Stop Motion Animation for Beginners: Make a Fun & Easy iPhone Video | Lucas Ridley | Skillshare

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Stop Motion Animation for Beginners: Make a Fun & Easy iPhone Video

teacher avatar Lucas Ridley, Professional Animator

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

    • 1.

      Course Intro


    • 2.

      What Is Stop Motion?


    • 3.

      Getting Started


    • 4.

      Our First Animation


    • 5.

      The Camera


    • 6.

      Tripod Setups


    • 7.



    • 8.



    • 9.

      Timing & Spacing


    • 10.



    • 11.



    • 12.



    • 13.



    • 14.



    • 15.

      Next Steps


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About This Class

Discover the fascinating art of stop motion animation in this easy-to-understand course. You don't need any experience or fancy equipment! This is for total beginners.

All you need to take this course is:

  • Your phone
  • A free app

In the course, we'll make together many different projects to explore many aspects of stop motion animation.

Even if you've dabbled in stop motion before, maybe even got frustrated with it, I think you'll find inspiration and new ideas on how to approach creating simple and appealing animation by following a few simple principles and techniques.

Meet Your Teacher

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Lucas Ridley

Professional Animator

Level: Beginner

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1. Course Intro: Welcome to the world of stop-motion animation, where all you need is your imagination, a cell phone, a free app, and some way to keep your phone stable, which we'll cover in this course. My name is Lucas Ridley. I've been a professional animator for over ten years using stop motion for toy companies and even dog food companies, you can really animate anything you can find around your house. That's what we'll do in this course. You don't need any special skills. You don't need any special equipment other than your phone and this free app. And we can get started together learning about the animation principles and using stop-motion to do it. So I hope you're excited to start learning stop-motion animation with me. Whether you want to animate your toys around your house, some food in your refrigerator, or make the next viral video, stop motion is right for you and it's fun to do right at home. Just everything you can find around the house. Thanks for watching and I look forward to seeing you in the course. 2. What Is Stop Motion?: What is stop-motion animation? In it's simplest form. It's taking one picture after another of a subject that we move in-between each picture. So it appears that the subject is alive. It's kind of like being a mad scientist in a lab where we're breathing life into inanimate objects. And we're making them appear alive. Kind of like a magic trick. Stop-motion animation is one of the earliest forms of animation. It was used in older films where they couldn't create computer-generated graphics yet. And so they had to create actual physical models and move them frame-by-frame and picture by picture to make it appear alive. But stop-motion animation isn't just known for its history in animation. It's also used in many viral videos because its effects are always appealing to our eye because it's creating this magical motion that we don't expect. Take this example of a simple piece of fruit just being sliced up very thinly and each image shows a slice being taken away. It's very mesmerizing to watch and it gets many views on social media creating a viral sensation. So when you do stop motion animation, you're not just an animator, you're a director, you're a cinematographer. You're the writer or the actor, You are the animator. And you do all of these things as a stop-motion animator. The great thing is you don't need any fancy equipment to get started. All you need is your phone, which has a camera on it. And the best camera you have is the one you have with you, which is usually your phone. And you don't need any of these fancy models to get started. You can create animation just from inanimate objects that are lying around your house, like coins, or even go outside and find some rocks like we're gonna do. So finally, let's take a look at three different examples of animation. And let's see if you can pick out which one is stop motion animation based on what you've now learned about what it takes to create stop-motion animation. So let's look at example a. Now let's look at Example B. Example C. Now, which one of these is stop motion animation? Think about the principle of stop motion animation is you take an image and you move the object in-between the next image, you're going to take a new, compile all those images together to make a video. And it makes it look like that object is moving. Which one of these is stop motion animation? A, B, or C. Go ahead and grab your phone right now, pause the video, take an image of the answer a, B, or C, and then upload it to the challenge so that I can see what your answer is. If you answered C, you answered correctly. That is stop motion animation. A is computer-generated animation, and B is 2D animation created through drawings. Thanks for watching this lesson. Hopefully now you know what stop-motion animation is and how it's made. So in the next lesson, we're going to download the app to our phone that we need to create the stop motion animation. It's a free app. So go ahead and grab your phone so you can download the next lesson. And then the one after that, we'll go ahead and start making your own animations right at home. Thanks for watching. 3. Getting Started: So now we're ready to download the app and install it on our phone or our tablet. So I'm going to grab my tablet and get started. So you can do this on your phone or your tablet. And I'm gonna do it on the tablet just because it's a bigger screen for you to see. So I'm going to go down to the search icon and then type in. Stop Motion. Studio is one of the first options here, Stop Motion Studio is the app we want, and it's right here, Stop Motion Studio, and it's free. There's also a paid version, but in this course we're gonna be using the free version. So I'm gonna hit Open. And now I have the interface. So this is a pretty straightforward interface. If we want to create our first project, all we have to do is click the plus icon on new movie. I'm going to tap that right now and it's going to open up a new project. Now it has access to the camera. You may get a notification to allow that access. Just hit Okay. So that it can use the camera on your tablet or your phone. So what we're looking at is essentially on the bottom, we have our timeline. And there's only a one out of one because we haven't taken any pictures yet. The button on the right side is the record button. So if we just tap that one time, it'll take an image. And now you can see the timeline at the bottom has now gone to the second frame. So every time we take an image, it's going to add it to the timeline. And that is how we can create the stop motion animation by simply moving whatever the subject is in our frame every time we take an image. So I can just hold my hand here, for example. I can just slide it down every time I take an image and then I can hit Play that is right below the Record button here. And you can see that I have made my first little stop motion animation. Well, we're gonna make is also going to be a little more involved than that, but that's how the features of this work. Now one of the very useful features is what's called an onion skin. Onion skin means it shows the layers of photos you've taken. So what we can do on the left side of the screen is slide down this slider so that we can see the last image we took. And if I wanted to add another image here, I could put my hand right back there and have another image with a reference of my previous photo. I can tell where I'm coming from every time I take an image, this feature is incredibly useful and you're going to want to turn that on and use the slider, you can turn it all the way on or all the way off. I like to keep it on about halfway because that way you can see the current image you're working on and the previous image you took. So you can see where you came from and where you're going. So those are the most basic features of the app to get up and running right now. For this challenge, I want to see you just animate your hand in front of your phone just to show that you can operate the app and upload your challenge. Now if I wanted to delete this because it was just a test, all I have to do is go back, which is this little button down here at the bottom left. And it'll take me back to the projects. Now, all I have to do is press and hold on this and I get all of these options. And one of them at the very bottom allows me to delete it, which I'm gonna do because we were just doing a test. So I'm going to click Delete and it will get rid of that project and confirm that I want to delete it. Thanks for watching this lesson. Now you know how to download the app, create your first project, and create your first animation, as well as the most important feature we've just discovered is the onion skin, so we can see where we came from and where we're going. Thanks for watching and I'll see you in the next lesson where we're going to create our first animation together. 