Book Review of Stopmotion Explosion: Animate ANYTHING and Make MOVIES11:26 AM
My 12-year-old son is obsessed with stopmotion animation. He's been making short little movies with his LEGO bricks and dry erase marker board for over a year. When we were asked to review a animation book called Stopmotion Explosion Animate ANYTHING and Make MOVIES, my son got very, very excited. He set up his "studio" and jumped right into the book!
First, I should let you know that my son saved his allowance for almost a year to buy a simple studio kit, complete with green screen, USB camera, and a basic software. If you were to get this book, however, they walk you through how to use free software and stuff around the house to get big-budget effects without the cost. The spirit of the book fits our family well. It emphasized how to get quality without investing a fortune! We used a combination of our existing studio equipment and the tips and tricks in the book to get the results we wanted.
My son got the book on a weekday and did not put it down for almost 2 weeks. He read every page, then reread every page. He was so thrilled to see some of the techniques used by big budget studios to get the effects he saw in movies that he liked. I told him that, for this review, I wanted him to make one 45-second animation based on the tips he learned in the book. I gave him 2 hours each afternoon for 4 days to do it. He set to work right away.
Here is his final project, which I am so proud of!
I was impressed with the way he used cotton balls for an explosion, how he had Batman do a cartwheel, and even the detail he paid to turning the red alarm button yellow when pressed. As you can see, the only limit to what kids can do with stopmotion is their own animation. Even families with a limited budget and the most modest of equipment can put out amazing creations with a little thought and planning (and hundreds of frames, of course.)
My son learned a very valuable lesson when doing this homeschool project; stopmotion, while very, very cool, is a lot of hard work! He's still very interested in this art medium, and he practices all the time. But he also has a new appreciation for all the movies he loves that use stopmotion. Hundreds of people work to make it happen, and they should be recognized!
If your child has any interest in stopmotion, but you aren't sure if it's something they will stick with, this book is a great way to gauge interest and get them foundational skills into creating their own movies. Older kids will find lots of challenging tasks to implement, as well. It's an all-ages treat that even adults will love!
Find the book at the Stopmotion Explosion website. I couldn't be more pleased with everything they offer there (and they even have a great kit with all you need to get started if you don't already own your own camera.) You can also follow the kind folks at Stopmotion Explosion on Facebook and Twitter for more tips and updates!