A Brief History in Stop Motion Animation Technique

The art of animation has undergone some drastic changes over the years. Interestingly, there are some traditional techniques that have given a strong foundation for these changes. One such technique is the ‘Stop Motion’, which is also known as the stop frame. This method of animation is a cinematic technique. The objects are brought to life by breaking up the figure’s motion into increments and filming one frame of film per increment; thus creating an illusion of movement. This technique is credited to some legendary animators.

The Beginning:

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In the 1800s this technique was used to show movements (in objects) as if it were done by magic. Later, in the year 1897, the first instance of this technique was seen in Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton’s ‘The Humpty Dumpty Circus’. It was first used in animation in 1912, through ‘Modelling Extraordinary’. Following this was the Willie Hopkins’ ‘Miracles in Mud’ in 1916 that left the audience spellbound.

The Middle (20th Century):

At the turn of 20th century, animator, Willis O’Brien created a milestone in the stop motion technique through his work in ‘King Kong’ (1933). Later in the century, clay animator Eliot Noyes Jr. polished this technique further with his ‘free-forming’ method in his 1965 film, ‘Clay’. Another innovative example by Noyes was in his 1975 film, ‘Sandman’. Here, he used stop motion to animate sand lying on glass.

Around this time, an experimenter animator, Will Viton created a film called ‘Closed Mondays’ that went on to become the first stop motion film to win an Oscar.

Disney, too, experimented with stop motion by collaborating with Mike Jittlov for animating Mickey Mouse in a short sequence called ‘Mouse Mania’.  In the 80s, the ‘Star War’ trilogy saw the experimentation in the stop motion technique.

The Present:

As the 20th century progressed this technique gained momentum and a lot of animators emerged. In fact, today this technique has moved beyond movies and ventured into video games. Also, 2009, singer-songwriter Oren Lavie’s music video used the stop motion animation, which won her a Grammy nomination for ‘Best Short Form Music Video’.

If you are intrigued by this technique and your curiosity has raised many question, then here’s some good news. You can learn this animation technique in schools like Whistling Woods International’s School of Animation, where you can explore and enhance your talent and passion for animation.

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