Composing Your Own iStopMotion Journey

Have you ever felt out of place, or like you just don’t belong? Maybe you just haven’t found the right song to sing along to yet!

Jeffrey Bethea, a freelance multimedia producer, used iStopMotion to document the beginning of an eighth note’s journey to find its place in an original composition, which he composed in Finale. In addition to iStopMotion, Jeffrey used After Effects, Photoshop and Premiere Pro to put the story together.

If you have ever thought about bringing something to life in a new way, be sure to watch the video above. Jeffrey used iStopMotion to create a character from a stationary musical note, and we think you can too! Challenge yourself to see how much personality you can create for a unique object around the house. HINT: Try storyboarding or creating a character map, and let the story write itself from there!

Let’s Animate, and Let’s Get the iStopMotion Party Started!

Lets Animate Showreel from Gemma Amos on Vimeo.

With the help of UK-based creative iStopMotion animation workshop Let’s Animate, your show is always about to begin. Let’s Animate offers a number of tailored iStopMotion courses to a variety of community groups, and the party is endless. The workshops cater to school field trips, teacher training, club activities, promotional material, team building events and even taster sessions, where new animators can get a taste of the craft before choosing the right workshop for them. No matter the situation, Gemma Amos, founder of Let’s Animate, will find the perfect approach for everyone.

Gem had an interest in animation from a young age, and when she first saw Aardman’s Wallace and Gromit, she began modeling and crafting her own characters and sets. She went on to study animation at a university and graduated with first class honors. From there, she landed a job at Ragdoll Productions, the creators of Teletubbies and In The Night Garden. While she worked at Ragdoll, she began facilitating animation workshops on the side. The more animation workshops she took on, the more she realized that it was her dream career. Eventually, she left Ragdoll to start her own animation workshop company, and Let’s Animate was born.

From the beginning, Gem used iStopMotion in all of her workshops. She loves the remote camera app and often uses it to work with multiple cameras at the same time.

“In my eyes, iStopMotion is the best on the market,” she says. “The layout is extremely user-friendly and simple in design, allowing anyone to use it. We film on iPads for the workshops and it is extremely simple – just a few clicks and the animation starts to take shape. iStopMotion is definitely a market leader for everyone to use.”

Gem loves facilitating all of her workshops because they are so different from each other – she never knows what the group will be like or what fantastic stories they will create. She says that their creative energy actually inspires her own work, as well. The workshops last anywhere from three hours on depending on the type of class. For example, Let’s Animate facilitates iStopMotion birthday parties for around three hours with a half hour added in for food and party fun. Gem recommends that young animators be 7+ and that parties have a maximum of ten participants, but everything else is fair game. Many parties are based on a theme if requested – Gem has worked with children on animations based on Minecraft, Disney’s Frozen and LEGO.

The iStopMotion animation process is always one of the best parts. Let’s Animate focuses on five steps: designing and scripting a storyboard, building models and sets, animating, editing and recording sounds. It helps animators to work together to create something that each person has a special part in.

“Using iStopMotion enhances the learning experience because it’s simple to use, it gets people using modern technology like iPads, it brings communities together through animation and it helps develop creativity and imagination,” Gem says. “The whole experience is fun, energetic and easy to replicate at home.”

One of Gem’s favorite student animations is called “Pester Power.” It is a collection of stories created for the Warwickshire police force to use in primary schools. It teaches students about the many areas of danger, including social media awareness, robbery, bullying, stranger danger and more. The animations were created by a class of secondary school students to help teach the primary school children. It was one of Gem’s larger productions, lasting around ten weeks from start to finish. She is incredibly proud of her students’ work, and she is always eager to share the story behind the animation.

“Parents are always asking about the software,” she says. “I have tried and tested many programs but I have always stuck with iStopMotion.”

To check out more videos from Let’s Animate workshops, please visit https://vimeo.com/channels/letsanimate. All of the films were created with iStopMotion!

What do you want to learn from iStopMotion? Tell us about your perfect workshop!

Celebrating Spring and Summer with iStopMotion at Churchill School

Every student’s strengths lie in a different area, just as every creative mind has something different to share with the world. At Churchill School, a K-12 school for students with learning disabilities, alternative learning methods are celebrated, and teachers including Wendy Semsel work with students to spark the learning process in innovative ways.

Wendy is a technology integration specialist, and she works with all of the school’s classes from kindergarten to 8th grade. Among other programs, she chose iStopMotion for iPad as part of her curriculum.

“Technology and alternative assessment can be critical for my students, who do not generally do well with traditional testing and writing,” she says. “My students benefit from technology in several different ways, which I divide into categories of getting information, giving information, and also skills practice. The read aloud features of Apple computers and iPads are critical for my students to access information. Technology also allows us to differentiate instruction in reading and math, areas of weakness for our students. Projects like stop motion allow students to demonstrate understanding of concepts while using their artistic and expressive strengths.”

Recently, Wendy teamed up with Churchill’s 7th grade art teacher to create a project that would help students work with these concepts. They chose a fitting theme of spring and summer, as they wanted to do something fun for the last few weeks of school. Although each of Wendy’s projects follow a different workflow, teamwork is the main focus. The students must agree on who will be doing which job, some including director, camera person and prop mover. Wendy knows that it is a great opportunity to work on team skills in addition to storytelling, art and music. For more lesson-based projects, such as retelling a different story, Wendy asks her students to go through the story and list all of the characters, do short character descriptions, list and draw the backgrounds, make the characters, storyboard and then film the story. If time allows, the class works together on soundtracks in Garageband to add to the stories.

For the spring- and summer-themed projects, students came up with some great ideas. Some included a baseball game, a group of kids jumping into a pool, a wave crashing over a group of people enjoying water sports and an ice cream cone splatting on the ground.

