Week 1: Groups; Outline, Storyboard
Week 2: Theme, Setting, Characters. Build set & Props, Write script, scenes 1-6
Week 3: iStopMotion – begin shooting scenes
Week 4: iStopMotion – continue shooting scenes (ELA test week)
Week 5: iMovie – edit raw footage, add transitions, cropping etc.
Week 6: Post Production – iMovie – add voice over, dialogue, special effects, titles & credits
Week 7: Post Production – iMovie – final edit, peer review, publish to SchoolTube

Google Spreadsheet – Groups and Project Status – check to see what your group has successfully completed. (it will be crossed out)

****important**** you cannot begin shooting until your theme, outline, and script has been reviewed and approved by Ms. R.

Supporting documents for this project (pdf)
Script-Screenplay Outline
2014 Stop-Motion Unit Learning Targets / Project Assessment


This week begins our adventure with Stop-Motion animation. There are so many fantastic resources available to learn more and to discover the many techniques and materials that can be used. I recommend that you take some time at home to look at some of the animations. Here are some links to explore:

Software and Supplies

Tutorials & Resources

Each student and class can choose how to publish their animations.

Some Ideas:

  • Using the Thimble template. Do you like writing HTML? You can remix this simple template I created and add your own work.
  • Class Google web site. Your class can create one web site and each student will create a page that will have your reflection and your animation embedded in the page.

Class Pages:

If your animation is not published, please make sure you complete your reflection and publish your work. The computer lab is open every day at lunch and after school. 

Physics and The Laws of Motion

One of the goals of this unit is to think about how, why, and when, an animator can apply physical properties to the objects in their animations. The animator must reflect upon and consider each of the forces at play in the objects or characters being animated.

When a character moves, what is responsible for that movement? It may be a movement that the character makes or something caused by an external force, like a collision. Where did the energy for the motion come from? Once you identify a force, where is it being applied and how strong is it?

First Law of Motion: Force creates motion (movement).  The law of inertia.
Second Law of Motion: When force is applied to an object it will move (1st law) and continue to accelerate (move faster) as long as that force is being applied to it. (2nd law). Heavier objects need more force to move them.
Third Law of Motion: Gravity acts as a force against an object. “For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction”. When you push an object it pushes back.
Website with Examples

Squash and Stretch

  • Gives animations a realistic and natural look
  • The weight and the mass and physical properties of an object can be illustrated through the use of squash & stretch
  • In an example of a character moving and then jumping,  the role of squash & stretch is clear: it is used to give the impression of force, in particular of weight. As things and characters move and interact (“collide”), weight is transferred from one object to another or from one part of an object to another.
  • Squash & Stretch – video example


  • The lines of movement for paths of action, to make the movement feel natural instead of mechanical.
  • All actions, with few exceptions (such as the animation of a mechanical device), follow an arc or slightly circular path.
  • Gravity accounts for the presence of arced motion when an object is thrown or launched in any inclined (not directly up or down) trajectory. Such object will follow a parabolic path on its fall to the ground.

Slow In and Slow Out (Timing)

  • Every object needs time to both accelerate and slow down and everything is either accelerating or decelerating.
  • Physical Timing. This helps objects appear to have a believable, but not always realistic, sense of weight and mass to them.
  • A variety of slow and fast timing within an animation adds realism and interest.
  • Why does this happen? Physics! Characters and objects don’t come to a stop or drastically change speed immediately. They are accelerated to a given speed or slowed down from it, even if this happens too fast to be noticed by naked eyes.  Slow-in and Slow-out can be easily explained by classical, Newtonian mechanics. It’s enough to think about the Law of Inertia: “a body in uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it”.
  • Slow-In-Slow-Out – example

    slow-in slow-out

    slow-in slow-out

Follow Through & Overlapping Action

  • Not all parts of the body move evenly together.
  • A character walking can simultaneously swing their arms or keep them in their pockets, a horse running is moving its legs but also its mane and tail.
  • Overlapping action is the animation principle that captures how parts of an object move at different rates. It is important to capture the nature of the movement as well as the slight variations in timing and speed of these parts makes objects seem more natural.
  • An action shouldn’t ever be brought to a complete halt before starting another action.
  • When the main body of the character stops all other parts continue to catch up to the main mass of the character, such as arms, long hair, clothing, coat tails or a dress, floppy ears or a long tail. Nothing stops all at once. This is follow through.
  • Animated horse
  • Follow Through & Overlapping Action

; acceleration; force; motion; inertia; trajectory; mass; gravity, rigid

•Wikipedia Entry for 12 Principles of Animation
Filed Under (2013-14, Animation) by on January 2, 2014

AnimationWe begin 2014 with our animation unit. We will investigate how animations are created and how they work through the creation of all kinds of animations. Beginning with the simple flip book we will examine how single pictures (or frames) can be viewed in sequence at a certain speed where the pictures come alive and movement and motion are natural looking. Animation can also be thought of as “the illusion of motion”.

Animated Toys

In the 19th century there were many forms of animated toys that illustrated the way the mind and eyes perceived these flashing images. There are several websites that have instructions to make your own out of simple materials. I encourage you to try some of them.

Make your own!


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