Lesson Plan 2 > Stop Motion Animation: From Stills to Motion

Age: 5th Grade


Time: 5 Classes


Focus: The lesson will focus on introducing the students to stop motion animation and using Photoshop as an animation tool.



a. Describe how photo-, video- and sound editing are used to create original products for expressive intent. (

b. Create original works of media art to express specific artistic ideas. (

c. The student will understand the process of creating stop motion animation.


Motivational Resources:

§  Video examples of stop motion animation

§  "Scrabble by PES" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P_HW5oGsLlw>

§  "Jack's Lament: The Nightmare Before Christmas" <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wv1HX80u5x4>

§  Informational posters about stop motion set-up

§  Handout of the process


Art Materials:

§  Sketch paper

§  Drawing tools

§  Digital camera(s)

§  File storage device(s)

§  Card readers

§  Tripod(s)

§  Colored tag board

§  Clothespins

§  Poster putty

§  Macintosh computers

§  Adobe Photoshop CS3

§  QuickTime Player

§  iMovie HD

§  Projector

§  Flash drive(s)

§  DVD-R(s)




Stop motion animation is a creative technique that involves technology to give a physical object the ability to move seemingly without aid. By photographing an object's "movements" frame by frame and replaying the images in sequence, life is given to an otherwise lifeless item ("The Stop Motion Animation Process"). Stop motion animation is a form of animation that, at its very core, is a simple process that most can accomplish with only a few tools. The steps to take to produce any stop motion animation involves 1) capturing frames, 2) editing the footage, 3) compressing the footage into a video and 4) outputting the creation (Brent). The frames can be shot using standard video film or photographs and exported into a video editing program where music, sound, transitions, credits, etc. can be added. The film must be compressed for the adequate outputting of the film which could be for DVD release or simply web streaming (Murphy). Stop motion animation is certainly a highly accessible form of animation and can be created even at an early age.


Due to the ease of access to such a successful form of animation may be why stop motion animation is used so extensively throughout the world and in a variety of fields. Stop motion animation can be found almost everywhere from television advertisements to feature films. The filmmaker/animator PES, for example has created very creative and surprising shorts as advertisements for major companies worldwide. His latest addition to his body of work has been a commercial for the 60th Anniversary edition of Scrabble ("Home of the Twisted..."). And while stop motion is a creative technique which can be used to promote a product, it has high entertainment value as well. For example, stop motion was used to create Tim Burton's famous cult-classic "The Nightmare Before Christmas." Based on Burton's poem of the same name, it was the first movie to be completely animated using this technique. Exquisitely done, this film took one hundred animators three years to complete due to the fact that it required twelve stop motion moves per second of film ("Trivia..."). This film is a perfect example of how an artist used stop motion animation to adequately portray their creative ideas and used imagery to illustrate a literary narrative.


Instructional Procedure:

Class 1: During the first 20 minutes of class, the students will be introduced to stop motion animation as an art form and how it's being used today. Examples will be shown and the techniques used will be explained. After introducing the project, which is to anthropomorphize a household object causing it to dance, the students will have the rest of the class period to begin sketching. Students should begin experimenting with how it can be manipulated and arranged in order to convey an emotion, attitude, etc. through movement.


Class 2: The second class day will be devoted to taking the still images used in the animation. Four or five stations should be set up with a backdrop (colored tag board), camera and tripod for students to share. Each student should aim for a minimum of 50-75 still images for their animation.


Class 3: The third day will be used to import the still images onto the Macintosh computers and create the layers used for the animation in Photoshop. After arranging the layers in the proper sequence, students can then use the Animation option in Photoshop to create a .mov file to exported into QuickTime. After the class period, all students' work should be saved onto the project flash drive.


Class 4: During the fourth day, students should be importing their QuickTime files into iMovie HD in order to add sound and/or music to their animations. After adding sound, the files should be saved as .mov files and burned to DVD-Rs for the students to take home. After the period has ended, all students' work should be backed up onto the project flash drive.


Class 5: The fifth class period will be used for presenting each students' stop motion animation to the class as well as to provide an opportunity for discussion and critique.


Evaluation/Assessment: A rubric will be used to document the students' understanding of the assignment, degree of participation, development of concept and application of technique(s) learned. Also, a critique will accompany final presentations of work.


DBAE Checklist:

Art Production: Students made a short stop motion animation film.

Aesthetics: Students produced work that incorporated movement and sound.

Art History: Students learned about stop motion being used in contemporary digital art.

Art Criticism: Students had the opportunity to discuss stop motion animation seen today as well as their own short films among their peers.



Brent, Mike. "Making a Digital Stopmotion Film: The Process in a Nutshell." StopMotionAnimation.com. 12 December 2009. <http://www.stopmotionanimation.com/handbook/2.htm>.


"Home of the Twisted Films of PES." 2002-2009. PES. 12 December 2009. <http://www.eatpes.com/scrabble.html>.


Murphy, Mary. Beginner's Guide to Animation: Everything You Need to Know to Get Started. New York: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2008


"The Stop Motion Animation Process." 2005. Pharos Productions. 12 December 2009. <http://pharosproductions.com/aosma/aosma_intro.html>.


"Trivia for 'The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)'." 1990-2009. The Internet Movie Database. 12 December 2009. <http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0107688/trivia>.