Stop Motion for Beginners: Create Expert Animations in Dragonframe | Dina A. Amin | Skillshare

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Stop Motion for Beginners: Create Expert Animations in Dragonframe

teacher avatar Dina A. Amin, Stop Motion Animator & Maker From Egypt

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

13 Lessons (2h 2m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Today’s Animation

    • 3. Generating Unique Ideas

    • 4. Key Equipment

    • 5. Setting up Your Scene

    • 6. Dragonframe Explained

    • 7. Laws of Light

    • 8. Animation Principles

    • 9. Animation Prep

    • 10. Animating Your Idea

    • 11. Post Production & Exporting

    • 12. Conclusion

    • 13. Bonus Tips

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About This Class

Are you a beginner who feels overwhelmed and confused by stop motion? Not sure where to invest your time and money to create smooth and professional animations? Join animator, dina Amin, as she shares what crucial areas you should focus on to advance your skills in order to take your stop motion animations to the next level!  

dina walks you through the entire stop motion animation process including: 

  • Coming up with inventive ideas 
  • What equipment to invest in
  • Laws & Principles of Animation
  • How to set up for your animation
  • Using the Dragonframe software
  • Exporting your Animation

This class is for stop motion beginners who have dipped their toes in the stop motion world, who maybe made a few animations with their phones and now would like to learn how to make stop motion on a more professional level. Or for professional photographers who would like to add stop motion animation to their skill set.

We’ll be using Dragonframe as the Stop Motion software and professional photography equipment, this includes a tripod, a DSLR camera tethered and connected to a laptop and lights.

Dragonframe is generously offering $50 discount code to the first 50 students of this class when buying the full or student version of the software! Instructions on how to redeem is in the discussions section.

Meet Your Teacher

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Dina A. Amin

Stop Motion Animator & Maker From Egypt



I am a Stop motion Director/Animator and a maker from Cairo, Egypt.

My work is one big bowl of all the things I love mixed together; stop motion, product design, making, junk, food, culture and more.

I studied Industrial Design in Malaysia. I am a self-taught stop motion animator and I now have a stop motion studio in Egypt where I create animations for companies all over the world like; Adult Swim, Ikea, Vodafone, DigiKey, Danone and others.

I was awarded a Vimeo Best Of The year in 2020 for one of my product disassembly animations.

I regularly share what I learnt at conferences and universities around the world, (including Cardiff Animation festival, Pictoplasma, Beyond tellerrand, Designyatra, FIT New York, HyperIs... See full profile

