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Two narrative scenes animated in stop motion

Some time ago I spent two busy weeks in Finland, supporting my good friend and fellow designer Suvi-Tuuli Junttila with this stop motion project. In a short time of extremely concentrated work and sleepless nights we created two stop motion animations to promote Suvi’s work as an author and illustrator of children’s books.

With no previous experience in the stop motion technique, we learned a lot during this intensive time. The animations have finally been completely edited and sound was added by Maura Korhonen. Both animations are based on a book Suvi is working on. Watch the animations below.

Acorn's adventures I & II


Acorn’s adventures – Part I

Two friends joyfully stroll through the foliage.

Acorn’s adventures – Part II

The two friends playfully move through the soft moss.

Making of...


Setting up the scenes

Planning and setting up the scenes requested a lot of thinking ahead. Every detail needed to be perfect for the final photo shooting. That is why we tested out each step and detail in advance.

For the first part of the animation we ended up shooting through a backlit glass plate to create the shadow play of the scene.

Casting

All actors were professionally casted to find the right fit.

A night of miniature movements

After setting up the background we had to shoot through the night. Otherwise the leaves would have withered and moved. This would have made it impossible to keep the background steady. Millimeter by millimeter we patiently moved our two actors through the screen.

You can watch a making of video of this part below!

Capturing stop motion with Dragonframe

We used the program dragonframe to capture the single photos and plan the movements ahead. This picture shows the working screen.

Setting up the mossy scene

Different kinds of moss and branches were casted. We harvested the moss on a hill in Helsinki. After the shooting it was planted in a garden so it could live on.

A working space in the dark

While summer was thriving outside, we had to keep the room completely dark during set up and the shootings to keep the light atmosphere consistent. Being able to sit down during the shooting of the second scene was a huge improvement!

Preventing Movement

In order to reduce the amount of retouching, we had to make sure that none of the elements would move during the 12 hours of shooting – including the position of our feet, as the floor in our studio was not stable.

Placing the characters in 3D

While we moved our characters in 2D for the first scene, we switched to 3D for this one. This brought along the new challenge of carefully placing the actors in the right spot for each picture. We used the live view of dragonframe as a guiding help.

Stop motion – a technique for the patient


Animating non-digitally is no walk in the park

Watch this video to learn about the challenges of animating the movements without digital help.

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