Stop motion animation is the process of taking a sequence of photographs, making minor changes between each shot and then sequencing all images into an animated film. Traditionally stop motion animation involved clay / plasticine figures being moved just a fraction of a millimetre for each shot. Famous examples of stop frame animation include Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video, Take Hart’s Morph and Wallace and Gromit. However stop motion animations can be made using a all kinds of different resources e.g. Lego figures, Post-It Notes or just bits of paper.
All that’s required to make a stop motion animation is
- stop motion animation software
- a digital camera / webcam
- a good creative idea
- some patience
This post focuses on the stop motion software JellyCam which is ideal for use in schools for two reasons:
- It is free (although there is an option to make a PayPal donation).
- It is extremely simple to use.
The main JellyCam screen is split into three components:
Option to link to a webcam, and switch on onion skinning
Option to set a frame rate and play the current movie
Option to delete any unsuitable frames
And that’s it – that’s all that’s required to make a stop motion animation.
JellyCam can export the finished movie as a .FLV file and even offers a single step process to upload to YouTube.
To prove how simple JellyCam is to use, I asked Lucy [aged 8] to produce her own stop motion movie. The resulting short animation took just 15 minutes to make:
The only real omission from the program is the ability to add a soundtrack, but from the JellyCam blog it would appear that feature is coming in the next release.
As author Chris Dennett says on the JellyCam website: “I have just started playing around with stop motion. I found taking the pics speedy and fun, but turning the pics into a movie was dull and tedious. I made Jellycam to do the boring bits.”
Perfect for education!