4. Our First Animation: Welcome to this lesson where we're going to create our first animation together. So what we're going to need is of course our phone or a tablet which now has the app on it. And we need to go and find something to animate. In this animation, what I would like to do is to create little pieces of something that combined together into a larger version of itself. So in this example, I think coins could be useful where smaller denomination coins, like pennies, could combine into something like a quarter. Or you could go outside like I did and go and find tiny little rocks that could combine into a bigger rock. And so we're going to animate these in a way that makes it look like it's a magic trick. Basically, we are combining these little pieces into the larger version of itself. And of course, you could use something like food, even like an almond or a peanut. And as long as you have two of them, you could break one down into tiny pieces of itself and then keep one hole so that you can use that to replace at the end. I'll show you how to do all this right now. So first we need to find somewhere to set up our camera. And the easiest way to do it is to film it on the ground. So all the animation is going to take place on the floor. So our camera needs to be pointing down on the floor. And the easiest way to do that is to be pointing your camera down on the floor by holding it over the edge of a desk or a table. Now, in this example, you can see that the desk is actually still in the frame. So I want to move somewhere else so that I don't get the desk in the frame as well. I only want to be seeing the floor down below. You can also use something like a bench or even open up a kitchen cabinet that's near the floor and use one of the lower shelves. Now if you need to secure your phone or tablet, you can also use some tape to secure it to make sure it doesn't tip over the edge. To make mine look a little bit more colorful, I'm going to take some colored construction paper and use that as my background. Now as you can see, the benches a little too far away from the floor. And so I had to use some boxes to stack on top of each other to bring our subject closer to the camera to fill the entire frame. Now, the other thing that's important here is I needed to tape down the construction paper because I didn't want it to be sliding around as I'm moving the rocks around. So I want to make sure it's all stable before I begin by taping down the paper to the boxes, now that our camera is taped down and the construction paper is taped down, we can begin animating. So the first thing we wanna do is arrange them in a circle. We'll take the small pieces and arrange those in a circle. We'll use the whole piece later on. So keep that out of frame for now. We're going to arrange them all in a circle and then take a picture. And we're gonna take a couple of pictures because sometimes it takes a moment for the viewer to see what they're viewing. And we want to give them a few frames of nothing happening yet. So take four images of nothing changing between each frame. Make sure you have onion skin enabled by sliding the slider down halfway. Now, slowly move each piece a little bit away from the center. Now take an image. Let's do this at least four more times. So the little pieces are getting further and further away from the center just by a little bit. So once we've taken at least four images like this, we want to start going back in the other direction and go towards the center. And so we're going to create at least four images of this happening. So it will appear that they're going faster inward than they had just gone outward. So let's go really fast in. And the way to make it look fast is to have fewer images. So we're going to use the same amount of frames to cover a larger distance. So as the small pieces approach the center, we want to remove them from the frame and replace them with the one single piece that would be the center of where that circle is. So it's easier to replace it in the center first, before we remove the small pieces, we make sure that we're putting it in the center of where those small pieces we're headed that direction they were headed into. So now when we swap it out over this one frame, it's going to look like that. These small pieces all combined to join and create this one piece and to sell this idea, what we could do is take an extra couple of photos after we've replaced it with either the large coin or the rock or whatever you've chosen. And with that one single piece now, we can actually just shake it a little bit between each frame and slowly shake it less and less to make it feel like it combined very quickly. And now it's settling and coming to a stop. Once we finished with that, we also want to take a couple of still photos so that our eyes have a moment to rest at the end of the animation. Now to play back our movie, we can tap on the little left arrow with the line and it will jump to the first frame of our animation. And we can press play to watch it in its entirety. If it's playing back to slowly, you can click this little icon here to change the frame rate. And choosing a higher frame rate will make it playback faster. If you want to loop the animation, all you have to do is tap on the last frame. And it will bring up a menu or we can choose, Select, then swipe to select all of the images in our timeline, tap one more time to get to copy and then go to the very end of the timeline by swiping and then tap again, and we can paste all of those frames in there. Now we want to select again from that moment where we pasted and we want to select all of those frames that we just paste it in. So from that point towards the end, and then we can tap one more time to select reverse. And now we've created a looping animation. So we've copied the entire animation to the end, and we've reversed it so that it will loop seamlessly. If we like what we see and we want to export it as its own movie, we can jump back to the menu and then tap and hold on our project until we get the menu that pops up that says Export Movie at the top. Now we can export the movie and then save it as a video to our photo library. So I'm going to click Save Video, and now we have it in our photo library. I hope you've enjoyed this first animation. Now, the rest of the course is gonna be about learning how we can make something like this look even better in all the tips and tricks to take you to the next level as a stop-motion animator. Thanks for watching. 