My Life as a Courgette/Ma vie de courgette

A beautifully animated French-Swiss stop-motion animation about the adventures of a courgette who wants to travel to Mars…. Oops, sorry, that’s not true! 😉

Do read on…

My Life as a Courgette tells the story of a little boy who likes to be called “Courgette” who has to go and live in a children’s home. Available on Film 4 for the next six days. Highly recommended for all age groups – even grownups 🙂 And it really is beautifully done.

If you feel inspired to make your own stop motion animation afterwards, have a look at my FREE DOWNLOADABLE STOP MOTION ANIMATION WORKSHOP and make your own film. All you need is a smartphone/tablet and some imagination. Have a go!

Make your own 3D stop motion animation

How to Make your Own 3D Stop Motion Animation

Suitable for age 8 and up.

Hello! In this activity I’m going to show you how to make your own 3D stop motion animation using a mobile phone, the brilliant and easy-to-use Stop Motion Studio App, plus a few things you have around the house!

3D means “three dimensional”, which means that you can see round the sides of the characters and objects you’re filming. The Wallace and Gromit animations are a great example of 3D stop motion animation.

If you were making a “flat” animation, say like the Simpsons, where the characters and objects are drawn on a flat surface and you can’t see round the sides, this would be a 2D (two dimensional) animation.

You will need…

Equipment/software

A smart phone (iphone or android work fine)

A desk lamp (don’t worry if you don’t have one, it’s not essential)

The Stop Motion Studio App – go to the App Store on your mobile and download it for free. Look for this logo:

A stand for your phone. If you don’t have one you can make one – here’s a video with some ideas: The coffee cup one works really well 🙂

Materials

If this is your first 3D animation you can use lego characters, sylvanian families, or any little ready-made dolls or figures you have at home.

You can also make your own using plasticine or playdough. Plasticine is also called “modelling clay”.

Or you can get creative and improvise: Sea shells, stones, fruit and veg, acorns or pine cones can be adapted to make simple characters too 🙂

You can also make a simple background by drawing it onto a piece of paper

Have a look at my example below using a  piece of paper, some card  and a cone for a hedgehog:

Make your animation!

Open Stop Motion Studio on your phone and click on the box called New Movie (it has a small cross in the middle) to start  creating your animation

Pop a few pieces of blue/white tack on the base of your stand to keep it stable and stick it to a table, worktop or shelf

Put your phone on your stand

Put your character on the table in front of your phone so you can see it on your screen

Click on the red button twice on the right of the screen. (Clicking twice slows down the speed of your animation, so if you want your characters to go fast, just click once)

Well done! You have just captured the first move of your animation.

Move your character a little bit (say 0.5 cm).

Click on the red button twice to take your second move.

Move your chacter a little bit and click the red button twice again. Then just carry on: move-click-click, move-click-click, move-click-click until you’ve finished filming what you character is doing.

To play back click the arrow under the red button. You have just made your first animation!

To see all the brilliant things you can do with this app, click on the ? button in the bottom right hand corner of the screen, also go to the settings logo, which is a cog-shaped icon.

Things you can do now: Save your film then send it to your friends!

Here’s a photo of the setup I used to make my animation – I used an ipad mini to make mine as my smart phone isn’t too smart!! :/ But it works the same.

I folded an A3 sheet of paper in half and drew a background on the top half and the ground on the bottom half, then used white tack to stick it to a big book to make it stand up.

I made a hedgehog from a cone, with stuck-on eyes and nose, then put a bit of white tack on the hedgehog’s bottom to make it stay upright.

I also made some trees from pieces of folded cardboard which I coloured in. They aren’t in this photo, have a look at the animation to see them)

Here’s my final animation – “Hedgehog in the Woods” 🙂 It’s a bit wobbly in places, so see if you can do better.

Stay well, stay home, have fun and make an animation! 🙂

DIY mobile tripod for video calls!

Lots of us all over the planet are shut in our homes, but still need to communicate with our friends and family – wherever they are, so here is a neat little solution for holding the phone while you speak!

First you need a cardboard-type coffee beaker.

Get a grownup to help you cut two small triangles out of the beaker, one on either side.

And that’s it – you are hands-free to skype, facetime and zoom away with your friends! 😉

This also makes a perfect stand for making animations with your mobile, using lego characters, sylvanian families or whatever you have, with the Stop Motion Studio app – Free to download on iphones/ipads/smart phones/tablets 🙂 Go to your Apps hub and look for this logo.

 

I’ll be posting more about animating with your phone soon, stay tuned!

 

And, ok, I have to admit, I didnt think this up myself! So here’s the video by CNET I got the idea from – plus a couple of others. Get creative and have fun at home! 🙂

 

 

Making the animation for Shimmer and Disappear by Pram

I was very chuffed when Pram asked me to make an animation for a track from their new LP Across the Meridian. I took some pictures while making, so here they are below…

The whole process from a-z was great fun, even when everything fell over :), and it’s a brilliant track too.

Pram’s new album is out on Domino Records on 20th July and available for pre-order here