Stop Motion Animation: Create Movies Using a Tablet or Smartphone

You don't have to be a filmmaker or even be able to record video to create a movie clip with stop motion animation. 

Looking for a fun activity to do at home? Why not make a movie! Even if you don’t want to step behind the camera, there are a multitude of fun ways you can use stop motion to create a simple animated film or short sequence you can play on a loop. 

 

Stop motion is an animated filmmaking technique in which you physically move your subjects in small increments and take still images or photos of each scene. Using stop motion software, you can play the series of frames back and your subject will appear to move!

 

In The Hive: A Makerspace presented by The Isaacs Family, we like to make stop motion films using our iPads and the Stop Motion Studio app which is available for most devices. 

Here is what you’ll need to make a stop motion film:

  • A tablet or smartphone with Stop Motion Studio.
    Once you download the app, be sure to watch all of the instructions before you get started! 
  • A stand or something to hold your tablet/phone in place.
    You can make a stand out of cardboard, use a stand you have at home, build something with scrap materials, or if you have access to it, 3D print a stand!
  • Masking tape to mark off where your camera will stay.
    The most important thing with stop-motion animation is to keep your camera angle and view consistent so each frame of your animated film will line up.
  • A backdrop for your film.
    You can use a sheet or a piece of posterboard or a piece of cardboard or some butcher paper you’ve drawn a backdrop on or even a poster – do you have a large landscape photo or art print somewhere? Use that!
  • Characters!
    You could make a movie with anything! You can draw and cut out figures from cardboard or paper and move them around or you could get some action figures involved. Maybe you want to recreate the opening of Star Wars using cardboard, Barbies, and a baby Yoda doll. You can!

More things to consider when putting together your stop motion animation creation:

  • Music!
    You can use the music from a movie you like, or recreate a music video for your favorite song, or you can make your own music!  Here are some fun online resources for music like an online synthesizer, a cool song maker, and royalty-free music.  
  • Special effects
    We don’t mean computer visual effects, I mean use your creativity! Can you make a colored light? Can you use crinkled tissue paper as an explosion or a fire?
  • Get creative with scale 
    Forced perspective can create some fun effects with stop-motion animation.
  • Shadows!
    You could do an entirely shadow-based stop-motion film using a light, a sheet, and some fun cutouts.
maker workshop for stop motion animation at Orlando Science Center's adult night

For inspiration, check out some of these cool stop motion videos! 

Want to skip the storyboard and go straight to the stop motion? Try a shot-for-shot remake of an existing video!

Do you have LEGO sets at home? You’re halfway to a good themed film like this Force Awakens-themed stop motion project!

Here’s a fun tutorial on how to animate a fight scene in stop-motion animation. Can you use any of these techniques in your movie?