★ DIY Animation At Home | Creative Ideas & Fun Inspiration for Making Your Own Stop-Motion Videos ★
Creative Filming With a Digital or Video Camera
Stop-motion films have always fascinated me, and the best thing about this technique is that you don't need that much space, money or equipment to try it yourself. Just thing of a movement or a story you want to get across on film and then try to make that happen with paper, clay, wooden mannequins, Lego, people, food, or anything else you have at hand.
Below you will find lots of the best examples of animation that are all created with everyday objects, so I hope you get plenty of inspiration from this page for creating your own mini movies :)
Ideas For What To Film
First of all, please click here if you would like a quick run-through of what stop motion animation is, and how you can do it yourself.
Here are some ideas for techniques and ideas you can use to create stop motion animation:
- Time Lapse - Take many photographs of one item or scene over a certain period of time. For instance, take a photo of a street from sunrise to sunset, perhaps once every 10 minutes (on a timer). You could also do this for flowers growing, an apple rotting, a candle or ice cube melting etc. People have strung photos from large periods of time together such as one photograph taken every day for a year (or even several years) of someone's face to see how it changed over time - you'd need a bit of commitment to do a project this long though of course.
- Drawings - On post-its, chalkboards, white boards...whatever you can find. Take a photo of the drawing, change the drawing a little and take another photo...and repeat until you have plenty of photographs to put in sequence to create some kind of movement or story. Stick men cartoons can be a good way to start.
- People Gliding/Flying - Take a photo of someone whilst they are jumping in the air, and do this repeatedly as they move slightly in different directions. Using this 'flying' technique, you could create funny effects such as making it look like someone is flying a broom or perhaps being Superman!
- Food & Drink are very good ready-made props to animate; whether it's a sequence of photos showing a glass being filled with water, or arranging sweets into various moving patterns, there's lots of potential.
- Claymation - From an animation as simple as a blob of plasticine morphing into different shapes bit by bit, to a more complex animation using characters/puppets and props, using clay/plasticine is a classic animation technique.
- Toys - Lego, Meccano, model trains...toys make great props for animation as they are usually made to move, with a lot of toys being jointed/hinged for more expression.
- Paper Cut-Outs - Cutting shapes out of paper, perhaps with drawings on the paper, or making use of existing images in magazines for example, you can create 2D scenes on a table which you can then film from above as you move the cut-out images around.
- Pixilation - This is where real people are used as props. You can take a separate photographs (like for creating a gliding or flying effect as suggested above) or you can use a video camera to capture a simple movement such as a cartwheel, running or dancing, then pick frames from this film and turn those into a stop motion movie. Using a video camera instead of a regular camera can sometimes be useful when filming people, as they are constantly moving (unlike inanimate objects) - you can't get a person to pose halfway through a cartwheel for instance!
- Different Stages of a Process - Whether it's a photograph taken at every little stage of knitting a jumper, decorating a cake, applying Halloween face paint or creating a painting, sometimes stop motion is a great way of showing people the process without filming every second. Stop motion can give speeded-up overviews of all kind of manufacture and creative processes.
Some examples of materials or props you could use for your mini movies include:
- Toys, cuddly toys, puppets, army men (think Toy Story!), Lego, action figures, dolls
- Food and drink - candy, cereal, Pepsi, dry pasta etc.
- Paper cut-outs, magazine images, origami creations
- Game pieces, like Monopoly playing pieces or Jenga blocks
- Items outdoors such as pebbles, flowers, leaves
- Fridge magnets
Top-Rated Movie Making Books
Here is a selection of the best books (for kids or adults) that provide expert advice as well as so many inspiring ideas and examples to help you get started with a fun project:
Amazing Lying-Down Animation
Animated Movie Techniques, Tips & Tutorials
- Cut-Out Animation Video
One of the simplest forms of animation - using pre-existing images.
- The Process of Cut-Out Animation
A walkthrough of the different steps for setting up this type of animation.
- DIY Film Animation Show
A series of brilliant episodes in an animation instruction show.
- Animating Lego
Tips and inspiration on using these versatile toys as characters and props.
- Pixilation - Animating Real People
Pixilation is the name used when using people to create stop motion movies.
Animating With Food & Drink
Flying & Gliding & Other Fun Stuff
Inanimate Objects as Characters
Very cute animation with an inanimate object turned into a cute made-up character.
World's Largest Stop Motion Animation
To see more photos showing how this video was made, click here.
'Gulp' is a short stop-motion fim created by sumo science at aardman. It has broken a world record and was completely shot using a 12-megapixel mobile phone camera (a Nokia N8) - for advertising purposes. The whole project was filmed on a beach in Wales and props include a full-scale boat and various sand sculptures. The animation runs at 25 frames per second.