Slice of Life: Making Stopmotion Minecraft Movies

(This is for the Slice of Life challenge for March, hosted by Two Writing Teachers. We are writing each day about the small moments in the larger perspective … or is that the larger perspective in the smaller moments? You write, too.)

Minecraft movies

My son recently got an interesting gift: a Minecraft Stopmotion Movie package. Actually, the box contained the props and then you download the app, and use a mobile device to shoot the stopmotion. He and a friend were working on a short flick this long weekend.

While you could do all this without the package, the backgrounds and plastic bricks and characters make for an easier experience. (Although oddly, the intro and outros are preset to be pretty long … sometimes longer than the movie itself, and I wonder if this is a nod to kids’ fascination with those elements of moviemaking).

They are still working on how to tell a story in stopmotion as opposed to moving characters around just to move characters around … the teacher in me can’t stand the randomness. But I know I need to just let them do what they do, and play and explore.

I’ve shown him how to move the video into iMovie, where he can do more editing and add music, etc, so that is the next real step. He already knows the basics there, so it is a rather seamless transition from filmmaker to editor.

Peace (in the film),
Kevin

A Little Stopmotiony Wagging of the Tail

Dog wag animation

 

(Click on image — or here — to get see animation — I decided to host in Flickr this time)

I was inspired by a very cool video put into the CLMOOC by Jill Dawson, and then even more inspired by her explanation of how she did what she did for the CLMOOC Make Bank, to give some animation a try again. Although Jill used different apps for hers, I decided to get back into Animation Desk, an app I have had for some time. It has been upgraded and has some different parts, so I am still figuring it all out again. There is a free and paid version, and I think I have the paid version from some free trial time period when it came out.

Jill’s Piece: Dog Days of Summer

Jill’s “How To Do This” Piece:

But it was fun … wanna try stopmotion? You can tinker even with any apps with a site called ParaPara Animation.

An example that I made in a few minutes:

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

 

Playing with Animation

My students have had some fun this week (in the time after standardized testing) to make some neat stopmotion animation with  a Mozilla-hosted site called Para Para Animation. It’s simple to use, with none of the bells and whistles of more advanced animation programs. (so, that is both good and limiting).

Check out a few of their creations:

Seasons


Our Quidditch Team Name


Tiger, Jumping


Soccer Goal

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

Playing with the ParaPara Animation Tool

Check this out:

I stumbled into an open source, online animation tool that is simple to use and pretty nifty way to teach animation to kids. ParaPara is a Japanese animation tool that allows for simple animation (and apparently, there is a way to collaborate with others … looking into that feature …) Mozilla’s Webmaker hosts a tutorial on how to use it, with links to the ParaPara site.

Once you make your animation, it kicks out a link and then an embed code, so that you can embed like I did with my Happy Friend animation that I created in just a few minutes.

What are you waiting for? Get making!

Making Animation with ParaPara

Peace (in the frame),
Kevin

PS –

At the Corner of Stopmotion and Vine


I came across a post some time back (this post has been in my “draft bin” for a bit) from Animation Chefs about using Vine for making stopmotion, and thought: well, maybe. I gave it a try with some Legos. Yeah, it worked, but the six seconds and my own lack of an iPad holder made the movie a little jumpy. Still, kids could easily make something like this. I just did a lot of little swipes in the app, moving the pieces forward, swiping again, etc.

Peace (in the frames),
Kevin

Getting the Ball Bouncing: An Animation Experiment

I was playing around with an iPad animation app the other day, bouncing a ball around a screen, when I suddenly was struck by the idea of having the ball get “passed off” from one screen to another. It dawned on me that I might be able to do that with the PicPlayPost app, which allows you to layer in multiple videos as a collage of sorts.

So, I got to work (eh, play) and began building a few videos of balls moving around a screen. When I was done, though, I didn’t like the way it looked or worked. I was having trouble connecting one video to another, and the screens were fairly empty. I killed the project. The next morning, I realized how I could still salvage the idea. One of the things that the screens needed were some obstacles (themed around a pinball machine, and the game of Pong, and a spiral, etc.)

But unlike my first attempt, I realized I needed to plan it out on paper. I needed to “see” the project as a whole, not as parts. I needed a guide because when you start working with multiple videos, thing get confusing very quickly.

Get the Ball Bouncing: The Plan

Now, with a blueprint, I went back into the app and got to work. I created five little videos, paying attention to where the ball began and where the ball ended up (as part of the visual “passing off” of the ball from screen to screen). It worked as I wanted it to except for one of the videos, where PicPlayPost cut off a side in the collage, and I could not figure out how to fix is. That’s why there is a slight delay in the upper right video. The ball is bouncing. You just can’t see it.

I added music to the video in YouTube itself, which is a convenient tool to have available for this kind of animation, which would fall flat if it were silent. I’m still tinkering around with the collage, to see if I can’t fix that problem of the cut video. But for now, this what I got.

Peace (in having a ball),
Kevin

How To Make Their Own Lego Movie


I love behind-the-scenes features for animated movies.

Yesterday, I took my three boys and two friends to a packed moviehouse to watch The Lego Movie. It’s pretty good, poking fun at itself and the corporate environment, with plenty of inside jokes for adults and crazy mayhem for kids. If your children or students saw the movie and are now thinking, I wanna do that (ie, make a Lego stopmotion movie) check out this stopmotion moviemaking hactivity kit resource that I created for the Mozilla Webmaker through a partnership with the National Writing Project.
Making Stopmotion Kit

Peace (in the bricks),
Kevin

 

Stopmotion Fun — Making Facez

The last day of school before vacation, I handed out wikistix and said, “Make something.” Most kids made animals at their seats but one girl got up and pinned the wikistix to our closet door. It stood there all day, greeting students. So, I decided to make a stopmotion animation with it, and posted it to our classroom blog for that student. I hope she sees it (I am sure she will.)

Peace (in the facez),
Kevin

The Dogonauts: A Kickstarter Reward

Dogonauts DVD
One of the first Kickstarter campaigns that I invested in was a stopmotion movie by a married filmmaking team whose blog posts I followed out of sheer curiosity. They were making a longer stopmotion movie called Dogonauts, and when they turned to Kickstarted for financing, I figured that I had to put some money where my RSS had been. I invested in them.

The other day, the DVD of the short film arrived, and Dogonauts: Enemy Line is a lot of fun to watch, and I see I can probably use it as a mentor text for future claymation projects with students (and my sons!). It’s a no-dialogue adventure that pits two aliens against each other as they try to survive a crash on a distant planet. There is plenty of humor as both characters try to rebuilt their spaceships, and both come to an understanding of each other by the end.

Peace (in the flick),
Kevin