With CGI being the primary tool for special effects, we’re glad to see students paying homage to good old fashioned animation, stop motion style. Stop motion animation, also called “frame-by-frame,” is a technique used to make inanimate objects seemingly move by shooting a series of individual frames and moving the object manually and gradually between each one for the illusion of movement. Archaic it might be, but stop motion has evolved over time and has quite a rich history. No, sorry Tim Burton did not create stop motion any more than Chuck Norris created the sun and moon. A couple of Brits named Albert E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton first explored object animation in 1898 while working on The Humpty Dumpty Circus. Shortly after, the technique popped up in French, Spanish, and Italian silent films. Stop motion animation did not make its debut in America until the 1900’s for special effects use. Firsts were The Lost World, King Kong, and Gumby. Disney even dabbled in stop motion animation in the 70’s with a short sequence called Mouse Mania.
After the mastery of direct object animation came direct manipulation animation, cel animation, claymation, pixelation, puppet animation, and time lapse techniques. Old school maybe, but stop motion is keeping fresh. It’s recently been mixed with 3-D stereoscopic filming methods and even CGI (think Robot Chicken). Stikfas and brick animations (Lego films) are seen across the Youtube scene as well.
Take it from a college student, sometimes it’s smart to use a budget limitation to your advantage.