Stop Motion Video So Easy a 6 Year Old Can Do it! | April Merl | Skillshare

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Stop Motion Video So Easy a 6 Year Old Can Do it!

teacher avatar April Merl, Film/Video

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.



    • 2.

      Animate using subtraction


    • 3.

      Animate by adding


    • 4.

      Animating motion in 2 dimensions and 3 dimensions


    • 5.

      Some final tips


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About This Class

This class is for anyone who has ever been interested in making stop motion video but wasn't sure where to begin. All you need is an idea, any smart phone or tablet, and the app Stop Motion Studio, which is available for iOS and android. Using everyday household items - no fancy equipment necessary - you will go from set up through final export, with many handy tips along the way.

Whether you're looking for another creative outlet for your own ideas, or something new to do with your kids or students, this is a great class to help you start animating.

Meet Your Teacher

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April Merl




Hello! I’m April. I’ve been working in film and television in NYC for over 20 years and am bringing my experience in video-making and story-telling to Skillshare. My classes are for anyone interested in creating fun projects while exploring their creativity - no fancy equipment, just the joy of making.

Ideas you’ll find in my classes: Use what you got. Just get straight to it. Creativity is everywhere. Find the story in the everyday.

I also believe in finding your inner kid - and collaborating and creating with the kids in your life. 

If you want to see more of what I do, you can find me on Instagram @aprilmerl, where I've been posting (almost) daily animations.

