If you want to draw some stop motion animation but don't know what to do this article will help. Often times people think you have to spend endless hours drawing the same figures over and over with just a slight change between each drawing. And while this is true there are lots of creative techniques you can use to draw fun and interesting animations without the endless repetition. This article shows you nine techniques.
You can do all of these techniques with very little tools. Apart from the necessary things for any stop motion animation like a camera, computer and some free software you will be able to do these things with a paper, pencil and eraser or my preferred method of a dry erase board. I prefer the dry erase board because it is very easy to draw on and erase things as you go.
1. Text and words
The point about an animation is to communicate a message or a story and text is a great tool for doing this. You can write words and sentences directly on your work area. And you can do it in an animation style by adding the letters or words one at a time.
2. Draw a background
This is often overlooked in animation but a good background or even a simple background adds a level of depth to the story you are telling. You can animate it or simply leave it as it is with no motion at all.
3. Simple motion
This is the technique of drawing an object on the work area, taking a picture then erasing it and redrawing it in a new location. This motion of the object simulates movement and is very effective and easy to do. It can be as simple as rain drops progressing down the work surface or a ball bouncing across the screen.
4. Growth: add lines and features
Think of this as something growing right before your eyes. Trees and plants make good subjects for this. You draw a line, take a picture, extend the line, take another picture, etc until full growth is achieved. You can also reverse this technique and have objects that shrink in size. You erase and take pictures in small increments.
5. Anthropomorphism: taking the human shape to express things
You can draw simple human shapes that are very expressive. They don't have to be complex and even simple stick figures will do. But they will give you a very wide range of expression from shock to excitement, happiness and well the whole range of human emotion.
6. Vary the speed of what is happening
This is an important tool. You have to remember that things don't all happen at the same rate of speed so you should vary your drawings to reflect this. Characters can run or walk and items can move slow or fast. A flower grows slowly and a rock falls from the sky quickly. Space your drawings to reflect these differences in speed.
7. Vary the camera angle by panning or zooming
You can pan or zoom in the animation without moving the camera or the workspace. This is a really neat technique that will make your video more interesting and more attractive. To zoom in on an object you simply draw it in steps that are larger and larger, and while you are doing this you are also bringing it toward the center of your workspace. If you have drawn a background you can move it to the left or right to simulate panning.
8. Have multiple events going on
Often times, when drawing an animation, it is easy to get fixed on one central character but if you want to make your animation more interesting you should remember that more than one thing can be moving at any given moment, even if it is just because of wind blowing.
9. Tell a story
This is the most important technique and you should give it a lot of thought. It is the hinge that the whole animation rests on. This is the reason for what is happening in the animation and it gives the viewer a good reason to continue watching. If the viewer perceives a story is unfolding he is more prone to stick with the video to see how it turns out.
Stop Motion animation is a wonderful creative pursuit and you don't need a lot of materials and tools to make some great animations. And you don't need to draw hundreds of pictures that are just a repetition with slight changes. With a little thought an creativity you can make some that are easy and fun.
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This video shows the basics of using Windows Movie Maker to create stop-motion animations. All you need is a digital camera, a computer, and Windows Movie Maker.
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