5. The Camera: Welcome to this lesson where we're going to learn all about the camera and going deeper in the app to understand advanced features related to the camera so that we can make our stop motion animations that much more appealing. So let's jump into the app and get into a project so that we can access the advanced features in the camera. So I'm going to tap on the three lines down here on the bottom right of the view. And by tapping that, I get to access the camera features and settings. Now I can choose the front or rear camera. What we're most interested in is going to the m, which means mode. And the mode that we want to use is manual. We don't want the camera deciding for us all the settings that it's going to use for each image. And it changes those settings between each image, which can create some flickering, which means the color could change the image or the brightness of the image. And if that's happening, every image, it can appear like it's flickering. So what we can do is hit the button over here. And now we have manual exposure, so we can tap on the a and W, and that means auto white balance or white balance. What we wanna do is choose our white balance. White balance basically means, is, is this a cool temperature or a warm temperature? And that warm and cool is related to the color orange and the color blue. So we can cycle through all of these white balances and decide which one looks the most natural. Now, I think I'm going to choose this one here, which is Sunrise. Now that we've chosen it, it will be set for every picture that we take now and this project. Now the other thing that can happen is you get flickering because of the frequency of the lights. Now, the human eye isn't good enough to see the flickering that's occurring. But sometimes when you take pictures on your camera at the wrong shutter speed, it can pick up the flickering that's actually occurring in lights around you that the human eye can't see. For example, here's a still image of a light, and here is what that light looks like. Through the app. If we choose the wrong shutter speed, you can see the obvious flickering happening that isn't visible to our eye, but visible to the camera if we choose the wrong shutter speed. So if we jump over to the shutter speed, which is this circle looking icon here, we can see that it's right now set to 1 100th of a second. So that means it will open and close the shutter and 1 100th of a second, which is very fast. And what you can do before you even start creating your own work is actually test out the shutter speed. So I could take a bunch of images here. So I'll hit Done and come back to the project. And I can take several images here of just this object and then play them back to see if it's flickering. So I'll jump to the beginning by hitting the left arrow here and then I'll hit Play. I can see right now it looks like none of the lights in the scene are causing this to flicker. If they had, I would jump back into the settings here, and I'd go to the shutter speed and I would play with these settings. And you can see as I roll the shutter speed, There's some flickering happening on my screen already. So if I jumped a 150th of a second, I can see there's no flickering there. But if I'm on 160th, you can see there's already flickering in the image without even taking a picture. So we know this is going to be trouble. So I can jump over to 150th and we can see that it stopped. So that's the importance of setting your shutter speed manually so we can control for the flickering of the brightness of the lights that we have in the room that we're shooting him. Now in this image we can see because we changed it to 150th, it actually made the image a lot brighter. So if we want to compensate for that, we can actually jump over to the ISO settings. And that basically just means how sensitive the sensor is to light. And it seems very sensitive to light right now because the image is so bright, we can actually turn down the ISO so the image is not so bright. So if you were to adjust your shutter speed, you may need to go in and also adjust your ISO to compensate for how bright the image is to get it back into normal range, we can also choose the focus distance. And you'd wanna do this if in-between each image, your cameras having a hard time deciding what to keep in focus. And if we want to keep this same thing and focus through each image, we can set the focus distance by clicking this little icon here and then choosing what we want to focus on in our image so that it doesn't change between each image and it stays consistent. So those are the most important manual settings for our camera and the app that we want to make sure that we're taking control of so that we can create the highest quality image verse stop motion animation. Thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next lesson. 6. Tripod Setups: Welcome to this lesson. Now, the next most important thing besides the camera is your tripod or however you're setting up to shoot your stop-motion animation images. Because stability is the key and we want to make sure that our camera isn't moving when we don't want it to. So we have many different options to choose from. And a lot of them you can use just with what you find around the house. When we're choosing to shoot our animation, we basically have two options. One, we've already discovered which is shooting straight down, the other is shooting straight ahead. So we can create different setups to accommodate those two different scenarios that are the most common and filming and shooting stop-motion animation. Let's take a look at some of the options available to us, like a traditional tripod. Now let's tripod is great because you can adjust the legs and go to different heights. You can also shoot sideways, but it's difficult to shoot straight down with just a traditional tripod. However, you can use the struts in the center of a tripod to balance your phone and shoot straight down. This is a great way to be able to move around and not be constrained by the edge of a desk or bench, like we saw in the first animation we made together with the coins and rocks. There's also a bendy version of this tripod, which is called a gorilla pod. And it goes by some other names, but essentially has legs. You can adjust and bend to grab onto different objects like the limit of a tree, or you can manipulate them so that you can get into unusual places. Something you might be able to find around the house, or some small potato chip clips so that you can actually clip the side of your phone and then use that to stabilize the camera. If you're using a tablet for your camera, you might have a case that already acts as a stand as well. Now we've already covered one method in our first animation of shooting straight down by going to the edge of a desk or a bench or a chair, and using the edge to lay down the phone or the tablet and scooter to the edge of the support so it can look over the edge and down onto the ground. It's also important to know that we may have to tape this down. It's always good to use tape that doesn't damage the furniture or whatever you're taping down to. I like to use what's called masking tape or painter's tape. It kind of feels like a fabric and it doesn't damage paint or furniture. Now something that we can make together and you could make it home with just a few Lego blocks, is a camera stand like this for your phone. So what I like to do is create a couple of towers of blocks like this. And then I can place those at the edge of a plate. And then I can take this red brick here and use it to stop the phone from sliding backwards once it's placed onto the stand. So I can use it vertically and pointing the camera down. Or I can turn it horizontally and place it this way. Now if it's pointing to far down, what I can do is actually move this red brick closer to the tower so that the phone points more forward. So now it's not pointing down so much. I can also use this in the vertical orientation as well. So that's a simple camera stand you can actually make with a few legos. Now that we've looked at a few examples of what works well, let's take a look at something that doesn't work well. So I have this bendy arm that clamps to a table and at the end is a clamp for the phone. We can attach our phone here, but you can already imagine how difficult it is to keep this stable, which is the big important thing about using a tripod or however you set up your camera to shoot your stop-motion animation. So every time that I touch the phone, you can see that it's wobbling and that makes it very unstable. So this is not a good example of how you would want to set up a stop motion animation camera, Bu, because it's moving every time I touch it to take a picture. For this lesson's challenge, I want you to take at least 20 photographs from your camera that's set up to be stable so that you can demonstrate that your camera is stable every time that you touch it, It's not moving. So by taking at least 20 photographs, you can demonstrate in a movie that your camera and never moved when you touched it 20 times to take a picture. So that's what I would like to see. A video of your camera not moving. It might not look very exciting, but we'll demonstrate that your camera stable and it's ready to perform some stop motion animation. Thanks for watching this lesson. And let's finish with the dynode telling us what's the most important thing for our camera setup. That's right, stability. Thanks for watching. I'll see you in the next lesson. 