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Cheap Software Tools Give New Life To Stop-Motion Animation

timothy posted about 4 years ago | from the long-way-from-10th-grade-projects dept.

Graphics 111

An anonymous reader writes "The NY Times reports that a wide variety of new stop motion animation tools are making it simpler to create stop-motion movies. The new tools are helping animators run more than three times faster than they did just a few years ago. Some even say that stop motion is cheaper than computer generated animation. Tools like Dragon Stop Motion, Stop Motion Pro and iKitMovie are just a few of the tools that are reinvigorating the space."

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Stop Motion Ken Raping Barbie (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33977860)

What would be the best stop motion software to simulate a rape?

Serious responses only, please.

Re:Stop Motion Ken Raping Barbie (2, Funny)

Rip Dick (1207150) | about 4 years ago | (#33981158)

EvenIfSheSaysNo,Don't-Stop-Motion is a good app

Re:Stop Motion Ken Raping Barbie (0)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 4 years ago | (#33982976)

"IT'S A TRAP"

They both have their naughty bits molded into permanent undershorts... They can only "bump" the bits.

Finally (3, Funny)

Stregano (1285764) | about 4 years ago | (#33977870)

I can finish my glorious recreation of the California Raisins singing "Heard it to the Grapevine"

Re:Finally (1)

clockwise_music (594832) | about 4 years ago | (#33981382)

A few years ago I completed a massive stop motion project:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nd0nQE_nw20 [youtube.com]

which has over 6000 shots, and used a combination of webcam shots, digital camera shots and a live action camera.

I will like to venture the opinion that the software for stop motion animation is generally terrible.

I tried out a bunch of software and almost all of them were either :

- Too expensive

- Crashed too often

- Difficult to use

- Had practically no features

- Were impossible to evaluate

For something that's such a simple thing, take a bunch of shots and join them together, the software that's out there is _terrible_. The only one that was even vaguely plausable to use was Stop Motion Pro - and even then it was expensive. The only caveat that I'd like to add is that it was about 4 years ago.

I ended up using software called MonkeyJam, which even still crashed frequently, and used Adobe's Premiere Pro to join it all together. It was a nightmare.

This article is a basic puff piece on how nice and easy everything is, in particular:

"Young kids can make a film in their room and distribute it and have half a million people view it"

what a load of rubbish. Show me a bunch of stop motion films that a bunch of kids have made in their rooms with over half a million views. Unless it's spectacular nobody is going to view it.

Re:Finally (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 4 years ago | (#33983052)

Um...Klay World anybody? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xvqjJzuaNSE [youtube.com]

That's the type of stuff young animators want to make, and it is way too hard for a hobby budget. The biggest problem I have with the kids stuff is matching the frames. It's not like we're building rigging and steady cams here. It would be nice if a program let you put some small object just out of frame and match it for size, position, tilt, zoom, etc as well as color and light balance between all the frames. That alone would make things 10x easier for the beginning amateur. Just getting frames queued up for iMovie would be a HUGE improvement, although it allows 24fps now so if they allow a time slice that small it might be usable.

I'm going to surf the comments for the other 10 apps people use that the NYT has no idea of. (slashdot is "long tail" in action)

Plenty of smartphone apps too (4, Interesting)

jordan314 (1052648) | about 4 years ago | (#33977884)

There are plenty of smartphone apps out there too (several on the iPhone at least), which is a really great use of the camera and software at once. They support previous frame overlays, time-lapse, and frame-by-frame deleting and editing, which are a boon for quick creativity.

Re:Plenty of smartphone apps too (1)

jedwidz (1399015) | about 4 years ago | (#33981782)

Slightly off-topic, but I'd like an iPhone app to do time-lapse of my kids as they grow up. Does anyone know of one?

I've already been playing around with some stop-motion apps (iMotion and StopMotion Record), and they'll certainly do it. But I'd prefer something with really good correction for lighting and placement, and with a workflow optimized for taking a single photo per app launch.

If not I'll write my own and race you to the app store ;-}

Uhhh... Yeah (4, Insightful)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33977916)

Some even say that stop motion is cheaper than computer generated animation

Well yes - that's why when computers were invented we didn't instantly switch to CGI for our movies, it took time to come around - Stop motion has ALWAYS been cheaper.

The problem is: It doesn't look as nice.

