Stop Motion animation is the process of taking a single photograph, moving the character a little and then taking another photo in this new position. Building the action frame by frame until you have finished your scene.
You might adjust various elements during this, reposition the camera, change the set and then start another scene.
When you've completed the shoot and you have all the scenes, you move on to the editing process.
Stop Motion works by placing all the images that you've taken and placing them together, like a flick book that you might draw. And in that, the more images you have the smoother that would look.
Normally with Stop Motion your looking at 15 frames per second. Or if you want movie standard then that would be 24 frames per second.
So, think about it. 15 frames mean that you need to take 15 frames for every second of your movie.
The images are then viewed quickly and the appearance of movement is given. And now you have your animation, to start off as I did you can do this with 3 or 4 pictures and move the arms up and down to test speeds.
These are some simple steps for creating a LEGO® brickfilm animation.
1. Write the script
All good LEGO® animations come from a solid storyline.
Having an idea isn't always good enough to get you started, as the length of time that you'll be taking photos means it is best to have a plan beforehand.
Just like in the movies, have a script or some storyboards. But something that you can refer to while animating.
Getting prepared beforehand means less interruptions that will impact the continuity of the story.
2. Build the Background
Now that you have a story, you need to have some sets and backgrounds so that your characters can come to life and interact with.
The simplest backgrounds are the large LEGO® baseplates. Or for much more detail in your scenes then there are always the LEGO® sets that will offer a lot of realism to any scene. LEGO® City and Creator sets are very useful in this area.
3. Choose your Characters
Next can be a little more difficult at times. If you have written a script then you might have worked it around some characters e.g. MY LEGO® Stormtrooper series. But when we do other productions like LEGO® Zombies we spent about a day looking at all the mini-figures trying to pick the right ones.
There is a lot to choose from and sometimes you just want it to look a little something extra.
Just remember the more characters in the scene, then the more movements you'll make per photo.
4. Start Shooting
Now you are ready to start.
Any camera can be used, but you need to remember to turn off the autofocus as this can cause a few unwanted movements.
However, if you want a more professional look, then you might want to use a DSLR.
The trick is to make sure that you don't move the camera or set between shots.
A tripod is great for stabilizing your camera and some tape for keeping the baseplates steady.
So, set up the scene and take your first picture. Then move the character slightly and take another, and keep repeating until you have a movie.
Now this can take a while. So, if you are just starting out, as mentioned earlier, setup, take a few pictures and practice editing. Create a short or 2 before moving on to longer projects.
If all went to plan when shooting, then the editing step shouldn't take that long.
You'll want to and sound effects and voice over to bring the animation to life. During the Editing is where you will do this.
Now that you have everything sorted. Photos, sound and voice it is time to produce your movie.
Click "produce" and see how the movie looks. Remember to produce in the best quality you can.
So, there it is. A quick how-to guide for LEGO® brickfilm Animation, of course there is a lot more to it but I hope that this helps you get started with your own little animation studio.
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Do you want to make your little LEGO® mini-figures come to life? We do this in our little animation studio using stop motion, and here I will take you through the process.
And get you on the way to making your very own animations.