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1. Introduction: There is a lot to learn when it comes to stop motion animation. You have to learn animation, photography, puppet fabrication, model making, video production, and so much more. For a beginner, what do you need to focus on to take your mobile stop motion animations to the next level. Hi. I'm Dina Amin, I'm a self-taught stop motion animator. Today, I'll teach you the whole process of animating an object from start to finish. We're going to talk about how to come up with ideas, what equipment you'll need, how to set it all up. I'm going to explain how Dragonframe software works, and also discuss some laws and principles to advance your lighting and animation skills, and finally, compile and export your animation. In this class, I'll teach you how to advance from a beginner stop motion animator to a pro. I'll tell you what do you need to invest your time and money in, in order to cope with the steep learning curve of stop motion so that's you can turn your animations from this to this. I studied in the same design and [inaudible] in the stop motion where it was by complete accident. Five years ago, I started the side project where I do broken products of art. I saw that I will end up redesigning them, but I ended up animating all the little pieces into characters and brought them to life using the magic of stop motion animation, and I got hooked. But stop motion animation you can turn any wild imagination into a fascinating layout. I now have a stop motion studio in Egypt where I make stop motion animations for companies across the world. Whether you've only made a couple of animations on your phone, or you're a pro photographer who wants to add stop motion to your skill set, this class is for you. I know it seems like a lot, but don't worry, I'm going to walk you through everything that you need to know. Believe me, you're going to see an instant difference as soon as you finish this class. You're here, you've started already. Let's move on to the next lesson. 2. Today’s Animation: I wanted to make a class for myself back then when I was starting out and trying to figure all this. For someone who knew nothing about animation or photography, I had so many questions that might seem a bit basic, but I had no clue what the answers to these questions were. Questions like, why does it look so bad? Why is my lighting so harsh? Why do I have two shadows? Does it matter where I place my camera? The biggest question I had; how to make my animations more smooth and fluid? Today, I'm going to show you how to animate a toilet paper roll magically spinning in stop motion. Let's start from the very beginning. In the next lesson, I'm going to share with you how I come up with ideas. 3. Generating Unique Ideas: People always ask me how I come up with my unique ideas. To be honest, I'm not 100 percent sure. I definitely was not that creative before, and now I can see that there are some practices that I've developed that make me more creative. Coming up with ideas is just like exercising. The more you do it, the more you get better and quicker at it. In this lesson, I'm going to share with you five techniques to help you always exercise your brain. Number 1, write your ideas down. I now I always write my ideas onto a piece of paper. This is something I learned from my friend, [inaudible] , and it completely changed my practice. This is how I used to work. I'd get some ideas, I'd jot them down into a sketchbook I had, but in reality, I always forgot to do this. I never opened the sketchbook. I always forget to do it. I would end up thinking of the ideas I had in my head over and over again whenever it'd pop up, and I would try so hard to not forget them, to keep it in my head. These five ideas I had, these five projects I wanted to work on some day, it made it becomes so valuable in my head, and unknowingly, this created, in me, the fear of running out of ideas, that what if I forget these ideas, because I wasn't generating any other ideas because my brain was so consumed about saving these ideas in my head? I only noticed it when I started writing my ideas down, saving it somewhere else out of my head, and training all this space. Now all this mental energy that I was using to remember these ideas was now used to generate more ideas. As you see, I don't only like to write it down, but I also like to display all my ideas in my studio wall. The more it did this, the more I saw how many ideas my brain is capable of coming up with, and the more I did this, the more ideas I had, the more ideas I wrote down, the more space I freed in my head, the more ideas I had, the more ideas I saw, and so on. I know it sounds so simple, like just write your ideas down, but try it out. Write your ideas down, save it somewhere else outside your head, and make the effort to look at your ideas, and destroy this whole idea, whole fear that you'll run out of ideas. It is not even possible. Your brain will always make new ideas. Number 2, dissect big ideas. Every single idea goes onto a piece of paper. Even if it doesn't make sense, even if it requires a skill set that you are currently not capable of, write it down, and it will all come together one day. Instead, try to think of another idea that uses the same concept of this idea, but a smaller one that you are capable of doing at this very moment. For example, I made a interactive machine called the eye machine, this one. The original idea was much bigger than this, but I even started it even smaller than the interactive machine. It was just a simple stop motion animation, just to test that the idea of using eyes as pixels to spell out words actually worked. When I put this out into the world, I got an opportunity to turn it into a bigger project. This is when I made the eye machine. Hopefully, one day I'll be able to work on this idea on a much bigger scale as I've originally imagined. Number 3, find your intersections. I noticed that my most creative ideas came when I stopped seeing Dina as, Dina who was the product designer, and now this chapter is over, and now Dina is just an animator. But instead, when I started mixing these two things together, product design and stop motion, and even when I mixed a third thing that I was very passionate about, which is trash, I like trash, this is where I found my most creative ideas. I know that people think in different ways and there's no one formula of idea generation, but there's always a unique idea that only someone with your collection of knowledge, skills, passions, interests will come up with. The more you do this, the more you'll understand how your brain works. Think of all the things that you're interested in. I am interested in, for example, physics, I like mechanical objects, I like analog animations, I like product design, I love factories, and the whole production process. I love systems in general. I like nature. A lot of people like nature, but for me specifically, I like to see systems in nature. The more I read about these things and increase the knowledge in them, and try to connect them together, this is where I get my ideas from. Think of all the things that you're interested in, jot them down, and try to find common areas where you can link two or three of them together. Number 4, strip away all labels. In my work, I love to show objects in new ways, and this is how I think about it. To the product designer in me, this is not a pencil. This is a hollow piece of wood that was once a tree, that is now filled with a black powder that is formed into a stick. I strip away all labels. This opens so many opportunities because you can only sharpen and write with the pen, but now that this is even more than wood, there are so many possibilities and ways to use this. Number 5, apply limitations. I think that people mix up between how do you get inspired, and how do you come up with ideas? I don't think that these two things are the same thing. Coming up with ideas is a lot of work, it's a lot of practice, and limitations are a fantastic way to apply boundaries for your brain to think within. I don't think that you should wait for an idea to just magically strike. I think that the more you practice coming up with ideas, the better you will get at it. So apply your own limitations. Choose a word, an emotion, a color as a theme for your animations. When I first started, I picked a random object, a product, that I took apart for a year and a half, and I animated it. Consistently, this was my limitation. I have to know that if I wasn't passionate or inspired by product design, I wouldn't have done this for a year and a half. To sum all this up, write down your ideas, dissect bigger ideas into smaller ones, find out what you're interested in, and try to find common points between them, strip away all labels, and apply your limitations. Before we move to the next lesson, in this class, we will be animating a toilet paper roll. Just one object, this will be our limitation. I've created a PDF to help you brainstorm. Try to think of as many ways to animate a toilet paper roll as you can. If you would strip away all labels, what would you describe this? Are there anything that you're interested in that you can link to a toilet paper roll? Write it down, write all your ideas down, and always remember if an idea is too big, dissect it into smaller ideas. In the next lesson, I'll talk about all the equipment that we need. 4. Key Equipment: In this lesson, I'm going to talk about all the equipment and gear you need to start your stop motion still do. I know if you're switching from making your animations with your phone, it could be a bit intimidating to choose what type of camera to get, lights and tripod, and it could be also very expensive, so I'm going to say this from the very start. If you can afford to get expensive gear, go ahead and do so but even if you can't, this does not make you a worse or better animator. Definitely it's not the tools. What you basically need is, and this is what's your setup will look like, is you need a camera that is connected with a laptop that has the software. In our case, we're going to use the Dragonframe software. This software, it connects to your cameras live view so that's you can see while you're animating. Of course you need the lights to light up your set and actually see your objects, and this is basically it. The very first thing that I would highly recommend you to get is the Dragonframe software. There are other free alternatives, but I think if you are serious about becoming a stop-motion animator, you should invest in it. It is now the industry standard for stop motion animations, one you advance, you'll find so many advanced features that you would benefit from. I'm going to explain the whole software in the future lesson and show you how to use it to advance as an animator as well. Next, you need to connect your software to a camera, so you need a DSLR camera. On Dragonframe, you'll find a list of cameras that Dragonframe supports. Dragonframe advice is to get a Canon camera and there are even models now that have the stop-motion firmware. This means that the camera can now communicate with the software very well because