Stop Action Animation

Wallace and Grommit is an example of stop action animation. See Claymation for others.

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You make something, take a picture, move it slightly, take another picture. Typically you want 12 pictures per second in order for the animation to move smoothly.

To create the animation, go to:
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Upload your pictures.

Animation Concepts and Downloadable Programs

Vectorian Giotto is a free program that allows you to create animation. With this program, you create a "Flash" video that can be converted to other formats.

Here is an example of an animation made with Vectorian Giotto:

With Vectorian Giotto, you create "key frames." A key frame has all the elements that you want to use in a sequence, in their initial orientation. A key frame may have a character "off stage" ready to walk across. To achieve the actual walk, create a key frame a few frames after the initial key frame where the legs are finishing taking a step. For example:


Here are a couple of legs, a red one and a black one so you can see how this works. I actually drew only one leg, copied it, pasted the copy, and changed the color of one of the legs. I used a combination of GIMP and Inkscape.

When people walk, the front leg becomes the back leg for each step, like this:

So my second keyframe, several frames after the first key frame, would be this second picture. The more frames I put between the initial key frame and the new key frame, the slower my character will walk.

If you had been one of the people who created animation for Warner Bros cartoons back in the day, you would have to draw each frame between your first and your second key frame. The second frame would have the red leg beginning to move back while the black leg would begin to move forward. All those wonderful original Disney animations were created painstakingly using this method. When you consider that animation flies by at the rate of at least 12 cels per second, even a short cartoon required thousands of drawings.

The computer makes it easy for us. Once I have the key frame for the beginning of my sequence and the key frame for the end of my sequence (in this case, one step), I can ask the computer to do the "tweening," or the drawing of the cels between the two key frames.

Here is a sequence of walking using a few key frames and a lot of tweening:

I drew a total of two legs and imported them into Vectorian Giotto. I created 4-5 key frames where the legs were in different positions representing the beginning and ending of a step. The computer tweened the animation. I saved it, exported it to flash, converted it to something Youtube could read, and uploaded it. Thattook less than fifteen minutes to make.

Animation is a special multimedia format. Because you manipulate still pictures, whether or not you drew them, you have a lot of control over what happens in the video. At the same time, you get the other advantages of video in terms of being able to illustrate an idea using music, text, and/or spoken language.

Additionally, students typically enjoy animated videos; how much more would they enjoy making one? When students get excited about a project, you will find that what they produce is high quality because they put in the effort to make it so. Who needs death by Power Point when you can create a cartoon?

Synfig is an Open Source animation program that yields, at this point, animated gifs, like the one below.
Synfig Animation 5.gif