2D animation

Stopmotion

While stop-motion and claymation belong in the real world, we still need applications on a computer, tablet or phone to record and playback our animations, and to add sound, titles and special effects.

We often use Boinx iStopmotion for stopmotion workshops (it’s quick, fun and good value at $19.99 US). It allows HD (High Definition 1920×1080 pixels resolution) via firewire video or DSLR cameras with live feed through USB and even higher resolutions via DSLR (available for Mac only). They also offer an iPad version.

The pro alternative we offer is Dragonframe (Mac & Windows $295 US). The choice of Aardman and Laika for feature films such as Wallace & Gromit, Kubo, Paranorman and Coraline. In addition to saving images at the highest possible resolution of the camera it provides extra cinematography tools and can even control lighting, motion control and 3D stereoscopic sliders. A nice feature is that there is no need to ‘save’ as the images are saved individually on your drive as you work, so there is little risk of losing them.

Jed used Dragonframe for this pitch for an ad for Blutack – this was all shot in a day, though the models and storyboards took weeks of preparation before that:

For post-production adding of sound effects and titles, we use Adobe Premiere Pro CC; After Effects CC or iMovie. We use Adobe Audition or Audacity to record and edit sound.

Free Software!

MonkeyJam is looking dated with no updates since 2011, but is a long-time favourite with schools and colleges. It is most often associated with scanning in stacks of pencil sketches to see how they look animated. It can also be pressed into play for stop-motion animation but lacks ‘onion-skinning’. (Windows only)

File Storage and Transfer

Animations can make large files. We have had issues with USB flash drives failing and now only use them to transport files we have already backed up somewhere else.

wetransfer.com

Simply emails a link to your files which can be downloaded any time in the next 7 days. Sends confirmation once downloaded. Up to 2 Gb per transfer, the Pro version allows bigger files and permanent storage and logs.

dropbox.com

robust cross-platform solution

MS OneDrive

pretty good

Adobe Cloud

If you have an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, makes moving files, colour palettes and brushes around different devices simple. (My 2018 teacher’s plan provides 100 GB of storage (and access to all the creative cloud apps such as Photoshop) for £24pcm. This cost would more than double to increase the online space to 1 Terabyte, rising to £150pcm for 10TB… Info about increasing the default storage

Apple iCloud

pretty good, there is a download for Windows PCs to make transferring easier.

Google Drive

May change your file types. Especially watch out for changing .png or jpeg files into WebP – Photoshop cannot open them. Easiest solution is to copy the Web address URL and paste into a different browser – view the image on Firefox, IE, Edge or Safari instead and download the image from there.