What is Stop Motion Animation and Can I do it?

Remember watching Nightmare Before Christmas as a kid and thinking, “why are these skeletons moving so weird?” The reason is stop motion animation. It’s a technique where a camera is repeatedly stopped and started to give the impression of movement. Here’s the gist: place an object in front of a camera, take a photo, move it slightly, take another photo. Do this several more time. Then, string the photos, (we call them frames) together in a sequence. To create the stop motion effect, it’s typically 12 frames per 1 second (normal video is 23.97 fps).

Why do we do stop motion animation? Not only is it a cool effect for videos (especially short social media posts) but it allows you to animate real objects. Like a pretzel or a pierogie. The following videos are spec samples we made to show our stop motion capabilities and are not associated with Auntie Anne’s and Mrs. T’s.

So can you do stop motion animation? Sure! While OPUS uses a special software called Dragon Frame that allows you to playback the frames immediately, novice user can rely on their iPhone and apps to create their own stop motion animation. Feature length film animations require a bit more heavy duty software and multiple versions of the object to be animated, but you gotta start stop motion somewhere!

Travis Detweiler