppy. To animate a little better, I'm going to use more photos to make up the circle. I'm going to delete these photos because I'm not going to need them, and to do that, I need to do is tap on the photo, select it, and then select all the photos and press "Delete". Now I can go back into the camera and try again. Now I'm going to position the scissors back here at the bottom to the starting position. I'm going to take my first photo, and then once I have that first photo taken, I'm going to move this slider down here on the left, and that's my reference photo. By turning it down, I can see the previous picture that I just took, and now where my new picture is. It helps with lining up where I want the new scissors to be. I'm going adjust the slider just a little bit so I can see my live view easier. Then I'll take a picture again, and then I'll just keep moving it in smaller increments all the way around in a circle. I get to the spot right before where the first frame was. We took 14 photos instead of four. Now let's play it back and see what it looks like. It's much smoother, but it's going a little slow. We can adjust the frames per second by going over here to the settings and bumping it up from five to 10. Now let's play it back again, and it plays back twice as fast because it's doing 10 frames per second instead of five, and that's much smoother and looks great. Now, I can export my movie by going back out, and before I export, I'm going to rename it to scissors. Go down here to this share button, and there's Export Movie, and Animated GIF. We're going to go with Export Movie, but there's that GIF option if you prefer that. You'll want to movie if you're going to share it on Facebook or Instagram. We'll click movie, and I like to put mine on the Dropbox because that's just easy for me to access, or you can save it directly to your phone. Press "Save", and it's exported. Now I want to show you one more option if you prefer to have it as a square for Instagram. All you need to do to do that is go into your movie, press the "Clapper Board," scroll all the way down until you see the masks, then choose the square mask, and that's now applied to your video. Even though you don't see it in that preview right there, it will export as a square, so then just export it just like we did before, and now you have a square animation. Those are the basics of animating with this app. Now let's get on to the fun stuff. 8. Animating Forwards: Now that we know how to use the app, we're ready to do an animation. I'm going to be animating the contents of this backpack coming out and then going back in. I'm going to be doing this animation forward, meaning I'm going to start at the beginning and end where I'm, just like the final animation will playback. To start, I have all the objects already in my backpack and I'm going to position it at the bottom of the screen to make sure that I have plenty of room for my objects to come out of my bag. I've already set up all the exposure, my lighting, and making sure everything is off or automatic. With my first shot set up, I can take the first picture. Then once I have that first shot, I'm going to turn down my reference photo slider on the left side so that I can always be referencing back to that as I animate. First, I'm going to start by unzipping the backpack, doing a little at a time. The more shots you take to animate something, the smoother that animation is going to be. I want my bag to open up fairly quickly, so I'm going to do about four or five flames. Another important thing to remember why you're taking photos is that you don't want to block any of the light. Even though I'm using this ring light, I'm still right next to a lot of windows, so that is letting in some light. If I stand in front of it, it's going to block light and it's going to be noticeable in my photos. Whenever I'm ready to take my next photo, I want to make sure that I'm blocking as little light as possible and step away as far as I can. So now that my backpack is open, I'm going to start moving the objects slowly out of my backpack, and I'm also going to move my backpack down a little bit so that it moves out of frame. After each photo, I'm just going to continue moving my objects little by little. I constantly refer back to my reference frame to make sure that I haven't forgotten any objects and I moved everything before each photo. It's also important to think through your animation before you get into it. I knew that I wanted this box of goldfish to open up and then have the fugal fish come out, go in the loop, and then go back in the box. It's important that I give myself enough room for that on this side of the frame. The nice thing about stop motion is that it doesn't have to be super perfect. My crayons and pencils are rolling around on this frame, and they're pretty hard to keep in the same spot. But as long as they're in the general area and I move them every time, the final animation is going to look pretty fun. As everything starts coming back into the bag, I want to remember that I move my backpack down, so I'm going to start moving it back up. Once everything is back in, I'll start zipping the bag back up and make sure that backpack is closed to the same position as it was in my first shot. Now I have all my shots. 