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As I write this Work-Shop page introduction in the New Millenium .... the so-called Super Information Age ....you may be amazed to know that HOW-TO instructions, books or information on the Stop Motion Animation Art & Craft aClaying-Up sculpt for multi-piece molding
re almost NAlien sculpt ready for molding ....eye displacement pieces insertedON-EXISTENT. There are informational resources about Cel / Drawn animation and in just a few short years, the bookstores and libraries are overflowing with books & instructions about computer-digital animation & special effects. The internet search engines have many Stop Motion listings, but most of them seem to be about nostalgia & history (which we should should know about) and a few studios, individuals, or hobbyists that do some Stop Motion. I do not know of any schools (private or public) or colleges that teaches in-depth about Stop Motion but you can easily find an incredible abundance of trade schools & colleges pumping-out a plethora of computer trained students. You should also know that there Does Not exist any Stop Motion "Industry or Organizations". It seems to me, that Stop Motion Animation might be a very helpful foundational skill that might be included in a 3-D computer animation curriculum.

From the very eCoating Gypsum onto sculpt and clay-up halfarly Stop Motion Animation beginnings, it is still basically, an Individual & Self-taught Craft, and if you are really lucky, one might have the rare chance to wInjecting foam latex rubber into moldork on a Stop Motion project (& learn from experienced artists). Because Stop Motion involves so many skills and disciplines, it is understandable why very few pursue this avocation. You must be very dedicated and somewhat fanatical about Stop Motion in order to endure the effort and sweat. This is the "Creative" process that many traditional artists / craftspeople Enjoy; that tactile hand-to-mind connection which is like nutrition & exercise for the human brain cells. You must be very self-motivated and be curious and willing to do experimentation with materials & techniques and then, make mistakes; this is how you really learn. As I often say, "WARNING, only for Hard Core Stop-Motionists".

Work-Shop Trimming and seaming prepwill focus mostly on free technical information available online (the internet). As I stated Finished puppet ready for animation action !elsewhere, Stop Motion encompasses many crafts, methods & materiaIs and one must adapt-modify and apply them to Stop Motion. I DO NOT claim to be an expert in all areas, however, I will attempt to write some technical articles that may possibly help Stop Motionists. Whatever you find here will hopefully spark your own curiousity and then, YOU can take the initiative to do further investigation & research. Not everything is free and if you want more in-depth reference information please visit Books page. Just remember, you are solely responsible with the knowledge presented here. Read Disclaimer.

CLICK on one of the Underlined subjects below......

Metalwork / Armatures | Puppet Creation | Models & Miniatures | Animation | Filming / Capturing | Special Effects

Metalwork / Armatures

One way to make wire armatures, by Joshua Mosley : Building Armatures for Clay Animation

Nick Hilligoss' Simple Wire Armature tutorial

Try these Loc-Line armatures that you can modify (add feet, hands, head) .... create a maniken & animate just the bare armature to just practice animation: Loc-Line Doll Armatures

Rex Armarture using balsa Wood & hardware store items, by Douglas Borton: Hinge Jointed Armatures

Poor Man's Armature using pliers, wires, tubing, washers, etc. / Reprint from SMA.com

Closeup images of basic ball & socket joints, by L. Ivan Orozco : Armature Anatomy 101

Foundational skills used in fabricating basic Ball & Socket Armatures, by L. Ivan Orozco : "Open Hole" Double Ball Joint
Drilling Holes in Metal Balls--- Brazing Balls onto Rods

Description and photos showing the construction of stop motion animation puppet armature joints using common tools and basic metalworking methods : Armature Making using Brass Metal

Independent Animator and beginning Armature fabricator, including diary of tests in tutorial form: Sven Bonnichsen

Email discussion group about all sorts methods in working metal: Google Groups/Metalworking

Email discussion group specifically about Table Top combo Mill-Drill machines: Yahoo Groups/Mill-Drill

MIT : "Introduction to Machine Tools"

Links page: The Home Workshop

An overview of the general methods of Brazing (high-heat soldering): The Brazing Book, by Handy & Harman

About jewelry/art metal techniques (especially brazing or soldering methods) in which some methods might be used in armature fabrication : The ArtMetal Resource To Metalworking

A good resource website with many links to other metalworking related sites: Metal Web News


Puppet Creation

There are clays for animating and there are clays for sculpting/molding: Properties of different Clays

General look at different: Puppetmaking Techniques

Making puppets overview (No photos) by Shelley Smith & Neil Hughes: Stop Motion Puppet Construction.Doc

More detailed description of puppet making. Almost no pictures and may be difficult for beginner to understand. I think this was supplement to hands-on course Puppet Model Making.PDF

Soft Sculpting Puppet Build-up Fabrication by LIO

Very simple Overview of puppet build-up .... Dinos .... by Kenneth Brilliant: Dinosaurs: from the Inside-Out

Creating Classic Stop-motion Monster: Build-up puppet method and here The Lone Animator

Stop Motion brother, "down under" (Australia)....one way to make Wire Armatures and overview of foam rubber latex casting, feet tie-downs, and more : Nick Hilligoss: Puppet Man from OZ

From The Art of Stop Motion Animation by Ken A. Priebe: Sample, Chapter 7: Building Puppets

Do-It-Yourself article for making your own, by David Schlatter: Foam Latex Injection Syringe-gun

Sagecraft's very comprehensive online resource site: The Puppetry Home Page

Fantasy modeling sculpting forum .... methods & tips adaptable to Stop Mo puppetmaking : Shiflett Brothers Board