Cut out the director's and actors' Salaries from the movies, and guess which one had a higher budget: Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer or Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Stregano (1285764) | about 4 years ago | (#33977944)

There is still a director in cg and stop motion movies. Also, people do get paid a good amount of money for voice overs as well

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33977986)

Iron Maiden wanted Vincent Price to do the 15 second opening in Number of the Beast. He wanted $25000 for the recording.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

OldeTimeGeek (725417) | about 4 years ago | (#33978690)

And? Vincent Price's name, face and voice obviously was of some benefit - otherwise they would have hired some guy that looked like him and looped in dialog from someone who sounded like him. They wanted Vincent Price, they had to pay for Vincent Price. Or maybe they thought that being Iron Maiden was enough...

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 years ago | (#33978848)

They hired someone else, actually, and told him to "sound like Vincent Price." Drastically cheaper.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 4 years ago | (#33979936)

$25,000? While hardly cheap, it's not extortionate either- even taking inflation into account, it'd be pretty low by modern standards. The fact that the opening would have been 15 seconds rather than 30, or a couple of minutes isn't really the issue- the fact that someone that famous was on the recording would likely pay them back.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

muridae (966931) | about 4 years ago | (#33981794)

And 15 seconds of audio does not take just 15 seconds of time. They couldn't just call up Price on the phone and ask "Hey, can you take a minute to say this line a few times, and let us record it?" Even for just a sample of his voice, you are talking about an hour in a studio, but that requires a day of traveling on both sides of the event, probably a day or two stay before the studio to recover from flying (my voice sounds like crap after a flight, dry air or something.). Figure in the take of the lawyer and his representation agency for contract negotiations, 25 grand doesn't seem that bad.

I would probably ask for 25K from a band that I wasn't a fan of, if asked today; and I am a nameless nobody. It's just a nice fraction of a large number that seems like a good amount.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33978010)

I never said there wasn't - I'm saying that when you cut out those prices, the rest of the movie production can essentially be considered what goes into CG and Stop Motion - as a Director is uniform across both platforms, as with actors (and voice actors) - but everything else is pretty different. Thats why when you cut out the salaries of the people in both types, you get whats left: whats involved with JUST stop motion, and whats involved with JUST CGI, and you can compare the dollars.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978194)

...people do get paid a good amount of money for voice overs as well

Only because of the establishment. For anyone working outside of the Hollywood Club, real world wages and competition are the dominating influences.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

tacarat (696339) | about 4 years ago | (#33978002)

The real question is what could "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" have looked like if it had the time, modern benefits and budget you mentioned. Not to say it'd look as nice, but I'm sure it'd be better (assuming they don't stay with the kiddie looking format).

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

blair1q (305137) | about 4 years ago | (#33978088)

Rudolph 2: Revenge of the Abominable Snowmen

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

PitaBred (632671) | about 4 years ago | (#33978150)

Didn't Robot Chicken show a preview of that? A coked-out Abominable Snowman?

The kid's Rudolph (3, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#33979540)

The real question is what could "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" have looked like if it had the time, modern benefits and budget you mentioned. Not to say it'd look as nice, but I'm sure it'd be better (assuming they don't stay with the kiddie looking format

The "look" persists because Rudolph" has always been a story for kids.

"Rudolph" began as a 1939 coloring book distributed freely to children by Montgomery Ward. Gene Autry recorded the Johnny Marks song in 1949. The Rankin/Bass special for NBC was broadcast in 1964.

Rudolph is my noble steed... (1)

Qubit (100461) | about 4 years ago | (#33981488)

"Rudolph" began as a 1939 coloring book distributed freely to children by Montgomery Ward.

Right. It was Robert L. May who actually created the character, while working at Montgomery Ward.

(forget the iBankers, the College on the Hill does turn out some very creative types... :-)

Re:The kid's Rudolph (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33984074)

The real question is what could "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer" have looked like if it had the time, modern benefits and budget you mentioned. Not to say it'd look as nice, but I'm sure it'd be better (assuming they don't stay with the kiddie looking format

He would have lasers shooting out of his nose

Apples & apples (3, Informative)

dazedNconfuzed (154242) | about 4 years ago | (#33978224)

Better CGI-to-stopmotion comparison is SW2 with Corpse Bride, with budgets of $115M vs. $40M respectively, which lines up pretty well accounting for subtracting non-animation costs, and considering they were made only 3 years apart and done within the same general Hollywood system.

Even better would be pure-animation Robots vs. Corpse Bride, made same year with $75M vs. $40M budgets.

Re:Apples & apples (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33978548)

...and how many of us know people who thought Corpse Bride had to be CGI?

