What is Stop Motion Animation and How is it Done?
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What is Stop Motion Animation and How is it Done?

stop motion animation

Film making techniques have seen a wave of innovative ideas and concepts being brought to fruition since time immemorial. The indulgence of film makers in finding novel ways of storytelling and depicting things, environments and characters on screen is one of the primary reasons why different types of animation have become such a huge deal over the last century or so.

One such type of animation is stop motion or stop frame animation.

Heard the term before but not quite sure where you’ve seen it?

  • Wondering what stop motion animation is used for?
  • Looking for a list of the best stop motion films?
  • What are the best examples of stop motion for students?
  • What are the advantages of stop motion animation?
  • What technology is used for making professional 2D/3D stop motion animation?
  • What are the basic techniques used for creating digital stop motion animation videos?

Read on, as we unfold the beautiful world of stop motion animation!


As far as the history of stop motion animation is concerned, Albert Smith and J. Stuart Blackton are credited for bringing a toy circus to life in Humpty Dumpty Circus (1897) – the world’s introduction to the concept of stop motion animation.

Stop motion animation is a popular and yet very rarely-utilized animation technique or format that involves manipulation of static physical objects to small degrees in order to photograph them individually.

These images are then strung together to give the impression of movement or ‘motion’ and can be played back at different speeds, making the entire sequence look animated.

In simple words, here’s the process that is typically followed for creating stop motion animation (which you can try doing):

  1. Place something in front of the cameras
  2. Take a picture using your DSLR
  3. Move the item slightly in one direction, take another picture
  4. Move it again, click again
  5. Follow this routine for a few times
  6. String all these images together in the same sequence using an editing or animation tool
  7. Voila!

Typically, 12 frames are equal to one second of stop motion animation. In essence, stop motion animation can be referred to as a series of still images.

However, it is the thought, skill and effort that goes into creating the inanimate subjects for these photographs and then filming them frame by frame to stimulate movement that eventually brings the entire sequence to life.

Clay figures, scale models, puppets, toys, toy cars and miniatures are commonly used in the making of stop motion animation characters in films.

Using a high-quality DSLR camera and software like DRAGONFRAME can make things simpler. What’s more, the App Store also offers tons of applications that allow you to experiment with stop motion animation.

Best Stop Motion Animation Examples

So, for those of you who think stop motion animation is an ancient or archaic format, well, you are mistaken. The format has only gotten better and evolved with time. If you don’t believe us, take a look at the level and complexity of animation in popular movies like the ones in the list mentioned below.

  • Chicken Run
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
  • Corpse Bride
  • Fantastic Mr Fox
  • The LEGO Movie

These are just a few examples of 3D stop motion animation films. There are several other feature films, advertisements and short films that have utilized stop motion animation techniques in various ways.

3D printing is now widely used for creating replacement parts for puppets and objects which require a varied set of movements, gestures, emotions or facial expressions. This is particularly common in relatively bigger productions or very complex stop motion animation films.

Watch this enlightening interview with National Award-winning filmmaker & founder of Studio Eeksaurus Suresh Eriyat to know more about stop motion animation:


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