Wendy’ colleague at Friends Seminary School, Judith Seidel, also uses iStopMotion with her students in her technology integration elementary classes. Wendy and Judith love iStopMotion for its ease of use, but also for the onion skin feature, which makes it easy for their students to know how far to move characters and props on the screen. Since Friends Seminary added iPad sets to each classroom, Judith has held summer workshops for her classroom teachers on iStopMotion animation. Wendy and Judith have many conversations on the best ways to use iStopMotion in the classroom, particularly about the right way to use a tripod with iPads so you can get the iPad to face down without drooping!

Wendy is moving to a 1-1 iPad program at Churchill’s elementary school, which means that each student will be provided with an iPad to use for classroom projects. This will make her school 1-1 with iPads from kindergarten to 8th grade and the high school 1-1 with MacBook Airs. She is looking forward to the shift, along with the many new iStopMotion projects that are sure to come her way.

Coming Soon to a Nest Near You

Everyone loves a good baby announcement, and Gracie Piper’s was as cute as can be. She used iStopMotion to show the process of a small, wiggling egg as it cracked open … revealing a little surprise inside!

Gracie had a lot of fun creating the short, and we’re sure she enjoyed the reactions from her family and friends when her secret was revealed. She’s looking forward to using iStopMotion on upcoming projects, and who knows – maybe her little one will learn some animating tricks, too!

We love that Gracie chose iStopMotion for her big announcement. Stop motion is the perfect medium for a short, sweet video, and animators have a great opportunity to build suspense. Even just one new frame can make all the difference in revealing something new!

Check out the video above!

iStopMotion for iPad Kickstarts Campaigns

Don’t you just hate it when some crusty booger bandit cuts you in line at the store? So does our good friend Kay Kropp! This North Dakota native let her love for all things silly and fun inspire her to create The Insultinator, a goofy, harmless insult generator that doubles as a gag gift and a calendar, reminding you not to take life too seriously.

Kay used iStopMotion for the iPad to create her Kickstarter video so she could raise funds for production.

“It made shooting my first stop motion animation less intimidating and mostly a lot of fun,” she says.

Kay currently has 34 backers for The Insultinator through her successful Kickstarter campaign. With over 54,872 crazy combinations, this spiral-bound book of laughs is something the whole family can enjoy.

In just two and half minutes, Kay does an excellent job of convincing potential investors to back The Insultinator with fun transitions, a cool demo and the perfect combinations of hysterical names. But don’t take our word for it – check it out for yourself above! To donate, please visit Kay’s Kickstarter page here. Next time you have a crazy idea, let iStopMotion bring it to life!

Rich Stachon and the Rising iStopMotion Art Superstars

While most students are anxiously counting the days left until summer break, something special is happening in Rich Stachon’s art class. A teacher at Glen Crest Middle School in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, Rich uses iStopMotion to create short stop motion animations with his middle school students.

The process for their stop motion animation lessons is broken into three stages: preproduction, production and postproduction. Rich fosters his students’ creativity by putting the control in their hands. Students brainstorm ideas for their own stories and create detailed storyboards to plan out the ideal shot/camera angle. Then they use iStopMotion for iPad to take hundreds of photos and bring their ideas to life. In the final stage the students add title frames and create sound effects and voiceovers.

“Technology rapidly streamlines the entire learning process,” Rich says. “With technology like the iPad and apps like iStopMotion, students can create, view, change and share their animations within a class period or two. In the past, that entire process would take a week or two.”

Rich’s art class particularly loves iStopMotion’s camera overlay feature, which allows for smoother animating. The students love that they can see the last photo they took in the background in order to determine the best image to use next. Rich favors the focus feature within the camera setting because it lets students play with the depth of field and overlook of their animation.

“Communicating an idea or story in a short amount of time is a difficult task, but my students were up for it,” Rich says with pride. And he should be proud – these are some of the most talented animators we’ve seen.

Check out more of the students’ art class creations on Rich’s Twitter account here and take a full look at all of their impressive creations!

You Kickstarted, and Hak & Gnasher are Finally Here!

Remember our sand raker and rock buddy friends Hak & Gnasher, the adventurous beasts that were set to star in animator Chuck Peters’ latest iStopMotion web series? They finally made their film debut, and it’s all thanks to you!

About six months ago, Chuck asked for Boinx’s help in funding a Kickstarter to get Hak & Gnasher’s web series off the ground. You listened – Chuck exceeded his original goal and hit the $1500 mark, allowing Hak & Gnasher to come to life on the big screen.

To meet our little friends, check out episode one, “Sandrakers Life,” above. This is the perfect example of how flawless movement can look in a stop motion animation – it flows naturally and tells its own uninterrupted story. Using LEGOs is a great way to achieve this look because the steps are already laid out for you. All you have to do is press “capture.”

Congratulations, Chuck and the rest of the Chuck It Films team! We can’t wait to see episode two!

Watch Your Things Come To Life With iStopMotion

When the guitarist is away the show must go on, so the pedals still play! At least that’s what’s going on in this iStopMotion animation video from Kris Munday.

In this fun video that was made using iStopMotion for Mac, guitar effects pedals come to life at night when the guitarist is away. They show their mischievous side when the think nobody is looking.

Kris used iStopMotion to create this video as part of his university work. He edited out his hand in certain frames so all you see are the pedals causing trouble. Kris particularly likes the onionskin feature.

“Should I make a mistake, I can simply reposition my character referencing the previous frame thus saving lots of time and effort,” he explains.

For more of Kris’s work, check out his YouTube channel here!

From everyone at Boinx, happy animating!