9. Animating Backwards: Next, I'm going to show you how to animate backwards. Sometimes it's easier to have your shot set up at the beginning the way you want it to look at the end. Because it would be super hard for me to have all these coffee beans coming into the shot and to have them write on perfectly without all this adjusting happening. If I were to do it forward like I did the backpack. But instead, I could sit here for an hour and get all the beans perfectly how I want them, and then move them out of the frame for the animation and reverse it after the fact. This animation is actually even more complex than that because I want the coffee to start out black, and it's impossible to animate that backwards and take cream out of coffee. I'm going to have to animate parts of my animation forward and parts of it backwards and then rearrange it afterwards. Here's the final setup of my coffee beans and my black cup of coffee. This will be the first frame that I take. I'll go ahead and take this photo, and then I'm going to start adding cream to my coffee. The way I want this animation to playback at the very end is I want all the coffee beans to come into the shot along with a black cup of coffee. Then once the coffee beans form the words, I want to add cream to the coffee and have a spoon stir that. Then I'm going to reverse the whole animation and have it all animate out backwards, so that when we play it back, it loops. I'm going to have to animate this in pieces. The first thing I'm going to have to do is add the cream to my coffee, and I'm going to animate this forward. I'm not going to touch any of my beans yet, and I'm just going to add a little bit of cream into my coffee. Then I'm going to add my spoon and take a picture. Add a little bit more cream because I wanted it lighter. Then I'm just going to slowly start positioning my spoon around the cup until I get all the way around, and I'm going to do that twice. This is actually my final frame right here. I just animated the very end of my animation forwards. Now I need to go back to the part where I started with the black cup of coffee. Now I'm going to swap this out with another matching mug that has plain black coffee in it. This is a great example where my reference photo comes into play. I'm just going to light it up, and I can get really close to exactly where my other cup was. Once I have it positioned where I want, I'm going to start animating backwards. I want all my beans to start scattering and going out of frame. For this animation, I'm going to use natural light because I really like the way that the shadows look, and I didn't want the ring light to flatten all those shadows out. Also, if you do like to use natural light, I prefer using it on stuff like this, where I'm animating backwards because it tends to go a lot faster. You don't notice as much lighting change. But I still want to do this and use natural light if the clouds kept going in front of the sun. Thankfully, today is a pretty clear day, and the lighting is staying pretty consistent. With the beans, it's not something where I need to move each individual bean a certain amount of space. I'm going to just take my hand and start slowly messing up my letters and moving them out of frame, and I'm going to start out very small, remembering to take a photo after each little movement and moving my coffee cup as well. I'm just going to keep moving these beans further and further out of frame. I can continually look at my reference photo just to make sure that I'm moving all the beans. It's also important to keep in mind what objects in your animation are casting shadows. Because as I move the coffee cup further and further out of frame, it's still casting a shadow in the frame. Even though the mug is not in the shot anymore, I still like to keep moving the mug further and further so that the shadow gets smaller and smaller. Once the mug shadow is completely out of the frame, then I can get rid of the mug completely. Now that I have all my frames, it's time to start rearranging and reversing them. I need to select all my frames up until the cream comes in. To do that, tap on the last frame, then press Select, and then scroll all the way to the coffee cup right before the cream comes in and tap there and then say Reverse. Next, I need to select all my photos that have cream in the cup. Back to the first frame. Copy them. Then go all the way to the end of my timeline and then say Paste. I moved all those frames down there. Then I need to go back and delete the cups with cream in it at the beginning of the animation because I don't need those. Then let's make sure I have it set to 10 frames per second. Now I can play this back and check it out, make sure everything's in the right order. Then I can copy all the frames and paste them at the end again. Then reverse those same frames to make my animation loop seamlessly. Also, I want to hold on this frame so that we can read it before it just animates out really quick. Tap on that. Then I'm going to press Pause and hold it for 10 frames. Now lets play it back and see how it looks. Now it's ready to export. 