Forum about sculpting miniatures.... get ideas for stop-mo puppet fabrication: Yahoo / 1List-Sculpting

Polymer Clay, sculptable then bakes hard .... many Stop Mo uses. Look up yourself : Polymer Clay Search

Comprehensive resources relating to general sculpting field: Sculptor.org

Overview of basic steps in making Gypsum mold, by L. Ivan Orozco : Moldmaking Pics of a Dino

UltraCal 30, the most often used high density plaster used for moldmaking, for foam latex casting, mask making, etc. ....find a distributor near you : Gypsum Solutions

Overview description of handling Gypsums: Mixing instructions, consistency & setting times, by Laguna Clay

Plaster molding basics ...Ultra-Cal Gypsum is best for molding stop mo clay sculpts : Art of Ceramic Mold Making

Very affordable ....hour video tutorial showing basics .... get it ! : Do it Yourself ! Foam Latex Puppet Making 101

Overview of the Stop Motion Puppet fabrication process, by Tom Brierton : At Last, Foam Fabrication Puppet Explained

Tom McLaughlin's more recent & updated information about handling his Foam Product: McLaughlin Foam

A few ways to fill up mold ... overfilling & closing molds or use: Foam Latex Injection Gun

Complicated and he never finished plans ... just use Kitchen oven : How to Build Foam Oven

How-To section by the Smooth-On company : Liquid Rubbers & Plastics for Artists & Industry

General information about mold making. Does not directly relate to Stop Motion puppet fabrication....shows basic principles : How to Guide (rubber molds) by, Sunbelt Materials

You might check-out this book ... maybe some good plaster-type molding tips: Mold Making for the Original Doll


Models & Miniatures

Some brief articles about about making props(also how to vacuform) : How-to Costume & Prop Building

Canadian published mag about building props ....some articles online but back issues available: Proptology Magazine

Fantasy architecture, making castles, buildings, etc.: Hirst Arts

Forum about some molding, castingas related to making models, miniatures, etc.: Yahoo Group Forum....Casting

Resource site for scale models, miniatures, forums, suppliers, etc. www.scalemodel.net

Creating miniature sets .... foam cutting & carving tools that will help: Hot Wire Foam Factory also Gallery

Forum about casting and molding as related to making models, miniatures, etc. that could be applicable to stop motion: Yahoo Group Forum....Casting



Mostly covering "Drawn 2D" animation but general principles also applicable to Stop Motion:
Training Blog for artists/animators - Training Blog for artists/animators - Gene Deitch - Craft of Making Cartoons
Performance Acting for Animators - Training Blog for artists/animators - Animating Rhythm and Dance - Animation Notes
Brian Lemay's Animation Examples - Toon Timer(PC) - Metronome Online - 'Itty Bitty' Animation Timer(Flashed based)
 Paul Van Gaans Animation Timer(PC) -  SMW Online Stopwatch & formulas/charts - Free Lip/Sound Sync aid(PC)

When you animate puppets, you need to measure some of the movements
The Importance of using Gages

Stop Motion Timing Log Sheets downloads: Stop Mo GenericPDF- Stop Mo 30-FpsPDF - Excel frame numbered version

Not much on the internet yet (that I could find) about Realistic-type animation (or even books)....some of it is technical, dry, and of a scientific nature and not in a language that could be useful to animators....I would recommend you study wildlife & nature videos (read my article below) and start recording / taping these shows for your motion reference library:

A "trick" to help me with Animation, by L. Ivan Orozco: Studying Motion

A most unique Clay Animation method, by L. Ivan Orozco: Strata-Cut

Site just focusing on 4 legged animal walk: Horse/Dog Locomotion

May be of interest....robotics simulating snake locomotion: Snake Robots

A RICH resource/gallery website of small free video clips for animation reference & study: BBC Motion Gallery


Filming / Capturing Animation

Analog video cams Digital video cams, webcams, software How do I Record-Film Stop Motion?

The most frequent questions I get is about what or how to record / film the stop motion .... here is a detailed description that might help your research or decision: StopMo Software & Tools

Some want to use Digital Still Cams for Stop Mo .... it's more complicated for beginners Digital Still Cam Overview

The Obi-Wan Kenobi of general How-to Film & Video work : RonDexter.com

General overview & info....Motion Picture & Video basics about production: Guide Book for Guerrilla Filmmakers

Digital-filmmakers resource site & some how-to & tips : 2-POP.COM

Guide to making high-quality low-res movies : Digital Flicks

Do-it-your screw control rig if you want to do moving camera animated scenes : Stop Motion Camera Dolly

Super 8mm Movie Film Format: FilmShooting.com - ON SUPER 8MM - The 8mm Film Metadirectory

Why can a HOUSE be Built & Finished Faster than your Animation Projects?
Time Managing & Organizing  Read: 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6


Special Effects

If you are doing Stop Motion you may need other kinds of special effects, resources, inspiration or
methods that can be modified and enhance your stop motion animation creations!

This is almost a Cinefex Magazine online but this is free: FX Guide

An email group discussion on general special FX .... a little disjointed but some info: Google Groups/Visual Effects

Fabrication method, tips & ideas adaptable to Stop Motion: The FX Lab & The Monster Lab (archives only)

PropBuild camera stabilizers, dollies, camera booms & other items: Homemade Camera & FX Gear

Special Effects and Props : Halloween Online

Links to special effects studios, suppliers, etc.: Chimera Studios


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