Stop Motion Animation

Stop-motion animation takes the complete creature, sculpted and cast body and skeleton, and animates it. Animation is a long process that requires terrific amounts of patience. With stop motion, the creature is posed, and a single frame of film is exposed. Then the animator steps in and moves the creature a fraction of whatever the whole motion is and exposes another frame. Since there are twenty-four frames in a second of film, a several-minute segment (see The Golden Voyage ofSinbad or King Kong for examples of some of the best) may have as many as seventy-two hundred or more individual moves and take weeks to complete.

For argument's sake, let's say Spot is a fully articulated creature created to be sent off to a miniature set and, without the aid of puppeteers, expected to come to life. Stop motion would definitely be the way to go.

All of the design and most of the fabrication would follow the same lines as for any other creature, up to a point. The differences occur with the mechanics, who now have to build an actual skeleton for the creature. This skeleton can be made of anything from simple wood dowels (for low-budget films, home movies, or demo reels) to elaborate ball-and-socket metal armatures hand machined specifically for the project. Either way, the skeletons do the job of keeping Spot from moving between each take.

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