by Megan - Wednesday, December 04, 2013 - Permalink
When Phillip Barnhard and the rest of the team at M/C/C decided to take a different approach to their yearly holiday eGreeting card, they turned to iStopMotion. M/C/C is a full-service integrated marketing communications agency based in Dallas, Texas. Because they always encourage their clients, which include Texas Instruments, Harris CapRock and Chuck E. Cheese’s, to do something different and bold, they wanted their holiday greeting card to echo that sentiment.
“I ran across several Post-it stop motion videos that other filmmakers had posted to YouTube and I remember being blown away by the production and technique,” Phillip, a video producer at M/C/C, says. To incorporate their company’s values, Phillip had the idea to add things you might find at an employee’s desk. He pitched the idea of creating a wintery scene out of Post-its, and the rest was history. Everyone was on board.
The project consisted of three crewmembers, 632 sticky notes, 11 binder clips, six pencils, a stapler and a highlighter. The holiday eGreeting card, titled “Snow-motion,” was shot in M/C/C’s video suite using a Sony Handicam hooked up to a Macbook Pro.
“My favorite feature is definitely the onion skinning,” Phillip says. “During our big blizzard scene at the beginning of the film, the onion skinning feature allowed us to isolate which Post-its had not been moved. When you’re moving more than 75 pieces per frame, you lose track of which Post-its have been moved. Onion skinning made it easy for the crew to identify which ones were left to move and complete the shot.” Phillip also loves how easy iStopMotion is to use. He notes that you rarely run across sophisticated video software that you can download, learn and start production in a matter of minutes. He thinks it’s the perfect tool for amateur filmmakers to create entertaining films from home.
The response to the eGreeting card was overwhelmingly positive. Several clients said it was the best holiday video they had ever seen! Phillip says that the most gratifying moments came when industry peers recognized their hard work. “Snow-motion” won three awards in 2012 – a Silver Telly for Online Video, a Silver Davey for Online Advertising-Video, and a Bronze ADDY for Advertising Industry Self-Promotion: Interactive. It’s one of the most decorated creative pieces in M/C/C’s 27-year history.
Want to do something special for your holiday greeting this year, too? Check out M/C/C’s eGreeting card above and their YouTube Channel for some inspiration. Here’s another good one from M/C/C – not stop motion animation, but still hilarious. If you’re ready to give stop motion or time-lapse movies a shot, download iStopMotion for Mac (free five-day trial available) or iStopMotion for iPad and get animating! Happy Holidays!
by Megan - Monday, December 02, 2013 - Permalink
Cyber Monday-Shmyber Monday (amiright?!). This year, it's all about WINNING an iPad mini 2, courtesy of the Animation Chefs. But hurry - you have until midnight on Tuesday December 3rd to submit an animation. Remember, this is a contest, so animations are not judged, but rather give the creators an entry. Names are tossed into the Chefs' Pot-O-Problems and chosen randomly.
Check out the video above from Kids Create Art - an iStopMotion Humpty Project-slash-Doctor Who tribute to inspire your own creation. And don't forget, you can download a FREE trial version of iStopMotion to get you started on creating a stop motion animation for the Animation Chefs' Humpty Project contest. Simply visit this page and click download, then you'll be prompted to register for the free trial version. Happy animating, and good luck!
by Megan - Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - Permalink
The technique of tilt shifting is becoming increasingly popular in the film world. This effect uses tilt shift lenses to manipulate the depth of field and perspective of scenes filmed through a normal lens. By rotating the lens against the image plane (tilt) and the movement of the lens along the image plane (shift), filmmakers are able to obtain a very shallow depth of field, distorting the focus of the image.
Using the tilt shift technique often results in “miniature faking.” The effect of this is a life-sized scene being “faked” to look miniature. This is what Keith Loutit achieved with “The Lion City,” his time-lapse animation of the beauty of Singapore. His idea behind the film was to use the tilt shift technique to let the viewer experience the focus and distance of Singapore for themselves. He also wanted to translate Singapore’s constant heat and humidity, which resulted in some really great shots that played on the distortion of the image’s focus.
The film was shot in all digital stills on Nikon D3s and D4 bodies along with the Canon 5D MKII/Little Bramper combination for some day to night work. Keith also used an extremely large-scale dolly for the tracking shots, and he used lenses whenever possible for the different focusing effects. He edited the film in Final Cut Pro and added effects in After Effects. All of this resulted in an incredibly unique and surreal view of Singapore. Check out Keith Loutit’s “The Lion City” above!