(I also knew some thinking the same thing about Sony Bravia San Francisco bouncy balls commercial; and refusing to accept otherwise until linked to "making of")

Re:Apples & apples (1)

kmoser (1469707) | about 4 years ago | (#33982726)

I guess the outtakes at the end of Pixar films prove that the whole thing was live action.

Re:Apples & apples (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 4 years ago | (#33983092)

...and how many of us know people who thought Corpse Bride had to be CGI?

I always thought "Coraline" had a real CG look to it.

Of course, there's a reason for that: they designed the facial animations on a computer, and used the CG version of the faces to 3-d print a large number of interpolated expressions.

Corpse Bride took a different approach: mechanical heads with rubber coverings. Kind of a complicated approach, and personally I thought the faces wound up looking kind of stiff...

Re:Apples & apples (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#33979306)

Even better would be pure-animation Robots vs. Corpse Bride, made same year with $75M vs. $40M budgets.

Robots:
Run time 91 minutes

Corpse Bride:
Run time 77 minutes

55 week shoot.

Corpse Bride was the first stop-motion feature to be edited in Apple's Final Cut Pro.

The puppets used neither of the industry standards of replaceable heads (like those used on The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)) or replaceable mouths (like those used by Aardman Studios in Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)) but instead used precision crafted clockwork heads, adjusted by hidden keys. This allowed for unprecedented subtlety, but was apparently even more painstaking than the already notoriously arduous animation. One animator even reported having recurring nightmares of adjusting his own facial expression in this fashion. Corpse Bride [imdb.com]

Whoever Wins - We Lose (4, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | about 4 years ago | (#33980300)

First there was Alien vs. Predator. Then there was Freddy vs. Jason. But it was clear that the crossover fad had gone too far when they announced...

Robots vs. Corpse Bride

Re:Whoever Wins - We Lose (1)

Eudial (590661) | about 4 years ago | (#33981722)

And then there's Mega Shark vs Giant Octopus [imdb.com] .

Off subject.... (1)

MasterOfGoingFaster (922862) | about 4 years ago | (#33980826)

> "Can we get a "-1 Wrong" moderation option?"

Yes, but you'd get a "All comments below your viewing level" condition.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (4, Insightful)

miserere nobis (1332335) | about 4 years ago | (#33978596)

re: "doesn't look as nice". Actually, that isn't something you can say across the board. Filming physical models can often produce superior results. In fact, it takes a whole lot of work on a computer to produce something that looks half as good as simply taking a picture of a real-life object. I actually think a lot of the spaceship action in the original Star Wars movies looked better (where, of course, "better" is definitely a subjective, artistic judgment based on sense of "realism", sense of how much its look fits with the feel of the overall film and so on) than the newer ones which relied more on computer graphics. The difference isn't solely that CGI looks better (though it does in some cases-- think, say, a Godzilla monster, that would rely on a very difficult model or a person in a suit), but that you can do things with it that you can't do with a camera and a real scene, and that you can much, much more easily re-film a scene with slight adjustments.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (2, Informative)

Mprx (82435) | about 4 years ago | (#33979046)

The big problem with stop motion is the lack of motion blur. Film is still shot at 24fps, so there's normally a huge amount of blur, and stop motion looks very different without it. It's possible to simulate motion blur by moving the models while photographing each frame (Robocop did a reasonably good job with this), but most films don't bother and the stop motion looks unnatural.

"Go motion" (1)

Artifice_Eternity (306661) | about 4 years ago | (#33980724)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_motion

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33983374)

Good point about the lack of motion blur!

But I just wanted to point out that shooting film at 24fps does not in itself put a lower limit on the exposure time (if lower = quicker time). With sufficient lighting you can very well expose each of those frames very quickly (within the technical limits of the camera) and get frozen movement without visible motion blur . It does, however, put an upper limit to the exposure time since you obviously can't expose any frame for longer than 1/24 seconds. And with a mechanical film camera the maximum exposure time is shorter than that since it needs some time to advance the film to the next frame between the exposures.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shutter_angle

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33983868)

It's possible to simulate motion blur by moving the models while photographing each frame

It's trivial to simulate realistically in digital images with simple algorithms. I don't see how it's an issue.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978626)

It's changing as well, right now the most widely used are Maya, 3DS Max and a few others commercial ones, but there are open source projects like Blender and render engines like Yafray that are slowly catching up, when that happens, you'll see an explosion of CG movies. In fact, consider the open movies already created using Blender. Stop motion will die out completely in a decade.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 4 years ago | (#33983132)

Stop motion will die out completely in a decade.

You think?