it understands all the stop motion settings that the camera needs to have. Since the software will use the live feed feature from the camera, it means that's your camera will be on live feed for such a long time, and your camera might heat up, and the Canon cameras are best with that, but all cameras supported on Dragonframe will work just fine. The differences you'll see are some cameras will show you a sharper live view on your laptop, some cameras you'll be able to control all the features of the camera from your laptop itself, and this you can easily check from the Dragonframe software as well. As they say, the best camera is the camera that you can afford, and I'll be like the 100,000th person to tell you this again because it is true. It doesn't matter what type of camera you have if you don't practice. We're lucky in stop motion that stop motion is photo-based, so it's not like live-action footage that might require a very high-end camera. If you choose between getting a crop frame camera or a full-frame camera, which a full-frame camera would be more expensive. The benefits of the full-frame camera is that you'll get more crop options, so this is a plus, but even a crop frame camera will work just fine. I myself, I use a Canon 80D to shoot all my animations and it has worked fantastically for me. I might invest in a full-frame camera later on, definitely, but if I would have waited to get a very expensive camera, I wouldn't have practiced all these years, and I might not even be a stop-motion animator today. Next, you need to connect your camera with your software on your laptop, and for that, you need a tethering cable. I'd recommend you to get a high quality cable and a long one because you don't know what the future holds that where you'd plan to put your camera and your laptop would be all the way over there. It's affordable, so invest in it and it will save you so much hassle later on. Next, you'll need an AC battery adapter, and I highly recommend you to get one. It will save you so much time and save you from making very avoidable mistakes. What this is is basically a battery that you connect to the outlet so you can run your camera for hours and hours and hours. Instead of getting many batteries and making sure that you have charged batteries and making sure that you do not move your camera while animating while changing batteries, this will save you all this hassle. Just make sure that you get one that is compatible with the camera model that you have. Next, let's talk lenses. Lenses could be more important than the camera body itself and they also could be very expensive. Yes, a good quality lens will give you better quality photos, but it comes with a very high price tag. I'd recommend you to start with something that you can afford and then later invest into getting better quality lenses. What you generally need to know about lenses if you're someone like me who did not know anything about photography, that there are manual lenses and automatic lenses. Manual lenses, you have to adjust it to close the aperture and get the lens to focus. The automatic one, it does everything automatically. Dragonframe recommends to use manual lenses, specifically Nikon lenses with an adapter on a Canon body, and this eliminates flicker caused by any aperture automatically moving, because in some cases if you're using an automatic lens, the aperture doesn't always close at the same position every single time and it might cause slight flicker. I personally use an automatic lens and I don't experience flicker. Another thing about lenses is that there are prime and zoom lenses. For zoom lenses, it has many focal lens. I use a zoom lens that is from 24-105 MM. Prime lenses only have one focal lens, so it's only 35 MM. Zoom lenses give you more flexibility because you'll have many focal lens in just one lens, but they tend to be less sharp than prime lenses. Now that you have your camera with your lens connected to your laptop and everything, you need it to stay still. Do not move. So invest in a good tripod. I use a Manfrotto tripod with an adjustable arm. I know that they are much heavier, so there are options than this but since I shoot different content and I move my tripod around, I didn't want to get something super heavy, so I use this one to be extra sure it won't move I stick it to the ground. Even if you don't have a tripod that is very steady, just a couple of glue and tape will fix it in place and you won't have to worry about that. I also have a couple of C-stands and I use them all the time now in my studio. I even use it to hold my camera if I want to shoot overhead, it's perfect for that because I can gets it all the way up to the ceiling. I use it to hold my diffuser or lights or a complicated rig. You won't need it as a beginner and we won't necessarily need it for this class, but it's a nice thing to have in your stop-motion studio if you're serious about starting one and you'll find it very helpful, you can use it in so many ways. Other tools that are nice to have are a diffuser and I have a really big one. You can find these in different sizes. Even if you don't have them, you can definitely get a cheaper alternative. Like for example, baking paper. You can also get whiteboards or white foam boards to bounce the light from. Clamps, tapes, wires, blue tack, and glue and all sorts of glue are very helpful to have around. We will not necessarily use them in this class, but it's always useful to have them and you will always use them. Next are lights. Lights is a huge question mark for everyone's starting out, it's a massive world. Generally, in stop motion, we use continuous lighting and there are so many types that you can use, and it also depends on your personality. I might like certain light that to you does not match your own style or a look that you want to achieve in your animation. I would recommend you, before investing in a very expensive light, to use a service like rental services and try out different types of lights, play around with it, and see if you like it or not. There are definitely cheaper versions if you're just starting out. You can get things like a cheap light box with LEDs. There are also affordable LED panels. This is a good option if you're a beginner. There are also Kino Flo lights and different spotlights. There are so many options. When I was starting out, I made my own soft boxes out of cardboards, and I will tell you for sure that learning how to use your lights is much more important than getting expensive lights. Definitely proper tools, proper equipment is worth your investment, but if you don't know how to use that light, even when you use the most expensive light ever, your video will come up looking really bad because you don't know how to use the light. Even if you don't have any proper light equipment, don't worry because, in this class, I'm going to show you how to use the DIYs type of lights that you can get. Finally, to export and compile our animation, we're going to use Adobe Raw and Photoshop and Adobe Premier. Again, here are all the things that you need. I want you to go around your house now and look for already available tools and equipment around you that you can use. When I first started out, I borrowed my friend's camera, I didn't even have my own camera. I made my own DIY lights and I glued my wonky table to the ground and I just kept animating. I can tell you for sure, I am 100 percent sure of this, that having a more expensive camera does not make you a better animator. What made me a better animator is practice, practice, practice. In the next lesson, I'm going to show you how to start setting up for your animation. 5. Setting up Your Scene: Before we start animating, we need to set everything up. You might notice that I actually changed what I'm wearing. This is because I am now part of the set. We're not just going to set our tables and equipments, but you as an animator you are part of the set. You're going to be sitting here animating for hours and hours and you want to make sure that what you're wearing doesn't bounce any light on your set. This might cause flicker. You want to make sure that the way you're standing and sitting, you're not blocking any of the lines and you're not casting any shadows on your set itself. The more that you make it a habit that's you're setting up in a way that makes you move comfortably around the set the more that you'll be focusing just on animating when you actually sit down and animate and you won't be worrying about bumping into anything, making a mistake that you're going to regret. We're going to start off with a table. Use any steady table you have, even if your table is not steady, it is fine. Weigh it down, glue it to the ground, but do whatever you should do to fix it to the ground. In my case, I'm using two step horses that I made myself. I also do some woodworking, so I thought I can use them for both. The good thing about this setup is that it gives me access underneath my surfaces so that if I want to drill anything I can have access underneath to fix different things. You can do the same if you're using any table by lifting your surface up on maybe some blocks or 2 by 4 or something like this. I'm using just a wooden panel I have, you can use paper or your own table surface, the surface itself, this is fine. It depends on what you want your set to look like. Then we have our object, we're going to place it here. Something that I used to do when I was just starting out that I would put my object all the way back just very close to the background itself and I expected to achieve this look that I see in some videos where the background is very blurry and the object is very in-focus, and this creates this depth of field. It all depends on your camera settings and the type of lens you use. But generally, if this depth of field is created when the object in the foreground is sharp and in focus, but the background is out of focus so you actually need to separate the layers and create this distance between your background and foreground. Next, we're going to place our camera and I'm going to connect it to my tethering cable and plug that into the laptop, and open Dragonframe so that I can see where I can position my tripod and camera through the live view of Dragonframe. Make sure to set your camera on manual mode. Turn the automatic focus to manual. Turn the stabilizer off. Where you place your camera and the focal length you use actually makes a difference. Do you put it very near to your object and zoom out or put it far away and zoom in, or in other words, use a longer focal length. I took a photo at every focal length on my lens, but I made sure that my role stayed the same size. This is what you'll get when the camera is near and you use a shorter focal lens like 24, you'll see a wider view of the background, but the image will also be distorted. As you move backwards to the longest focal length, the image gets flat and you don't see a big portion of the background like before. There isn't really a right or wrong when doing this. Sometimes you actually want this distorted angle and this very close view and you can communicate a very different emotion when doing this. But if you want a more flatter image, a more flatter view of your video, then put your camera back and use a longer focal length for this. I actually do this most of the time because it also gives me a big space to work in so that the camera is not right here and I'm animating very close to it and I might actually bump my tripod while working. Choose whatever you want, but it's important to know the difference between the two. In the next lesson, we're going to jump into Dragonframe and explain how the whole software works. 