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Tim's Stop Animation Guide

This is a guide to creating stop animation films. We will show you step by step how to create one over the next few pages. The first half of this guide explains how we created the animation and the second half shows how we filmed and edited it.

Get a pair of scissors and a sheet of blank A4 paper.

Fold the paper into quarters and cut the squares out.

Get a ruler and a good thin felt tipped pen.

First write all of the slides that only have text on. For example, "Previously On Unfortunate Adventures". Then put the slides to one side.

Take one piece of paper and draw a line across the bottom to represent the ground. Take a second piece of paper and place it on top of the first.

With both pieces of paper on top of a light box, you will now see the outline of the drawing from the bottom piece of paper. Trace the ground line and one side of the ground draw the toe end of a shoe on the ground. This is the first step towards animation.

From this point onwards the ground will remain the same. Each cell that is traced will require the use of a ruler to ensure that the ground remains straight.

In any animation the movement is dictated by the size of the gap between an object on one cell and the same object on the next cell. In order to depict the walking motion the front foot of the character on the top page remains in the same place as it is on the previous slide. The rear foot it raised slightly on the top page by comparison to how it was on the page underneath. To make the movement more lifelike in this example, the rear foot lifts a few millimetres up from its position on the previous slide. The smaller the distance that the foot moves in each slide, the less jerky the movement will be in the final film.

In this picture you can see on the bottom page that the foot is behind the character. On the top page the foot has moved to just above the bottom foot. This illustrates how the character walks forwards. You will also see that in the bottom slide the chair is further away from the character. As the character walks forward the chair moves closer, which you can see in the top slide.

Once all of the slides are drawn you need to decide what colours each object will be. It is important to keep the same colours for the same objects throughout.

The following pages of this guide outline how to film and edit a stop animation film using two different apps on an iPad

The first app you will need is called "iMotion HD". If you do not have this on your iPad you will need to download it from the App Store. Open the app and press the "new movie" button to begin.

On this screen press the "manual" button first (this allows the user to be in charge of when a picture is taken). Next you can name the film by pressing the "movie title" bar and entering a title on the keypad that pops up. Finally once those steps are done press "start".

On this screen you are capturing photographs of the cells that you have drawn. It is important to hold the iPad directly above the cells before pressing "capture". The black box above the word "capture" is where the image appears, you need to make sure that the cell is in the middle of the shot.

For each cell that has written words you must "capture" the cell at least 5 times to be certain that it will be on screen for a long enough amount of time to be able to read in the final film. The cells that have no written words only need to be "captured" once.

Once you have finished capturing all of the images you need to double tap the stop button.

On this screen you are setting the frame rate of the animation. The frame rate is how many captured images per second flash up on screen, in this example "5fps" means that 5 captured images flash up on screen every second. You can use the slider to set the frame rate. On "The Unfortunate Adventures of Sally" we use 5fps. Once you're happy with the frame rate press "export".

On this screen you can choose where to export the unedited animation to. We export the animated film to the "photo library" in order to edit it in a different app.

The second App we use is a film editing suite called "Cute Cut". If you don't have this installed you will first need to download it from the App Store. Once you open the App you will need to press the plus button which is at the top left of the screen.

On this screen you can give the film a title. Click where it says "new movie" in the text box and you can type the title in. Once you're happy with the title press "create".

You can change the resolution, screen orientation and other things on this screen. In "The Unfortunate Adventures of Sally" we use the settings as you see them in the picture. When you have selected the settings you want click "done" at the top right of the screen.

Now you're ready to start editing your film. The first step is to press the plus button on the left hand side.

To import anything in to this app you need to choose it on this menu that pops up when you press the plus button. The first thing you need to import is the video of the animation, click "video" and select the video you need from the iPads photo library. Click "choose" on the video once you have selected it and it will import.

This is what it looks like when you have imported the video. The next thing we are going to talk about is how we edit the the film.

