This is designed as a 3 hour field trip. If you have more time for this activity students can design and 3D print files on their own. Students will use 3D printing, laser cutters, and other fabrication tools to create characters and props for their own stop motion movies.
Cameras: On a tablet or laptop with the Zoetrope app
The app Zoetrope is available for free in the Microsoft App Store
Colored paper for back drop
colored and patterned papers for cutting out props
various toys and items for props- we have wooden letter blocks, playdough, fake foliage, plastic toys, etc….
paper, pens, pencils
Students will design their story and sketch out what the basic props and background will look like
Give students pens, pencils, and paper to start drawing out their basic idea. For inspiration you can show them examples of stop motion movies.
During this time, make sure students know that the more pictures they take with less movement between frames will result in a smoother looking movie, whereas larger movements with less pictures will make it look more choppy.
Have students start designing their set
Large sheets of paper are best for this part of the activity. Blue paper with white paper clouds, is an easy example. You can use painter’s tape to hold the paper in place without damaging the walls. The painters tape will also help hold any other paper props in place.
Students will design objects or characters for their movie
Objects do not need to be large. If students are making props on the laser cutter and 3D printer make sure they keep them at a proper size ratio. For groups with limited time I have the teachers email me files to be 3D printed or laser cut in advance. We encourage outlines only to be cut on the laser cutter as doing engraving can be time consuming and those extra details can be drawn or painted on after cutting.
Students can take the photos for their stop motion directly in the app
From the home screen they will click “new project” then on “take photos”. There is an option at the bottom of the screen that will allow them to overlay the first picture so they can see how much their props move from frame to frame and keep it all lined up.
Have students lay out set and props in front of the lap top and take sequential photos
Students will put their props in the starting position and take a photo. If pleased with the placement, lighting, and composition, they can then move their prop a small amount for the next photo. The smaller the movement, the more pictures they will take leading to a longer movie. Typically a 60 frame stop motion is only 2-3 seconds long.
Select photos for the movie
As students take photos in Zoetrope it will save them in a numbered order. Students will click on “Select Photos” to choose the photos for their movie.