6. Dragonframe Explained: In this lesson, I'll give you an overview of Dragonframe and how it works. Let's start. We will open Dragonframe and the first thing you'll see is the panel where you can create a new scene. Think of it as a new project and then even inside you can make different takes of the scene. We're just going to make a new scene, we're going to name it and let's call this is actually scene 1, take 1, and we're going to be animating on 12 frames. We're animating on twos, we'll save it on the desktop. Now you're seeing what the camera is actually seeing. This is the live view. Dragonframe has different workspaces. First we have the animation workspace. This is where you do all your animating, and then we have the cinematography workspace. This is where you'll get to adjust all your image and cameras settings. There is also the audio workspace, and here you can import different audio files, you can do some lip syncing, you can also import face sets like mouth shapes, and there are also other workspaces where you can animate your lights and do some motion control. These are all some really cool advanced options. There are so many features in Dragonframe, but today I'll only cover the basic ones that you'll use on a regular basis. The first workspace that you want to work in is the cinematography. Here we're going to adjust all our camera settings, prepare our photos and test it before actually animating. On the right, we have first the image info and this is a histogram where it shows you all data about all the colors in your photo and how bright or darker image is so, you can quickly check if I change my camera settings and make it darker. You can see that now my histogram is going towards the left, and by this I can tell that my image is underexposed, and if I go make it changes then you can tell that it's really overexposed and this is a quick way to make sure that your image is balanced. Next, we have the camera settings, and for most cameras, Dragonframe can control all settings. In some cameras you might not be able to control the aperture, but this is fine. You can adjust it in the camera itself. We will play around with all of these settings later when we have our light setup and finalize it, but I will give you a general explanation and best practices in stop motion when it comes to camera settings. First is the shutter speed, and there are many animators who advice that you keep your shutter speed open for a long time. What this does, is it evens out any light changes, so your lighting will be consistent if there is any light change happening from your lights. Then you have the aperture. I actually like to keep my aperture around four or 5.6. This also depends on your lens, and the smaller your aperture is, the more depth of field you can achieve. If I put it somewhere around four and 5.6, I make sure that my foreground and background have a big distance between them. I can actually achieve this blurry background and my object will be in focus. If you actually drag in the middle, you will be dragging both the shutter speed and the aperture at the same time, so I'm going to put this at four, and we're going to adjust the shutter speed when we set up the lights. Next, the ISO, and this is the sensitivity of the sensor. It's advised to keep it as low as possible so that you don't get any green or noise in your image. Keep it around 100, 200, maximum 400. Then we have other settings for our image. We're taking a fine detail image, then image quality. I like to shoot raw. It gives me more options later when I want to edit and color correct my photos. I'd advise you to shoot raw as well, but know that raw files are much bigger. If your laptop can handle it, go for it. Then we're going to set our white balance and make sure that you choose one of these options. Do not leave it on auto. Either choose any of these or you can select a specific color temperature. In some cameras, this might not be an available option, but if you do have it, you'll have access to be able to determine what that you want your image to be or to match the color temperature of the lights that you are using, and then we can take a test shot and you'll find it here in your test shots three. Whenever you see an image in your view panel without a red border around it or a red frame, this means that this is an actual photo or frame. It is not the live view. If I go above here, this camera and press it. Now, this is the live view. Next to it is the focus check, and this is where you can adjust your focus from Dragonframe itself. You're going to drag this and click and now you can use all the buttons underneath to adjust your focus. Now I can focus on the foreground and even make little adjustments to get adjust right, and now my focus is set. Here you can expand or make your view smaller, and this is all you need to know about the cinematography workspace. Also note that this is the place where you're going to see your image in full resolution. When you switch to the animation workspace, it will not be displayed in full resolution so don't worry about that. Now we're seeing the live view because you see this is the red frame around. We have the timeline at the bottom and you see here a frame counter. Let's see some options. Here you can expand, magnify, or minimize your view. You can also check your focus from here. This hides your timeline so you can toggle between both views and this opens up your X-sheet, and here you can write any notes that gives you a whole spreadsheets of all your frames, and the timeline itself, we still did not take any photos, so our camera is at frame one. If we press capture and this is "Enter" on your keyboard, we'll be able to capture an image and now our camera is at frame two. Other options, if you click and select your image, you can go to the right and you can actually hide it if you want to hide one frame, and then you can even hide it more and collapse hidden frame from here, and then undo this by pressing again. You can also, if I selected and I choose to hold my frame, I can hold it for example, for two frames. Then I have it for two. I can select both frames and unhide them, and so on. I can just remove this by pressing Delete or from here and pressing this "Delete Frame." There are many options and ways to do things in your timeline, and you can even find shortcuts for them on your keypad. Then underneath the timeline, you have the most used features that you use versus the aspect ratio mask that we're using, and we're using 16:9. This button toggles between high resolution images and your regular JPEG on your timeline. The Toggle button toggles between the previous frame where you're standing in your timeline and the live frame. If I move my object now, you're going to see the difference in movement that this creates when the two frames are played back to back. I will turn this off. Then your onions can controls. If you slide this to the left, you're going to see the live frame over the previous frame. If you slide it to the right, you're going to see the live frame over the last frame shot. Onion skin is great if you accidentally move your object, and you want to align it back to where it was. Next, this button adds a black frame at the end of your animation. If I press the space bar and play my animation now, it will just play the few frames we have and stop at the live view. But when I press this, it actually adds a black frame at the end and doesn't stop at the live view. We're going to go over this option later when we're animating. I actually like using it a lot. Then we have the looping options, so when you play back your animation by pressing the space bar, you can see that your animation is looping. This bar you can make your timeline bigger or smaller, so you can see more frames or less frames, and then on the very right, you can access your trash bin here. Technically, dragon frame does not delete any of your photos, which is really, really nice. Then here you see the word conform. The way dragon frame works is it doesn't do any changes in your files, in your photos. So see here I actually drag this photo twice and let me take a new frame and I want to make some changes. I actually want to start off with this frame. There's an easy way to do it on your timeline if you just drag it up, and you go to the right, and you see this yellow arrow. It means that you can safely place it here. If you're placing it on another frame, you're going to replace this frame with it. All of these changes are only in your dragon frame software, but it's not the same order in your dragon frame folder. Once I press "Conform", you will see that now dragon frame created the head frame as separate frames, and you'll find the right order in your folders. If I minimize this and go to our folder, you're going to see in your dragon frame folder, your main take folder, some swatches, tests and this is where you're going to find all our test images and any references we had will be here. Inside our Take folder, you're going to see all your backup photos. The feed photos, because dragon frame takes two photos, a low-quality JPEG, and then they will take your main photo later, whether this is a high raised JPEG or a roll file. This roll file you can find here, and since I want it a JPEG and roll file, I'll find both in my Take folder, and these are the files that we need later on. I'm going to go back. Right above your timeline, there are some other display options. This slider will show you your complete aspect ratio, the mask you've put, or your complete full view image. You can also toggle or untoggle the grids, and you can also display the CV safe guide, your center point here. You can rotate your display and also reflect it. Now you see that we have a blue frame around. This means that our live view stopped to rest our camera, so to make it work again, we just press the number "3" and now we can see the live view again. The last thing I want to share with you is the floating tool palette. Once you just hover over the left corner, it's going to come right up. Here you can see all your composition guides, your aspect ratio, your broadcast safe, and all your alternative composition guys, and you just can toggle them on and off from here. Next are your drawing layers. Say I want to move my object and I want to make sure that it doesn't slide in front or back, so I can make a guide for me aligned to follow along while I'm in a meeting. I can also draw arcs or circles or any guides and shapes that I want, even right text. One other tool is the increment editor. If I want to divide this pass to say 12 and play an object, then I can use this as a guide to move an object inconsistent steps. You can also change the arc to change how close the frames are and change the speed of how your object moving and create an ease in and ease out. But I would highly advise you to not use it because it doesn't give a natural feeling of movement. It still gives this automatic feeling. Instead, practice and focus on developing this sense of movement inside of you, like your animator sense as they call it and this I will share while we're animating. That's it. In our next lesson, we're going to finally set up our lights. That's the final step in setting up, and then the fun begins animating. 