The Info List - Stop Motion

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Stop motion
Stop motion
(hyphenated stop-motion when used as an adjective) is an animation technique that physically manipulates an object so that it appears to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a fast sequence. Dolls with movable joints or clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop motion
Stop motion
animation using plasticine is called clay animation or "clay-mation". Not all stop motion requires figures or models; many stop motion films can involve using humans, household appliances and other things for comedic effect. Stop motion can also use sequential drawing in a similar manner to traditional animation, such as a flip book. Stop motion
Stop motion
using humans is sometimes referred to as pixilation or pixilate animation.


1 Terminology 2 History

2.1 1960s and 1970s 2.2 1980s to present

3 Variations of stop motion

3.1 Cutout animation 3.2 Stereoscopic
stop motion 3.3 Go motion

4 Comparison to computer-generated imagery 5 Stop motion
Stop motion
in television and movies 6 Stop motion
Stop motion
in other media 7 See also 8 References 9 External links

Terminology[edit] The term "stop motion", related to the animation technique, is often spelled with a hyphen, "stop-motion". Both orthographical variants, with and without the hyphen, are correct, but the hyphenated one has, in addition, a second meaning, not related to animation or cinema: "a device for automatically stopping a machine or engine when something has gone wrong" (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, 1993 edition).[1] Stop motion
Stop motion
is often confused with the time lapse technique, where still photographs of a live surrounding are taken at regular intervals and combined into a continuous film. Time lapse
Time lapse
is a technique whereby the frequency at which film frames are captured is much lower than that used to view the sequence. When played at normal speed, time appears to be moving faster.


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The Sculptor's Nightmare

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Segment from the 1925 film The Lost World animated by Willis O'Brien

