Sunday, November 20, 2016

My first stop motion animation

Most of my cast on set
Today's daily create is to "Create a video story with children’s toys and/or cut out drawings". I'm glad I spotted this one early, because as well as being a fairly challenging one, it's the first one that I've suggested, so I had to do it! I was inspired to suggest this by the YouTube channel ToyTrains4U, which hosts the prolific output of a family who make videos using children's toys. (One or two cans of Strongbow may also been part of the inspiration...)

My plot had to make use of the toys available - a few miniature Doctor Who figures who usually sit on a shelf above my desk, a knitted froglet that Sarah made to keep my server 'Tiny' company and some plasticine I had lying around. As my 'actors' are only 3cm tall, I only needed a small set - I found a suitably sci-fi looking picture online, which also had green window areas, and after a bit of editing printed it on a piece of A4 photo paper as my set. I used my webcam,clamped to my desk to take photos using the Windows Camera application.

The animation took surprisingly little time once I had it set up, though I did keep forgetting to move all the toys between each frame. The next challenge was to turn my 180 or so images into a video. Google/YouTube guided me - someone has already made a simple explanation of how to use Magix Movie Edit Pro, the video editing software I use, to do stop motion.

I made each photo 4 frames long, and then extended the first and last photos to provide time for titles. Finally I used the green screen effect to make the windows transparent, and put a moving space painting, again found online, behind it.

I'm quite pleased with my results - it's far from professional, and the story is probably impossible to follow, but it's a lot better than I expected my first attempt to be.

If you'd like to join me and an on-line learning community in experiments with simple animation, why not take part in the DigiWrimo-ish Pop-Up Make Cycle, starting 28th Nov. Watch for the hashtag #DigiWriMo for more info.