7. Laws of Light: In this lesson, we will set up our lights and lighting used to be something that I dread so much. I had no idea what to do and where to place my lights, and it always looked so awful. My video ended up looking low quality and until I learned that there is actually no one correct way of placing your lights, but it's something that you play around with and experiment. It helps you so much in communicating the true story that you want to say. You can convey so many different emotions by just placing your lights differently. In this lesson, we will use three main lights. One is a very DIY soft box that I actually started with and this is the DIY version. You can find many affordable soft boxes online, you can use that. The second one, we will use these China walls with one LED bulb inside. We'll use these desk lamps for demonstration. I actually have two of these and I use them to light certain areas in my images and they're super helpful. I also have the same LED bulbs inside. Make sure that all your LED bulbs have the same temperature. Don't mix them up and let's start. I'm going to close my curtains, close all light that I can't control. Only continuous lighting close it and then you won't be able to see anything, but then I'd turn this on and start. I might look a bit scary in these videos, but just bear with me and let's light our object. When I first started, this is how I would light my subjects. I want to light this. So I would just light it. Just put a light just right in front of it. Now you see that everything now is flat. This is a freakin cylinder, but it looks completely flat. It looks like a 2D rectangle with the light right in front of it. It doesn't even look hollow. But when I start moving my light a bit to the side, I can now see here that there's some brightness and on the other side I'm seeing some shadows. It's now not just one piece with my surface, but now it's starting to have some dimensional and starting to look more 3D. I'm even seeing some light on this side, some darker areas on this side. You can play with where you place the light in your images and tell a completely different story every time. Like if I put it up here, this is completely different and it gives a completely different emotion than when, for example, I put it back here. Let's circle it here, completely different. Even let's put it here, a completely different effect. It sets the scene very differently than just lighting it like this. A very common position to put your light in is at a 45 degrees from your camera. If your camera was just right in front of your object, you would put this 45 degrees from the camera and you see how it makes the tube more 3D than just the flat thing. For demonstration, I'm just going to place it at an angle right here. I'm very happy with the contrast that I've created in my image. I can see light and shadow and it's giving my object more dimension. But my shadows are very hard. They're super sharp and I want to take this down a notch. What you can do is diffuse your light and this will make it much softer. Notice the next time you're outside on a sunny day, if there are no clouds, the light will be super harsh and you will see everyone's shadow very sharp. But once there are clouds and the light passes through these clouds and then on people, you're going to notice that the shadows are much softer and nicer. You can easily do this very affordably with a parchment paper or a baking paper. Notice what happens when I place this in front of my light. I'm going to place here, see what happens to my shadow. It becomes very soft. This is without it, extremely harsh light. There's nothing on top of it. But once I put this piece of paper see what happens to the shadow. Also notice that once I put my diffusion, my light becomes less bright. This is of course because I'm making the light moves through something. See here, where my light still spills. You can see the difference in the intensity of the light. Take note of this whenever you're adding your diffusion, you're going to make your light less brighter. Also notice where you put your diffusion in relation to the light itself. Let's start with very close to the light and see how my shadow is. It's still a bit softer than when there is no diffusion at all. But notice when I start removing and putting my diffusion a bit further away from my light. See the difference. My shadow is now very soft it [inaudible] like a gradient. Now that I have diffused my light a bit, I am still not very happy with how dark my photo is. My background is a bit dark, and also the contrast between my light and darks is very high. I want to lower this contrast a bit and maybe light my shadows a bit. This we can do with a fill light. This is our key light, it's directly on our key object but the fill light fills the area, is not 3D directed towards one thing. We're going to use our shine able for this, it's going to be perfect. I put it all the way up and I'm going to turn it on now so that you can see the difference when we have it on. This is without it, this is with fill light. See how much of a difference it makes, see now my shadows are very lighter than before. It doesn't cast any shadows because it's basically in a big diffuser. There is a shallow of course, because when there's light but it's extremely soft so you can't even see any traces of any other shadow, and I put it right on top of my tube. I still don't like that, this side is very dark. It's too dark than what I would like, I want to take this contrast down a bit. What I'm going to do is use a bounce card and I'm just using a white foam board. You can use anything as a bounce card. You can even use mirrors. You can use any reflective surface or even just a white piece of paper. What I'll do is use the light that is coming from this light and bounce it onto this surface back onto the darker side. So see, notice what happens when I start putting here. See what happens to this side. Difference without, with it, where I place my bounce card will also move where the reflection is and when it get it all the way here, see now it's flat again because it's basically everything is lit up. Again, I still want to have some shadow on this side so that it looks more dimensional. I'm going to place this here. I'm going to tape it or clamp it down and make sure that it doesn't move at all, maybe clamp it to a stand or anything. You can use anything as a bounce card even a wall. Even if it doesn't have something to soften your light with, you can actually take this off and just bounce it to the wall. Let me show you if I take this off and this is a very harsh light, but if I do this, see how it's reflecting light on my object now. See this is without completely dark. With this, you might be able to light small objects, but we need a much bigger light source to light a big space. Now I'm going to replicate the whole thing with our bigger light source. I'm going to use my big diffuser in front of it to soften the light a bit and diffuse the light. I'm going to keep my fill light of there. I'm going to place my bounce card on the other side of my object to reflect some of the light and lighten the other side of it. Make sure that nothing moves at all. Your lights are on your tripod or clamp it in place, whatever, but everything is way down and it doesn't move even your diffuser and your bounce card, everything is taped in place and it wouldn't move or else your lighting will change and this might cause flicker in your videos. Also, whenever you're setting light take your object if you're moving because your object will not be still in one place. Try moving it all over your set and see if there's one place that the light, it might be super bright on your object or it might be very dark on the other side, unless this is something you want. But you want to make sure that your light is even and that's your object will be well-lit when you animate it around your set. For the last time, I'm going to jump into Dragonframe and make sure that my camera settings are adjusted after setting up all the lights. I'm also going to take a test shot and check this test shot on my Dragonframe folder as well, and make sure that everything is completely correct. To recap, in this lesson, we covered light placement and how it can affect the emotion and the story you want to share in your animation. We learned that we can diffuse the light to make it softer and we learned that we can reflect it by using a bounce card. You have to make sure that everything is fixed and move your object around to make sure that your light is even across your set. Check your camera settings and adjust them after placing the lights and always remember to take a test shot before animating. In the next lesson, we are finally going to start animating the moment we're all waiting for. But all of this setup is very crucial to get it all right because once you animate, you can't change anything. 