Introduction: How to Host a Claymation Workshop Using IPads and Stop Motion Studio!

By completing this claymation project, you will:

*Create a simple stop motion claymation;

*Learn and become adept at the app, Stop Motion Studio

*Learn the basic techniques of stop motion animation

Step 1: You Will Need

To teach this activity to a group of 20 students, you will need 5 kits containing the below items:

  • IPad
  • tripod/mount for iPad
  • Stop Motion Studio App (purchases the $5 pro version)
  • Clay
  • paperclips
  • pipe cleaners
  • poster board
  • googley eyes
  • story board sheet
  • construction paper
  • glue dots, tape, glue stick
  • stage

Step 2: Setting Up Your Stage

Have teams create a stage with three dowels, three square bases, two pieces of white 11" by 18" poster board and two pieces of of construction paper. Another option is to tape the poster board to a wall or use books to create a stage.

Step 3: Pick a Setting and a Creature. Write a Story to Animate. Make Your Characters and Props.

When teaching this workshop, a great way to get started is to hand out setting and character cards to the animation teams. Split the group into teams of 3-5 and hand out your cards. An example of a setting is Easter Island and an example of a character is aliens. A team would use this pairing to then create a story to animate using stop motion. They can use the above storyboard worksheet to map out their animation from beginning, middle and end. Remind them that good stories have conflict.

Describe three types of film shots - the close up shot (character is tightly frame, usually includes face and shoulders), the medium shot (typically characters from the waist up) and the Long Shot (the character is in frame from head to toe.)

The next step is to have the teams discuss the story they want to animate and how they want to shoot them. Instruct them to storyboard their shots before they begin shooting.

Once they finish their storyboards, instruct the members to create clay characters such as aliens and any other props they may need. Other materials to use during this process are paperclips, googley eyes, pipe cleaners and construction paper.

Step 4: Determine the Mis-en-scene. Set the Stage.

After your teams finish creating their characters, making their props and writing their stories, instruct them to decide what they want to see in the camera, the mise-en-scene.

  • Lock down the iPad using a mount/tripod or stand
  • Open the Stop Motion Studio App
  • Press the purple plus sign to start new project
  • Place characters, props and background pieces in position. Remind the teams that the only things they will be in their animation are the items they can see on the screen on the iPad. Also remind them, if they can see things they don't want to see through the screen they need to adjust their camera position, stage, characters or props depending on the issue.

Step 5: Review the Stop Motion Studio App

There are many amazing feature in the stop motion studio app. As the instructor of your own workshop, please be sure to review all of them and master the ones that you will teach in your class.

Click here to review the basics.

Click here to discover more advanced features of the app.

Click here for tips and tricks.

Determine how much detail you want to include in your workshop.

During the workshop, go over basic features of the app and how to use the app to shoot their animation.

I recommend going over the capture, the frame-by-frame editor, the sound and theme cards features.

Step 6: Start Shooting!

When in the stop motion app, there is a red button on the right, that is the photo capture button. A pair of headphones with volume control can also be plugged into the iPad and used as the camera remote to prevent shaking or extra movement of the camera.

The animators will take a photo of a still object or objects, then move the object or objects, take a photo, move object or objects again, repeat, repeat, repeat. Each photo is an unique image in their animation. When they play it back it will appear to be in motion to our eyes and brain. This is how you create a stop motion animation.

Other concepts to review with the students:

1.) Persistence of Vision: the theory where an afterimage is thought to persist for approximately one twenty-fifth of a second on the retina, explaining why the black spaces that come between each movie frame are not perceived.

2.) Phi Phenomenon: The phi phenomenon is the apparent motion caused by a changing static image, as in a motion picture.

3.) Frequency in animation and film is the frame rate. It is represented in Frames Per Second - 24 frames per second – frequency of images in which most films are shot. This rate is the most comfortable rate for the human eye and brain to process the images and achieve the illusion that they are moving at a normal rate. Shoot at a higher rate and your film will be in slower motion, shoot at a lower rate and it will appear in faster motion. In animation, frames per second relates to the amount of photos/drawings appear in one second of animation. HINT: 24 images per second will make a quality animation.

5.) Hand drawn animation is usually shot in twos - so each drawing is shot twice to save money, so there are 12 unique images each second. Some are even shot if 4s, so there are 6 unique images. It becomes tedious to do 24 frames per second (most lego stop motion are shot in 15 frames per second). Teams need to decide how many unique images will be in each second to determine how many photos of each image they will take.

I suggest 6 unique images shot four times a piece which will equal 24 frames per second and give a smooth look to the animation without setting up 24 unique shots for each second of animation.

Step 7: Add Sound!

Click here to review sound and music on the Stop Motion Studio webpage.

You can have your students either:

1.) Record the sound for their animation by pressing the microphone icon and recording the sound live as they play the images.

2.) Click on the add media icon in the app and choose from the in app music and sounds and add to the animation.

3.) Click on the add media icon in the app and import a song to add to the animation.

Step 8: Add Themes Cards.

After your animators are happy with their projects, it is time to add credits.

Add movie titles and credits using different themes. Tap the clapper-board icon to open the “Theme Settings” dialog. Select a theme and tap the outline register to enter your movie credits.

Step 9: Upload and Share!

Now that you’ve finished, it’s time to share it. Tap the “Share” icon on the first screen. From there you can upload your video to YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox or iCloud.