by Megan - Thursday, August 29, 2013 - Permalink
When it comes to the teaching and creation of animation, freelance animation workshop facilitator and artistic director at Tin Shed Theater Co. Justin Cliffe relies on iStopMotion to help him extract an idea from the creative mind to the screen. Based out of South Wales, England, Justin travels to schools, community buildings and youth centers, teaching people of all ages how to animate short films using iStopMotion. He believes it’s the best program of its kind on the market for his line of work.
“I've used a lot of different software to teach animation, but iStopMotion is by far the best I have come across,” Justin says. “Its application is quite broad, which is excellent when working with very young children, as their imaginations are far wilder than you could ever anticipate… but it's also an extremely simple piece of software to use, which is a perfect marriage really. The onion skin, or ghost layer, is superb and is worth the money for the software alone.”
When he’s teaching people how to animate, Justin recognizes that the beauty of animations such as stop motion comes from people toying with their imaginations to create something incredible. “It’s the creation and follow-through of making stop motion/Claymation films that is the rewarding and enriching part of the experience,” he says.
Justin uses iStopMotion with both children as young as five and adults up to age 70 with little to no tech experience to help them bring their ideas to life. He notes that “it often feels like the process and technical information you're trying to share with them is an irrelevant detail” in comparison to the creative end result. The benefit of iStopMotion to this is the program’s ease of use, which almost takes the technical aspect out of the equation altogether.
Justin enjoys putting together his own animated films when he has a few hours to spare, and judging from his latest short film “The Fridge Tucker,” he enjoys putting a fridge and some plasticine together, as well! The minute-and-a-half Claymation short took him five hours in total to finish, minus the model-making. To complete the film, Justin used iStopMotion, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, GarageBand, and any spur-of-the-moment animation ideas he came up with as he went along, as he didn’t story board or plan anything beforehand beside the overarching theme. He says that the short film is a test piece for a larger concept he’s working on, which explores the themes and ideas of “monsters” in a modern context, placed in our homes.
Watch Justin Cliffe’s “The Fridge Tucker” above for a fun and creative example of what iStopMotion can help a creative mind achieve!
NOTE: Justin Cliffe would like to thank THE HIVE, a youth media center that has been running in Shrewsbury, England, for their extensive help during his early career. It has actively engaged with young people for over seven years, offering them workshops and experiences in anything and everything from music to theatre and movie making to animation.
by Megan - Tuesday, August 27, 2013 - Permalink
A brickfilm is a film that uses LEGOs to tell a story, usually created with stop-motion animation. Golego, the inventors of some of the most wildly popular brickfilms out there, has recently celebrated his 10th anniversary of using iStopMotion to bring the land of LEGOs to life. Just take a look at the view count on Golego’s YouTube videos to see how many of us are celebrating with him!
Golego’s short film MIMUS was created for the Brickfilmfestival’s contest “Steinerei 2009” in Wolfsburg, Germany. It was based on the theme “FIVE,” as it was the fifth festival.
The film, which has already reached almost 25k views on YouTube, takes a unique twist on “FIVE.” It starts off with a close-up of five LEGO fingers, which are attached to an incredibly detailed large-scale LEGO person. Various LEGO characters are introduced, and they spend the rest of the film shuffling five smaller LEGO pieces into different interactive shapes for fun.
The idea of toys playing with other toys gives MIMUS a fantastical quality that almost makes you forget the whole thing is created entirely with LEGOs. It’s such a great example of the idea of stop-motion: to make every day objects come to life in a way that will leave you wondering, “How did they do that?!”
Take a look at the short stop-motion film and watch for all of MIMUS’s hidden “fives!” Golego deserves a big “high-five” for this one … and a “congratulations” on ten years of groundbreaking LEGO iStopMotion!
by Megan - Thursday, August 22, 2013 - Permalink
This past June, the organizers of the LOOK3 Festival of the Photograph and countless others came together in Charlottesville, Virginia for the 2013 festival. For three days, the city was teeming with festival-goers. LOOK3 began as a backyard barbeque between friends, who were also photographers, who simply wanted to share their work with and be inspired by one another. Now in its sixth year, thousands of enthusiasts came from all over the world to celebrate the art of photography, honoring eight photographers in particular: Carrie Mae Weems, Gregory Crewdson, Josef Koudelka, Martha Rosler, Michael Nichols, Richard Misrach, Susan Meiselas and Tim Laman.