I would have thought so, but it seems stop motion is seeing a bit of a renaissance in the years since "Nightmare Before Christmas". Technology has been streamlining the process of animating physical models: from digital capture with live preview to computer-aided manufacture to assist with production of models (for instance, the faces of the Coraline puppets) - and a wealth of software to help with planning the animation and cleaning it up after it's shot.

The question of whether stop motion will stick around is more a question of whether people will want to do it, whether investors will want to fund it, and whether audiences will want to see it. The fact that CG is becoming more accessible is not itself enough to kill stop motion.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (2, Insightful)

LBt1st (709520) | about 4 years ago | (#33983528)

That's like predicting that people will stop painting because we have applications like Painter.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

imakemusic (1164993) | about 4 years ago | (#33983818)

Yeah. Who'd bother drawing a picture when you can just take a photo?

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

markana (152984) | about 4 years ago | (#33978802)

Yeah, but which one had better *acting*???

Gotta give *that* one to Rudy....

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (3, Insightful)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 years ago | (#33979534)

Because good stop motion and bad stop motion cost almost exactly the same: it's nearly entirely skill based (a good stop motion artist might even work faster than a bad one). Bad CG, however, is a lot cheaper than good CG, because a lot of steps are skipped or slimmed down. More tweening (fewer keyframes), simpler lower resolution textures, no normal maps, specular maps, bump maps, SSS maps, etc, simpler lighting to shorten render time, and so on and so forth.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Sark666 (756464) | about 4 years ago | (#33981814)

I love cg but tell me why do 99% of 'photo-realistic' models have the 1000 mile stare? never mind conveying any emotion. It seems only the simpler models (e.g. toy story) can convey emotion. Yes there are some examples, but they are still so few and far between.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 4 years ago | (#33982660)

why do 99% of 'photo-realistic' models have the 1000 mile stare? never mind conveying any emotion.

Bukimi no Tani Gensh, aka The Uncanny Valley [wikipedia.org]

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

EdZ (755139) | about 4 years ago | (#33983652)

I love cg but tell me why do 99% of 'photo-realistic' models have the 1000 mile stare?

Because good CG is VERY HARD. 'Average', 'good enough' CG is something that you can learn by reading online tutorials and playing with blender. Good CG is very hard, and requires a lot of work both on the creation and animation of CG models, but on all aspects of cinematography.
It's no good spending weeks on a high-poly model of a robot, building a motion capture rig and compensating for the increased inertia by lowering the speed, and developing a new particle rendering system for realistic smoke and dust deposition, if after all that you run a shakeycam over the thing so fast nobody can actually see any of it in the blur of greebles.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

sempir (1916194) | about 4 years ago | (#33983146)

Should be fine for making blue movies then. Of course, not that I know anything about such a thing!

Attack of the Clones wasn't stop motion??? (1)

syousef (465911) | about 4 years ago | (#33979644)

Some even say that stop motion is cheaper than computer generated animation

Cut out the director's and actors' Salaries from the movies, and guess which one had a higher budget: Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer or Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

I'm confused. I thought Attack of the Clones was stop motion.

Re:Attack of the Clones wasn't stop motion??? (2, Funny)

ScrewMaster (602015) | about 4 years ago | (#33982644)

Some even say that stop motion is cheaper than computer generated animation

Cut out the director's and actors' Salaries from the movies, and guess which one had a higher budget: Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer or Star Wars Episode 2: Attack of the Clones.

I'm confused. I thought Attack of the Clones was stop motion.

It was. It stopped the motion of my hand reaching for my wallet to buy tickets.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (1)

Trogre (513942) | about 4 years ago | (#33981344)

Not necessarily the best comparison.

Yes, the Star Wars prequels had a tonne of CGI, but a very large amount of scenery, sets, etc were built or sculpted as models, photographed and composited into the scene. Most (not all) of the space stuff is obviously CGI, but most of the rest was practical elements, even if the actors were shot on greenscreen.

As an aside, both lead Mythbusters and 2/3 of the build team worked on practical effects for the prequels.

Re:Uhhh... Yeah (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33982458)

Cheaper? That all depends on how fast you can animate in either medium and how much you or your animators charge for either. Materials and time constraints.

Stop motion is a type of animation, as is CG. Both have their applications. It's not about which looks best? That's totally subjective.

How can it be cheaper? (1)

camperdave (969942) | about 4 years ago | (#33977980)

How can it be cheaper to do stop motion on a computer? Without a computer it is a process of move the model, snap a frame. What is a computer going to do, move the model for you? Snap the frame for you?

