Animanything

This page has been created for a maker project I started several years ago when I decided to try my hand at animation. The purpose of this page is to let people know how easy and fun it is to animate just about anything you can find. I am also using it to collect resources and examples of equipment and software for getting started with stop-motion animation.

I'd also appreciate knowing if anyone is visiting this page, let me know what you think, make suggestions, submit comments or questions to me at rutanta@gmail.com

I'm proud to say that I was accepted to exhibit once again, at the 4th Annual Rochester Mini Maker Faire held November 18, 2017. At my booth I once again set up a portable animation studio, with a variety of objects to be animated. Participants stopped by the booth were encouraged to add some frames to the project.

So without further ado, here is the animation we made!


Here is the animation from the Rochester Mini Maker Faire 2016!

YouTube Video


Here is the animation from the Rochester Mini Maker Faire in 2015.

YouTube Video



My first foray into the maker faire arena was a booth at the first ever Rochester Mini Maker Faire on November 22, 2014 this was my first attempt at setting up a mobile animation studio. During the event I encouraged attendees to contribute to the animation by adding a few frames. 

Lots of kids and adults stopped by to try their hand at animating and,
here is the animation we made, check it out!


Interested in Getting Started Yourself?

If you think you'd be interested in getting started with stop motion animation I strongly encourage you to do so! What follows is some info on what you'll need to begin making your own animations

Many people ask about the software I use to capture the frames and play them back.
So here is a link to download the open source Mac application that I was using at the booth,
you can download and use for free, it's just about the simplest animation app I've ever seen,
it's not fancy but anyone can use it to get started with stop-motion animation.

Here is a photo of the "mobile animation studio" I had set up at the Maker Faire.


There are countless other stop-motion animation programs available for Mac and Windows, here are some others that I am aware of, let me know if you have any others that you would recommend.
iStopMotion (also available as an iPad app)

I've also found a couple of apps that work on iOS that you can use to make animations on an iPhone or iPad

Some of my favorite stop motion animations and online resources!

I may embed some of these eventually but for now I'll just provide links to some wonderful examples of stop-motion animations.

Wallace and Gromit - an excerpt from "The Wrong Trousers"

Dragon's Den - produced by a student with iStop Motion on iPad

"Gumby on the Moon" - A classic with the first superstar of claymation

"Funny Faces" - a vintage example of stop-motion animation using a chalkboard from 1906

The Origins of American Animation - a collection of vintage animations on iTunes U

http://www.stopmotioncentral.com/ - check out this link to a nice web site with lots of tutorials and sample stop-motion animations submitted by amateur animators.

And here's a link to a video at lynda.com that does a great job of explaining the basic concept of stop-motion animation and how it works.

Pixar in a Box - Lessons from the animators at Pixar on making animations that look more lifelike.

Animation Workshop at Animatus Studio - workshops for student animators and lots of sample student animations to watch.

Cinderella as told in silhouette animation - a vintage animation from 1922 by Charlotte "Lotte" Reiniger 

The Skeleton Fight from Jason and the Argonauts - a classic scene by Ray Harryhausen mixing stop motion with live actors

How They Donut - A Matter of Loaf and Death - a wonderful look behind the scenes at the making of a Wallace and Gromit feature. 

Stop motion armatures for Nightmare Before Christmas characters - A look at how support armatures are designed and built for stop motion characters.

Want to get started with making your own stop-motion animations?

Common materials you might like to experiment with
  • Modeling clay - this is one of the most commonly used materials for creating animations, and gave birth to the term "claymation" which is just a form of stop-motion animation using clay figures.
    • Here's a tip - Don't even bother trying to use Play-Doh to create your claymation characters. It's a wonderful material to play with but for animation purposes It's just too "limp" to work. You will find that if you try to create characters with long legs and/or arms, that they won't hold their positions during filming. Play-Doh also dries out if left out for too long, When it looses it's elasticity it is no good for animation any more. Still you can use it for making set pieces and props!
  • Construction paper - this is a super easy way to get started, just create cut-outs of your characters (kind of like paper dolls) be sure their joints are all articulated and you are ready to go. Just think of your cut-outs as virtual puppets.
  • Legos - these classic toy pieces are ideal for building characters, props, scenes and background objects for your animations
  • Action figures and other toys - the more moving parts in your figures and toys, the better!
  • Pipe cleaners - these are great because they are so easily re-positionable and they stay relatively still.
  • Other miscellaneous materials - popsicle sticks, paperclips, string, tape, glue, markers, rubber bands, etc. gather together all the craft supplies you can, you never know when this stuff will come in handy!
Your Stop-Motion Studio
Having a place to set up your sets, equipment and lighting is essential. Having a place where you can leave things so that they will not be disturbed will also help you create much longer animations. Keep the following in mind when setting up your studio.
  • Make sure you can control access to the space, especially your set and characters.
  • Make sure you can secure all equipment and lighting.
  • Be sure all your support materials are sturdy.
Check out this web page --> http://www.stormthecastle.com/stop-motion-animation/pipe-cleaner-stop-motion-animation.htm with great tips on setting up a simple studio!
Creating a set for your stop-motion animation set -->https://youtu.be/zE787oS4mpw a nice video showing and explaining how a set can be constructed also includes a time-lapse of an actual set-build!

Equipment you will want to have on hand
  • A good sturdy tripod
  • A digital camera you can connect to a computer
  • A table
  • A seamless background
  • A chroma-key background
  • Lighting
  • A computer
  • A plug strip
My Software Setup - at present I am using
  • FramebyFrame - for frame capturing and editing
  • iMovie - for editing, titles, effects and sound
  • GarageBand - for scoring
Here are some quick animations I have made, mostly as experiments. 

This first one is a study featuring a couple of clay characters I've been with experimenting with. I was curious about how these characters could move and relate to each other.

YouTube Video


And here's another little experiment I made with a banana peel, after eating the banana I wondered, what would it be like if the peel came to life?

And here are a couple of other short animation exercises I've created - hope you enjoy them

YouTube Video


YouTube Video



YouTube Video



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