For the festival, organizers transform the downtown area into a photographer’s dream – beautiful images are strewn from the trees and lampposts, and projected onto walls of the surrounding areas. But what comes together as one, cohesive experience that leaves nothing to be desired requires serious amounts of effort from the festival team. Part of their task is to create engaging slideshows for the artist talks in the historic Paramount Theater and the nightly SHOTS & WORKS projections in the Charlottesville Pavilion, which focus on contemporary and emerging work. To do this, LOOK3 employs FotoMagico.
“It is very important to us to screen flawless projections, which we were able to achieve by using FotoMagico as our presentation-building platform, and also by having a great team in place to run the shows,” says Chloe Delaney, Production Coordinator at LOOK3. “When we installed the newest FotoMagico update, we were excited to see so many additions, like the ability to view the projections in a timeline view and more complex audio editing capabilities.”
Of course, as is true with just about any large-scale event, technical difficulties are inevitable. Luckily, Chloe and co. had the FotoMagico experts on their side. “We began to have problems with missing media files. Very quickly after encountering this problem, the team at Boinx Software made sure to get us the help we needed. Peter and Bastian sat through several screen-sharing sessions with me to troubleshoot and eventually solve the problem.”
For photographers, or any artist for that matter, finding the right tool often takes time and can be a strenuous undertaking. Many times, a trial and error period can be quite frustrating, causing delays in production time and sometimes even worse problems. Fortunately, it seems that LOOK3 has found the slideshow builder that will get their job done without the headache. “We do plan to use FotoMagico in the future. It is the most powerful yet straightforward and flexible tool for building projections that we have used, and the new updates in FotoMagico 4 make the program even more valuable to us,” Chloe comments. “We are able to easily share the software with artists who would like to build their own presentations. FotoMagico is so intuitive to use that we rarely need to have an in-depth training session with anyone, and are able to easily share drafts of presentations with the new direct export to Vimeo option.”
2014 is sure to be another exciting year for LOOK3, but the event itself will be quite different from the 2013 festival. The organizers hold three years of the typical festival (hence, LOOK3!), and on the fourth year hold an event called LOOKbetween, which celebrates emerging photographers rather than the masters of photography. We’re happy to again be a part of the celebration, with the LOOK3 team planning to use FotoMagico to create slideshows for the projection nights during the alternative festival. According to Chloe, “Next year will be full of surprises!”
by Megan - Monday, August 19, 2013 - Permalink
In 2001, before Netflix and movies on demand could deliver just about any flick imaginable directly to the nearest screen, movies other than your typical Hollywood blockbuster were not necessarily easy to come by – especially when you’re surrounded by water, with only two theaters and one local video store in the 100 square miles of land. This is the dilemma Thomas Bena ran into after he rented the local Martha’s Vineyard video store clean. In need of a good film, Thomas and friends rented the Grange Hall in West Tisbury and found some independent filmmakers willing to share their work with the Vineyard community. And just like that, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival was born, an alternative movie experience where locals could find “fantastic films, exotic food, art, and music.”
Thirteen years later, the Festival is still going strong and has even grown to include a children’s division that is doing pretty spectacular things for the Vineyard’s youth. That division was launched five years ago to cater to the younger crowd, designed with a dual mission to promote community interaction and film literacy. But they wanted to go beyond playing children’s movies, so two years ago, MVFF developed Cinema Circus.
“We wanted to give families more than just a film screening,” says Lindsey Scott, the Director of Children’s Programs at MVFF. Which is exactly what families get with Cinema Circus – the ultimate festival experience. The weekly event begins outside, where families can socialize with one another, playing dress up and getting faces painted with the children. During the second half, the ringmaster calls everyone around the tent, where all of the circus performers and “animals” (they’ve got a lion and an elephant – played and powered by humans!) gather together. Cinema Circus even has a film literacy character named Professor Projector, who leads the parade inside to watch films from around the world.
“When we created these other elements – face painting, art activities, etc. – we were able to hook more and more people, even getting families with really small children,” Lindsey says. “We’re trying to do a little something for everyone, and it’s been very successful! We have a mix of between 150 and 250 kids and adults every week. Cinema Circus is very playful, it has a great energy; we’re trying to crack open kids’ creativity and imagination, giving them opportunities to do things like dressing up and animating. Plus, we’re giving them this unique exposure to independent, really creative unique short films from around the world.”