Stop motion
Stop motion
animation has a long history in film. It was often used to show objects moving as if by magic. The first instance of the stop motion technique can be credited to Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton for Vitagraph's The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1897), in which a toy circus of acrobats and animals comes to life.[2] In 1902, the film Fun in a Bakery Shop used the stop trick technique in the "lightning sculpting" sequence. French trick film maestro Georges Méliès
Georges Méliès
used stop motion animation once to produce moving title-card letters in one of his short films, and a number of his special effects are based on stop motion photography. In 1907, The Haunted Hotel is a new stop motion film by J. Stuart Blackton, and was a resounding success when released. Segundo de Chomón
Segundo de Chomón
(1871–1929), from Spain, released El Hotel Eléctrico later that same year, and used similar techniques as the Blackton film. In 1908, A Sculptor's Welsh Rarebit Nightmare was released, as was The Sculptor's Nightmare, a film by Billy Bitzer. Italian animator Roméo Bossetti impressed audiences with his object animation tour-de-force, The Automatic Moving Company in 1912. The great European stop motion pioneer was Wladyslaw Starewicz (1892–1965), who animated The Beautiful Lukanida (1910), The Battle of the Stag Beetles (1910), The Ant and the Grasshopper (1911). One of the earliest clay animation films was Modelling Extraordinary, which impressed audiences in 1912. December 1916 brought the first of Willie Hopkins' 54 episodes of "Miracles in Mud" to the big screen. Also in December 1916, the first woman animator, Helena Smith Dayton, began experimenting with clay stop motion. She would release her first film in 1917, an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. In the turn of the century, there was another well known animator known as Willis O' Brien
Willis O' Brien
(known by others as O'bie). His work on The Lost World (1925) is well known, but he is most admired for his work on King Kong (1933), a milestone of his films made possible by stop motion animation. O'Brien's protege and eventual successor in Hollywood was Ray Harryhausen. After learning under O'Brien on the film Mighty Joe Young (1949), Harryhausen would go on to create the effects for a string of successful and memorable films over the next three decades. These included The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms
(1953), It Came from Beneath the Sea (1955), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) and Clash of the Titans (1981). In a 1940 promotional film, Autolite, an automotive parts supplier, featured stop motion animation of its products marching past Autolite factories to the tune of Franz Schubert's Military March. An abbreviated version of this sequence was later used in television ads for Autolite, especially those on the 1950s CBS program Suspense, which Autolite sponsored. 1960s and 1970s[edit] In the 1960s and 1970s, independent clay animator Eliot Noyes Jr. refined the technique of "free-form" clay animation with his Oscar-nominated 1965 film Clay (or the Origin of Species). Noyes also used stop motion to animate sand lying on glass for his musical animated film Sandman (1975). Stop motion
Stop motion
was used by Rankin/Bass Productions
Rankin/Bass Productions
on some of their television programs and feature films including The New Adventures of Pinocchio (1960–1961), Willy McBean and his Magic Machine (1963, 1965) and most notably seasonal/holiday favorites like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964), Mad Monster Party?
Mad Monster Party?
(1966, 1967), The Little Drummer Boy (1968), Santa Claus is Comin' to Town (1970) and Here Comes Peter Cottontail (1971). Under the name of "Animagic", the stop motion works of Rankin/Bass were supervised by Tadahito Mochinaga at his MOM Production in Tokyo, Japan. In 1975, filmmaker and clay animation experimenter Will Vinton
Will Vinton
joined with sculptor Bob Gardiner to create an experimental film called Closed Mondays which became the world's first stop motion film to win an Oscar. Will Vinton
Will Vinton
followed with several other successful short film experiments including The Great Cognito, Creation, and Rip Van Winkle which were each nominated for Academy Awards. In 1977, Vinton made a documentary about this process and his style of animation which he dubbed "claymation"; he titled the documentary Claymation. Soon after this documentary, the term was trademarked by Vinton to differentiate his team's work from others who had been, or were beginning to do, "clay animation". While the word has stuck and is often used to describe clay animation and stop motion, it remains a trademark owned currently by Laika Entertainment, Inc. Twenty clay-animation episodes featuring the clown Mr. Bill
Mr. Bill
were a feature of Saturday Night Live, starting from a first appearance in February 1976. At very much the same time in the UK, Peter Lord
Peter Lord
and David Sproxton formed Aardman Animations. In 1976 they created the character Morph who appeared as an animated side-kick to the TV presenter Tony Hart on his BBC TV
programme Take Hart. The five-inch-high presenter was made from a traditional British modelling clay called Plasticine. In 1977 they started on a series of animated films, again using modelling clay, but this time made for a more adult audience. The soundtrack for Down and Out was recorded in a Salvation Army Hostel and Plasticine puppets were animated to dramatise the dialogue. A second film, also for the BBC
followed in 1978. A TV series The Amazing Adventures of Morph was aired in 1980. Sand-coated puppet animation was used in the Oscar-winning 1977 film The Sand Castle, produced by Dutch-Canadian animator Co Hoedeman. Hoedeman was one of dozens of animators sheltered by the National Film Board of Canada, a Canadian government film arts agency that had supported animators for decades. A pioneer of refined multiple stop motion films under the NFB banner was Norman McLaren, who brought in many other animators to create their own creatively controlled films. Notable among these are the pinscreen animation films of Jacques Drouin, made with the original pinscreen donated by Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker. Italian stop motion films include Quaq Quao (1978), by Francesco Misseri, which was stop motion with origami, The Red and the Blue and the clay animation kittens Mio and Mao. Other European productions included a stop motion-animated series of Tove Jansson's The Moomins (from 1979, often referred to as "The Fuzzy Felt Moomins"), produced by Film Polski and Jupiter Films. One of the main British Animation
teams, John Hardwick and Bob Bura, were the main animators in many early British TV shows, and are famous for their work on the Trumptonshire trilogy. Disney experimented with several stop motion techniques by hiring independent animator-director Mike Jittlov
Mike Jittlov
to do the first stop motion animation of Mickey Mouse
Mickey Mouse
toys ever produced for a short sequence called Mouse Mania, part of a TV special commemorating Mickey Mouse's 50th Anniversary called Mickey's 50 in 1978. Jittlov again produced some impressive multi-technique stop motion animation a year later for a 1979 Disney special promoting their release of the feature film The Black Hole. Titled Major Effects, Jittlov's work stood out as the best part of the special. Jittlov released his footage the following year to 16mm film collectors as a short film titled The Wizard of Speed and Time, along with four of his other short multi-technique animated films, most of which eventually evolved into his own feature-length film of the same title. Effectively demonstrating almost all animation techniques, as well as how he produced them, the film was released to theaters in 1987 and to video in 1989. 1980s to present[edit]

Stefano Bessoni, Italian filmmaker, illustrator and stop-motion animator working on Gallows Songs (2014)