Re:How can it be cheaper? (3, Informative)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#33978028)

What is a computer going to do, move the model for you? Snap the frame for you?

Um, yes. That's the idea behind setting keyframes: you only specify where things are at certain points, and the computer interpolates for you.

It also means that if you messed up a shot in some way you don't have to go all the way back and reshoot: you can just fix it and rerender.

It also means that you don't have to build physical models or buy a camera.

Re:How can it be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978178)

Re-render? Do you even know what stop motion is?

Re:How can it be cheaper? (1)

EvanED (569694) | about 4 years ago | (#33978274)

Re-render? Do you even know what stop motion is?

Yes; I'm just dumb and badly misread my original parent (i.e. interpreted it as "how could CGI be cheaper than stop motion" in response to the summary's "Some even say that stop motion is cheaper than computer generated animation").

Ignore/mod down my post; false alarm.

Go motion (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33980438)

Re-render? Do you even know what stop motion is?

Yes, and I know that ILM developed a robotic variant of stop-motion [wikipedia.org] that allows the counterpart to CGI re-renders.

Re:Go motion (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about 4 years ago | (#33983094)

it works good for things like spaceships that don't actually change much, and because it uses master-painted models and practical lighting allows really complex shots. But not so well for many moving things... like a bunch of dancing monsters.. you're still back to moving each one by hand.

Re:How can it be cheaper? (4, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | about 4 years ago | (#33978218)

Um, yes. That's the idea behind setting keyframes: you only specify where things are at certain points, and the computer interpolates for you.

Speaking as someone who's heard of Ray Harryhausen, that's not stop-motion. That's some kind of half-assed CGI mashup.

Now get, in a slightly jerky fashion, off my lawn.

Re:How can it be cheaper? (1)

nlawalker (804108) | about 4 years ago | (#33978268)

Keyframes, interpolation, rerendering, not building physical models - what you are describing is not stop-motion animation.

Keyframes + physical models (2, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33980466)

Keyframes, interpolation, rerendering, not building physical models - what you are describing is not stop-motion animation.

Take out the "not building physical models" part and you have go motion animation. The animator sets the keyframes, and then a robot moves the models.

Re:How can it be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33981606)

I think you're still confusing it with CGI. Rendering can still take up a lot of time and may require a renderfarm to get anything of quality produced within a reasonable time. Not to mention that animation on the computer can still be a lot of work, because sometimes things like the interpolation you mention isn't always that easy. (Things like Euler vs. quartenion rotation and rotation order can bite you in the butt if you don't catch it, etc. Animations often need troubleshooting of all kinds of stupid little details before being finalized into the rendering pipeline.) Because of the process involved, it isn't always as cheap as you may think it is.

Stop motion is still stop motion. But now storage space on the computer is plenty cheap, not to mention things like post production and compositing tools are readily available. Even free software like Virtualdub can stitch frames together and add some basic effects like frame-based motion blur. With a bit of effort you can also use Gimp to edit things on a frame by frame basis. However such processes are still better suited to dedicated commercial animation software, so instead of having to tons of work erasing a supporting jig by hand for every single frame - you can block it out at certain keyframes and the software will do all the tedious erasing work for you. The thing now is, such software is actually cheap enough where you don't need to be a big studio in order to use it. And that's what's spurring the popularity.

If you still don't get what I'm saying, these videos by Patrick Biovin may explain how it's done better than the article:
Making of Bboy Joker [youtube.com]
Making of AT-AT day afternoon [youtube.com]

Re:How can it be cheaper? (3, Informative)

MeanMF (631837) | about 4 years ago | (#33978038)

RTFA... "To simulate movement and expression, animators bend or twist their objects ever so slightly between shots, a painstaking process that makes it difficult to achieve consistency from frame to frame. But now, software can help remedy that, with programs that help check the alignment of the camera and the lighting of the scene while letting the animator flip between recent images to see if the items are moving realistically. That part of the process — synchronizing the shots — was what made it difficult for amateurs to make a good movie."

Re:How can it be cheaper? (1)

westlake (615356) | about 4 years ago | (#33983000)

That part of the process -- synchronizing the shots -- was what made it difficult for amateurs to make a good movie.

I think that goes a little too far.

It will never be easy to bridge the gap between your basement production of Lego Star Wars and the sophisticated puppetry of Corpse Bride and Coraline.

For the character of Coraline, there were 28 different puppets of varying sizes; the main Coraline puppet stands 9.5 inches high.

At one point in the movie, Coraline shows 16 different expressions in a span of 35 seconds.

