Stop Motion refers to the cinematic technique of making still objects appear as though they move. While stop motion tends to be confused with animation, it actually refers more often to clay animation, or claymation. Movies such as ‘Chicken Run’ use stop motion along with other animation techniques. Similarly, the classic children’s program ‘Gumby’ was also produced through stop motion technology.
Variations of stop motion include strata-cut animation, clay painting and direct manipulation.
While the stop motion technique can look primitive or unrefined, filmmakers may use it to add a raw quality to a film that emphasizes its story, rather than its special effects.
Animator Joan Gratz was central to re-popularizing of the stop motion method. She brought it much acclaim when her film Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase won an Oscar 1in 1992.
Stop motion photography works by setting a scene and then taking a picture of it (with either a manual or digital camera). The scene is then altered slightly and another shot is taken. This process continues until the scene has gone through its entire action sequence. When each of the single images is put together, the objects in each shot appear to move. Think of how a flip book is composed: an illustration is slightly altered on each page, so that when it is quickly flipped, the illustration appears to move.
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