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View Stop Motion

Stop Motion or the Magic of Animation


CV 2006-2011 http://www.cineversity.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=3533&PN=1&TPN=1



Stop motion is mostly based on taking an exposure every second frame (and using 24frames per second… mostly)


Technically, this is doable with any animation backed to key-frames. Then deleted every second key frame. All key-frames that stays are set to step interpolation. Which might end up, if not done well, it jittery motion. Tests are needed! 


(There is also the term Go-Motion, which is a technique that makes motion blur happen, note that Stop Motion has none!)


The next step is the scale, which comes more into the game with depth of field or the reduction of details to pattern (if at all integrated).


Well, there is more to it of course. I think the most prominent idea about it is done in “Flushed Away”. You might have a look into that DVD.


One key-element in “Stop Motion” is, to have for expressions parts of the “actor” that can be swapped out. Which means there is no transition, step interpolations again. This could be done with a Morph Technique of course. If you go more into detail, the material would need a change each time as well. The legendary “Thumb print” on the “actors” in Aardman productions for example.


The light is mostly stable, but the magic is as well a little bit in the mistakes.


Mostly the “talents” are based on simplified skeletons with material around them.


However, to watch the Aardman movies might be a good idea, then grab you camera an do it with a simple figure. Just to get a feeling for it. There are as well applications available to use e.g., you laptop camera to produce this. The practical production will give you a lot of background for the work in 3D.


You might check FXPHD.com, there is in the Vault, a course (Min201, Stop Frmae Animation and Minitures). I took this course some years ago and I would recommend watching it, if you like to dive deeper into that theme. It was done by one of the founders of FXPHD. But, all practically in that course, no CG. It will be the base to translate that into CG.


However, the cute factor comes into the game based on the artists, not based on any technique. It is always “you” that animates (bring to life) the talents. In that way, a good animator has a good knowledge about acting. (Well, cinematography should be known as well.)


One more thing, the problem in stop motion is that things that have a time on their own, fire, water, and gravity, will not stop to work while one is setting up the next exposure. This is a limitation of course and causes artifacts. Sometimes studios try to find solutions for that to overcome this limitation, but that is an artist-judgment to do or not.


For exactly this, I created a group of Mentors a while ago in the PXC. 

The idea was to create a short and intense option to dive into the basics of animations. Some in the group are seasoned animators with their own company, and some even worked for Disney. One in the group was a college teacher, you will figure out who that was. However, we spend a summer to create the basic steps to create start package.


The idea is based on drawing a sketch. You need to see it, understand it and then the hand can draw. The opposite is the Co-pilot tutorial, the instructor tells you what to do and you do, 1:1. You get the point, not really the best overall method. 


In this way, you need to understand what is presented and build your own.




What you describe as bake animation—means setting keyframes?

This will be explained in the PXC series as well




The Quick Start Quide that you find on the MAXON download section will help you as well.




The letters and such, can be animated step by step or with MoGraph in most cases. Do you have MoGraph?





Some basics you need to know:





Animation is the change over time. In Cinema 4D this is mostly created using Keyframes. Keyframes are parameter which change over time. A Parameter is for example the position of an object. Key Positions are recorded and the “In-Between” frames will be interpolated. In that way, all frames between to keyframes result in nearly no work. Besides Keyframes other techniques are based on expressions. Anything that can change a parameter over time can be used for that. Close to the Expression based animations are the procedural animation. A set up of different parts in Cinema 4D allows to influence other objects, and create in that way an animation. Objects can influence the structure of other objects, like deforming object, called Deformers. Which is a large group of option. A more un-common way to animate is to use Object Sequences. 


Main Tools

Key-frame animation uses the Time-line. The Time-line represents a chart with the time horizontal and values (parameters) vertical. Each Key-frame becomes a little notations in the Time-line. If a parameter change can be changed with an interpolation, the option to change this is then given in the F-Curve manager. The Letter F stands here for Function, but it is very close to a path manipulation in Illustrator of Photoshop, like the Curve tool. The resulting lines or curves between the key-frames indicate the what value is given for a specific time. A specific form of key-frame animation is the Point Level Animation (PLA). Each key-frame contains all the points which creates a mesh. 


Expression based animation can be as simple as Position X=frame number, or as complicated as one might be able to express things in formulas. Even coding like in Python is common. The most common expression is maybe a constrained situation, where one object delivers data to change another object.


Procedural animation are mostly understood as animation based on provided option. These can be combined with the main object to create the wanted result. MoGraph is a good example for procedural animation.


Structural deformations are mostly, but not exclusively used in character animation. The Bones or Joints are animated with the methods mentioned before. These elements are set then in relation to a “skin” or the surface of an object and becomes changed.


Category: Animation