Techniques And Methods Of Creating Stop Motion Animation Essay

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The dissertation focuses on the techniques and methods of creating stop motion and how it is implemented on various forms of visual media. The initial motivation for the content and structure of this dissertation is based on personal experience during my project and also some research on it. Several research and reviews also helped me to specify and provide certain suggestions.

This dissertation will briefly explain about what are stop motion and different techniques and method of creating stop motion. And also a study, how to improvise and implement the stop motion in the modern CGI media industry. An introduction to some of the most popular types of stop motion. The types of stop motion reviewed and discussed in this dissertation include:

Puppet animation

Puppetoon

Clay mation

Cutout animation

Silhouette animation

Model animation

Go motion

Object animation

Graphic animation

Pixilation

Chapter 1 Introduction

Stop-motion animation is described as a type of animation created or designed by physically manipulating or altering real-world or physical objects and is photographed or captured them on one frame of a film at a single time. And when it plays altogether it will create the illusion of movement. There are many different types of stop-motion animation, usually named or tagged after the type of media or way used to create the animation. There are many Computer software is widely available in the market to create this type of animation.

In late 80's stop motion become unpopular due to its strange appeal and unorthodox style of animating character. Stop motion was widely used in special effect especially in 80's.The process and traditional stop motion has been kept alive by great directors like Tim Burton and Nick Park. Stop motion is usually the work of an oneman craftsmanship performing all the duties under intense concentration on one frame at a time while, CGI or 3D special effect sequences tend to have small group devoted or appointed people to their specialized tasks. In terms of larger debates, stop motion generally wins over the traditional artistically-based 3d animation because it's handcrafted naturally and lively and can be corrected any moment by keeping its traditional art history background of design and sculpture, At the end it's a magic show in which actual physical or real world objects have been handled or manipulated in a way which produces an illusion of motion to the audience

1. Research question

What is stop motion

What are the types , methods and technique for creating stop motion

What are role and importance of camera in stop motion

What are the pros and cons of stop motion in production

What is the future of stop motion

2. Aim

The dissertation aims to find out the role and techniques of stop motion in visual media industry and also how it can be implemented in present generation media industry.

3. Objectives

To define stop motion and its history

To explain the different method and techniques involved in creating stop motion

To explain how the camera effects on creating stop motion

To analyze the pros and cons of stop motion

To analyze the integration between the techniques of stop motion with new generation computer graphics media

4. Summary of chapters:

4. a. Stop motion

This section provides the introductuion and the brief history of the stop motion. The reader will understand what exactly stop motion is.

4. b. Different types of stop motion

This section explains the different types of stop motion, the technique and method to create it and also the resource and artist behind it.

4. c. Camera in stop motion

The sections explain of choosing the camera and the requirement for it. A brief summary of camera and also the merits and demerits of each one

4. d. Stop motion in present day media industry

This section explains how it is integrated in new generation media industry and also the impact of stop motion over the traditional animators

4. e. Review of some popular stop motion

This section provides the use of different technique and method in each individual movie from past and present day media.

4. f. Future of stop motion

Stop motion and 3D integration with stereoscopy

This section briefly explains the future enhancements and technology involved in the next-generation of stop motion in the media industry

Chapter 2 Review of Literature

Creating a stop motion is huge and painstaking process than any other form of art .the production is a very time consuming and should take care of sculptor or the modeler and also the technical issue like frame rate and the camera . So in production these things should be executed in a good rhythm to get a fine output

The production behind the project should give the proper backup and take care the whole pipeline. The stop motion makes believe, that real object and physical figures comes alive lives in front of them. It's purely an artist work.

But in the world of 3d, the stop motion got some great challenge to face. 3d animation takes a short duration of production time regarding stop motion. So commonly the 3d got popular in the industry. But in present world of media industry there are few stop motion enthusiast and director who kept this art alive and bringing a new form of stop motion. The stop motion is purely an intrinsic work and effort of each sculptor or a modeler.

So the basic idea of stop motion is the process technique and methods involved etc, is to understand before an artist and he can go ahead and create a stop motion in the production phase. This way he would be able to understand the technique to create a good stop motion

Chapter 2 Literature review

Article by Ken A. Priebe (2006) mention about the art of stop motion and also

How to create puppets and how to bring them to life and create a stop-motion film.

Article by Tom Brierton (2006) mention and discuss about the aesthetics of stop-motion animation. He explains the technique of lighting and camera. And the article also discussed on body language of model, facial expression, gesture, movement and emotion of the model.

Article by Barey. J.C .Purves (2008) mentions and discussed about the potential of puppet and models insight of world most popular stop motion animators and discussed on initial concept and script writing

Chapter 3 | Research Methodology

The research paper carries out a qualitative evaluation of material collected from secondary data source i.e. literatures and articles already written. The research is aimed to explain the techniques, method and overall awareness of stop motion to use in present generation production. The research methodology used is described below:

• Description about Stop motion

• Different types of stop motion

• Technical analysis of stop motion

• Explanation of present day stops motion

• Review of some popular stop motion

• Analysis and report making suggestions based on the reviews

• Future developments of stop motion are explained.

