Stop-motion is a technique animators use to make objects appear to move on their own. This is how it works:
- You select an object – chair, paper bear, clay figurine, whatever – and take a picture.
- You move your object just so, a tiny fraction of the greater-scheme movement you have in mind. Remember: the smaller (and thus more plentiful) the increments, the sleeker the final product.
- You take another picture.
- You repeat steps 1-3 a few dozen, thousand or million times, depending on how long and how smooth you want your film to be (and how much interest the rest of your life holds.)
At long last, when you’re satisfied with all your moving-stuff-around and picture-taking, you play all the pictures (or “frames”) in sequence and tada! Your apple is dancing the lambada with a celery stick! All by itself! Freaky!
Last January, the NFB launched PixStop, an iPad2 app that streamlines all of that for you. A true beast, this app is designed to capture up to 10,000 images and replay them for you in sequence. Should you be so inclined, you could even get super into it and make a masterpiece up to 13 minutes long! Other fun features include the ability to import soundtracks from your iTunes library and to export your finished film to your email or Youtube account. Best of all, it’s free in Canada.
When we introduced Pixstop, we asked a Real Filmmaker (Hothouse alumnus Sylvie Trouvé, now of See Creature) and a Real Artist (colleague extraordinaire Mivil Deschênes) to make us films using the app. Here’s what they came up with:
Bzzz!, by Sylvie Trouvé
Distant Faces, by Mivil Deschênes
That was all fine and dandy, of course, until we started wondering what “normal” people (no offense, Mivil and Sylvie) who had downloaded the app were cooking. Being the fearless Internet explorer that I am, I headed straight to Youtube and searched away. Here’s the best (meaning my favourite) of what I found.
Teddy Eats a Nacho, by Megan
Megan’s Monkey Meesha Gets a New Nightie, by Megan
Mario Visits Bowser’s Castle, by Joshua and Daddy
Alexander, by Hadley Staite
All that to say, I suppose, that we’re dying to know what you‘re doing with your PixStop. Got any masterpieces snoring away in your iPad? Birthday cards you made for your parents or that your kids made for you? Sock puppet Shakespeare reenactments? Apples dancing the lambada with celery sticks? Please do share by posting links in the comments section below. Onwards and upwards, Pixstop animators! Share on.
Pixstop is available on iTunes. The app is free in Canada; $2,99 elsewhere.