taking one frame at a time since 1999

Announcing the 1st Ever STOPMO JAM!

What is it?

An opportunity for animators to be a part of a stop motion experimental film.

How does it work?

You animate at home or in your studio. Your animation takes place on a simple white set. A white sweep is best. (see set examples below) Your subject(s) must enter frame at the start and exit frame by the end so that the next shot can be cut together with yours. One shot, no cuts, up to 20 seconds in length.

Deadline to complete animation is April 18, 2016. Once all entries are submitted, I'll cut them together and feature the final film here on


I will update this as needed so check back occasionally.

Deadline: April 18, 2016 (extended from April 1)

Theme: Spring (all definitions of the word)

Shot length: Up to 20 seconds. One shot, no cuts.

Set Floor and Background must be white, a white sweep is a good way to accomplish this. Your shot must start with a blank white frame and end the same way.

Puppets can be made of clay, paper, foam, wire, sand, whichever materials you can utilize to create your design but it must be stop motion animated. Sorry no LEGOs, action figures, toys, or store bought items are allowed UNLESS it is modified (painted, covered with paper or clay, etc). The goal is to make a hand-made experimental film. Stop motion puppets, 2d cutouts, sand, painting, pixelation, all hand-made animation techniques allowed as long as it is against a white field. Depending on interest, there may be a LEGO JAM or a CLAY JAM in the future.

Audio, dialogue, sound effects are allowed but no music please. I will try to either have music composed or find music that fits the whole film if needed.

Content must be ok for kids to watch. Please nothing political. I reserve the right not to include your animation if it doesn't fit into these guidelines. If you have any questions, please post below.


Technical Guidelines

Frame Rate: 24fps

Aspect Ratio 1920 x 1080

Compression Codec: H264 

Once your animation is complete, contact me and I'll provide you with a way to upload your finished Quicktime movie.

Title and Credit: At the end of the film, I will display a frame from your animation with the title and your name next to it similar to the sample credit card pictured below. Please no title or credits in your actual animation.

title card example

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Hi Nick, thank you for the advices, I already have the Stop Motion Studio on my phone but found it easier an android app called PicPac of which I bought the full version.. in fact I realized it shoots at the requested aspect ratio; it also has the possibility to disable autofocus and autoexposure.. think I'll use this app again, adjusting lights the better I can, and postpone using some better software and with my laptop for some next animation, when I'll have more time and a decent camera.. I understand lighting is very important, expecially using cheap instruments... p.s. great monster animation in your video

StopmoNick said:

Hey Zen,

I did test a free App on my iPad called Stop Motion Studio, which is also available for Android phones and tablets.  I was able to shoot at 1920 x 1080, and could also disable the auto exposure, white balance, and focus, so the images didn't flicker or jump in and out of focus.  Those were the basic requirements I was looking for for stop motion, before I would want to recommend it to anyone.  The images were a little bit grainy, but with brighter light that could be overcome - I'm set up for shooting with a DSLR at a long exposure,  where you don't need really bright lights.  But this app uses the video camera function of the tablet/phone not the still camera function, so it doesn't take long exposures.  It certainly gives you all you need to practice and perfect your animation.  I'm assuming it has the same features on Android devices, but I've never used one so I can't be sure.

The resolution would depend on what your particular phone can do, but it might be worth a look.  I used the free version, there is a paid one with some extra functions, but as I do all my post production on the Mac with more professional software - even for this test -  I didn't need the paid version.  Here's the video of my test:

Just finished my Jam!... for the second time. I had trouble getting the white background to stay white. I adjusted the lighting, shot (and animated) the whole thing over again, making some improvements along the way, then imported into Premiere Pro only to find that the orangish cast I fought with the first time was back. I did some color correction in post to get rid of it, but how do I keep that from coming  up again?

I'm using a Canon T1i (without Live View ), set on manual exposure. My lights are both 3200K. I'm guessing this has to do with White Balance, something I never dealt with in film. Any ideas?

Zen - I'm glad you have a solution!  Good luck with your Stop Mo Jam animation.

Dave - Yeah, in film the white balance is already set, according to which film stock you put in the camera.   Daylight film, designed for bluish light, will come up very orange when used indoors with the old incandescent lightbulbs or with halogens.  

Check your white balance and make sure it is not automatic - you want it to stay put so that once you get it right, it stays there until you decide to change it.  You should have a number of choices -

Don't set it to Daylight (5600k) , Cloudy ((6000k, more bluish) or Shade (7000k, even more blue).  If the lights you are using are not actually that blue (and no artificial lighting is, except with blue gels on the lights), it will come up more orangish than you want.

Tungsten (3200k) is for warm lights like Halogens.  Try that.  

What kind of lights are you using?  Halogens?  Fluoros?  LEDs?   You need to look at the actual high res images you are getting, take a few test frames and look at them in Photoshop or Premiere until you are happy with the colour, before actually animating the shot.    If none of the settings are quite right,  can you select Custom white balance, set it numerically by colour temperature?   On my Canons (40d and 7d)  I can do that, but I don't know about the Rebel models.  At the moment I think it is set to 3400k (degrees Kelvin).  That means it is set for lights that are just a bit more bluish than they actually are, so they give me the very slightly warmish look I want on this particular film.  

If you still need to correct it in Premiere or AE or whatever, at least it should stay consistent so if you make a note of  what settings you used to fix it, you should be able to apply the same settings again.

Setting a custom white balance is super easy on my T1i (EOS 500D). Simply photograph a white card under your lighting conditions.Be sure the card or paper fills the entire frame. You can have the white balance set to anything for the photograph. Then in the Custom WB menu select import data and after you click OK it will use that data when you toggle the WB button to Custom.

The icon for custom WB looks like a square over two arrows and can be selected from the back of the camera on the top button of the directional pad labeled WB. In the basic modes the WB is set automatically but in the advanced modes and the manual mode you can change the WB

I still have my manual if you need any farther help.

Thanks, Nick and Steve! I did some tests on "P" mode to get the basic exposure then switched to Manual and set the shutter speed and f/stop there. On the camera's view screen I didn't notice the color shift. WB must still be automatic in Manual as it shifted when the puppets were on screen vs just a blank white backdrop.

Lights are halogen, rated at 3200K (not 3400 as I said before). I will experiment with the custom WB settings, per your instructions, Steve. Somewhere around here there is an operating manual...

Katy Moore-Kozachik working on her Stopmo Jam. Paint on Glass technique. 

Production Photos encouraged!

Are the characters going from left to right, or vice versa when they walk through the frame?

Either way, they can enter from top/bottom as well. Just a clean entry and exit if you can.

Kenneth Tyner said:

Are the characters going from left to right, or vice versa when they walk through the frame?

Yipee - Go Katy!!

Anthony Scott said:

Katy Moore-Kozachik working on her Stopmo Jam. Paint on Glass technique. 

Production Photos encouraged!

I'm gonna try to do something for this!

my DSLR broke down : (

try to find a replacement in time to be able to submit a shot

is there a theme to the character or object to be made? I want in on this =)

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If you have a question or are looking for answers, you'll find a wealth of information here on the Message Board.

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