See full profile

Level: Beginner

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1. Introduction: Hi, Thank you for joining me to make some simple stop motion videos. This class gives you three different stop motion projects, all using your iPhone or iPad and the APP Stop motion studio. So, to begin, how does video work? It's a series of photographs run together. It's speeds that are fast enough to trick our brains into thinking that they're moving. Motion picture film runs at 24 frames or pictures per second, which means when you watch one minute of a movie like Nemo, you are watching 1440 separate pictures run together to make it look like a little fish is swimming. Lucky for us, our brain can put it all together with fewer frames and fun. Videos can be less than a minute long, so that's what we're going to be doing here. So let's get straight to it. What do you need? Like I said, an iPhone or iPad with stop motion studio loaded on it, Something to keep the phone study above your frame while you create your video. This could be a pile of books, a table or a tripod with one of these handy phone or tablet holders also tape tape tape tape for our three projects. You'll need a plate or trey and flower, any brand of modeling clay or dough, even homemade. And lastly, a well, that spot to do the animating. Once you have your supplies together in a found your work spot, it's time to get right into it with the next video. 2. Animate using subtraction: for our first project, we're going to animate by drawing into something. I suggest using a tray or plate with flower on top. Having done this with a four year old, I know it can get messy. Other options are using uncooked rice, uncooked beans, clay or plato. And here I've used cloud dough, which is one part oil to four parts flour. Cloud O has a more formidable consistency, and it's also less dusty, but any of these will work well, so use what you have an important tip to remember you want you're animating space in this case, that tray or plate and your camera to both. Stay as still as possible. While you do this, Enter tape. Don't be afraid to use them to keep things in place. Now it's time to get into the at. Once you get to the intro screen hit new movie and then hit the camera at the top. Right now, you're ready to animate Easy, right? So let's get to it. I'm starting out with a smiley face. First. Take one frame of how it looks before you start. Make your first impression hit the red button. Make your next impression hit the red button. Remember? Little by little, the slower you go, the more it will look like the lines are drawing themselves. So now I'm finished. I've taken 18 frames. Time to see how I have done. First hit the arrow at the top left, and that takes you to this edit screen. You'll see your frames of the bottom, which you can sweep through. Hit the arrow on the right and see how your movie turned out. I see I have a frame with my hand in it, so I'm gonna take that frame out to do that. First I hit that arrow again to stop the movie from playing, and then I view that frame. Once I am on that frame with my hand in it, I hit the frame box and then I hit the trash can. So I've also noticed that I was trying to clean up the face of the ends, but it looks kind of smashed, so I'm gonna delete those frames to, and now that I feel it looks the way I want it, I'm also going to add some frames so the last image really lands and stays on screen to do this, Choose the frame you'd like to repeat. Hit the frame box, choose copy and then hit paste on the frame where you want it to appear. In this case, I'm repeating it right here where the frame boxes so I can just paste it right here a couple times. Another adjustment you might consider is the frame speed. To do this, hit the gear button and you'll see the movie speed. I encourage you to try different speeds and see what you like. Some of your projects might need to go slower, so you have a smaller number of frames per second, and some will look better going faster, which would be a larger number of frames per second. When you are happy with your speed, you can now save the movie to your device. Hit the top left arrow and you'll get the project screen. You can rename your project here and then when that's done, hit the send button pick export movie Save video. Choose your format, um, hit share, and that will be saved to your photo video library. I encourage you to play with this idea of etching into a substance. Use items like pencils or paint brushes, the latter of which was actually suggested by that four year old. Different materials and different tools often sparked different ideas that could be fun to play around with. Next up will start with nothing and see where that goes. See there. 3. Animate by adding: for our next project. We're going to animate by building something so back to the same set up this time. Nope. Later, Trey. But the camera is taped down or solid on a tripod, and this time will be using the modeling clay or Plato for this one. I want to show you how to put a grid up on your screen in the record screen. Go into this menu on the top. Right. This last button toggles the grid on and off. Working with the grid overlay on can help you with keeping line straight and with spacing. And you know the drill. Take one photo of the blank canvas and then start building your picture. Little by little mind this time will be a flower growing. Remember, as you go, the smaller the increments, the more natural it will. Look, I grew the stem, but this would look even more natural if I grew the pedals too. But for this, I'm just letting them sort of pop into it. And when you've finished, hit that arrow to get to the edit screen and take a look at your work. All right, Well, I clearly forgot to hit the record button for one of my frames. Let's go back and fix that first back into record mode. I'm going to carefully recreate the frame I missed here, record it and then back into edit mode. Here. I'll use the copy function to put the missing frame in first. I'll find that new frame at the end. Hit the frame hit copy. Next I find where I want that frame to be hit the frame box hit paste, the frame is pasted in the other frames moved down the timeline, and now it looks right. Last I delete the frame from the end only after I've made sure I've gotten this paste right . Don't forget to check your frame rate in the gear menu again. I'll be cutting and pasting the last frame of the video. So that way we can really sit with that last image. Then save your movie to your phone or iPad and our last exercise will be playing with motion. See, there 4. Animating motion in 2 dimensions and 3 dimensions: all right, let's start really moving things around. First up, let's take a two dimensional approach will use the same set up and the same materials. And I am in fact going to use the same flower animation and continue with that. First, I am creating a character to move. Then I find the edges of my frame in the camera, and then it's time to move him to his destination in the flower. Same process. Small increments hit the record button on this one. I'm also going to save myself a step in the edit and record those hold frames right now. Then, as usual, back to the edit screen. Check how it looks a just as you need to. Don't forget about the frame rate and then save it. And before we create a three dimensional animation, I want to point out some of the menu items in the record screen. Here. You could make manual adjustments to many camera settings, like white balance and shutter speed. You could even swap cameras if you like. All of these camera adjustments give you more options in your stop motion storytelling, so let's get to it. Same set up ish but we're going to move the camera down here again. Let's get out that tape and get this phone study. This scene will have two characters, and I know I want one in the foreground and one in the background. I'll be playing with focus in this one, so I'll be getting that set up. But first I need to check where my edges are, and then I'll be adding a little extra camera support before I begin. All right. Same idea here. Small steps, little by little Onley. I'll be making sure the focus starts up here with my first character, and then we'll make sure it moves to my second character when I'm ready to change. Focus. You can use the slider to make adjustments, or you can keep it in auto mode and tap the object that you want to put into focus. And now I'm going to keep going with my story. I have given my Little Rock semis, and I'm going to turn it around now the other one starts to come out. I'll make my foreground character blink, and I'll start to grow a face on my background character once that face is complete. I know that's when I want to switch my focus to the background, adding and thinks like blinks and other materials. And changing focus can add extra steps but can also add extra texture that brings the scene even more to life. I hope seeing things like this and my example help inspire you to think about extra details you might include in your own video. And about 10 minutes and 44 frames later, I am ready to check my work. I'll adjust my frame rate and then I'll save it next up. Some more tips to think about while animating. 5. Some final tips: So now you know the basics of using stop motion studio to make fun and simple animations a couple of things to keep in mind as you continue on your stop motion journey. First light is your friend. Since we're animating with what we got. Here are some tips for lighting with what you got. I prefer finding an area with a lot of natural light. This keeps the frame bright and avoids grainy, low light final products. Of course, when using natural light, you also need to remember that it will change over time as the sun moves and it can create hard stripes and too much contrast. So bright, indirect sunlight is great to help create the indirect part. White posterboard is helpful to either block or bounce light as needed. You can also try using foil to bounce late if you need a little extra. Also, keep an eye out for where you are casting shadows as you work and try to avoid adding those two random frames. Second focus, focus. Focus. The auto focus in this app actually works pretty great, but it is an auto focus, so it does have a tendency to jump around keep an eye on it as you were working. Tow. Avoid random out of focus frames in your work. Third materials. This class is used only a few of the many materials that can be used to make a stop motion animation. Use whatever material inspires you and go for it. Don't forget to play with different backgrounds and see what ideas that creates. A swell for sharing by looping. Sharing on social media is pretty easy for Facebook. All you have to do is post the video on Instagram. Your video has to be at least three seconds long. If your video is shorter than that, you can copy it into a loop on the APP to make it fit. Instagram's minimums. First, get into the edit screen on your video. You're going to select the first frame of video and hit select, then swipe. To select your entire timeline, hit the frame selector again and hit copy. Move the camera icon into the frame selector and hit paste. You are now looped with the video playing start to finish twice, and this process can be repeated until your video is the length you'd like it. Another option is to create a loop that starts and ends on the same frame. You could do this by reversing your frame order. First, you repeat the steps to create a regular loop. Then, once you've pasted, select the first frame of the pasted frames and swipe to the end of your timeline. Make sure the frame selector is on the last frame of video, not the camera icon, and choose reverse. You'll see this has reversed the order of the frames, creating a complete loop that begins and ends on the same frame and last tip airplane mode . Also, consider putting your device in airplane mode to avoid distractions midway through your project or if you're letting a six year old do the animating. I hope this classes taught you a little more about animating and inspired you that stop motion animation is within your reach, and maybe the next time you or your kids are wondering what to dio. You'll grab your phone or iPad and spend 20 to 30 minutes creating your own videos. That will inspire others as well. And I really look forward seeing the animation that you come up with for your class project . Will it be a subtraction and addition to demotion three D motion, maybe a mix of all of the above. Use any material you like and when it's done posted to the your project tab. Thank you so much for joining me in this class and have fun animating.