arts

Frame-by-Frame: Stop-motion animation workshop at Wells Library



On Monday afternoon, people on campus were invited to create their own movies frame by frame. When looking at an old film strip, the multiple frames that are visible cause the film to look animated when it’s projected.

The workshop is part of the Maker Mondays series at Wells Library that explores different crafts and activities for people of all skill levels. 

Leanne Nay, a Digital Engagement Librarian, ran the workshop and helped people with their animations. 

“I absolutely adore Maker Mondays, Leanne does an awesome job putting these together,” said  Laura Hohman, IU Press production manager and School of Public and Environmental Affairs graduate student. “There’s a really good variety of really cool maker stuff with a variety of technologies. They’re always fun and always really well done.”

The instructors at the workshop used a free stop-motion animation app called Stop Motion Studio to create short animated videos and GIFs. There were a plethora of materials for people to use in their videos, including Legos, coloring pages, feathers, magnets and pins. 

Stop-motion animation is still used in movies today, including “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” “The Nightmare Before Christmas” and “Kubo and the Two Strings.” These 2 hour-long clips take a tremendous amount of time to create, but this workshop showed the basics to stop-motion that could create something amazing.

Nay created a short example video for reference involving a coloring page of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. A sequence parts of the page being colored in was shown in the video, and then a speech bubble appeared with the words “I dissent!” written inside.

“I think it’s fun to show people how it works because it seems like this complicated process but it’s really simple,” Nay said. “I think once people actually make one for themselves then they can discover how it works and then go forth and make more.”

The app made creating the videos very simple. The user took captured frames using their phone’s camera, and then edited the frames after they were finished. They could delete frames, and copy and paste frames to make a specific frame last longer in the final animation.

“I loved how the barrier to entry was so low. We came in knowing nothing and I’m walking away with a cute little video," said Andrea Alumbaugh, an IU alumna who works as senior writer for the IU Foundation. "The app is free, bonus, and I could totally see myself actually doing this. Not only for fun but for work, since I work in marketing.”

Alumbaugh created a similar video to Nay’s example but used a coloring page of Dolly Parton instead. She used a tripod that was provided to keep her phone camera still as she changed the frames, and had blue construction paper on the table to act as a colorful backdrop. 

Other events Maker Mondays will conduct include making a simple synthesizer, an LED skull badge for Day of the Dead and an LED bow tie. These events are free to attend, but participants must register online.Go to Library's event schedule for more information

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