I got asked to make a 1 minute short to promote animation to school age students with simple resources for an Instagram ad campaign and thought this would be the perfect chance to get back to basics using Plasticine, a simple set and a free stop-motion app on my phone, just to show how minimal it can be to have a go at animation.

I’d already been looking around at good apps to recommend to current students and I found that there are quite a few but settled on Stop Motion Studio from ‘Cateater’ – https://www.cateater.com/

It is available for Apple and Android, you can try the free version, or you can buy the pro version for £5 which gives you the extra functionality of being able to use a remote device for camera activation, and if it’s a tablet this means you can view your setup/animation on a big screen.

You can also use your headphones to take the pictures to prevent shutter shake, which I would highly advise!

animation setup

So this was my setup to start, you definitely need a camera holder, mine is from a selfie stick, but can also attach to a tripod. I purchased the pro version so you can see essentially my tablet is an external monitor and I won’t need to touch the phone at all, so my camera/phone won’t move at all, which is key for stop-motion!

I have two lights which I tested prior to animating proper to make sure they don’t flicker and the colour’s match, one is a ringlight which you can control for colour temp and brightness, and the other is a simple table lamp with a daylight bulb.

Everything is fully charged before starting and if you knew you would be taking a long time, you could plug your devices into power.

This video is a preview of the setup before I started to animate.

You can see I chose to animate a Morph character that I had made and thought it would be fun to make him a friend out of a blue Plasticine I had, to attempt a ‘tootsie slide’ tiktok dance I had seen.

Then it’s over to the animation!

It was just a simple idea, but I found the blue Plasticine a nightmare to animate, it was somehow softer, so fell over much more easily on some of the trickier aspects of the movement – be assured I will never be using it again like this!

It took me just under an hour to get the animation done, and the blue Plasticine definitely made it take longer than it should, the amount of times it just fell when the brown Plasticine held position. At one point I really did think about completely stopping and totally restarting…

so this is the result of just the animation

and here is the finished advert/promo which includes a little bit of timelapse of me working on the animation (of course the final piece is made for Instagram, so portrait rather than my usual landscape, but YouTube then puts it back to being landscape!)