What is Stop-Motion Animation?

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Stop-motion animation is a technique used to create the illusion of movement by manipulating physical objects frame by frame. It involves taking a series of still photographs of an object, moving it slightly between each shot. When the images are played back in sequence, the object appears to come to life and move on its own. This method has been used in films, television shows, and commercials, and can be done using various materials such as clay, puppets, or even everyday objects. Stop-motion animation requires patience and attention to detail, but it can result in visually stunning and unique creations.


Are you amazed by computer-generated imagery? Are 3D films your favorite? Watching stories come to life on the big screen can be a lot of fun. Nowadays, special effects make movies look incredibly realistic. However, there are still many older techniques used in filmmaking that captivate audiences.

Stop-motion animation is a popular film style that has been around for a long time. In this technique, filmmakers combine a series of pictures to narrate a story.

How do these pictures transform into a movie? The key is to make subtle changes between each picture. This gives the illusion of movement when the photos are put together.

How long have filmmakers been using stop-motion animation? For over a century! The first movie made using this technique was “The Humpty Dumpty Circus” in 1898. This style is still very popular today.

Have you ever watched a stop-motion film? Some of them are extremely popular. One of the most well-known examples is “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” Other famous stop-motion movies include “Coraline,” “Wallace & Gromit,” and “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”

Are you interested in making movies? If so, stop-motion animation is a great place to start. You only need a few things: a story, a medium, a camera, and editing software.

How are stop-motion movies created? The first step is to come up with an idea for the movie and write the story. Then, decide on the medium to be photographed. Many creators use 3D clay objects, while others use puppets. Some people create a series of drawings to tell the story. These mediums are popular because they can be gradually altered between each picture.

The most time-consuming step in stop-motion animation is photography. It takes about 12 pictures to create one second of footage. Now, do the math—how many pictures would you need for a five-minute film? That’s right, 3,600!

Remember, each picture should only have very slight changes. This is another reason why filmmakers spend so much time on photography. When they edit the pictures together, the film should flow seamlessly. Too many changes between photos can make the movie appear jerky.

Once the images are stitched together, creators add sound and music. Finally, it’s time to watch the finished movie. After the credits roll, they reflect on how to improve the process for the next project.

Would you like to create stop-motion films? Or would you prefer to be in the audience? Either way, most people agree that this technique produces unique results. What other film styles are you interested in?

Try It Out

Don’t stop learning! Find an adult who can help you try out the activities below.

Try making a flipbook

You can experience stop motion without making a movie. Create a flipbook and see if your drawings appear to move. Can you tell a story through your flipbook? Share it with a friend or family member.

Watch stop-motion shorts

Take a look at these stop-motion shorts. Do you have a favorite? Share it with someone close to you. After watching, explain to them how stop-motion animation works.

Discover a stop-motion movie

Ask an adult family member to help you find a stop-motion movie to watch. Once you’ve finished watching, discuss your thoughts on the film. Remember, it takes a lot of pictures to create just one second of film. Can you estimate how many pictures were used in this movie?

Wonder Sources

  • https://www.nyfa.edu/student-resources/stop-motion-animation/ (accessed 13 Dec. 2019)
  • https://www.librarypoint.org/blogs/post/stop-motion-history/ (accessed 13 Dec. 2019)
  • https://www.awardscircuit.com/2019/04/11/top-10-stop-motion-animation-films/ (accessed 13 Dec. 2019)

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