Stop-motion and Clay-mation

Stop-motion is one of the earliest forms of animation. Though it’s old, it’s still a hugely popular (and fun) method of animation - even though it’s extremely time-consuming. Using stop motion, we take an object, photograph it, then change it just a little and photograph it again. We keep repeating this process over and over, and finally, when we put those photos in short succession, it’s like the object was moving by itself from the start! Clay-mation uses the same technique, except we shoot pictures of models and figures made from clay. Seen Wallace and Gromit, or Chicken Run? That’s clay-mation.

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Fat Hamster Studio

How we make a stop-motion film

Create a storyboard

Like all animation projects, the first thing we need to do is create a storyboard so we can plan the scenes in line with the storyline. The storyboard helps us envision the required sets and effects.

Building characters

This is where the fun begins! Based on the concept of the film, we build characters. The great part about stop motion is that its a physical medium, so characters can be made up of anything - paper, dolls or action figures, LEGO, but most commonly, wireframes covered in clay.

Building the Set

Just like the characters, we build sets which represent the world in which our characters are going to ‘act’. These sets are usually built anywhere from a studio to a warehouse, depending on the number of scenes. For very complicated sets, we use green screens for post-production.

Shooting and animation

Once we have our characters and sets, we can begin shooting as per the storyboard. Stopmotion cameras are mounted, and pictures are taken of the characters on set. Slight modifications are made, and another picture is taken. This process is repeated so that when all the shots are played in succession, it looks like the characters are moving.

Post Production and effects

Depending on the scale of the project, a certain amount of postproduction is required for colour grading, lighting, and special effects. Since all effects can’t be done live, most of them are added in post.

Audio, voice-overs, and final render

Once the animation is complete, the last step is to add in the background score, sound effects, and character dubbing or voiceovers. The audio and video tracks are layered together, and the final product is rendered.