7. Lighting: Lighting is incredibly important. Hang on 1 second. Like I was saying, lighting is incredibly important. Lighting is how we see what's in the frame. Without lighting, we wouldn't be able to see what we're animating and the audience wouldn't be able to see it either. So it's incredibly important to consider how your lighting your scene so that you can most effectively convey what the action is and the mood. So typically, I like to have more light than I think I need because it's easier to take it away then to continually add it. And so you can actually block light out either through blinds or from a cardboard box. You could take a piece of cardboard and block sunlight, like I've done actually with this light in the back here because it's too bright. So you can actually take away light by blocking it from the scene as well. One quality of light that's important to understand is whether it's hard or soft light. Hard light creates hard shadows, which means the shadow has a sharp edge to it. And soft light creates a nice soft edged shadow around the subject. Now whether it's hard or soft light, that depends on the source. Whether or not you're getting direct light from a light bulb or the sun. And whether or not it's getting diffused through clouds or a diffusion that you put up yourself. Now, common diffusions that you can find around the house or something like a plastic bag or a bed sheet, or even some baking sheet. You can roll out like parchment paper. And you can take these things and you can put them over direct sources of light, like lamps that don't have a lamp shade. And you can create a diffusion so that it spreads the light out and that creates a softer light. Now another way to get soft shadows and have soft light is actually bounced a direct light off of a wall or a piece of cardboard. And it can actually affect that quality of light by what the color of what you're bouncing off of is. If you want to change the color of light from the bounce, you can put up some colored construction paper and it can affect the bounce light that's coming off of it. And it makes it more soft because it's diffusing that direct light over a larger surface. Now the other advantage of having more light in your scene is that you've reduced the chance of having noise in your image. Noise in an image comes about when you don't have enough light in your scene. And it's going to be most noticeable in the shadows. When you don't have enough light, there's more shadows and there's slight color variations and each pixel between each frame that creates this kind of jittering color effect that we don't ideally want in our scene. So the remedy for that is to increase the amount of light. The other thing we could look at is the color temperature of the bulbs that are illuminating your scene. You can have warm or cool temperature light bulbs. And you have a third factor which we've already looked at, which is the camera white balance. And so you can create contrast in your image with a warm color and a cool color, even like you see on my hair right here, there's a cool color here, but there's a warmer color in the background. And that's intentional because it creates some visual interests to have some slight color variations. So be aware of the color temperature in the light bulbs that you're using. Now, one other consideration in regards to bounce light as the fact that the light can bounce off of you and onto your stop-motion animation. And that's why I like to wear a dark colored shirt so that the light won't bounce off of me and then onto the stop motion, which depending on my distance to the stop motion, every time I take a frame, it could actually create some more Flickr, meaning a brightness and darkness and our brightness and darkness between each image now, but wearing a darker colored shirt, it won't actually reflect much off of it because there's nothing to reflect. It's a dark color. If I was wearing white, then it would actually be emitting a bounce light off of me from the current lights in the scene and onto the desk. So if I was doing stop motion animation right here, you might actually get some bounce light off of me. And that's something to avoid because you can actually change the distance to your subject. And that could create flickering when you're shooting your stop-motion animation. So it's a good idea to wear something dark. One thing to look out for with the lights here using, is to try to avoid using direct light from a window because that light can quickly change over a period of time as the sun moves through the sky, or clouds, block the sunlight. And if you get that in your image, in your stop-motion animation, that can also create flickering because there'll, there'll be a change of brightness every time a cloud gets in front of the sun. And then the next image, the clouds can be gone. And then that image is bright and then the clouds come back in, the image is dark again. So we want to avoid using Windows when we do stop motion animation. Use lights that have a consistent intensity that we can control. So we want to choose a consistent source of light, which are light bulbs and things that we can find indoors. And we want to close the window shades wherever possible so that we can reduce the amount of light changing over time. As we create our stop-motion animation, we want the light to be consistent so we can avoid that kind of flickering or darkening as we go through the stop motion animation. Now we've already touched on this advanced topic about shutter speed in the camera settings. But it's worth mentioning again that depending on the light bulb that you're using, it could create a jittering and frequency effect in the image itself. And so it's good to choose a shutter speed that works with the light bulbs that you have. And you can simply test that out by changing the shutter speed and seeing whether it's flickering and where there's not an stay on a shutter speed setting where there is no flickering. One other way to change the color of light is to purchase some gels. These are colored gels and you can place them in front of your light source and it will change the color of the light itself emitting on your subject. This is a great way to add additional mood and visual interest to your stop motion animations. One of the most common lighting techniques is called the three-point lighting system. I'm actually using it in this scene right here. So I have my key light, which is the brightest light in the scene on my face. And then I have a fill light over here which is a bit softer. And then I have a rim light behind me, which is the blue light on the back of my head to kinda help separate my head from the background. So that's one technique you can use to light your subjects. It's also worth noting that when you're lighting your subjects, don't ignore your background in the environment. When you're shooting small miniatures, you can actually grab an LED strip to fit lights into small spaces. The effect of a background light can even be seen in this scene right now. This is a background light that helps create and frame the plant behind me. If I were to turn that light off, you can't really see the silhouette of the leaves anymore and it creates this dark spot in the frame. So it's always good to take into consideration the lighting of the environment as well as your subject. So the challenge for this lesson is not to make an animation, is to create two different images. One I'd like to see a warm and happy image, and then the second one, a cool and sad or even scary image. You can shoot the same subject and create two different moods just by changing the lighting. So I'd love to see the two different moods you create with the new knowledge you have about lighting. Thanks for watching this lesson. 