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Types of stop-motion animation

Exploring the different types of animation through moving image examples and how they can be used in the classroom for teaching and learning literacy.
[Music playing]
Child Narrator: [Birds chirping] Here’s the buffing bug, Aggie the Stag Beetle chewing up the old bark and there’s that squirrely sweetheart Shirley Girly Squirly sweeping up the dead leaves and wait, yes, there he is, Colonel Snuffle Possum.
Colonel Snuffle Possum: Right troops, keep those leaves moving. Aggie, watch those bark shavings on the path. Shirley, keep those nutpods tidy, keep to the drill. I didn’t get these stripes for nothing, you know. Twenty years in the first badger’s club brigade.
Shirley: I feel like I’ve been sweeping for twenty years, and I’m aching.
Aggie: It would be worth it Sheryl, just keep the bit and its a doddle-daddy-o.
Colonel Snuffle Possum: Right-o, tea break– [Music playing]
Young Boy: My sister’s gone teenage. [Snarling]
Young Boy: She’s fiddly obsessed with texting some boy on her phone.
She takes seven years to get changed. Her perfume bends all the hairs in my nostrils.
Female Narrator: Edna’s house stood on the edge of the New Fall’s national forest, but by October the trees would stand lifeless like skeletons. The wind howled, shaking the branches which cast ominous shadows.
On an October night we meet Edna, fire was the only source of heat and light in the house. [Doorbell rings] Ding dong.
Edna: [gasps]
Female Narrator: The sound of the doorbell startled Edna but her good nature forced her to see who it was. She was greeted by a young couple.
Edna: How about a nice cup of hot tea?
Female Narrator: The couple were on their honeymoon. Edna couldn’t help but feel that she had seen them before.
[Music playing]
There are a variety of different types of stop-motion animation. Here are some examples created by a variety of schools, projects and age groups.
  • Claymation is probably one of the most commonly recognised forms of animation. It’s the process of creating stop-motion animation using clay or plasticine figures, made famous by Wallace and Gromit, or going back further, the character Morph in the children’s TV series, Take Hart. This process can also include the use of plastic figures such as LEGO or DUPLO figurines.
Character from the animation Ratatouille pulling a face with a mouse in the background
Image credit: Ratatouille (2007)
  • Paper cut-out More often than not this type of animation is shot from above and paper cut-out characters are placed flat on a paper background. Often limbs are connected using split pins to give a full range of movement, and consideration should be given to profile and facial expressions.
Paper cut our image of a man in a blue shirt smiling with caption 'Hello World' behind him
Image credit: Kobu Agency on Unsplash
  • Light box animation is very similar to the above, indeed characters and objects are very often paper cut-outs. However, they are animated on top of a light box which produces a startling effect. If you would like to try out this type of animation, it is important to use thick black card and you can experiment with different coloured acetate. Another possibility is to cover the light box with clear acetate and pour different coloured sands on top that you can move around for a fun hands-on technique!
Light Box image on a prince and princess on a hill amongst the trees
For a little more information and examples of the above, please visit our Filmmaking and Animation in the Classroom online course with FutureLearn. Although this course is not currently open for enrolment we suggest you add it to your Wishlist which means you will be notified when new runs are open for enrolment.
While the materials you use for each of the above differ, the approach is always the same. This is what we’ll be looking at in the next two steps.
In Step 2.16 we’ll focus on creating our own animation with the activity, ‘PIxilation’. This activity will feature pixilation – an animated technique where a human subject is photographed, as a type of ‘human puppet’, doing something physical, such as writing on a piece of paper or a white board, to create an animation. To do this we’ll use the selfie or image you produced in Step 2.12 and animate around it with a range of thoughts, ideas and sentences.
Which type of animation do you think would work best in your literacy class? Please add your thoughts to the Comments section.
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Developing Literacy: A Journey from Still Image to Film

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