Introduction: Making a Short Animation/Stop-motion/Film/StrangeContraption

Beginning your Story
               1. First off you must begin with a good narrative, maybe starting off with just a character and building upon that. Keep in mind that you must actually make an animation to explain the story so keep it simple.
              2. Draw some ideas for a character. I began mine as drawing and then slowly progressed into a clay character.
              3. Started with a wire armature I created the basic outline for my character with left over clay i had. I then flattened pieces of good clay and created the character to my liking.

 (below I show the process of making my other male clay character)

Step 1: Choosing Your Media

1. After you have your story its a good idea to have multiple forms of media, I used real people using stop motion using a dslr, cs4 flash, and clay characters.

Step 2: Plot

1. Once you have your story and all your props or actors, you need to have scene by scene idea of what you film will include you can either draw this out take pictures of each scene or simple have it in your head.

      2. Keep it simple. I created three main scenes two of which repeated. The characters simple walk from point A to point B. Repetition of similar scenes is necessary for a short film, so even if your story doesn't make sense your viewer will have something that is familiar.

Step 3: Uploading

Now after you've made your characters or got your actors you must figure out how to get them into that world of 0's and 1's.

1. First get a camera, and chroma key your characters you will want to layer over other images to make them appear as they are floating. Make sure you get plenty of angles of your characters to make it as smooth as possible. Or simple start taking photos for your stop-motion, scene by scene.
2. Get the proper cords that match your computer and picture taking device.

Step 4: Making It

      Actually producing the short is difficult, you may have the idea and plot in your head and the characters even there right in your hands but now you have to make it. I personally found a lot of helpful information for stop-motion at

1. To begin with research your technique your choosing to use whether that be stop-motion or flash to understand timing and the process that goes into it.
2. Shoot your film.
3. Create rough edit.

(I personally like to view a rough outline of my stop-motion by using Preview on mac to quickly go through all my photos at whatever speed I want. This is actually a great way to see what different speeds on different sections effect the feel for the film. Also this allows you to see if you need more images for a particular scene to make it smoother and or to change the look.) Below is a short sequence of my characters moving towards the actors mouth.

Step 5: Editing and Adding Music

Editing and adding music to your short you want to think deeply on what you want your viewer to feel. If you don't already have music that seems to fit that feel in your head while making the piece you should look for one or create your own piece if you are musically talented. I am not musically inclined so I chose to "chop and screw" music.

1. Add music to your piece editing the music to fit each scene.
2. Now depending on your film you must decide whether or not you wish to add voice to your animation.

(I chose to simply record my voice on my computer as I viewed my film on another computer listening to the audio with earplugs as so not to pick up any other sound than my voice when recording. Adding your own narration along with music will greatly enhance your piece, I recommend trying a similar method or go even further by making it all entirely your own. )

Step 6: Final

Once you've gotten to this point you need to create your credits and intro.

1. Create a name for your piece. For Mine I chose Dreams/Life.

2. Create and ending scene that will leave the viewer with the lasting feeling you wish to portray.

3. Lastly don't forget to credit anything you used of someones into the credits of your film.

Good Luck