With such strong community engagement, Lindsey and her team were invited to start an education program in one of the elementary schools on the island, the Chilmark School. Throughout the 2012 – 2013 school year, MVFF joined the Chilmark students from kindergarten through fifth grade every Friday to explore the art of theater and filmmaking. Through film, MVFF developed a project that would address the serious issue of bullying in a positive way.
“Eager to expand our education programs in local schools, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival designed a stop motion animation curriculum with positive student interaction at its heart. We began by laying a foundation of film literacy. Students were invited to be engaged film viewers and to investigate how filmmakers tell stories,” Lindsey explains in the introduction of a short video created to showcase the students’ work.
The MVFF team explained the ins and outs of filmmaking, covering topics like how different shots convey different information, such as place and mood, dialogue, or emotion. The children then broke off into small groups comprised of students from every grade level, with fourth and fifth graders acting as directors and producers. Together, the students imagined their stories and created dialogue and action to capture common, difficult situations on the playground. The children created storyboards for the scenes they were creating, displaying how the story would unfold and which types of shots they were using to communicate the story.
Lindsey continues, “Each group confronted a challenging situation and was asked to describe how the scene might go. Some stories depict scenes where students easily find ways to include each other and to share, while others depict situations where a resolution was more difficult and students were excluded or not treated well.”
After spending the first half of the school year learning filmmaking concepts, the students were ready to begin filming. To shoot their stop motion animations, the program employed iStopMotion for iPad – Lindsey’s recommendation. “I tried lots of different apps before iStopMotion,” she comments. “I was drawn to its functionality. I was interested in finding an app that was simple to use and had a few available buttons but plenty of adjustability, like the light balance and focus. Then I needed to go back and figure out how to teach it, presenting in a way that was organized so the students could answer their own questions, because this wasn’t just teaching fourth and fifth graders how to animate; they had to immediately turn into teachers themselves.”
Luckily, the kids had mastered the animation app almost instantly. “The kids were whizzes with iStopMotion and iMovie, they took no time at all to get oriented with how to use it and how to work together to use it,” Lindsey recalls. “It really took little effort to get the older kids engaged. They jumped right in and were the administrators of the technology. That was really satisfying to see them with patience and confidence teach the younger kids how to use the program, while those children were the puppeteers building the sets and moving figures. It worked out really, really well.”
So well, in fact, that Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival has been invited back for another year of stop motion animation fun! In the meantime, the folks from MVFF have been keeping their iStopMotion animation skills fresh with animation stations at the weekly Cinema Circus events. With an MVFF stop motion expert manning each station, kids can jump right into animating.
“We’ve found it’s bringing a nice element of hands-on activity to the event, especially for older kids who seem to be pretty captivated by this opportunity,” Lindsey says. “Our goal is to open people’s eyes to the software and how simple stop motion animation can be, and to get kids working together who didn’t necessarily come together. That’s what’s awesome about doing a community event – blending different groups, with children of all ages working together to tell a story.”
Through new education initiatives and community engagement programs, Lindsey and her MVFF colleagues have not only been able to teach children about film literacy and the art of filmmaking, but they’ve educated them on the serious issues of bullying in an engaging way that helps drive concepts home. And when students have the opportunity to explore new ways of communicating and working together while viewing and discussing film art from the world over, no amount of square footage can limit their imaginations.
by Oliver - Thursday, August 15, 2013 - Permalink
Aaron created his 2013 portfolio with FotoMagico to present his pictures in the best possible way. Very impressive.
by Megan - Wednesday, August 14, 2013 - Permalink
Get ‘em while they’re hot! Join us in celebrating the end of the summer with our very own Sommerfest – major discounts on our Mac and iOS products that are sure to make the coming months anything but cold. From now until August 25th, we will be offering 30% off of FotoMagico 4, iStopMotion 3 and BoinxTV on our FastSpring Store. Ready to take the plunge with all three? If you purchase any of the three Mac apps, you can purchase the other two at 50% off! All you have to do is choose your first product on the FastSpring Store and proceed to check out – we’ll take it from there.