8. Composition: Welcome to this lesson. Besides the lighting, another element that we can take into consideration is composition, and that will help us improve our shots when we do it deliberately. And by composition, I mean the arrangement of elements in the frame. And the frame, like what you're watching is this rectangle right here. So how are these elements arranged? And there's some considerations we can make and rules that we can use and also a break to our advantage. One of the most common rules of composition is called the rule of thirds. And that's where the frame is divided up into three equal rectangles. And I'm currently sitting in one of those rule of thirds. And so what it helps to do is offset everything from being very symmetrical and the frame and helps weight one side of the image or the other. And you can do that vertically as well as horizontally. So sometimes it's useful to use the rule of thirds in case you're not sure about where to place your subject in the frame. Now, breaking this rule, you could use symmetry on the other hand, and place it directly in the center. When I'm shooting top-down, I tend to shoot things right in the center of frame and create the frame and composition to be symmetrical. That's breaking the rule of thirds. Now besides using the rule of thirds or symmetry to determine where we're going to place our subject in the frame. We can also use the horizon line. The horizon line is basically the imaginary line of where the horizon would be if we can't see it. And it's basically where the sun sets and whenever you've seen the sunset, That's the horizon. And so we can use this and where we place it in the scene to create a different feeling. Whether we're shooting high up and pointing down or were shooting from a low angle and pointing up. So I'm going to use that in my example this week for this challenge. One other consideration when you're creating your composition is the foreground, the mid ground, and the background. And that basically just refers to objects relative to the distance of the camera. So where they're placed as it close to the camera, is it a middle distance to the camera, or is it far away and in the background? So we can use these three kind of general planes away from the camera to place varying objects to create visual depth in the image and create an interesting composition. Finally, something else that's useful to consider is varying your shots. So if we're having multiple shots stacked one after the other, we should probably be varying up the types of shots that there are. So the three most common types are a wide shot, a medium shot, and a close-up. Wide shots get more in-frame and typically involve shooting the entire body of the subject from the feet to the head. A medium shot actually crops off part of the body, typically around the legs. And so we're only seeing the torso and the head. Close-ups typically shoot from about the shoulder height up to the head. And sometimes if you're shooting on a macro level, which means small objects, if you're filming and shooting small objects, sometimes you can't get the camera close enough because it can't focus on objects that are very close to the lens. So if you find that limitation and the camera won't focus on your subject because it's so small and it's so close to the lens, what you can do is actually backoff the camera and then use the zoom feature to zoom in and crop out the character in a way that creates a close-up shot. We also have these wide medium and close-up shots that we can use as tools in our tool belt to create interesting compositions. For this lesson's challenge, what I would like to see is two images of different compositions. You can shoot the same subject and just change the camera angle with the knowledge that we have of the rule of thirds symmetry, the horizon line and its position in the frame, whether it's low or high. And then wide, medium and close-up shots. So use all of these tools now to create two distinct images of the same subject. If you need some inspiration for your challenge, take a look at my example. I have placed the dinosaur in a menacing position over this lego figurine. And I've chosen two distinct shots to convey this moment. One is a low angle shot, looking up at the dinosaur from the perspective of the lego figurine, with a lego figurine in the foreground and the dinosaur and the background. The second shot is the reverse angle, and we're looking down on the lego figurine, which brings the horizon line higher in the frame. And we are looking down on this wide shot of the lego figurine. Thanks for watching this lesson. See you in the next one. 9. Timing & Spacing: Let's learn about timing and spacing. It's some of the most important animation principles that you need to know to make very interesting and accurate animations. And so we're going to start with timing. Timing, and stop motion animation is how many pictures you take. So if I were to only take one picture of this Harry Potter night bus, Lego bus, and take one picture here. And then take one picture over here, is going to not be enough time for it to travel that distance. Now, if I start here and take one picture here, and then one picture here, and the one picture here, and then another picture here. Now we have enough time and so that's timing. That is how many pictures were taking in our stop motion animation. Typically, it's much easier to take too many photos and delete them later than to not have enough to describe the action. If you don't have enough photos, things are going to move very quickly and you can control how fast something is moving by how many pictures you take of it moving. Now the other part of this is spacing. Now, in that same example, if I take one picture here and one picture all the way over here, That's a large space that is being covered in those two images. Now, if I take two images again, and I just take one image here and one image here. The spacing is much closer together and so it conveys a different speed. And that's why I wanted to discuss timing and spacing together because they're interrelated. So in this lesson, I want to demonstrate how to animate this night bus moving in two different shots. The first shot, it's going to accelerate off of screen. And then then the second shot, we're going to place the camera right in front of the bus and it's going to come to a stop. So we're going to animate two different shots. We're gonna do it using timing and spacing. And one thing we need to know about are 0s, 1s, and 0s outs. And that's related to the spacing. So when it comes to ease in and ease out, we want to slowly ease out of the position it's in and increase the spacing gradually, more and more with each frame that we take that will make it look like it is accelerating. So we can accelerate out of the first shot and then the second shot, we're going to slowly come to a stop so we can ease in. So when we ease in, we take each frame closer and closer together, the spacing that the bus is moving. Let's take a look at me animating it. So this makes a bit more sense. So here I've set up my Lego support to hold my camera. And then I've placed in compose the image so we can see the bus. And the first images I take are very close spacing. Each space is very close to the last one. But as I take each successive photo, the spacing gets greater and greater apart. So it looks like the bus is accelerating away. Now, if you have a dog toy around the house and you have a dog that likes to pull the cotton out of it. You can also add the cotton into the animation to make it look like there's smoke coming off of the tires as it accelerates away. Luckily, for me, I have a dog that is very good at chewing dog toys up, and I have some cotton here that I'm going to use. Then in the second shot, we're going to start with really big spacing to show that the bus is moving at a faster rate. And then with each photo, we're going to collapse the spacing down between the buses positions so that by the end, we are slowing down right in front of the camera. And before we start this shot, what we can do is actually work backwards. We can set where the bus needs to be for the focus distance of the camera, set the focus distance, and then we could work backwards. And then inside the app, we can just select all of those frames and then tap reverse so that we have it in the right order. So that is timing spacing, ease in and ease out. And we've actually created two shots together. So I hope you've learned a lot in this lesson and you do your own challenge to create this same effect. Even if you don't have a bus like this, you can take anything you have around the house and just animated sliding across the table or floor. And you can get the same effect to demonstrate the same animation principles that we've learned here. Thanks for watching. 