Want to try your hand at creating a film like “The Lion City”? iStopMotion offers features that give you the perfect opportunity to mimic the tilt shift effect in a time lapse just like Loutit’s. Keith Loutit used time-lapse animation to speed up different aspects of his film, such as traffic racing along below the buildings. Try using iStopMotion’s time-lapse feature to show movements sped up in time, like the blooming of a flower, the melting of ice or a sunrise or sunset.
iStopMotion also has its own tilt shift feature that mimics the effect created with specialized tilt shift lenses. It does a fantastic job of tricking the eye into seeing something a bit differently, just as “The Lion City” does. Tilt shift is perfect for stop motion animation’s small movements and individually photographed frames. This unique pairing of tilt shift with stop motion and time lapse recording software allows animators to expand creative expression, manipulating the depth of field of their images so that life-sized locations or subjects appear miniature in size. For a great example, this time lapse from the Munich Olympic Tower was created using iStopMotion’s tilt shift effect. To make your own film using tilt shift, just draw the line you want your image plane rotated against right on the screen, and then adjust the focus. You can even adjust the picture’s color using the scales on the side of the screen to give it more of an interesting effect. Use iStopMotion’s tilt shift feature to show off your own unique perspective!
We’d love to see what you can do with iStopMotion! Hit us with your best “shot!”*Please note: the above example was not created using iStopMotion
by Megan - Monday, November 18, 2013 - Permalink
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty won an iPad that’s small! Want to win an iPad mini 2? Our friends the Animation Chefs are giving one away! Just follow these simple steps to enter:
1. Subscribe to Animation Chefs. All you need to do is submit your name and email, and you’ll be on your way to joining all of the exclusive animation fun!
2. After you’ve subscribed, head on over to the members area and watch the short video (also above) to download the cutout template of Humpty Dumpty.
3. Now it’s your turn to create! Use your Humpty Dumpty cutout to make your own short animated film. Seem a bit daunting? Don’t worry … they’re only looking for a 5-15 second movie!
4. Then send the link to your film over to the Animation Chefs, and they’ll toss your name into their Pot-O-Problems. In their next episode, they’ll draw a name from the pot; that person will receive a brand new iPad mini 2!
You must be 18 years or older to enter. Teachers, parents and media mentors: help your young animators win by entering on their behalf. Hurry to enter, though, because the contest ends on December third! Keep in mind, this is not a competition, it's a contest - so everyone has an equal chance at winning.
Best of luck to all of you aspiring animators out there! And don’t forget, iStopMotion is a great way to create stop motion animations. You can even download a FREE trial version of the software (just click "download") to get started! As the Chefs would say, Bon Animate!
PS: Check out episodes and animations from the Animation Chefs, plus read their tips and tricks on animating for inspiration and guidance when creating your own Humpty stop action clip!
by Megan - Friday, November 15, 2013 - Permalink
From October 10, 2013 to August 31, 2014, visitors to The Museum of Modern Art can visit its latest Art Lab installation, which focuses on movement. Located on the first floor of the Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building, MoMA Art Labs are designed to offer children and families an immersive experience during their Museum visit.
Now in its sixth year, each Lab installation features a different theme, with activities set up throughout the space that facilitate a deeper relationship between the visitor and the concepts of modern art. We’re extremely proud to say that Boinx’s iStopMotion for iPad plays a role in MoMA Art Lab: Movement. One of a variety of activities in the Lab, iStopMotion for iPad – and stop motion animation in general – enables visitors to experiment with the act of moving objects to create a short film. Other activities featured in the Lab allow visitors to experiment with performance art, discover the gestures artists make when creating art, play with balance while making a mobile, and much more.
MoMA Art Lab: Movement is a great place for kids to explore their creative side and learn more about different ways artists can represent movement in art, design, and film. We strongly encourage everyone out there to visit the Lab and try their hand at some stop motion animation. MoMA Art Lab is open Saturday through Thursday from 10:30am to 4:30pm, and Fridays from 10:30am to 6:30pm. Learn more about MoMA Art Lab: Movement here.
by Megan - Monday, November 11, 2013 - Permalink
If you’re one of over a billion people worldwide that have an iPhone, chances are you use it for nearly everything. When Markus Oertly decided he wanted to use his for quick, on-demand filming of his stop-motion movies, he knew that iStopMotion with its companion Remote Camera app were the perfect choice for him. While he enjoyed the program, he knew the phone would benefit from a stand that would optimize the stability of the image. So Markus decided to create one.
He tried a few different methods, including glue and paperclips, before deciding that the best design was to build the iPhone stand using only a (sturdy) sheet of paper. His 12-year-old daughter was more than happy to make the initial ten working prototypes with the promise of a money reward!
Markus is currently working on several projects with his new iPhone stand prototype for iStopMotion. He’s gotten quite a positive reaction so far. One school that he introduced the stand to thought it was a great idea. Since then, the school has been working on developing a few more ways to get the iPhone and the iPad into the filming scene. Talk about planting the seed of knowledge and watching it grow!