8. Animation Principles: Before we start animating our idea, I want to answer one big question that I know you have. I had this and I always wondered, how do animators make such smooth movements in their self-motion videos? My early videos were all over the place and the movements were very bumpy. I always wondered until one animator answered me and he said, Check the 12 principles of animation. I did not know there were principles of animation. So I did, and slowly I started applying it to my videos and my animations and that was it. That's it. Learn the 12 principles of animation. I know it could be too much for someone who doesn't have any animation background, but for starters, start with these five principles of animation that I will explain in this lesson. Slowly apply them to your videos and you're going to see a huge difference. We're starting off with timing and spacing. Timing is the duration an action needs to be completed. Say I want to move this tube from here to here in one second, and I'm animating on 12 frames per second. This means that I need exactly 12 frames from start to finish to make this movement in one second. The less frames I take, the faster the movement will be, and the more frames I take, the slower the movement will be. This feels very mechanical because it's moving in constant speed, and that's not how living things move. We slow in and out of our movements. This you can do by changing the spacing between each frame. Spacing is where I place my object in each frame. The closer your movements are, the slower your object will move, the bigger your movements are, the faster it moves. When we look at both animations at the same time, we can see that both have the same timing, both reach the end in a second, but they feel different because they move in different speeds. You can use spacing as a way to define your character. This brings us to ease in and ease out. You can use this to make your movements look more realistic and control the speed of each part of your animation. According to the laws of physics and nature, I can make small movements then slowly speed it up by making my movements bigger and bigger, or I can make my objects start very fast, then slow down by doing the opposite. Anticipation. This is an action made by the object or character to prepare the audience for what is coming next. It also builds up interests and makes your movements more realistic. Try it yourself. Try to move from side-to-side. You'll find that you'll first move any part of your body in the opposite direction to build energy. Squash and stretch. In this principle, you can squash or stretch an object to emphasize its momentum, speed, weight, or mass, and exaggerate some movements. I can make my tube show that it's gaining momentum and anticipate say, a jump by squashing and stretching. I modified some of the tubes to make slimmer or wider versions. The volume of my tube never changes. What I take from the height I add to its width. That's a mistake that beginners make. Arcs. Most living things move in arcs, whether it's a full character or just a hand-waving, or things moving in nature. Think of a ball thrown in the air it will go up following an arc and then down again in an arc movement. This is not to say that you should only animate all objects in arcs. All rules can be broken depending on what you're animating, of course. But if you'd like to make your movements more lively and softer, take care of your arcs. Here you go. Five of the 12 principles of animation that you should focus on, practice so much and master when you're just starting out: timing and spacing, anticipation, ease in and ease out, following an arc movement, and squash and stretch. You can learn these and all the animation principles and so much more from the book, The Animator's Survival Kit. This is a must have for every animator. It covers every single thing that you need to learn to improve your animation skills. I know it could be a bit intimidating with all the walk cycles and character animations and all these, but just take it slow, one page at a time, and trust me, it will be your best friend. We've covered a lot of topics. We've done so much work already, and all these work will make our next step a lot easier for us. In the next lesson, I'll give you a bit of explanation of the animation idea itself. 9. Animation Prep: In this lesson, I want to explain a few things about our animation. We are going to animate a toilet paper roll spinning. I want to make this very lively, so I'll apply some of the animation principles that I already explained in the previous lesson. The first thing I want to do is timing. Remember timing. I will try and act out if I want to spin as a tube, how would this look like? At the same time, I will time it with my phone. I'll just start the countdown, spin and see how this goes. You will actually notice that trying to turn around, you'll actually do a bit of anticipation. You'll spin first to the left to just get some energy. I can even see it in the video that I squashed a bit, I just made myself a bit smaller. Then as I'm turning back again, I stretched my body and I made a full turn. I timed this and it was around 3.2 seconds, something like this. If I'm animating 12 frames per second, so in each second I'm going to take 12 photos and we have 3.2 seconds. This gives me,3.2 times 12, around 38, 39 photos. Now I know that I need around 38-40 photos to make my animation in the same timing that I planned for. This is timing. Then we have also figured out that there will be a slight anticipation and also squash and stretch. To make the tube squash and stretch, we're going to use replacement animation. I went ahead already and created some replacement pieces. To make my tube squash, I made a shorter version of it and whatever I took away from the height I increased in the width. Remember, you're not changing the volume of your tube, whatever you take from the heights you increase in your width. Same here, made it even shorter, but much wider. Whatever I cut, I added it to the back. When you place this in the right angle, it doesn't really show. To even make the bigger one, you can even use a very different tube and not a toilet paper roll. A trick I'm about to share is, when the movement in your stop-motion is going very fast, your eye can't really tell what's real and what's not real. This is because of something called persistence of vision. What's happening is your eye can't really tell and it's trying to gather all the data and link it altogether to be able to figure out what it is really seeing. What you're showing is very firstly is a cardboard tube with different sizes, so this is what your eye will link and will understand. It's not going to actually figure out that these are different pieces. As long as think of it as you're giving the eye an average data. You want it to notice that it's all the same color, it's all the same material, it's relatively the same shape, so it's the same thing. Remember this trick. The final one I did was, I just got a tube and half and I would be able to roll it very small. I even added a top piece. I'm not going to be worried that there is a line or that your eye would see that this is two different pieces. You can actually use this as a way to improve your movement, your sense of direction, and where things are going. This is my stretch version of the tube. Feel free to make your own replacements, whether you follow the same method or play around and try to figure out how to make the squash and stretch in your own way. In the next lesson, I promise you, it's finally the animation time. 10. Animating Your Idea: This is it, the moment that we're all waiting for. We are actually animating in this lesson. I'll start off with, I'm checking my Dragonframe, everything looks good there. I'm sitting in a comfortable position. I have my keypad where I can cycle between my frames and check my frames like this. I have my character. But before I start, I want to take it out of frame, and take a few frames without anything in it, just the background with nothing in it that is going to move. These are called clean plates and you can use them later to remove any rigs. Although I'm not going to actually be using any rigs in this animation, I just make it a habit to take my clean plates so that I would never forget to do this. You never know when you're actually going to use it or use it to clean up a video or something. Make it a habit to just take around seven frames while you're set is empty. Then I'm going to place my tube. My tube coincidentally has one mark, one dot on it. I'm going to use this to my advantage. I will start the loop with this dot facing the front, and I'll make people focus on it and actually see it very clearly at first, so that they see that the tube is making a full turn when this dot comes back to the beginning. They will sense the movement anyways, even if this dot was not there, but it's just something to make people focus on, and then you can use it in many ways to trick their eyes. I have guides that I've made in Dragonframe to help me know that whenever I am turning this, it's not going left or right, and I'm always spinning it in the same position every time. I zoomed my view so that I can see better. But when I take a photo, I'll be very, very sure that I am not in the frame. I can't see me here, but I might be like even my arm or a bit of the keypad, so whenever I'm taking a photo, capturing a frame, I'll actually move out of the way so that me, my shadow, or the keypad are not actually in the photo. I'll capture my first stream and I'll take seven frames of it to pause it. Pauses are very important in stop motion. It gives the eyes some time to rest between movements or you can use it to start a movement to give the eye some time to see what's on-screen first before moving everything instantly. If everything moves all the time, it will be very distracting for the eyes. The frame with the red border is your live frame. I'll turn on the toggle and then start moving my tube to the right, turning it in anticipation for the full turn. I'll start with making small, small movements first. So I'll ease out. Let's walk through our frames. You can see a small, small movement. I'm not turning my tube much here, but the movement is there. Capture. A great feature that you can use is the blackout option. You go to Preferences, Capture, and enable the blackout feature. This adds a black screen when capturing a frame so that our laptop light doesn't light up our scene while animating. If you move your laptop, your light will change and this will cause flicker. This is how you want to use your Dragonframe software, your keypad to get this what they call animator sense. Either you can use the toggle button and this will show you your previous frame against your live frame. It will just show it to you very fast, back-to-back. From that, you can sense how far or how much your object is turning or moving. You can tell how big or how small this movement is. Another way to feel how much you're moving your object or get a sense of the speed of your object is by just moving frame by frame, so you go forward, 1, 2 and then back 1, 2, and you sense how big or small your movement is like that. Another feature that I love using is the black frames. This adds a couple of black frames at the end of your playback. Rather than stopping at your last frame or you live frame, the black frames help you get a true feeling of your movement rather than making you see a full stop. From this, I can compare the movements in each of the frames against each other and I can tell whether I'm making bigger and bigger movements or maybe my live frame, the movement is actually in comparison to the previous one, smaller and I want to make it bigger because I want to increase the speed. You want to use this walk through your frames and be able to tell whether your movements are getting bigger, faster, or if you're making smaller and smaller movements, which means you're slowing down your object. I will start to slowly pick some speed up, so my turns will get bigger. I am walking through each frame and playing the animation to feel how it's moving. You can play your animations and see if anything feels out of place. If it feels like a part is dragging, then it's too slow. You want to feel a smooth movement every time you play it or walked through your frames. If a frame is not right, it will feel glitchy or that it's stuck somehow. Take your time with every frame, make movements, play it, and if it doesn't feel right, just erase a frame or hide it and repeat the frame again. Make adjustments and don't worry about taking the right frame from the very first time. Just go with it and try to feel the movement and don't worry about making mistakes. I'll use the guides I drew to make sure that I'm turning