Coraline's facial combinations consist of 3D printed prototypes. New technology enabled a prototype to be molded by a computer, which was then hand-painted by the modeling department. Each jaw replacement was clipped between Coraline's eyes, resulting in a visible line which was later digitally removed frame-by-frame. There were at total of 207,336 possible face combinations for the character. Trivia for Coraline [imdb.com]

 

Re:How can it be cheaper? (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | about 4 years ago | (#33978044)

How do you plan on composing all your snaps into a film ready format?

Thats what the computer does. (Which is entirely what they're talking about)

Interpolation (1)

srussia (884021) | about 4 years ago | (#33978248)

How can it be cheaper to do stop motion on a computer? Without a computer it is a process of move the model, snap a frame. What is a computer going to do, move the model for you? Snap the frame for you?

In addition to the features cited by MeanMF from TFA, would interpolation be feasible? Ya know, so the animator doesn't have to make such minuscule changes.

Re:Interpolation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978766)

Might require, in many cases, an ability of setting up in software at least some rough "understanding" of how the model moves. And would, perhaps, finally cross into the region of majorly irking the pundits? (when such "understanding" would allow for most shots being done by aligning the scene with a computed frame...)

What is the matrix? (1)

tepples (727027) | about 4 years ago | (#33980526)

Might require, in many cases, an ability of setting up in software at least some rough "understanding" of how the model moves.

But it wouldn't be that much harder than the interpolation seen in the BULLET TIME® effect shots [wikipedia.org] in a decade-old action film called The Matrix.

Re:What is the matrix? (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33983538)

But isn't it hard enough to not really be used in amateur / indy productions? All I've seen looked rather rough...
Perhaps even a slightly simpler problem - whole scene shifts / nice smooth arc of cameras / etc.

(yeah, the ease of clicking "post anonymously" in new /. discussion system, above)

Re:How can it be cheaper? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978686)

Without a computer you need to get your film developed. And that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Toonloop (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978094)

Free python software: Toonloop [pygame.org] .

Plug: iStopMotion (4, Informative)

SillySilly (843107) | about 4 years ago | (#33978262)

I've used iStopMotion [boinx.com] -- and loved it. Only a customer, not connected with the company in any way.

iStopMotion is mentioned in the article, barely (1)

alispguru (72689) | about 4 years ago | (#33978940)

And it is a great entry-level stop-motion program (from another long-time customer).

Lego stop motion (5, Interesting)

mischi_amnesiac (837989) | about 4 years ago | (#33978282)

Two weeks ago I spoke with a man who shot the last harry potter book as lego stop motion. Here is the english trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xedFmxo7hc0&feature=channel [youtube.com]

He uses 25 pictures per second of film. It is a hobby of his and he spent two years making it. Every evening during the week and the complete day on weekends. In my opinion it nearly looks as good as rendered.

Re:Lego stop motion (0, Offtopic)

epdp14 (1318641) | about 4 years ago | (#33978392)

Mod up please.

Re:Lego stop motion (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33980152)

That's not shot at 25fps

Re:Lego stop motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33981146)

It probably was til he loaded it into youtube which converted it to some shitty flash video format that gets 10fps on flash on windows and fuck all on Linux.

Re:Lego stop motion (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33981890)

nope. look at his behind-the-scenes frame-by-fame editing. there's not enough motion for 25fps

looks better than CGI .if you ask me (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33978430)

I think Stop Motion looks way better than CGI ..it is tactile..real...has greater depth..real artistry..

And hardware... (1)

sznupi (719324) | about 4 years ago | (#33978456)

It seems we are so used to inexpensive (but of very good quality) digicams that TFS doesn't even mention how connecting them to a PC running said software is what ultimately enabled this renaissance?

And since this is /. - what about OSS tools? (I was thinking about something basic to display neighboring frames via transparent overlay, useful for one pet project I keep postponing; but something tells me some tools are out there already)

Re:And hardware... (2, Informative)

pimp0r (1030222) | about 4 years ago | (#33978984)

And since this is /. - what about OSS tools?

http://developer.skolelinux.no/info/studentgrupper/2005-hig-stopmotion/ [skolelinux.no]
Available from a ubuntu/debian/etc repository near you.

Re:And hardware... (1)

coredog64 (1001648) | about 4 years ago | (#33980166)

I used this, and it's a bit hinky. It would work, and then require the camera to be unplugged and plugged back in. It was also very picky about which camera it would work with. I've got a box full of webcams that can be made to work with Linux, but it only liked one or two of them.

