Why Stop-Motion Animation?

Our most popular workshop at digiSTORY KC is stop-motion animation. We offer the course in three formats:
• Stop-Motion Animation
• Claymation
• LEGO Show Time
Stop-motion animation is a form of animation that uses objects rather than drawings to bring life to characters. Stop-motion animators use a wide range of materials to create their characters: clay (Claymation), LEGOs, cut paper, 3 dimensional puppets, fruit, toys—you name it. Any object that can appear to come to life by adding movement and expression can become the material of a skillful animator.

Stop-motion animation is our entry-level course at digiSTORY KC for kids who want to learn more about multimedia production. One reason for this is that students can experience the “Wow” factor of multimedia early in their workshop experience. Using our stop-motion animation software, students capture progressive movements of the objects one photo at a time. Within minutes of starting this process they get to see the cumulative effect of their movements and expressions: their characters are coming to life before their eyes. Not much later in the process they are recording voiceovers and dialog and are adding sound effects and music into their productions. In fact all of the key multimedia elements of standard video editing software programs are part of their stop-motion animation project: working with timelines, audio editing, image editing, chroma-key background replacement, adding titles, credits, etc.

Our students learn the full range of multimedia production in an easy-to-learn and easy-to-use program that doesn’t require exceptional drawing skills or experience in photography and audio technology. They get to complete a full story and enjoy the satisfaction of sharing their creation with others on our YouTube Channel. This experience helps kids become aware of even greater opportunities in multimedia production and helps guide them to other areas for exploration in media.

Our stop-motion animation workshops are offered in two scheduling formats:
• 6-hour after-school workshops during the school year, and
• 16-hour formats during the summer.
The after-school version typically meets one day of the week for four weeks from 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. The summer workshop meets for four consecutive days (Monday – Thursday) for 4 hours each day. The summer version is ideal because the students have ample time to create their stories and complete all of the many multimedia tasks to finish their productions. The depth of instruction time is more limited for the after-school format because teams need to use more of the available time to work on their productions. Still, teams create fun and rewarding animations that make them want to come back for more.

As students gain experience with stop-motion, they begin to add levels of sophistication that greatly enrich their stories. They add more sophisticated movements and facial and body expressions. They develop better stories and they add more graphic interest to their scenes through the use of design tools and green screen technology.

Once a student has experienced a successful stop-motion animation production, they have a solid background for exploring drawn animation or video production.

Here’s an overview of what is included in our standard stop-motion animation workshop experience:

Session 1: Participants learn about animation and how it works. They create a flip book and a thaumatrope to see how static pictures appear to move in animation and video. They learn about frames and frame rates for animation and video. They learn digiSTORY KC’s story model and work with teammates to create an original story. They create a storyboard and script for that story. They learn how animators use animatics to plan for voiceovers and other multimedia to pace the image requirements for the story.

Session 2: Teams learn production techniques and ideas for various stop-motion formats (e.g. Claymation, LEGO® figures, etc.). They complete their work adding voiceovers to their production piece. Teams learn about chroma key technology and start planning and preparing backgrounds and props for their production sets. Teams learn about the three phases of the production process, and they learn about careers in digital media. Team members choose from those job roles and begin their camera production work. Teams also learn about the importance of movement and expression for their characters.

Session 3: Teams spend this entire session producing their multimedia story. They are taking photos and adding them to their video timeline. They are adding sound effects, music tracks and special design effects. They are photographing actions against constructed backgrounds, or they are adding backgrounds using chroma key (green screen) technology.

Session 4: Teams complete the filming stage of their production and begin adding all remaining post-production elements: titles, credits, music sound tracks, special effects, etc. When their production is finished, they post the piece to the digiSTORY KC YouTube Channel. Teams end the session by sharing their production pieces with the rest of the teams and discussing their work on the project.

Stop-motion animation workshops are offered throughout the year. View our Events Calendar to see what workshops will be offered soon at digiSTORY KC.