the tube in the center and not moving it right or left. This will make my movement look like it's flickering. Maybe that's the word, like it keeps moving, vibrating. I'll play this part and I can see that it's all smooth. It all feels right. Here I am making a big turn, really speeding up now and when I play it, you can tell that is really picking up speed. We are still turning in anticipation, but I'll start my squash and stretch from now so that it reaches the full squash at the end of the anticipation turn. I'll begin to slow my movements as well. I'm starting with the first replacement and I'll place this in a way that you can't really see the cut I made. When you toggle, you want to feel that the tube is getting wider and shorter, and you want to feel that it's also turning, then a bigger squash. I am also slowly making my squash bigger. It's not a drastic change. Again, I want to feel that it got wider, shorter, and that it's turning. See, the benefits of the blackout frames, it doesn't stop at the live frame now, but it shows you how the last frame will actually feel in the middle of all the frames later on. Next, the biggest one, and here I'll really slow my turns. I'm using the fold mark in the tube, this swoosh line in the tube itself at the right, right to measure how much it's turning from tube to tube. I want this point to slowly move to the right, each squash frame. Here, it's like the line dropped in the biggest squash. The previous frame, the squash was upwards, and now it's at the bottom and I like that. It feels that the weight of the tube is real and that it's bringing this line to the bottom. I'll capture this and end my anticipation turn with very slow turns of this piece of tube. This is too big. I want to make it smaller, so I'll start again, make sure my tube doesn't move right or left. It's turning from the center. I'll continue with very, very small movements now. I am barely touching it and I'll take another frame. Now I'll take another frame as a pause without moving it. Maybe I'll take another one as well. That ends our anticipation turn, and we did the squash as well. Now the tube will start turning to the left and start stretching out as well. I'll begin reversing my replacement pieces. I'll skip the next one and move directly to the original tube because I wanted to stretch faster than the squash part since it was getting all this energy in the anticipation turn, so things will now move much faster. Even this stretching is very exaggerated. I want to feel this big energy coming out now after that anticipation turn. My black frames are off, I'll turn it on. Then I'll make it destretch and get wider. When I toggle between both, I want to feel that it's getting shorter and wider and that it's turning. A way to fool the eyes to see this is by following this dot. I need to see that this dot has turned as well. If it's stuck in place, it will feel like it's literally stuck. Now the whole tube is turning. I want to see both happening. Next will be the tube and I want to see the orientation when we first started. It was down. I want to link this mark with the one before so that it feels that this mark is actually the same tube and whoever is watching is going to link this. But I wanted to make it move and I wanted to make it move fast. Maybe here, and maybe here. We'll just need to play around with it, just go through your frames one by one. I'm thinking of something. When I was animating, I noticed that my tabletop, because it's not supported very much from underneath, so I noticed that I can actually move it down. I took one frame like this and it was a mistake, but I think that I'll actually use it and I'll make that mistake intentionally. In this frame, when my tube is finally stretched and it will make an impact down on my surface, I will make this impact even more powerful if I animate my surface. All I do is just apply a bit of pressure on my tabletop and this will make it do this impact a bit. Not all mistakes are bad, just allow yourself to do mistakes. If a frame goes wrong, just delete it and start over. Here I'm pressing and I'll toggle, see. When it lands, this happens. It presses down and I'm going make it big. Let's take this frame, and then it's going go back up. But the next frame, I wanted to spin very fast. I want to lose this mark. Let's do here. I don't want to see it. I'm going to continue pressing on my tabletop but just slightly. I don't want it to be extreme. See, this is big, big movement and when I'm pressing, it slows it down a bit, just a bit. Then my tabletop is neutral again, and I'm going to start spinning it fast. I'm using all this momentum that it was saving and I'm going to turn it one full turn back to the beginning where the dot was here when we first started the animation. I'm going to make big movements, so faster speed, and then I'm going to slow it down as it comes to the beginning. Let's turn it, big, big movements. I'm going to continue the bounce from the impact just one more time, a teeny tiny bit. It was a big impact so all this energy will not just suddenly stop, but it will continue to exist, physics. In the previous frame, it went back up and then now I'm just very slightly, very subtle movement. It's going to go back down and then in the next frame, I'm not going to put any pressure on my surface and it will go back to its normal level, so Enter. You see how the movement is. It's very smooth. See this dot here. Notice the increments and how it's moving. If I suddenly make it too small, like just make it this, then I'm going to make it too big. See this glitch, it thought it was coming to a stop and then big movement. You need to take care of your spacing. This is the key to smooth animation. Let me delete this and this is a bit bigger. I want to move it in a consistent speed a bit before it loses all its speed. If I wanted to really slow down, I'm going to increase the number of frames I take. My dot is starting to show. I want this part to really slow down to the beginning of my loop. We actually animated this already and we want our loop to exactly match up with the beginning. I'll go to the beginning of my timeline, click Select and then Shift select the other frame. This will select all my frames in-between, then right-click Copy or you can Control Command C and then I'm going to go to the end before my camera is and then Control V or right-click and then choose Paste and reverse. Our dot comes to view and then I actually had one similar. I can see which one of these I like best. Then let's see the slower one. The slower one would be the one with the dot not in complete view yet. I'm going to select this frame and press Hide and hide it, and also move this yellow bracket to the last frame so that I don't see the live frame as well when I play it. Let's see how this looks. It's too slow. You see how here it goes also back, but this is fine. Because the difference between this and this, this is a big movement and then this was a small movement. We want to make it bigger and then let's slow in. I'll unhide the frame and hide the second one. I press Loop and it's done. Now it's your turn to animate your roll. You can animate just the turn or add one or more animation principles like we did, it brings it more to life, or you can add even more and put your own twist on it. We've made it, but we're not quite done yet. In the next lesson, I'll show you how to compile and export your animation. 11. Post Production & Exporting: In this lesson, we are going to compile and export our animation. We are still in dragon frame. Here is our animation in loop. Remember that we need to conform our file before accessing our raw footage. But before we do this, we had our clean plates hidden at the very beginning. We don't want to forget these. I will select them all, unhide them and I like to place them at the end of my timeline so that when I access the dragon frame file, I'll have my first frame as number one, and these will be at the very end of my folder. Now my timeline is in the right order. I don't need to confirm, but you might need to do that if you have any other changes that need to be done in your original dragon frame folder, you would press confirm those dragon frame. I will go to my dragon frame file and I have this in take two and then go to exposure number one. Here I have all my raw footage, raw files and JPEG that we took. I will sort this by type and then I have all the row. What I do is select all the row files. I'll open Photoshop and drag all my selected raw files inside. This will open Camera raw. I'll select the first photo and Control A to select all other photos so that when I do any of the edits, it will happen to all of them and I don't need to edit every single one. I'll start with optics and if there were any distortions happening from the lens, this would fix it a little bit. I'll go to Basic and here I can do many color corrections. I can change the temperature of my animation, make it cooler or warmer, change the tint. I can increase the exposure if I'd liked to, but our exposure was fine. I can play around with the shadows and make it a bit darker, maybe the blacks a bit. I'll just play around with these, my highlights. I'll also increase the saturation a bit and also my vibrance. You can see differences in your edits and cycle between a before and after from this. You can also play with the curves. Maybe I try to increase the contrast a bit. All these edits you make according to your own liking and style and photos. You can also sharpen your image a bit. I'll zoom in to see. Since the cardboard tube is very textured, I will go crazy with the sharpening of it. Then in color mixer you can target specific colors and change them. This is the benefit to shooting raw, you'll have access to all this metadata that you can change and play around with in all your images all at once. Most of my colors are in the yellow, so you can see if I slide it towards the green, my yellows will become more greener. If I slide it towards the orange, they will become more of an orange. If I double-click here on the arrow, it will go back to zero. If I had a blue, maybe then I can make it more purplish. I can change the hue color and the saturation of any of the colors and also the luminance. You can also add any green if you'd like, or a vignette. I didn't do many changes here since my original settings were closer to what I liked. But if this wasn't your case, you can really improve your images by just changing and tweaking some of these options. I'll keep playing around a bit till I get exactly the result I want. Then I will save them, select a folder, and I will create a new folder, and these will be my JPEG. Start the numbering at zero one, I'm saving it as a JPEG, you can choose a tiff if you'd like, but this is a huge file, so I'll just stick with the JPEG and Save. This will change your raw files to JPEGs with all the edits that we've made and we're done. I'll open Premier. You can compile your animations in so many ways and there are so many workflows, and this is the one that works for me. If you come across something that is different, it's fine. I'll create a new project. Let's also place it on the desktop. Name