Teaching Stop-Motion Animation Builds 21st Century Skills
Stop-motion animation is as old as the movie industry itself. We all are familiar with stop-motion animation classics such as Gumby or Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. More recently we have seen stop-motion box office hits like Caroline and the Nightmare Before Christmas.
So how can such an age-old craft help today’s students build skills that are important in the 21st century? It’s simple. Stop-motion animation introduces kids to a wide range of activities that not only builds their skills in story development but also in multimedia communication.
In our Internet-connected society, good writing skill is no longer enough. Today, students must not only be good writers, they must also be good producers. They must be able to develop a wide range of content that can inform, entertain, and influence others. The written word is a good start, but social media and other web-based platforms allow for a rich mix of multimedia content: pictures, graphics, charts, videos, voice overs, music, sound effects, etc. Creating a stop-motion production requires the development of all of those skills.
Students must learn how to write an interesting and compelling original story, develop appealing characters, write interesting character dialog, use character expression and movement to convey emotions, create appealing visual solutions for scenes and props, use photography skills
in capturing character movements, create voice-overs for dialog, add sound effects and background music, edit audio and video clips, use lighting effectively, use chroma key technology, and solve technical challenges effectively through troubleshooting. All of these skills make them good multimedia communicators and good producers.
Stop-motion animation is a great entry-level course for kids who want to learn more about multimedia production. One reason for this is that students can experience the “Wow” factor of multimedia early in their workshop experience.
Using our stop-motion animation software, students capture progressive movements of the objects one photo at a time. Within minutes of starting this process they get to see the cumulative effect of their movements and expressions: their characters are coming to life before their eyes!
Not much later in the process, they are recording voiceovers and dialog and are adding sound effects and music into their productions. In fact, all of the key multimedia elements of standard video editing software programs are part of their story team’s stop-motion animation project.
Students capture images for their animated stories.
Students learn principles of design composition.
Students edit images and video clips into a composited movie.
Students learn principles for audio recording and vocal expression.
Students edit voiceovers, sound effects and musical backgrounds to create a soundtrack.
Students learn how to replace green screen backgrounds with appealing scenes.