10. Color Correction: If you're a Creative Cloud member, you have access to a program called Premiere, which is a great piece of editing software that also has some pretty awesome color correcting tools. I'm going to show you how to quickly and easily color correct your videos just a little bit to make your videos even better. Open up Premiere and say New Project, and choose here where you want it to go by browsing. I'm going to put mine on the desktop, and I'm going to make a new folder and say Stop Motion. Then I'll give it a name up here, Stop Motion, then hit "Okay". Now, don't get overwhelmed if you've never used Premiere before. Just follow along with me and you'll have no problem. First, we need to put our footage into Premiere. Down here on the bottom left, we'll see Import Media. Right click there, say Import, find your exported animation and then press "Import", and then click on the title of your movie, drag it down here to create a new sequence and it automatically puts that clip into the new sequence. If you play, you'll see your entire animation or just back it up until we get a shot that we want to work from, and then let's start color correcting. Go up to Window, scroll down until you see Lumitre Color, click on that and that opens up all these controls. First thing I'm going to do is adjust my white balance. We'll click on "Basic Correction" and it has a White Balance eyedropper, so we can select that and then click on a gray area in our frame, and let's do it on my mug. Now, this looks a little too blue for me, so I'm going to take the temperature slider and we'll move it closer to the orange, just to warm it up a little bit. That looks better. I also want to make this box a little bigger so I can see what I'm doing. I'm just going to click over here and drag it so I can see my image better. Then next, I'm just going to increase the exposure just a little bit, so it brightens it up. Let's try increasing the contrast a little. Looks good. I'm going to turn that Highlights down a little bit and I'd just like to adjust the sliders to see how they're affecting the image and then I can decide whether I like it or not. Bring that down a little bit, and I'll leave the saturation alone, and then let's move on to the Creative tab. Now, I'm going to zoom in to 150 percent so I can see all of these details here. For my Stop Motion stuff, I like to sharpen the objects a little bit. I can see Sharpen here. I'm just going to go up to around 15. Then I can zoom out to fit, and I like how that's looking. To show you before and after, I'm just going to go up here to Effects Controls and right here under Lumitre Color, I'm just going to turn it off and on so you can see before and after, and it looks a lot better. It didn't look awful before, but if you have access to this, this is a great tool just to make your animations a little better. One last thing that's great about Lumitre Color is that as you can quickly go down here and add a Vignette if you like that look. You have controls for the midpoint, and the roundness, and even how much it's feathered. So you can customize the Vignette really quickly. Once you're all done editing your video and you're ready to export, just make sure you have your timeline selected, then go to File, Export, Media. Make sure your format is set to H.264, then change the preset to YouTube 1080p, and then right here you can tell it where it's going to be saved by clicking on that and it's saving to the Desktop in my Stop Motion folder. That looks good. We'll say Save and Export. Then I can go to my Desktop, go to that folder, and make sure it looks good. Looks great. 11. Sharing Your Project: The easiest way to share your project on Skillshare is through a GIF. Now, you can either export as a GIF straight from the app but unfortunately, the quality is pretty low. It looks something like this. A better way to do it is just export it as a movie, then go to and upload a file there. Then just drag your movie file on in, say upload one more time and that looks much better. That just converted that movie file to a GIF. Then go to copy link, copy the GIF link, go back to your Skillshare project, just go to other, paste that link in there, press ''Enter'' and you have your GIF and then just make sure to add a title and you can even upload a cover image here. Now, if you're uploading your own GIF, make sure to put that GIF in the body of the project and not right here. This right here is just a thumbnail so that we can see what your project is while scrolling through and it's as simple as that. 12. Thanks: All right guys, that's it. I hope you had fun in animating. Once you have your animations all done and exported, I'd love to see what you came up with. So feel free to post those in your class project, and if you have any questions, I'm always here to help so feel free to ask them on the Community page. If you're not already, feel free to follow me here on skill share so that you get updated with all my new classes. If you post any of your animations on Instagram, I'd love for you to tag me @JamieBartlettDesign so that I can see your work. Thanks again guys. I'll see you next time.