it, ToiletRoll1. I'll make my video display format into frames. You can have time-code. But since we're working with frames, I'll choose frames. First thing I want you to do is go to Edit Preferences, then Timeline and you will have this default option set to maybe one, still image Default Duration, make it into two. Since that we're animating on twos and we animated on 12 frames per second, if we make a timeline that is 24 frames per second, that means that we want to hold each image twice. If you're working a lot with stop-motion, change the default duration and you will never have to edit this again. To work in Premier, you need to have a sequence, so I'll go here, New sequence. The nearest thing that we can use is Digital SLR. We're shooting on 1080p and we want a 24 frames per second since we animated on 12. Or you can actually also choose 25 frames. It will make your video just a tiny bit faster, but it will work as well. Make sure that you make your sequence in the same, not just aspect ratio, but the same resolution that you want. If you want a 1920 by 1080 video, your sequence has to start with that. Now I have my sequence, since it's the default sequence it displayed here, the timeline in seconds. I want to change that to make it a bit easier for me. I'll Right-click and then go into sequence settings. Play format of my sequence, I want it into frames. You can change your sequence settings here as well. I'll drag my JPEG folder in the project panel. I'll choose all my images and just drag them in my timeline. I can make my timeline same as in dragon frame, bigger or smaller from here and let's render our timeline to be able to see it. You can either press Enter or go to Sequence render in and out. You can see that my image is super huge for the 1920 by 1080 format that I'm using. But I like to shoot my images in a big format so that maybe if I want to print them out later or if I want to make a 4k video out of it or use them in any other way that requires a big format then I have my big file. I'll edit the scale. I'll go to one of my frames in the very beginning, go to the editing panel and in effects control change the scale. I always do this, so I know it's around 32 percent and since dragon frame doesn't crop my photo, I can also change the position up or down. I'll go back to my timeline and with my image selected, I will copy, so Control Copy or command copy and then I will select all my images, Right-click, Paste Attributes. Or for a shortcut, you can press Control Alt V. I want to paste all my scale attributes, so my motion, and then, Okay, and then I'll have them all changed. Let's render them. You can also do all your resizing in Photoshop before importing all your images into premier. There's also another way of importing all your frames as an image sequence. But I like this way better because I can make more changes to the timing of my frames. I can select one frame and then go to speed and duration or press Command R and then you see this is our default duration. Maybe I can even make the duration longer, like three or four if I want to emphasize one of the poses or make it one and mix between shooting ones and twos. Remember we had our clean plates at the very end. We don't need them here, so I'll just select them and delete or backspace and this is our animation. To play it in a loop, you can press the loop playback. If you don't have it, you can add the button editor and add it from here it's this button. I'll turn it on and here is our animation. I want to copy and paste my frames a couple of time since I want the video itself to loop. I'll do this in this way. I can either select all my frames like this. Another way is to use this button and just press at the start where you want to do all your selection and it will select everything beyond this point. I'll go back to my arrow or press V and then Right-click and I will nest my sequence. This makes another sequence inside my original sequence, and I'll call this animation. It makes editing a lot easier. Then I will select my nested sequence, press Alt and drag it, and this will create a copy. You can also just copy and paste it. This way it's faster and then let's do another one. Just press Alt and drag it to the side. Now I have it looping three times. To export my final video, I will be in my timeline panel and then press Control or Command M or go to File Export, Media. I'll export as a H.264. I want this to be for YouTube, so I will choose YouTube 1080p, I'll change my output name and save it on my desktop. I don't have audio, so I'm not going to check on this, but if you added audio, just leave it. This will automatically choose all the Render Settings. But I like to render at maximum depth and also use maximum render quality. But I leave all the other settings as is, and then let's Export. Here it is, finally done. 12. Conclusion: We've made it finally. Hours and hours for just a few seconds, but it was all worth it. We made a whole animation from start to finish. We got our idea, got our equipment ready, set up our scene, applied the laws and principles of light and animation, animated our roll, and we made it through dragon frame, camera roll, and Adobe Premier, and here we are. There is even a lot more to cover, but I tried to share the key things that you as a beginner should focus on. If you'd like a deeper dive in any of the topics, just comment in the discussion section and let me know. I'll make sure to keep it in mind when I'm making future classes. Now is your turn to bring your toilet roll to life. Animate it in whatever way you'd like. If you want to start with the basics, go ahead, even start very, very small. The animation principles are very important to practice. Even, if you're going to practice only one, do it. Slowly start adding more and more principles to your animation. It doesn't matter if it's a small animation or a big animation, what matters is that you always keep on practicing. Remember what type of camera you have, what type of drop tripods you have, it doesn't matter at all. If you want to become a better animator, all you need to do is practice, practice, practice, and bring those ideas to life. I would absolutely love to see what you've come up with no matter if it's a big, small animation. Upload it to the Projects. Even if you share it on social media, make sure that you tag me. I hope all this information will give you an easy start to your stop motion journey. Enjoy it and practice. 13. Bonus Tips: I can't let you start a whole new project without sharing this bonus tip. I want to show you how I organize all my files and folders for a complete project. The whole thing. I have here opened the Skillshare class that we're doing right now. This is all the folder. I start out with a main folder and I name it a clear name. This is the Beginner Stopmotion class inside of the Skillshare folder. Then inside, this is what I have. I have separate folders for each and every type of thing. This structure I already have it saved. Whenever I start a new project, I just copy paste it the whole folding system and I just rename the main file. The first thing I have is documents. This has any Word documents, any scripts, any PDFs that I generate, anything like that. Then the second one has all the footage. All the videos that I've taken or all the final JPEG. Here I have the stop motion JPEGS, all edited, all the final ones and clearly numbered. This is the intro, the summary, the ideas and so on. Graphics has graphics. It's any graphics that I made to be used in the videos. Then I have audio. This could even be more organized than that. I can clearly label and number things, but I have a separate folder for this. Then project files. Project files has all the project files. I even save my dragon frame folders inside here. I don't keep them in the footage. Then I have all my Premiere or even if I use Photoshop or Illustrator or any of these project files, they would all be in here and it would be clearly labeled, it would be with the date. I start with the year and then the month, and then the day. Clearly number them and name it so that if I want to make a quick search wherever I'm I can find the file and I can know when it was made so that if I made an updated version of it, then I know which was the latest one and which was the previous one. Then I have a drafts folder for this one. I only made the test, so I put it in the drafts. When you're doing stop motion videos and you'll have so many drafts, it will be very important to name them with the dates so that you know what's your latest one, latest draft and then at the end, you can just delete all your old drafts. Then the exports. You have all the final videos, all the final lessons that were created, clearly labeled by the day and number. This is plus 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and so on. When I try to find one of my old files. Oh my God, the mess of files that I had. Everything is a name then just scattered around in one big, huge folder, it's such terrible process. I don't know how I haven't applied this earlier or didn't know about this, it saves you so much time and frustration. Especially when you're working with other people and you know exactly where all your files are and you don't waste any time. But even if you're working alone like me, just apply it to your work. You will thank me. You might need to just change a few things and customize it to suit the type of contents you make and how you work, but once you get used to it, once you just make your own foldering system, you will never just put any folder, any file anywhere and unnamed things. Oh my God. Never. Whenever you need any file you'll know exactly where it is every single time. My next step will be in dragon frame. This is hidden. I all ready mentioned that in dragon frame you can apply an aspect ratio mask so that you can see what's your footage would look like in different ratios. Here we were filming in 16:9, but what if you want to create a video that is suitable in different format? You also want it in square or in 4:5 format or a 9:16, and you want to just animate in one goal, but setup here seem to fit all these different formats. I used to make my own guides and actually draw them until I found out that here from this plus sign, you can add an alternative composition guide. See this one is already set to 1:1. Here are all the details and you can add 1:1, 4:5, 9:16, or even make a custom one. You can add more alternative guides. This one we can make 4:5. Here it is. Even you can add another one. I think you can only add three. Here's the 9:16. You can only add three and have the aspect ratio. If a client asks you, for example, for different formats what the usually do, then you can just plan ahead for it while you're setting up and set up your guides and make sure that your main movement happens in the center here and that when it's going to be cropped in different formats, it's not going to be an issue. You can put the extra stuff in 16:9 hear that is not really important to show in the 9:16 and keep your main action happening in the center, that way you can export your video in After Effects or Premiere later in several formats.