In the 1970s and 1980s, Industrial Light & Magic often used stop motion model animation for films such as the original Star Wars trilogy: the chess sequence in Star Wars, the Tauntauns and AT-AT walkers in The Empire Strikes Back, and the AT-ST walkers in Return of the Jedi were all stop motion animation, some of it using the Go films. The many shots including the ghosts in Raiders of the Lost Ark and the first two feature films in the RoboCop
series use Phil Tippett's go motion version of stop motion. In the UK, Aardman Animations
Aardman Animations
continued to grow. Channel 4 funded a new series of clay animated films Conversation Pieces based on real recorded soundtracks. A further series in 1986 called Lip Sync premiered the work of Richard Goleszowski
Richard Goleszowski
- Ident, Barry Purves
Barry Purves
- Next and Nick Park
Nick Park
- Creature Comforts
Creature Comforts
as well as further films by Sproxton and Lord. Creature Comforts
Creature Comforts
won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1990. In 1980, Marc Paul Chinoy directed the 1st feature-length clay animated film; a film based on the famous Pogo comic strip. Titled I go Pogo, it was aired a few times on American cable channels, but has yet to be commercially released. Primarily clay, some characters required armatures, and walk cycles used pre-sculpted hard bases legs.[citation needed] Stop motion
Stop motion
was also used for some shots of the final sequence of Terminator movie, also for the scenes of the small alien ships in Spielberg's Batteries Not Included in 1987, animated by David W. Allen. Allen's stop motion work can also be seen in such feature films as The Crater Lake Monster (1977), Q - The Winged Serpent (1982), The Gate (1986) and Freaked (1993). Allen's King Kong Volkswagen commercial from the 1970s is now legendary among model animation enthusiasts. In 1985, Will Vinton
Will Vinton
and his team released an ambitious feature film in stop motion called "The Adventures Of Mark Twain" based on the life and works of the famous American author. While the film may have been a little sophisticated for young audiences at the time, it got rave reviews from critics and adults in general.[citation needed] Vinton's team also created the Nomes and the Nome King for Disney's "Return to Oz" feature, for which they received an Academy Award Nomination for Special
Visual Effects. In the 80's and early 90's, Will Vinton
Will Vinton
became very well known for his commercial work as well with stop motion campaigns including The California Raisins. Of note are the films of Czech filmmaker Jan Švankmajer, which mix stop motion and live actors. These include Alice, an adaptation of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, and Faust, a rendition of the legend of the German scholar. The Czech school is also illustrated by the series Pat & Mat (1979–present). Created by Lubomír Beneš and Vladimír Jiránek, and it was wildly popular in a number of countries. Since the general animation renaissance headlined by the likes of Who Framed Roger Rabbit and The Little Mermaid
The Little Mermaid
at the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, there have been an increasing number of traditional stop motion feature films, despite advancements with computer animation. The Nightmare Before Christmas, directed by Henry Selick and produced by Tim Burton, was one of the more widely released stop motion features and become the highest grossing stop motion animated movie of its time, grossing over $50 million domestic. Henry Selick also went on to direct James and the Giant Peach and Coraline, and Tim Burton
Tim Burton
went on to direct Corpse Bride
Corpse Bride
and Frankenweenie. In 1999, Will Vinton
Will Vinton
launched the first prime-time stop-motion television series called The PJs, co-created by actor-comedian Eddie Murphy. The Emmy-winning sitcom aired on Fox for two seasons, then moved to the WB for an additional season. Vinton launched another series, Gary & Mike, for UPN in 2001. Another individual who found fame in clay animation is Nick Park, who created the characters Wallace and Gromit. In addition to a series of award-winning shorts and featurettes, he won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature for the feature-length outing Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Chicken Run, to date, is the highest grossing stop motion animated movie ever grossing nearly $225 million worldwide. The BBC
commissioned thirteen episodes of stop frame animated Summerton Mill
Summerton Mill
in 2004 as inserts into their flagship pre-school program, Tikkabilla. Created and produced by Pete Bryden and Ed Cookson, the series was then given its own slot on BBC1 and BBC2 and has been broadcast extensively around the world. Other notable stop motion feature films released since 1990 include The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
The Secret Adventures of Tom Thumb
(1993), Fantastic Mr. Fox and $9.99, both released in 2009, and Anomalisa
(2015). Variations of stop motion[edit]

Charley Says, a series of British public information films, was produced using cutout animation, a variant of stop motion animation.