The theory and history behind the development of stop motion is first explained. Then the different type of stop motion is elaborated.

This gives a basic idea about the technology and theory behind production

Then the various common features and criteria of production are explained to give an idea as to what exactly artists can do.

Then some review over the popular work and the techniques and method behind it,

Based on the reviews, a report is made to give an idea that how it can be implemented in the perfect way

Upcoming developments and enhancements of stop motion production are then explained in brief.

Chapter 4 Stop motion

Key words: Animation, stop motion

Animation is a simulation of movement created by displaying series of image in 2d, 3d or a model position in order to create a sequence

1. | Definition

Albert E. Smith and Stuart Blackton (1898) is the creator of first stop motion.

Stop motion (also known as stop action or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence

2. | Overview

Animation as a whole can be related as the base of different type and method of animation available in the industry. It is also considered as the different form of art

Animation are categorized by the techniques used, they include:

Traditional animation

Stop motion

2D animation

3D animation

Here the research is on stop motion and the stop motion is divided into

Puppet animation

Puppetoon

Clay mation

Cutout animation

Silhouette animation

Model animation

Go motion

Object animation

Graphic animation

Pixilation

3. | History

Stop motion had a long history and it is old as the traditional film. The stop motion is involved in animating objects which makes movement to nonliving objects such as toy blocks or any inanimate objects. Later the stop motion animator experimented on clay animation and puppet animation.

The early examples of stop motion film and technique can be seen the movie Humpty Dumpty circus (1898) and another film called Fun in bakery shop (1902)[1].

The haunted hotel was very successful movie, with the cinema audience of that time (1907)

The first stop motion that used in clay animation got a great critical acclaim (1912)

And was called Modeling extraordinary

The first woman animator, Helena Smith Dayton, began experimenting with clay stop motion (1916). Her first film released in 1917, Romeo and Juliet

The other big changes in stop motion was brought by Willis o Brien by including 49 pre historic animals in his film

Some of the other notable Milestones in the History of stop motion  

The great stop motion animator, Ray Harryhausen received the Gordon E. Sawyer Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for his contributions in technology 1991. 

But in early 20th century the face of stop motion has dramatically changed with the development of digital 3D animation and animating 3D character and become much easier and fast which the industry was favored. So it becomes rarely used.

Now the stop motion enthusiast and director who kept this art alive are bringing a new form of stop motion. The stop motion is purely an intrinsic work and effort of each sculptor or a modeler.

Chapter 5 | Different types of stop motion

Stop motion is categorized in different type, according to the media used to create the animation

They are

Puppet animation

Puppetoon

Clay animation

Cutout animation

Silhouette animation

Model animation

Go motion

Object animation

Graphic animation

Pixilation

Stop motion is a highly time-consuming job based on the complexity of the scene and the different animating techniques, methods opt for.

1. Puppet animation:

Puppet animation is a method that involves articulated puppet. These puppet figures interact with each other in a constructed environment or a set, in contrast to the real world interaction in a model animation.

As on the technical side the puppets are made of constraints which allow them to move the joints to create a movement, and also the puppet will have an armature inside them keep steady or fixed steady in the set

The famous puppet animation works are Tale of the Fox (France, 1937), Nightmare before Christmas (US, 1993), Corpse Bride (US, 2005), Coraline (US, 2009), the films of Jiri Trnka and the TV series Robot Chicken (US, 2005-present).

a. Puppetoon:

Unlike clay animators like Nick Park, Will Vinton or Art Clokey, George Pal's animators worked in a "replacement technique" using hand-carved wooden puppets. A separate puppet (or puppet part) was used for each motion, rather than clay or hinged parts. A single walking sequence, for instance, could involve 12 pairs of legs for one character. An average Puppetoon short would use 9,000 puppets.

2. Clay animation:

Clay animation or otherwise termed as plasticine animation is commonly known as Claymation.

They use clay or a different type of malleable substance to create the figure which is used for the stop motion animation. Similar to puppet animation figure this Claymation figure also have the armature or wireframe inside them and they can be manipulated or altered the figure in the particular scene or shot.

There are certain films like in which the figure is entirely made of clay. By using this method they can morph the creature or the figure into another shape.

Examples of clay-animated works include The Gumby Show (US, 1957-1967) Morph shorts (UK, 1977-2000), Wallace and Gromit shorts (UK, as of 1989), Jan Švankmajer's Dimensions of Dialogue(Czechoslovakia, 1982), The Trap Door (UK, 1984). Films include Wallace and Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, Chicken Run and the Adventures of Mark Twain

3. Cut out animation:

Cutout animation is based on 2 dimensional animations. In this animation 2D objects like paper or cloth are move frame by frame to create the effect.