When adding sound to the animation it is important that the length of the sound file matches the animation on screen. We use an editing technique of cutting the animation into segments and then copying that segment over and over until the end of the sound file. For example, double tap the video that you have just imported and drag the dotted blue line to just before the animation switches from saying "The Unfortunate Adventures of Sally Episode 6: Cake Disaster" to "Previously on Unfortunate Adventures" and press the "scissor" symbol at the bottom left of the screen. You should now have a section of the animation that will look like a separate little block in front of the rest of the animation. This little block should only have the section of the episode that says "The Unfortunate Adventures of Sally Episode 6: Cake Disaster" in it. You can now duplicate that little block by double tapping it and pressing the duplicate button which looks like two pieces of paper on the left of the scissor icon at the bottom left of the screen. You can copy this as many times as you need to, we normally copy each section four or five times and this allows us to record the audio for that scene and we match the length of the audio file with the copied sections of the film so that the two are the same. You just need to repeat that process for each part of the film that require a voice over (see the next page for an example of how this looks).

This is what it looks like when you duplicate a scene as explained on the previous page.

Now we will look at adding voice sound files to the film. We use voice sound files to narrate and also to give the characters their voices. Press the plus button and press "Voice" to record your voice over, as soon as you press the "Voice" button it will begin recording straightaway so be ready to speak as soon as you press it. When you have finished recording press the button that pops up after you press the "Voice" button and it will save the recording to the line beneath the video as shown on the next page.

This is what it looks like when you have finished the recording. Here you can see that the sound file is the same length as the duplicated scenes above it, this is to make sure that the sound matches the film. You will now need to repeat the process of adding the voice recordings to the rest of the animation where appropriate. If you need to delete the sound file and re-record it you just need to hold your finger on the sound file and drag it down to the "Bin" icon at the the bottom of the screen.

Finally we will look at adding music to the film, giving it a theme song. We will also look at adding sound effects like Sally's infamous scream from "The Unfortunate Adventures". Start by pressing the "Music" button.

After pressing music you will see this screen. First we are going to look at the "Sound FX" press on that and turn the page.

These are the list of sound fx that the app has. The main one we use is the scream but there are a lot to choose from. You can hear what each sound effect sounds like by pressing the play button on the right of the name of the sound effect. To select the effect press the grey box on the left of the name of the effect. You can drag the sound effect to wherever you need to underneath the animation. It is important that you match the effect to the correct point in the film.

To look at the music, press on the "Music" option.

This is the selection of music that the app has. You can hear a sample of the songs by press the play button on the right of the songs name. Once you have chosen the song you want press the grey box on the left of the songs title. On the following pages we will explain how to edit the length of the music to fit the animation.

Once you have the music you will want to make it fit the intro and end credits. In the example above you would double tap the song which is the second line down. You would then drag the end of the song from right to left by holding the white dot at the end of the song and drag it to make the song as small as you require.

Now let's look at how we add a fade on the music. This allows it to start quietly and gradually increase in volume, then gradually decrease in volume. This technique allows the listener to transition in and out of the theme song at the start and out of the episode at the end of the credits. First double tap the music and press the wand icon on the bottom right of the screen.

Now press the plus button.

On "The Unfortunate Adventures of Sally" we use a "fade in and out" on the intro and a "fade out" on the end credits. Select the option that you require and then press the tick on the left of the screen.

The fade in and out appear as blue segments on the song. You can see this on the picture above. It is possible to change the length of the blue segment by dragging the ends of them after double tapping them.

Now the editing is finished you need to export the film to be able to share it. First press the button that looks like a square with an arrow coming out of it. Once this is pressed the menu on the screen above will drop down, you now need to press "export to album".

Now you can select the quality of the video that you export. For "The Unfortunate Advetures" we use high quality.

Thank you for reading this guide. It has taken a lot of hard work to create this and we hope you enjoyed it. We have a few people to thank for making this possible. Alyson Henderson for introducing the art award to us, this book is going to count towards part of Tim's bronze art award. Amy Gleaves and Neil Sainsbury for helping us to share this. Most importantly Sally Quayle without you as inspiration this series of animations would not even exist. In brackets at the end of this sentence are the YouTube links for each of the episodes so far please check them out and we hope you enjoy them as much as we did making them ( Episode 6: Cake Disaster *** Episode 5: Hairdresser Disaster *** Episode 4: Restaurant Disaster *** Episode 3: Skirt Disaster *** Episode 2: Cooking Disaster *** Episode 1: Basketball Disaster Last of all this project is the hard work of Tim Daley with help and support from Paul Astles and we both would like to say thank you again for reading this guide and also we hope you enjoyed it. Now go and create your own stop animation films.

Tim's Stop Animation Guide  

This is a guide created by Tim Daley with the help and support of Paul Astles. It details the process of creating a stop animation film from...