10. Framerates: Welcome to this lesson about frame rates. Frame rates are what control the playback of a video. The video you're watching right now has a frame rate, is 24 frames per second. Every video you watch has a frame rate, whether it's on YouTube or on a TV. Every video has to have a way to play back the movie or the image that you're seeing. A video is just a combination of still images in the frame rate tells us what rate to play back those images. So when we're creating stop-motion animation, we get to choose what our frame rate is. It's common to use 12 frames per second and stop motion animation, 12 frames per second is used because it's half the number of 2424 is the most commonly used frame rate and a video. And as stop-motion nanometers, we don't want to have to animate every single one of those 24 frames. That would take a lot of work. They do that in feature films, but we're working on our stuff. We want to make it a little bit easier on ourselves. So we want to work at least at 12 frames per second. If not lower, I recommend starting out between 810 frames per second. That way, you have a manageable amount of frames to work with. Because if you go any lower than eight, your animation is going to play back slowly because you're not gonna have enough images to describe the motion. So that's why I recommend eight to ten because you don't have to go all the way to 12 to get the same kind of effect. You can do less work and have a similar effect. If you're interested in learning more about frame rates, you can check out my other course about the principles of animation. So you can use the frame rate setting to either speed up or slow down your animation. So you don't have to choose it before you start animating. You can actually choose it afterwards too. In case your animations playing back too slow or too fast, you can go into the app and change the frame rate while you're animating. And you could do it at the very end afterward. But I recommend starting out between eight to ten. Typically, new animators don't take enough images for their animations. That means the animation plays back very quickly because they don't have enough images for the frame rate. It's much easier to take more images than you think you need than it is to go back and try to reanimate individual frames at a interval between frames you already have. That's much more complicated and we don't want to make things complicated from the beginning, always trying to take a few more images that you think you might even need and you might end up with the right amount. And if you don't, then you can just delete some of those frames. And that's much easier than going back and redoing any work. So the challenge for this lesson is to go back into one of the animations you've already created. Open the project, change the frame rate setting and see how you can adjust the playback by changing the number of the frame rate. Thanks for watching. 11. Arcs: Welcome to this lesson. Let's learn how to make this animation arcs. It's one of the most important animation principles to make your animation looks smooth. Because most things around us move in arcs. Just think about it. When I wave my hand, it's moving in an arc because it's connected to a joint and rotating from that pivot point. Just like these characters and they have their limbs. They rotate from their joints that creates an arc at their feet. So check out the foot as I rotate this, it creates a small arc. So we need to put that kind of stuff into our animation. Think about jumping. Think about entire object moving like throwing a basketball into a hoop. Does it move in a straight line? Probably not. It moves in an arc because of gravity acting on it. So it's a good question to ask when you're animating, should this be moving in an arc? Now when we animated the bus, it didn't move in an arc, but that was because it was connected to the ground and it was moving in a straight line. So not everything has to move in an arc. But if you have a character that is locomoting, running, walking, jumping, some part of their body is going to be moving in an arc. And if you're throwing something, an object or you have a bouncing ball, It's going to be moving in an arc because of gravity's effect on it. So let's take a look at an animation we can make together using this animation principle by animating a basketball being thrown into a hoop. This basketball scene is going to use the cutout stop motion animation style, which means we just need some pieces of paper, some scissors, maybe a pencil or pen or crayons. And we can draw our own characters on paper and slide the pieces of paper around to actually animate. So it's really simple and accessible. You just need some paper scissors and something to draw with and we can get going. So here's an example of what not to do. The basketball goes in a straight line to the hoop. That doesn't look realistic and it looks like gravity isn't acting on it. So we want to animate it in an arc so that it looks believable and authentic to physics. So let's start with some cutout pieces of paper. And we can simply place them on the floor and point our camera down on the floor. Now that we're set up, we can start animating the ball. So let's imagine it moving in an arc while it's on our screen. So we can visually imagine where it's going to be headed to create that arc shape. We know where it's starting and we know where it's ending. So we just need to pick the highest point of the arc so that we have a goal to start animating towards. So let's imagine the ball is going to go somewhere up here. And that is the top of the arc. So if we start to animate in a semi-circular fashion, we can move through that top of the arc and then to our destination, which is the basketball goal. Now we've created an arc using the animation principle of arcs. It looks more believable because it appears that gravity is acting on that ball. Now we can finish this out by having the ball fall through the hoop and bounce on the floor. Here we can use the principles of ease in and ease out that we learned in the timing and spacing lesson when we animated the bus, just like the bus easing out and easing in to its start and stop. So too will the ball bouncing at the top of its arc? So it will slow in to the top and slow out as gravity acts on it. It will slow it down and bring it back to Earth. Using RX is a great way to make sure that your animations playback smoothly. So keep an eye out for pieces of your animation that should be moving and arts, and that will help you in the future. Thanks for watching this lesson. 12. Anticipation: Here's a look at what we're going to make together in this lesson. This lesson is about squash and stretch anticipation. Those are two animation principles that you need to perform a jump. So we're going to perform a jump with empty soda cans you can find around your house. Let's take a look at myself trying to jump over a log to see these principles at work. So here you can see for me to be able to jump over the log, I need to squat down or squash and anticipate the motion in the opposite direction, which is up. I have to go down before I go up. I squashed down, and then I stretch up so that I can jump over the log. If I don't perform this anticipation of squashing down, then I can't jump over the log. It's just physically impossible. So that's squash. Lets us spring up our legs and charge our legs so that we have somewhere to extend them to, to stretch them. And if we stretch them quickly enough, we can jump over the log. So to complete this animation, I'm going to use for soda cans. One I'm not going to touch is going to be perfectly stretched and normal. Then another one, I'm going to slightly bend. And the third one I'm going to bend halfway. And then the final one, I'm going to squash all the way down as far as I can. So we're gonna do what's called replacement animation. So we're only having to replace these pieces of the can. And the other interesting kind of magic trick we're gonna do is we're going to use a little piece of Play-Doh or clay or something else that you find around the house. They can use to prop up the soda can to make it look like it's jumping. So here's what that magic trick looks like in real life. So I'm going to stand so that the camera cannot see the toe of my right foot. So when I lift up my heels, it looks like they're both coming off of the ground. When in reality, I'm just pivoting off of my right toe. But because the camera is placed in such a way that my left foot prevents you from seeing that it makes it appear that I'm actually levitating when I'm not. And so that's what we're gonna do to help