Re:And hardware... (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | about 4 years ago | (#33979026)

I've been doing the odd stop motion stuff for years w/ webcams, linux, and hte mjpeg tools from Berkeley. Things like an empty conference hall being set up for a large education conference, building construction, etc. Set up a cam on a tripod or other fixed mount, take one pic every minute or 3, save w/ sequential file names. Slam 'em all together at the end using the mjpeg tools.

My New show (1)

jameskojiro (705701) | about 4 years ago | (#33978622)

I will either name it:

Cyborg Swan

or

Android Duck

Any ideas?

Made a stop-motion movie with my kids (3, Interesting)

Eponymous Coward (6097) | about 4 years ago | (#33978652)

One boring Saturday, my kids and I made a couple of stop motion movies using their toys, our crappy point and shoot camera, and iMovie. We put the camera on a tripod and moved the toys around in front of it (it was a chase scene). Take a picture, move the toys a bit, take another picture, etc... After taking hundreds of pictures, we had iMovie make a slide show with them, showing each picture for 1/10 second (at the time, that was as fast as iMovie would go), then burned it to a DVD. The movies were only a minute or so long, but it was fun and easy.

Re:Made a stop-motion movie with my kids (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33981116)

I recall some other siblings that got into stop motion together.. Steven and Timothy Quay. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2gIb0bTWj6w
Then again, they're a little.. funny.

For time-lapses (1)

alphakappa (687189) | about 4 years ago | (#33978938)

What has worked out really well for me is a simple Python script that uses QT to generate movies from individual frames. I've used it for time-lapses, but it could probably be used for stop-motion movies too. Of course, you don't get all the composing features of these tools, but it's free and works exceedingly well.

http://www.ecogito.net/anil/2010/09/howto-create-a-time-lapse-movie-from-a-sequence-of-images/ [ecogito.net]

English homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33979484)

This is very much off-topic, but Kamil asked me to do his English homework for him but did not keep his part of the deal so I'm posting this here so that his teacher will hopefully google it and give him an F.

In a small town there was an abandoned cemetery. People did not visit it because it was said that it is haunted. A new family with two children moved into town. People told them about the cemetery, but the parents only laughed at it. The children, though, they were frightened by that story. What is worse, their house was very close to the cemetery. So close, that it could be seen through the back windows. The parents did not believe in ghosts, but the children did. One night, when the parents went out for a romantic diner, the children were left alone. It was nearing midnight when Amy and Tom heard a woman singing outside. They rushed to the window and saw a white figure sitting on one of the tombstones. Then, she suddenly looked straight at them and grinned wickedly before vanishing into thin air. Amy screamed in terror and ran to her room. When she got to the stairs, she saw a shadow on top of them, she could feel it was the ghost. The white lady slowly approached the frightened girl, took her face into her hands and before the frightened little girl could react, snapped her neck in two. Tom, still petrified by the window, only now realised Amy was missing. When the parents finally returned later at night, they found Tom shivering in a closet and Amy on the floor with "Do you believe in ghosts?" written in blood next to her.

Re:English homework (1)

Xtense (1075847) | about 4 years ago | (#33979592)

Then he'll read the fine print above, find out who you are and also punish you.

SCIENCE!

Re:English homework (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33979898)

Or, the teacher could also conclude that it's entirely possible that the anonymous coward above is simply trying to frame the guy. It's a bit like spray-painting "Kamil ruleZ" on the bathroom wall and expecting that Kamil will be punished because who else would write it? Sadly, based on my experiences as a child, I'd have to say that such simple frame jobs would probably have better than even odds of succeeding. Most school discipline is handed out with the view that any attempt to defend oneself is just an act of defiance and school disciplinarians are usually less concerned about justice than expediency and not appearing weak.

I wonder if this is just an interesting troll, or if there really is a Kamil and his nemesis. If the actors are real, then I also wonder if the AC really is telling the straight truth, or if a more elaborate revenge plot is going on here. Or maybe this is actually part of someone's demonstration of how automatic cheating detection systems can be gamed... Or maybe someone can convert the short story into a twenty second stop motion movie and bring the post back on topic? :)

Re:English homework (1)

Fumus (1258966) | about 4 years ago | (#33980868)

Meh. Seems like google does not index anonymous coward entries anyway. It's not a ploy, I'm just a random dude who did his homework (10 minutes effort for me) in order to get some + karma on DarkWarez, but he did not + me, so I sure as hell am not going to let him cheat for free.

next obvious question... (1)

gerald626 (197224) | about 4 years ago | (#33979550)

Can anybody recommend some FOSS or at least free-as-in-beer equivalents?

