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How-To: Stop Motion Animation at Home

How-To: Stop Motion Animation at Home

Stop motion animation is a simple animation technique that almost anyone can do. It may not be as complex as computer animation, but they share the same basic principles. With a digital or phone camera and a few simple props, you too can make your own animation at home.

Here are the things you will need to start your own stop motion production:


You can use a still digital camera to capture every frame. Make sure to shoot every change in movement or position of your characters. A video camera may also be used – you just have to press record and pause alternately to shoot each movement, however this often leads to inconsistency in frame lengths and can break up the flow of your animation.


Holding the camera with your hands won’t do. You need to keep every frame steady in order to make the animation flow consistently. This also means capturing every frame of a scene from the same angle.

Clay figurines or toys

The most common method involves creating figurines using modeling clay. You may also use toy action figures. Their poses and movements can be limited, though since they are not as flexible or bendable as clay figures.


After shooting all of the frames, you are going to export the sequential images to some form of video editing software and create a video file. Mac users may use iMovie to create stop motion animation videos. For Windows users, Movie Maker or VirtualDub can also do the job well. These programs are often included with the operating system.

Now that you have the tools ready, it is time to shoot your own stop motion video. All you have to do is follow these few simple steps:

Create a storyboard

Part of the planning stage is the creation of a storyboard. Assuming you already have a script to guide you, the purpose of the storyboard is to map out every scene. You can create your storyboard through manual illustrations or by using software.

Start shooting

Make sure to place the figurines on a flat, even surface and move them slightly between every shot. You may want to mark the original spot of each figure so you will know where to put them back if you need to do some reshoots.

Shooting each scene involves moving the figures very slightly into their next position and taking another shot. Each shot is called a frame. The more frames you shoot to complete one movement, the more fluid the animation will be. To give you an idea, a typical film has 24 frames per second. * For digital videos, it is usually 30 fps.

Upload and edit

Editing programs such as the ones mentioned above, usually have an option that detect sequential images. This allows the program to organize the photos into an animation sequence. When your photos are imported, they become part of a video clip that you can edit. At this stage, you may add titles, music, and sound effects. Once you are done, save it as a movie file and it’s ready to be shown to the world!

The final product may not come out perfect the first time. Keep trying however, and you will soon get the hang of it. Stop motion animation is a very labor-intensive and time-consuming process, but it will teach you patience and improve your attention to detail. You may even enhance your photography skills in the process. Most importantly, you will feel rewarded once you show your movie to your friends and family.


Want to pursue a career in animation? Get more information about programs in your area or online using our animation degree finder at the top of this page. ↑


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