levitate these cans, is we're going to use a little piece of clay or Plato. We're gonna place it in such a way that the camera view can't see it. So the camera position is going to be incredibly important and will want to test out the camera position with this kind of magic trick before we start shooting. After we make our four cans, we're ready to get started and test out this optical illusion so that we can make it appear that our cans are hovering. So first, let's get the can positioned with the playdough or clay underneath it on one side. Then let's put the camera on the opposite side of the can in place at high enough. So then we're looking down on the can that we can't see the Plato there. You may have to experiment with this and position the camera just right. So now we can begin our animation knowing that we can place the playdough or the clay in such a way that we will be able to raise and lower the cans without the play dough or clay being visible to the camera. Let's start with the normal can. Just standing normally. Now we'll want to squash down so we could use all four cans here so that we ease out of the standing position. We could go through each one in the order that we've crushed them. So we start with a normal one, then the slightly crushed, then the halfway crushed, and then we can go all the way down if we wanted to completely crushed can, now we can hold this for a frame or two. So that feels like we're really charging up the can and maybe we could even shake the can for a few frames to make it look like it's building up energy. Then we can start the jump. So we can use the halfway crushed can all the way to the stretch can, we can skip the one where we slightly crushed the can. So now we've done the anticipation. And now we're going to stretch into the jump after a few frames of creating an arc. Remember the animation principle of the arc. We want to make sure that we're jumping in an arc. So once it comes in contact with the ground, we can actually use the crush cans to help cushion that landing from a jump. Once we've cushioned than we can stand back up, you could continue this jump over multiple jumps and hop across the screen if you'd like. But that is how you use anticipation, squash and stretch. And the principle of arc that we've already learned to create a jumping can animation using what's called replacement animation. Thanks for watching. I hope you learned a lot in this lesson. I want to see your animation as part of the challenge for this lesson, so please share it. Thanks for watching. 13. Claymation: Let's take a look at we're going to mix together using claymation in this lesson. Claymation is one of my most favorite stop-motion mediums because it's so malleable or deforming and morphing into different things. It can be whatever you want it to be. And you can use different materials to create claymation. You could use playdough, you can use what's called plasticine. And there's differences between each of these materials. They may make them better or worse for the needs that you have. So some of the differences between a material like Plato versus plasticine is that Plato has a lot of water in it and so it can dry out. So if you're using it over a long period of time, it's volume is going to shrink, whereas plasticine does not get hard. It does not shrink because there's no water in it. It's slightly greasy, but it's also much firmer. So it can be harder to work with because it's so much more firm, but it also holds its shape better than playdough. The Plato is a little bit easier to work with because it's so much softer. So these are two of the options you could use in claymation. Of course, any malleable material that you can morph and bend easily could be used for this purpose. But these are the two most commonly used in hobbyists and making some claymation at home. The one thing to be careful with is if you place this on a surface that it can leave a slight mark. So it's always good to place down a piece of paper or something that could absorb the slightly greasy material that's on the plasticine or the water that's coming out of the playdough very slowly, but it is a water-based thing. So we'll make the paper. If you set it on paper, it will make it slightly damp. Where's this might leave kind of a greasy spot. For the challenge of this lesson, I would like for you to choose a material that you can use for claymation and write out your name or the name of your favorite pet. And what we're gonna do is start with that name. And then we're going to ball that name up slowly over many frames. And when we play it back and reverse, it will look like our name is appearing out of a ball of clay. First, start by writing out your name in the clay, the Pleistocene, the Play-Doh, whatever you have. Once we've written out our name, you can prop up your camera above where you've created your name out of clay. And of course, if you've done it on a piece of paper, you can move it around. We want to tape down the paper before we get started so it doesn't move accidentally while we're moving the clay because we want the paper to stay in the same spot as always when we begin a stop motion animation, we want to start with a few frames that are still so that the audience has a moment to register what they're seeing. Now instead of just taking pictures of the still Plato name, we can slightly adjust and put our fingerprints on the playdough so that it will make it appear a bit more alive and have a handmade feel than if we only took static photos of the playdough. So by slightly adjusting the Play-Doh between each one of these steel frames. It will have this kind of wiggle effect and that will make it feel a bit more organic and alive after we've done that and we're ready to start animating, then we can begin slowly from the outside inward. We can start to roll up the clay or the plasticine or the Plato that we've created our name out of. The slower we go, the more pictures we take at the beginning, it will ease into that acceleration of coming into a ball shape. So we can start slowly and take a lot of pictures. And then we could speed up and take fewer pictures in the middle. And then slow down again at the end. Once all that clay comes together and starts to form a ball. Now, we could roll that ball off of screen. We could form it from a ball into a cube. We can do all kinds of things because claymation has so many possibilities and that's what's so fun about it. So after you've taken all the photos from start to finish in the app of balling up your clay, we can reverse the frames to make it look like our name is appearing out of the clay. First, we need to select one end of the timeline, either the last frame or the first frame. And then we can choose, select from the options. Now we just have to scroll to the end of the timeline. And we've selected all the frames. We can tap and then choose reverse. So now we've reversed all the frames that we had selected and now our name is appearing out of clay. I hope to see the challenge that you make. Thanks for watching this lesson. 14. Pixilation: Let's learn about another form of stop motion animation called pixelation. And what's cool about this is that you don't need anything to perform it, you just need yourself. Pixelation is a form of stop-motion animation that uses the human body as the puppet. So you don't need anything else to actually create stop-motion animation. You just need yourself. And so that's what so cool and accessible about pixelation is that as long as you have your own body, which I hope you do, that you can do pixelation. Of course, you could use someone else's as well if you want to direct them and what to do and have you behind the screen taking the photographs. But in this lesson, what we're going to do is actually use our hand as the puppet. And we're going to animate a octopus or a jellyfish. However you want to think of an under sea creature using our hand. So let's take a look and get started at that. First, I want to set the background because we're gonna be underwater. Let's create a blue backdrop that we can use. So there's a couple of ways we could do this. We could use a blue bed sheet that we can tape down. We could use a pillow case that's blue, a blue t-shirt. We could use anything that's blue that we can tape down to kind of stay flat on the ground. I'm going to use some blue masking tape because I know for sure that tape is going to stay stuck to the ground as my hand moves over