powerful video editing

How to Add Stop Motion Animation to
Your Videos

What Is Stop Motion Animation?

With the gift of stop motion animation, you are able to see a fluid presentation of an animated film, video or commercial. You often have no idea of the countless hours and staff involved behind the scenes to move each character step-by-step and frame-by-frame. Welcome to the world of stop motion animation!

Essentially, it’s a precise sequence of frames that are played back, giving it the appearance of action and movement. At first glance stop motion animation (also "stop frame animation") can appear to be a daunting task, but with the right tools the end results can be award-winning.

Here’s a great video that shows you an example of high-quality stop motion animation from the movie ”Nightmare Before Christmas”:

Capturing Stop Animation With Toys

And another great example of stop motion animation using VideoStudio Pro:

What Hardware Do I Need for Stop Motion Animation?

Once you’ve determined what you want to shoot for your animation, the next step is choosing the right equipment, both software and hardware, to make it all come to life. In terms of hardware, there are many items to consider:

  • Armature, or skeleton of your character
  • Lighting
  • Backdrops, platforms and scenery
  • Model making materials
  • Digital still camera or video recording device

Stop frame animation can range from simplistic and fun to elaborate works of art that take hundreds of hours and months to complete, such as a feature-length film.

And here’s a very simple step-by-step video from Nikon showing how to stage a short and easy stop motion animation movie:

Examples of Stop Motion Video

We showed you a couple top quality professional examples earlier. Here are some examples of some simpler stop frame videos that could be made with VideoStudio software. Take a look:

Skittles Commercial Contest Entry

Dempster Tortillas Commercial

Target Dreaming Girl Commercial

Honda “Paper” Commercial

Capturing Stop Motion Animation

In order to create animated videos, you must piece together individual still images that are captured from webcams or camcorders using stop motion animation. This animation technique is widely used in television and in Hollywood films. With the benefits of consumer software, you can create your own animation in three easy steps from the comfort of your own home!

Watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to use a combination of camera hardware and the benefits of Corel Corel VideoStudio Pro software:

What You Will Learn

In this video tutorial, you will learn:

  • How to launch Stop Motion in VideoStudio
  • How to setup your project for Stop Motion
  • How to capture frame-by-frame using Stop Motion
  • How to import your Stop Motion project in the Timeline Editor for further editing
  • How to import Image Sequence shot from a DSLR camera

3 Basic Steps

To prepare for a Stop Motion frame sequence, you will need to:

  1. Attach a webcam to your computer
  2. Capture the small changes to the scene you are shooting
  3. Export your Stop motion animation project into a video format

Setting Up the Camera

Before you begin, make sure that you have a webcam attached to your computer; then set it to live capture mode once you access the Stop Motion window.

  1. Point your camera to the object that you would like to animate.
  2. In the toolbar above the Timeline panel of the VideoStudio Editor, click on the Record/Capture Option button to launch the Stop Motion window.
    Record/Capture Option
  3. Now, select Stop Motion to create an animation.
    Stop Motion
  4. Wait until your webcam appears in the drop-down menu list of capture devices. Once your capture device has been detected, you will see the live feed on the Preview window.
    Preview window

Setting Up the Animation

The Stop Motion Settings are right beside the Preview window. The first section of the settings lets you enter the Project name of your animation and specify the Capture Folder with the destination folder where the captured images will be stored. It also saves your Stop motion animation project in the Library panel of VideoStudio once you click on the Save button. Just select a folder from the drop-down menu in the Save to Library field where you want your project to be stored. You can also create a new library folder when you click on the Add a new folder button.

Setting up the Animation

The second section of the settings pertains to the Preview. Choose the speed that you want to apply to your animation in the Image Duration field. There are several choices: 1 frame, 2, frames, 3 frames, and so on. Just remember, the higher the number of frames you select, the longer the exposure time will apply to each captured image. Select the default value which is 5 frames.

Image Duration field

Select the highest screen capture quality in the Capture Resolution; however, the available options can vary according to the capabilities of your capture device. The webcam that I am using in this tutorial supports up to 640x480 pixel resolution.

Capture Resolution

Let the program capture automatically by enabling the Auto Capture. To do this:

  1. Click on the Enable Auto Capture button;
  2. Click on the Set Time button;
    Set Time
  3. In the Capture Settings window, set the time for Capture Frequency and Total Capture Duration;
    • a. Capture Frequency instructs the program to automatically capture a frame at a given period of time,
    • b. While Capture Duration limits the time of automated capturing.
    • c. Click on OK when done.
    Capture Settings

But for this example, manually capture the frames by disabling this option.

Grab the Onion Skin slider from left to right to control the opacity of the next live image and the captured image. Onion Skin will allow us to see the direction of the animation as we capture it.

Onion Skin

Capturing Your First Animation

At this point, you are at the first stage of creating an animation. To create an animation, you will need to move an object slowly and capture every move over a period of time; then, when you play it back, it will make the object appear to be moving on its own. Isn't that exciting? I will be selecting the images that I edited in Corel PaintShop Pro X5.

To get the best results, I highly recommend that you use a tripod when you shoot photos and videos for stop motion animation.

Click on Open and your images are automatically included in the project.

Click on Save and Exit to go back to the Timeline window.

Here's my animation that I just imported from the Stop Motion window. I'm going to select the play button to preview the animation. And that’s how easy it is to create stop motion animation using Corel VideoStudio Pro.

Visit our How To page to learn more video editing tips.

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