Re:next obvious question... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33980770)

There is a stop motion package that runs on Linux, but it hasn't seen any new development in about two years:
http://developer.skolelinux.no/info/studentgrupper/2005-hig-stopmotion/

Let me check to see whether it still compiles with the recent gcc...
got a linker error, so looks like it would need a little massaging to get it current. I just checked on Fedora 13. I compiled it last year sometime, so that was probably Fedora 11. It worked then.

-- Chris Caudle

The Caliris (2, Insightful)

Schafer (21060) | about 4 years ago | (#33979958)

I know something of Jamie and Dyami, the brothers behind Dragon Stop Motion. Jamie and I were introduced by our sons on a bike ride in 2004.

Jamie has a long history of directing award-winning stop-motion animation, from music videos to Super Bowl ads. On top of his visual aesthetic skills, he has a long history of craftsmanship (builds his own camera motion systems, creates beautiful stereo-optical systems of glass, wood, and brass). I think the artistry runs in the family.

By the time he started working on "Dragon" for United Airlines, he had become fed up with the current state of stop motion support software, especially when it came to DSLR control. He took his concerns to his brother, Dyami, who began coding after hours to support Jamie's concept.

The interesting thing is that they were not in the same city. Dyami would code new features (including hardware control via poorly-documented APIs) and, if needed, debug with Jamie over the phone. I have run large teams of very good developers, but very few are so good they can do that type of work efficiently. Talking with Jamie at the time, he said little debug was required; he would conceive of a feature one day and would have code in production the next.

Dragon has since become the brothers' primary focus. When my 10-year-old expressed interest in stop motion, we purchased one of the first copies of Dragon. I expected it would take days for me to start using, and then I would have to teach my son a limited subset of the features. Nope--he picked it up on his own and had his first few seconds of animation that afternoon. (He now keeps his whole SM kit in a backpack so he can shoot at friends' houses after school.) Tools like onion-skinning and short sequence playback made a great difference in the quality of his work.

It says a lot about Jamie's vision and UI expertise that the same tool used for multi-million-dollar movies can also be effectively used by a child. Combined with the stability provided by Dyami's top-notch coding, we couldn't be happier with Dragon. I wish them the best.

Stop Motion tools for Time Lapse? (1)

LoudMusic (199347) | about 4 years ago | (#33980026)

The process of producing stop motion video is very similar to producing time lapse, which I have much more interest in. I wonder if these tools would work well for time lapse as well ...

Re:Stop Motion tools for Time Lapse? (1)

dangitman (862676) | about 4 years ago | (#33983932)

The process of producing stop motion video is very similar to producing time lapse, which I have much more interest in

Not really. All you need for time-lapse is an intervalometer (timer) whether an external unit, or one built into your camera; and some way of stitching the shots together into a movie (video editing application).

The tools are common and easily accessible, and in little need of improvement. You just need to go out and do it.

Toonloop is a free software for stop-motion and + (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33982122)

Hello,
You should try Toonloop, it's a free software I wrote with the help of other talented developers such as Tristan Matthews. I currently works on GNU/Linux, but should be easily ported to other platforms as well. The main difference between Toonloop the software you list is that Toonloop constantly displays the resulting animation is a constant loop.

Find out more at http://toonloop.com/

Best regards,
Alexandre Quessy
http://alexandre.quessy.net/

Re:Toonloop is a free software for stop-motion and (1)

Tetsujin (103070) | about 4 years ago | (#33983214)

I am interested in stop-motion animation and committed to doing the animation work on Linux... I look forward to trying your software!

(...There's a way to get a DV camera to appear as a V4L2 device, right?)

About the software (1)

Hipponsimmy (1926560) | about 4 years ago | (#33982880)

interested software tools here it's use that more learn about the software how can operate .. Xtreme No [articlesbase.com]

Toonloop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33983638)

Don't forget toonloop: http://toonloop.com/

Pretty awesome open source stop motion animation package for traditional and more on-the-fly performance style animation. I've seen people using this application doing really cool stuff on a stage, looping up short animations accompanied by live improvised music.

iAmNotAMacApp (1)

jman.org (953199) | about 4 years ago | (#33984112)

Curious title for the software, considering it's a WinDoze only product.

free software alternatives (1)

crimperman (225941) | about 4 years ago | (#33984340)

Perhaps not unexpectedly TFA doesn't mention licencing of the software but there are several free software stop motion applications [sourceforge.net] available. I've not tried them all but I've posted that link here if people are interested.

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