Cutout animation[edit] Cutout animation
Cutout animation
is a variant of stop motion animation that utilises flat materials such as paper, fabrics and photographs in its production, producing a 2D animation as a result. Prominent examples of cutout animation include the early episodes of South Park, and the Charley Says
Charley Says
series of British public information films. Stereoscopic
stop motion[edit] Stop motion
Stop motion
has very rarely been shot in stereoscopic 3D throughout film history. The first 3D stop motion short was In Tune With Tomorrow (also known as Motor Rhythm) in 1939 by John Norling. The second stereoscopic stop motion release was The Adventures of Sam Space in 1955 by Paul Sprunck. The third and latest stop motion short in stereo 3D was The Incredible Invasion of the 20,000 Giant Robots from Outer Space in 2000 by Elmer Kaan[3] and Alexander Lentjes.[4][5] This is also the first ever 3D stereoscopic stop motion and CGI short in the history of film. The first all stop motion 3D feature is Coraline (2009), based on Neil Gaiman's best-selling novel and directed by Henry Selick. Another recent example is the Nintendo 3DS
Nintendo 3DS
video software which comes with the option for Stop Motion videos. This has been released December 8, 2011 as a 3DS system update. Also, the movie ParaNorman is in 3D stop motion. Go motion[edit] Another more complicated variation on stop motion is go motion, co-developed by Phil Tippett
Phil Tippett
and first used on the films The Empire Strikes Back (1980), Dragonslayer (1981), and the RoboCop
films. Go motion involved programming a computer to move parts of a model slightly during each exposure of each frame of film, combined with traditional hand manipulation of the model in between frames, to produce a more realistic motion blurring effect. Tippett also used the process extensively in his 1984 short film Prehistoric Beast, a 10 minutes long sequence depicting a herbivorous dinosaur (Monoclonius), being chased by a carnivorous one (Tyrannosaurus). With new footage Prehistoric Beast
Prehistoric Beast
became Dinosaur!
in 1985, a full-length dinosaurs documentary hosted by Christopher Reeve. Those Phil Tippett's go motion tests acted as motion models for his first photo-realistic use of computers to depict dinosaurs in Jurassic Park in 1993. A low-tech, manual version of this blurring technique was originally pioneered by Wladyslaw Starewicz
Wladyslaw Starewicz
in the silent era, and was used in his feature film The Tale of the Fox
The Tale of the Fox
(1931). Comparison to computer-generated imagery[edit]

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Reasons for using stop motion instead of the more advanced computer-generated imagery (CGI) include the low entry price and the appeal of its distinct look. It is now mostly used in children's programming, in commercials and some comic shows such as Robot Chicken. Another merit of stop motion is that it legitimately displays actual real-life textures, as CGI texturing is more artificial, therefore not quite as close to realism. This is appreciated by a number of animation directors, such as Tim Burton, Henry Selick, Wes Anderson and Travis Knight. Stop motion
Stop motion
in television and movies[edit]

