So it’s day eight of the school holidays and you’ve run out of ideas to keep your kids occupied. They’ve turned feral from boredom and you’re sick of forking out $70 a piece for ‘day camps’.
Fear not harangued parent I have the thing for you: teach them how to make a stop motion animation. It will keep them busy for hours and won’t cost you a cent. Well, maybe a couple of bucks.
“IT WILL KEEP THEM BUSY FOR HOURS.”
Equipment you will need:
- Smartphone or tablet
- Mini figures.
If you have time or can plan ahead buy some modelling clay. Making figures will eat up most of the kids’ day.
I also recommend buying clay tools to avoid meltdowns when little hands get frustrated from their inability to manipulate the clay the way they want to.
Step 1: Amass your mini figures
Make your own with modelling clay.
Have a scavenger hunt in your home for things that can be used as characters or props.
The usual suspects are things like LEGOs, toy cars, dolls and plush toys. But don’t let that limit you, anything can be used.
Step 2: Download a free stop motion app.
Gifinator for Android
Stop Motion Studio for iOS.
Both are idiot proof.
Step 3: Find a large flat surface with consistent lighting.
A stable flat surface makes it easier to arrange and move figures around and consistent lighting helps you avoid different brightness levels or shadows in your frames.
Step 4: Set up your device and open the stop motion app.
To start a new project press the plus symbol in either:
the top right of the screen in the Gifinator app
or the upper left part of the screen in the Stop Motion Studio app.
Step 5: Set up the scene.
Choose the figures you want to use and arrange them so that they’re in the shot.
Step 6: Take a single picture then move the figures a little bit.
To take a picture press either:
the camera symbol in the middle of the screen in Gifinator
or the red record button to the right of the screen in Stop Motion Studio.
Step 7: Repeat step 6 until you’ve photographed all of the action for your animation.
Move the figures only a tiny amount each time so that the motion will appear more fluid. If you move only a part of the figure you can create movements like walking or waving.
Step 8: Save your project.
Press the tick in the upper right corner of the screen in Gifinator to preview then press it again to save.
Press the < symbol in the upper left part of the screen in Stop Motion Studio to preview then press it again to save.
If you’re drawing a blank on ideas have a look at the Gif Bros tumblr page for inspiration.
For a longer project you could get the kids to write out a plot or if they’re older you can introduce them to storyboarding.