On iStopMotion itself, Markus says that it’s “a cool software, and it has good user interface.” For the past eight years, he has taught students to work with iStopMotion since its very first version.
“It’s very important to know how to use stop-motion or time-lapse movies as a didactical method to learn something new,” Markus says. “Right now, we’re preparing a course for higher-education students. The problem is that they know too much! By building a stop-motion movie, they have to reduce the content as much as possible. With iStopMotion, they have the perfect tool to do this.”
Markus recently taught a course on stop-motion at “Schweizerischen SFIB-Tagung” in Bern, Switzerland using iStopMotion. He was happy to find that the students were really impressed! One person said that Markus’s panel was the highlight of the whole conference. “Later that evening, I got an email with a stop-motion clip which was built right after the panel during the rest of the conference.” He laughs, “I told them before … it’s addictive!”
Be sure to print out one of Markus’s iPhone stand templates to help you create your own iStopMotion film! It’s as easy as pressing “record!”
In case you don't speak German, here is a cheat-sheet for Markus' iPhone stand:
1. Use a sturdy/thick sheet of paper.
2. Cut along the dotted lines.
3. Fold along the solid lines.
Check out this slideshow for further help.
Enjoy the time lapse video above of Kristiansund Harbor in Norway, which Oliver created while at the Nordic Lights Festival earlier this year!
by Megan - Wednesday, November 06, 2013 - Permalink
Geekazine recently checked out iStopMotion for the Mac; here is what he has to say about it:
"Stop motion is an art that some excel in. Claymation and LEGO motion are both types of Stop motion video. Movies like Wallace and Grommet and Chicken Run use this technique. Now you can, too! [...] I am not a stop motion expert by any means, but this software made is easy to create my own videos and animated GIFs.
This is fun software. It made things easy and I was able to put together some great short videos. I can also set up time-lapse to capture longer videos in shorter times. Maybe a sunrise or sunset."
Read the rest of Geekazine's review of iStopMotion here.
by Megan - Wednesday, October 23, 2013 - Permalink
Our old friend Selina Briggs is back with her famous robot, Jelly, and they are ready for action. For those unfamiliar with the Jelly Empire, we’ll give you a quick recap. The Jelly Empire is about a robot named Jelly whose ultimate goal is to take over the world – and everyone’s hearts – to create an empire! Jelly started off as a 2D illustration, and he has progressed into a 3D interactive figure in Selina’s iStopMotion animation videos. He can also be found among Selina’s growing collection of collectable designer toys, comics, clothes and accessories.
Selina’s latest videos feature Jelly wrestling in a winner-takes-all contest with six Luchabots (Jellybots painted to look like Luchadores – also known as lucha libres, a type of professional wrestler from Spanish-speaking countries). Fans were able to vote on the Luchabot matches to decide the outcome. Selina chose iStopMotion to make the Jellybots come to life because she believes it’s a great medium for toys.
“My original attempt was on a Nintendo 3DS, but the screen resolution was really low and there were no features,” she says. “I owned an iPad and an iPhone, so the next step was iStopMotion for the iPad. This definitely made for a huge change in quality!”
Using iStopMotion for iPad worked well for her short videos, but when the scope of these videos increased, she needed to find better means. That’s when she started using iStopMotion 3 for Mac. It’s been her go-to program ever since.
“I still use an iPhone 4S as my capture device,” Selina says. “I’m considering buying a high-end camera to up the quality further, but then again, I’ve just ordered an iPhone 5S, so I’ll see how that works first! I love the easy functionality of marrying the two devices.”
In the future, Selina hopes to move from resin to vinyl figures. She would also like to start taking her illustrations into the world of storytelling. Specifically, she’s looking into publishing a children’s book. Most recently, Selina kept busy prepping for New York Comic Con, which just took place from October 9th through 12th, where she was selling all the toys seen in her videos. She also just finished up a Jelly League promo (a parody of Justice League).
Check out the Jelly Empire channel on YouTube here for more of Selina’s work. And be sure to watch rounds one and two of the Luchabots Jelly Bot fights and the final round - above - to find out who wins!
by Megan - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - Permalink
If you’re even just a semi-regular internet user, chances are that you’ve seen an animated GIF in action. GIFs are the latest web craze – essentially they are short, silent clips of a sequence on an endless loop. They can be anything from a clip of a favorite television show of yours to an adorable animal doing something inexplicably hilarious.
