Behind the Scenes: See How We Make a Stop-Motion Video
If you’re a follower of Harlequin on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram (and if you’re not yet, click the links to friend us!), you may have seen one the awesome stop-motion animated videos our social media team shares with readers. Have you ever wondered how to make one? Today, Social Media Coordinator Olivia Gissing shares her behind-the-scenes secrets on how she makes a stop-motion video!
Choose your theme and pick your props!
Get creative! Your stop motion animation can be about absolutely anything. Not surprisingly, we tend to create animations about newly released books or beloved characters. Once you choose your theme, it’s time to pick your props. Props that can be easily manipulated, but have a sturdy base are best. Some great examples are LEGO blocks, or art supplies like clay, plasticine or chalk. For this particular animation, we are using one of our cowboy bookmarks. It’s really light, and will be easy to move across our set. However, it doesn’t have a sturdy base. I’m snapping a clip to the bottom of our bookmark to give him a solid, flat base.
Get your gear
You don’t need the most expensive camera to shoot a stop motion animation! Today I am using my cell phone camera. You can use any type of camera, even a laptop webcam will do. As long as your camera is steady, you are good to go!
Lights, camera, action!
Time to give life to your animation! A stop motion animation is simply a series of consecutive photos stitched together, with your main object moving slightly in each photo, or frame. To begin, snap one photo of your character in your setting. Before you take your second photo, move your character a tiny bit. Now snap another photo. Rinse and repeat several times until you’ve moved your character as much as you like!
All about editing
After importing your photos from your camera onto your computer, there are several different ways to complete your stop motion animation using editing software. You can use video editing programs like iMovie or Final Cut Pro, animation programs like Adobe Flash, or even photography editing programs like Adobe Photoshop. Today I will be using Photoshop CS6.
- In the top left-hand corner of your screen, click on File > Scripts > Load Files Into Stack.
- A Load Layers window will open. Click on Browse, and navigate to wherever you saved your stop motion photos. Select all of them, and click OK. Depending on how many photos you have, they may take a few minutes to load.
- Now all of your photos are loaded into a stack in your Layers panel, and you’re ready to turn them into animation frames! In your toolbar, click on Window > Timeline.
- Once the Timeline window is open, click on Create Frame Animation. You will see that the first image in your stack has now become a frame. Next, click on the dropdown in the top right-hand corner of your Timeline window. Click Make Frames From Layers.
- Now all of your images have been transformed into frames! If you notice that your animation is playing backwards, simply click on the dropdown in the top right-hand corner of the Timeline window again, and click Reverse Frames.
- Now you can play around with the speed of your animation. Click the play button to see what the speed currently looks like. At the bottom of each frame is a time marker – click on 0 sec to change the play time of each frame.
- Once you’re happy with your animation, it’s time to export! Click on File > Export > Render Video if you’d like it to be a video file, or File > Save For Web to save as an animated .gif. Choose your preferred settings. Your stop motion is done, now share it with the world!