Stop motion origin:
My first exposure to stop motion animation was when I saw King Kong on television. Seeing the big ape battling the other creatures on Skull Island set the hook in my young mind.
Later, the films of Ray Harryhausen captured my imagination. I remember seeing the half-page, full-color advertisement for Jason and the Argonauts in the Sunday edition of the Miami Herald. I was heavy into Greek mythology in those days. Harryhausen was a master craftsman and he delivered a near perfect piece of technical cinema to my young eyes.
Stop motion now
Not long after retiring I lost interest in social media. It wasn’t like I was deep into it. My Facebook account had about 50 friends. I was in five groups. One was dedicated to Harryhausen. By far my favorite. Guess I ran out of things to contribute.
While wandering around the internet, one of my favorite pastimes, I stumbled upon a stop motion application for mobile devices: Stop Motion Studio. It happened when checking out a video from Tapocketa Studio. In the description was a link to the app used to build the animation. I checked it out.
Looked like a descent tool. It’s a free download but some of the more advanced features can be unlocked for five bucks. Not bad.
The learning curve is not steep but it’s not simple. A background in animation would make it smoother. There are skeletons of motion graphics in my digital closet. I have a head start.
This is all in the research and development stages. I’ve gone through the user’s manual three times. It recommends using some kind of method of holding the camera steady. At first, I zeroed in on the inexpensive models. They came with low price tags but a high number of bad reviews. You get what you pay for.
Digging deeper, I came across this. An adjustable stand with built in ring light. Good reviews. Looks like it would work for me.
The price is holding me back right now. If I bought this thing I may feel obligated to make good use of it. Maybe it’s a fear of commitment thing.
Time will tell.
When the first entry is the last:
I decided not to go with the adjustable stand and light rig. Couldn’t see myself putting that much time effort into it. Besides, I didn’t want to spend the money. Instead, I thought about using the stop motion software as an snapped animation platform for graphics. Then I figured it would be more efficient to work with the desktop version of the software. The product reviews were not good. The word “crash” came up. I backed off.
Somehow, I ended up on a search result that lead me to something I wasn’t aware of: the APNG file format. The Animated Portable Network Graphics format supports different levels of transparency and a bigger color palette than GIF.
I laid down my four dollars and took the app for a test run. It’s too simple to be problematic and it exports a good looking cartoon. I think the grand-kids will dig it.