Technology columnist David Pogue has a couple theories on why the GIF, after 26 years of existence, is in its prime now. Among his many ideas, he notes the technical limitations of smart phones and tablets as well as the fact that GIFs can play on almost any browser without a plugin as viable reasons for their popularity. There’s also the notion that limitations foster creativity, which we can see through Twitter’s 140 character limit and Vine’s 6-second video limit. Some of the most relatable forms of media seem to happen in the shortest amounts of time! David also mentions that GIFs shouldn’t be viewed as “stripped-down movies,” but rather as “live-action photographs” that far exceed the story-telling capabilities of the still image – a pretty interesting concept. Check out the rest of David Pogue’s commentary here.
Boinx’s iStopMotion has recently joined in on the GIF fun. With Boinx’s latest update (version 2.2 [more info] for the iPad and version 3.2 [more info] for the Mac), you can create the next animated GIF internet sensation using iStopMotion! With iStopMotion 3.2 for Mac, you can save any sequence of up to 200 frames as an animated GIF right to your hard drive. In iStopMotion 2.2 for the iPad, you can export the first 200 frames of our animation as a GIF and send and upload it either by email, iMessage, or DropBox.
“iStopMotion's new support for animated GIF export is a brilliant addition to an already fantastic product,” says Charlie Collier, iStopMotion enthusiast who has created professional work such as “Ballad of a Prodigal Son” (more info) and most recently created the above animated GIF of his now-famous twist-tie characters (more info). “This new feature is a great way for animators of all levels to share snippets of their work in a quick and easy manner. And with the raising popularity of animated GIFs in the internet culture, it will hopefully inspire others to do the same. I can say with confidence that I'll be using this new feature quite a bit!”
So, what do you say? Ready to start creating your own animated GIFs? iStopMotion for iPad is now available on iTunes for just 4.99 USD. That’s 50% off the regular price of 9.99 USD! If you already have the app, the update is free for existing users. iStopMotion for the Mac is now available from both iTunes and the Boinx website for only 39.99 USD, 20% off the regular price of 49.99 USD! But hurry … these special prices only stand until October 20th!
Get GIF-ing and start creating your own animated GIFs! Show us what you’ve got!
by Megan - Thursday, October 10, 2013 - Permalink
Unlike stop motion animation, where an object is moved in between still frames to create the illusion of animation, time lapse animation is a technique where frames are captured automatically of a process already in motion – a sunset, a busy city square, leaves changing color. Because the frequency at which frames are captured is much lower, the action appears to be moving faster (think of a flower budding in fast motion). For instance, if you took a picture of the sunset in front of you once a second, and compressed hundreds of images at 30 frames per second, it would seem like the sunset was playing in fast-forward.
Filmmaker Anthony Cerniello (more info) recently combined stop motion and time lapse animation to create a project that quickly became the most-viewed video on Colossal (more info), a popular website highlighting new artistic breakthroughs, as well as becoming a Staff Pick on Vimeo. His short film “Danielle” originated when he joined his friend Danielle at her family reunion last Thanksgiving. With the help of still photographer Keith Sirchio, the two captured pictures of all of Danielle’s cousins, from youngest to oldest. After scanning the photos into his computer, he selected the pictures of the family members with the most similar bone structure and made slight edits. Next, animators Nathan Meier and Edmund Earle helped the project along by using After Effects and 3D Studio Max to animate the photos from youngest to oldest, bringing them to life in the form of what looked like a slowly aging person. Nuke artist George Cuddy then edited small details such as hair and eyes, and the rest was history.
All of these pictures were put together and slightly animated between each frame to create subtle transitions, creating an amazing time-lapse effect and showing the decades-long aging process in just a few breathtaking minutes. Paired with the music added by Mark Reveley, the project is as eerie as it is cool.
Want to try your hand at shooting your own time lapse photography? Here are some tips:
1. Make sure you choose a subject that shows movement. Melting ice, a busy street, or a flower blooming are some good starting points to get you thinking.
2. Decide how much time you want to dedicate to shooting. It’s going to take a lot longer to shoot the change of the seasons than it will to shoot a sunrise, so plan accordingly!
3. Determine your frame capturing intervals. If you’re shooting something that will take longer to show movement, you might want to take a picture once every minute instead of once every second. If you want a more seamless shot, set your time intervals to a few seconds. With the time lapse featuring in iStopMotion for iPad, you can simply set it and forget it!
4. Use a tripod. When shooting a time lapse (or stop motion animation, for that matter!) it’s vital that you have a steady shot, so your footage doesn’t look jumpy. For professional looking work, use a tripod, or anything to keep your camera or iPad steady.
5. Add titles and other effects. Use editing software like iMovie or Final Cut Pro to add titles, music and any other effects you can imagine.
iStopMotion is super easy to use for time lapse videos as well as stop motion animation. Give it a try today and let us know what you think!