it. I'm not going to be moving it too much. So that's the only disadvantage of using a fabric is that the fabric kinda move, but that might look like it's underwater anyways. So that could work to our advantage. Of course, you could also use blue construction paper and tape that down as well. Now that we have our backdrop, you could color it. If you wanted to use paper. You could actually draw on the paper and create some seaweed or underwater sea plants. And now we have our stage and we can place our camera over that stage, like we've done before. So how we're going to create the illusion that our hand is an underwater sea creature, is that we're going to spread our fingers out and place them on the ground. And once we place them on the ground, as we contract our fingers together, we can pull our hand towards us and we can pull it towards us a few inches and then spread the fingers back out and then contract the fingers again. And as we contract the fingers, we can pull the hand closer towards us again. In this repeated motion, it will look like our fingers are doing the swimming motion and it's propelling our hand upward. You could also not just expand and contract your fingers, but you could also curl them up into a ball and then spread them out. You could do a lot of varieties of things with your hands to make it look like it's propelling your hand forward. Basically, what's going to sell this idea is how you timeout when you contract and when you pull so that those are happening on in conjunction with each other. So it looks like the fact that you're contracting is actually what's pulling. Don't do them in separate motions. Don't contract and then pull you can already start pulling your hand back as you're contracting your fingers together so that by the time they're, they come all the way together, your hand has already moved toward you. And then we can slow in to that position because remember, we're underwater and so things move slowly and in a fluid underwater so we can ease in, which means we want to take more pictures and we can slow our hand down as we get to the resting position, as we spread our fingers back out for the next swimming action, if you want to go the extra mile and this challenge, you can actually paint the back of your hand and add some googly eyes for the eyes of the octopus. I'm painting my hand purple and my forearm. I'm going to pick blue so that it helps blend in with the background. So let's take a moment to watch me do this in real time. You'll be able to notice that one of the challenges here is that because I'm animating my own body, that means I can't get really close to the camera and analyze things in a way that I would normally do if I'm manipulating other objects for my stop-motion animation. That's why I turned on the time-lapse feature. You can find indicated here. This feature will automatically take a photo, edit determined interval so that you can work hands-free. And this is especially important in pixelation when you yourself are the puppet and you can't access the camera, maybe it's too far away, or you would mess up your animation if you move too much. So use the time-lapse feature when you're doing pixelation just to make things easier on yourself. After a few swimming motions, the octopus has made its way off screen and we're done. So hopefully this has made sense and you can follow along and create your own underwater swimming octopus with just using your hand. Thanks for watching this lesson. I look forward to seeing your challenges. 15. Next Steps: Congratulations on developing a brand new skill that you can use for the rest of your life. Creating stop-motion animation is incredibly rewarding and has so many applications and opens up a whole new world of possibilities using your imagination. So I hope you take this new skill and you take your imagination and you run with it. Create ideas, find stuff around the house, and use it as inspiration to create new animations and try new things that we haven't even covered in this course. Above all, the most important thing to do is to keep practicing. The best animators are the ones doing it the most. So don't stop and keep trying. Use objects you find around your house for inspiration to create new animations and new scenes and new stories. There's always some kind of new gear you could get to advance your kind of technical and gear side. But don't let that stop you creating new animation. Don't think you have to get the next best thing. So you can keep animating. You can animate with all the knowledge and the skills and the app that you have right now. There is the paid version of this app that has some new features. You can add audio to it and things like that. There's also hardware that you can get that helps you control with more precision. Your animations like this winder right here. It's kind of a cool little thing where you can wind up and down and have some precision over your animations. Of course, there's wire that you can get and create all kinds of armatures for wire characters and then build clothes for them. You could create claymation characters and put the wire in the claymation to help hold their structure more. You can use wire for what's called gauges, where you can find the last point that you animated from while you're moving it so you can track positions on more complicated characters. There's so many ways that stop motion animation can continue for you. And I just don't want any of this to be a barrier mentally for you to continue. You don't need any of this extra equipment to continue your stop-motion animation. I actually don't use these stuff that much when I'm doing my own. The most basic stuff is all you really need to keep going and create new animations. The software that the pros use is called dragon frame. It's kind of an expensive software and you have to have a fancier camera to use it that hooks up to a computer. But that's like the top-level. There's really nothing above that on a technical level, but I don't really recommend it. It's kind of overkill for what I use and what I do in my animations. And I just need my phone typically, so I don't really recommend it even but it is out there. If you want to go super advanced and have all the bells and whistles, dragon frame is the program for you. If you have the free app and you want to add audio, there is one work-around I've found that currently works. If you have an Instagram account, if you've login and create a new reel with your animation, you can actually add sound effects and voice-over as well as music. The only thing is, is you can't download it to your phone if you have the music because there are some copyright issues and they don't allow the music to be included on downloads. But you can create a stop motion animation with sound and post. It tends to gram. So there is a work around there. The way to use it is to save your stop-motion animation out of the app and then use it as a real inside of Instagram. Once you're in there, tap on the musical icon and then you have the options to add some music. You can also add sound by going to Edit, and you can add voiceover and sound effects. You can scroll through the little library of sound effects and playback your video. And when you're ready, tap one of the icons to add that sound at that point and the playback. Now, I recommend also doing what's called Foley, where you basically take an item and you record yourself, manipulating it and making it a sound out of it. And that's what I did with the aluminum cans. I actually just took an aluminum can. I manipulated it at the time when the can was bouncing to make a kind of aluminum sound with it. And I did that through the voice-over feature on Instagram. So you can see there are some workarounds to add audio, your animations. Even if you only have the free app, you can have an Instagram account and have a work-around that way. Thanks for letting me take you on this animation journey to learning stop-motion for beginners. I hope you continue to animate and keep entertaining yourself and others and tell bigger and better stories, the more you develop as a stop-motion animator, it's an incredibly rewarding skill to have, and you can have it for the rest of your life. It's an amazing thing to do and to create artwork with. And if you want to learn more about animation, I have a principles of animation course you can take right here. So thanks for watching, and hopefully I'll see you in my next course.