What about iStopMotion for iPad, you ask? Don’t worry, we didn’t forget about it! From now until August 18th, iStopMotion for iPad will be available on the App Store for just 99 cents. No, your eyes are not, in fact, deceiving you. That’s a cool 90% discount off of our stop motion animation app for the iPad - regularly $9.99. Now get clicking to the App Store – you can thank us later!
Enjoy These Sommerfest Deals From Boinx:
FotoMagico 4 just $69.99 (30% off)
Turn your summer photos and videos into a memorable slideshow with FotoMagico, sure to bring you right back to those special moments even in the coldest of winters. Easy to learn and master, it offers endless creative possibilities. Wally Cherwinski recently reviewed FotoMagico 4 for ScreenCastsOnline, saying: "If you want pro-style slideshows with real impact, you won't regret the investment."
iStopMotion 3 for Mac just $34.99 (30% off)
Stop motion animation is the easiest, quickest and most affordable way to make a movie, and it's fun for the whole family! Users who want to get serious about animating can check out work from the fantastic Animation Chefs.
BoinxTV just $349.99 (30% off)
This "broadcast truck without a truck" is a video production powerhouse. Users get all the features of a multi-million-dollar TV studio for a fraction of the cost. Find out how people like Chris Yates are using it to broadcast live with major networks like the BBC - and how you, too, can create your own professional-grade broadcasts!
iStopMotion for iPad just $0.99 (90% off)
Together with iStopMotion, the iPad is a great all-in-one time lapse camera: There are no cables, the battery lasts for a couple of hours and the large screen is a really great viewfinder. Bonus: The videos can be further edited in FotoMagico, where creatives can add subtle pan and zoom, music and titles, combining stop motion animation videos along with other various types of media.
by Megan - Monday, August 12, 2013 - Permalink
When Claes Janson, one of Sweden’s most famous singers, had Pelle, a professional photographer from Stockholm, photograph the band’s rehearsal, Pelle knew the subject matter would be perfect as a FotoMagico slideshow. Janson immediately agreed to the idea. What resulted was a fantastic slideshow set to the band’s covers of a variety of Stevie Wonder songs. Pelle gives the viewer a look into the recording studio, featuring wonderful shots of the bandmembers as well as photos of their musical instruments. With the mix of media, the slideshow comes together perfectly.
“I am a professional photographer working and living in Stockholm, Sweden,” Pelle tells us. “A good friend and colleague introduced me to FotoMagico some years ago, and I have loved it ever since. I use it for personal work, like when I photograph my son playing ice hockey with his team, or training Thai boxing. For professional use, I try to interest my clients for the program when I think that the images could make a nice program. Slideshows are a media I really like.”
He continues: “In my studio in Stockholm I do a lot of food photography, but not only that – though one of my clients is the Swedish Culinary Team. Whenever I have a chance I exhibit, and recently I have exhibited my jazz images from the 70s and close ups from red tulips.
“A new feature in FotoMagico that I really like is the split screen; also, to be able to mix stills with moving images. At an open house evening in my studio not long ago, I used the program to present my work to my friends and clients. So as you can understand, I am really happy that my friend introduced me to the program. I use it frequently and I have really good use for it in my life as a photographer. I know that I will use it often in future work.”
by Megan - Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - Permalink
In this iStopMotion short, the girls just want to have fun! Stop motion animations are great because you can use just about anything to create films, even yourself! That's what the creators did for their film, CHEHB 2013, which shows some things the girls have been up to. Swimming, camping, biking and more...looks like they've had a busy two years! They used iStopMotion for iPad with the Remote Camera app to create this film, using iMovie at the end to polish it off. They say iStopMotion is "awesome software" that's "easy to use" with a "cool result."
by Megan - Thursday, August 01, 2013 - Permalink
After an unfortunate fire threatened to destroy the Animation Chefs' studio, our favorite foodie-animators had to spend some time cleaning up the mess and getting things in order. Thankfully, the studio is back to normal and the Chefs are animating once again (side note: we missed you guys, too!). They took on their biggest project to date in the brand new Episode 6 - check it out above!! They even feature a review of iStopMotion for iPad!
While you're at it, check out all of the Animation Chefs' episodes - they are pretty sweet! They've got the best tips and tricks for animating, and are constantly creating hilarious and creative stop motion films. Keep your eye on these guys...they are doing some majorly awesome stuff. Until next time!