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Dominating children's TV stop motion programming for three decades in America was Art Clokey's Gumby
series (1955–1989) and its feature film, Gumby
I (1992, 1995), using both freeform and character clay animation. Clokey started his adventures in clay with a 1953 freeform clay short film called Gumbasia (1953) which shortly thereafter propelled him into his more structured Gumby
TV series. In partnership with the United Lutheran Church in America, he also produces Davey and Goliath (1960–2004). In November 1959, the first episode of Sandmännchen
was shown on East German television, a children's show that had Cold War
Cold War
propaganda as its primary function. New episodes, minus any propaganda, are still being produced in the now-reunified Germany,[6] making it one of the longest running animated series in the world.[citation needed] In the 1960s, the French animator Serge Danot created the well-known The Magic Roundabout
The Magic Roundabout
(1965) which played for many years on the BBC. Another French/Polish stop motion animated series was Colargol (Barnaby the Bear in the UK, Jeremy in Canada), by Olga Pouchine and Tadeusz Wilkosz. A British TV series, Clangers
(1969), became popular on television. The British artists Brian Cosgrove and Mark Hall (Cosgrove Hall Films) produced the two stop motion animated adaptions of Enid Blyton's Noddy book series including the original series of the same name (1975–1982) and Noddy's Toyland Adventures (1992–2001), a full-length film The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows
(1983) and later a multi-season TV series, both based on Kenneth Grahame's classic children's book of the same title. They also produced a documentary of their production techniques, Making Frog and Toad. Since the 1970s and continuing into the 21st century, Aardman Animations, a British studio, has produced short films, television series, commercials and feature films, starring plasticine characters such as Wallace and Gromit; they also produced a notable music video for "Sledgehammer", a song by Peter Gabriel. During 1986 to 1991, Churchill Films produced The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Runaway Ralph, and Ralph S. Mouse
Ralph S. Mouse
for ABC television. The shows featured stop-motion characters combined with live action, based on the books of Beverly Cleary. John Clark Matthews was animation director, with Justin Kohn, Joel Fletcher, and Gail Van Der Merwe providing character animation.[7] From 1986 to 2000, over 150 five-minute episodes of Pingu, a Swiss children's comedy were produced by Trickfilmstudio. In the 1990s Trey Parker and Matt Stone
Matt Stone
made two shorts and the pilot of South Park almost entirely out of construction paper. In 1999, Tsuneo Gōda directed an official 30-second sketches of the character Domo. With the shorts animated by stop-motion studio dwarf is still currently produced in Japan
and has then received universal critical acclaim from fans and critics. Gōda also directed the stop-motion movie series Komaneko in 2004. In 2003, the pilot film for the series Curucuru and Friends, produced by Korean studio Ffango Entertoyment is greenlighted into a children's animated series in 2004 after an approval with the Gyeonggi Digital Contents Agency. It was aired in KBS1
on November 24, 2006 and won the 13th Korean Animation
Awards in 2007 for Best Animation. Ffango Entertoyment also worked with Frontier Works
Frontier Works
in Japan
to produce the 2010 film remake of Cheburashka.[8] Since 2005, Robot Chicken
Robot Chicken
has mostly utilized stop motion animation, using custom made action figures and other toys as principal characters. Since 2009 Laika, the stop-motion successor to Will Vinton
Will Vinton
Studios, has released four feature films, which have collectively grossed over $400 million. Stop motion
Stop motion
in other media[edit] Many young people begin their experiments in movie making with stop motion, thanks to the ease of modern stop motion software and online video publishing.[9] Many new stop motion shorts use clay animation into a new form.[10] Singer-songwriter Oren Lavie's music video for the song Her Morning Elegance was posted on YouTube on January 19, 2009. The video, directed by Lavie and Yuval and Merav Nathan, uses stop motion and has achieved great success with over 25.4 million views, also earning a 2010 Grammy Award nomination for "Best Short Form Music Video". Stop motion
Stop motion
has occasionally been used to create the characters for computer games, as an alternative to CGI. The Virgin Interactive Entertainment Mythos game Magic and Mayhem
Magic and Mayhem
(1998) featured creatures built by stop motion specialist Alan Friswell, who made the miniature figures from modelling clay and latex rubber, over armatures of wire and ball-and-socket joints. The models were then animated one frame at a time, and incorporated into the CGI elements of the game through digital photography. "ClayFighter" for the Super NES and The Neverhood for the PC are other examples. See also[edit]


List of stop motion artists List of stop motion films Go motion Still motion Brickfilm Wallace and Gromit Pingu Mio Mao Gumby Time-lapse photography



^ stop, combinations section (Comb.), stop-motion a device for automatically stopping a machine or engine when something has gone wrong (The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary, Clarendon Press, Oxford, Vol. 2 N-Z, 1993 edition, see page 3,074) ^ "First animated film". Guinness World Records. Retrieved 5 January 2013.  ^ "Elmer Kaan". Elmer Kaan. Retrieved 2010-04-24.  ^ "Alexander Lentjes". Moonridge5.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24.  ^ 3-D Revolution Productions. "Animation". The3drevolution.com. Retrieved 2010-04-24.  ^ "Dein Sandmännchen-Programm im rbb Fernsehen" (in German). sandmaennchen.de. Retrieved 2013-03-20.  ^ http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196767/, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0094541/, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0196895/ ^ http://www.hancinema.net/the-future-looks-bright-for-companies-that-moved-into-the-gyeonggi-digital-content-agency-9527.html ^ "About ClayNation stop motion animation". ClayNation.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-01-06.  ^ "Blu-Tack - Make Our Next Advert". Blu-tack.co.uk. Retrieved 2010-04-24. 


Lord, Peter; Sibley, Brian (1998). Creating 3-D animation: The Aardman Book
of Filmmaking. New York: Harry N. Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-1996-6.  Maltin, Leonard (2006). Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide (2007 ed.). New York: Plume. ISBN 978-0-4522-8756-3. OCLC 70671727.  Sibley, Brian (2000). Chicken Run: Hatching the Movie. New York: Abrams. ISBN 0-8109-4124-4.  Smith, Dave (1998). Disney A to Z: The Updated Official Encyclopedia (updated ed.). New York: Hyperion. ISBN 0-7868-6391-9.  Taylor, Richard (1996). Encyclopedia of Animation
Techniques. Philadelphia: Running Press. ISBN 1-56138-531-X. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to stop motion.

Look up stop-motion in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Stop-motion at Curlie (based on DMOZ) an example for an early stop motion film (1908): "Hänschens Soldaten", europeanfilmgateway.eu An alternative explanation - "What is stop motion"

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