Examples include Terry Gilliam's animated sequences from Monty Python's Flying Circus (UK, 1969-1974); Fantastic Planet (France/Czechoslovakia, 1973) ; Tale of Tales (Russia, 1979), The pilot episode of the TV series (and sometimes in episodes) of South Park (US, 1997).

4. Silhouette animation:

Silhouette animation is a different variant of cutout animation .In this animation the characters are backlited and the result will be a silhouettes of the figure

Examples include The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Weimar Republic, 1926) and Princes et princesses (France, 2000).

5. Model animation:

Model animation refers to stop-motion animation created to interact with and exist as a part of a live-action world. Intercutting, matte effects, and split screens are often employed to blend stop-motion characters or objects with live actors and settings.

Examples include the work ofRay Harryhausen, as seen in films such Jason and the Argonauts (1961), and the work ofWillis O'Brien on films such as King Kong (1933 film).

6. Go motion:

Go motion is a variant of model animation which uses various techniques to create motion blur between frames of film, which is not present in traditional stop-motion. The technique was invented by Industrial Light HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Light_&_Magic"&HYPERLINK "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Industrial_Light_&_Magic" Magic and Phil Tippett to create special effects scenes for the film The Empire Strikes Back (1980).

Another example is Vermithrax from Dragonslayer (1981 film).

7. Object animation:

Object animation refers to the use of regular inanimate objects in stop-motion animation, as opposed to specially created items.

8. Graphic animation:

Graphic animation uses non-drawn flat visual graphic material (photographs, newspaper clippings, magazines, etc.) which are sometimes manipulated frame-by-frame to create movement. At other times, the graphics remain stationary, while the stop-motion camera is moved to create on-screen action.

9. Pixilation: 

Pixilation involves the use of live humans as stop motion characters. This allows for a number of surreal effects, including disappearances and reappearances, allowing people to appear to slide across the ground, and other such effects.

In this method live humans are used as stop-motion animation props. A very good example of this is the old sci-fi movies in which actors acting on screen used to just vanish in a split second; one frame they are there and the other they are gone. An awesome example is Norman McLaren's Neighbors and A Chairy Tale. A must watch.

Examples of pixilation include The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb and Angry Kid shorts.

Chapter 6 | Camera in stop motion

Camera plays an important role in the field of stop motion. There are certain basic requirements for the camera to shoot decent stop motion film.

As the stop motion is based on frame by frame capturing, the camera should be rock solid. The other important thing are the

Screen resolution, manual focus and manual image control and also the types of cameras like webcams, film cameras, camcorders and digital still camera.

The screen resolution will be dependent on the medium of output and the camera used. When the medium of output is web based then the web camera are mostly appreciated, and when it is broadcasting for television or other bigger screen media , a bigger camera are needed that have broadcast resolution

The other thing use must take care in camera are manual focus because in each frame the object will move in the field of view and this cause the focus to change .

The other thing u should notice is zoom and it should be optical zoom and not digital zoom, because the digital zoom tend to pixelate.

Manual image control is other main feature that can manually override gain, exposure and white balance.

Types of camera

Web cameras:

Web cam will be the cheapest and simplest way to make a stop motion. The plus is that unlike film cameras, there is no waiting for entire role to get exposed and developed. The beginners can start with webcam and slowly by practicing they can go for higher or expensive cameras.

The merits of web cams are, they are cheap and with decent web cam we can produce a good broadcast quality animation. And also can check feedback instantly.

The demerits are that the lens cannot be interchange for better quality lens

Film camera:

The most common choice of the motion picture format is super-8, 16mm and 35mm. In this range the 35mm camera will be outside range, because it is costly and it depends on the production

In this camera the least expensive is super-8 and for 16mm we must pay little more for film and processing. The small drawback of the camera is that it is having a spring drive device which is used to wind .Because of this it cause uneven exposure, so it is better to get an animation motor fitted on it for the ease of work.

The merits are that, the output will look like digital video. They can interchange lenses and also can offer timed exposure, double exposure and matte effects.

The demerits are the cost of the film, as it will cost more developing process

Camcorders:

There are different types of camera available in the market and can be used for filming stop motion. You can capture the live feed from the camera through frame grabber software and can make correction.

For an old camcorder you should have a analog/digital converter. If it is DV camcorder you don't need a converter, just connect through fire wire or usb port. You can provide a live feed to the computer through the capturing software without a tape inside

Digital still camera:

We can take stop motion in digital still camera and this camera offers a high resolution images. And the main feature is that you can do exposure setting

The merits are that it got higher resolution and have a good optics, and also allow lens interchange

The demerits are they won't work with frame grabbers, and also have flicker issues.

Chapter 7 | Stop motion in present day media industry

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