Hi,

the topic is related to one of stop motion types called Model Stop Motion Animation and I would like someone to explain  what this model part is refered to exactly because I'm not sure if a really get it.The Wiki says:"Model animation refers to stop-motion animation created to interact with and exist as a part of a live-action world. Intercutting, matte effects, and split screens are often employed to blend stop-motion characters or objects with live actors and settings.For example films such as King Kong."

I get the "part of a live-action world" which could be any part of a human world I guess (your bedroom,park,playground,street,beach,top of a bulding..) but this Model part bugs me..what could be considered a model in this type of animation?

Thanks for all the answers as usual :)

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The Model is simply the stopmotion character you wish to integrate into the Real World setting (in the example you're talking about; obviously other stopmotion animation uses puppets in model settings with no attempt to make it appear part of the Real World, such as Coraline and Bagpuss, to name two disparate examples). It is the puppet, or puppets, you manipulate. In the case of King Kong it is, of course, Kong himself and the various prehistoric creatures he encounters. I'm slightly puzzled by the use of the term 'Model Stop Motion Animation', however, as 'stopmotion animation' is synonymous with the animation of real three-dimensional objects (Models/Puppets) so including the term Model in the name is somewhat tautological, rather like saying Painted Painting or Drawn Cartoon. Arguably, other forms of animation using objects can be said to be stopmotion animation, such as Cutout Animation, which uses flat (paper, card etc.) cutout figures because you're still dealing with physical objects being manipulated, or Pixilation, the animation of actual (not model) fullsize objects and people in a Real World environment, but they tend to be covered by their own terms. In other words, when somebody says 'stopmotion animation' it is taken to mean the manipulation/animation of physical models, usually (but not always) miniatures. You don't qualify the term with 'Model'.

I always thought model animation was basically just another term for stopmotion. I've never heard them used together, always either model animation or stopmotion animation. But then there's never been much standardization in our little field - stopmotion, stopframe, stop animation, puppetfilm, puppet animation, claymation... people seem to call it different things depending on where they're from. 

Now of course the issue is further confused - if you talk about model animation some people will think you're referring to digital modelling.  

It was confusing for me too because i also thought that model animation is basically stop motion since you animate all kinds of models in stop motion-lego,clay,paper,puppets,sand..but it's like McTodd said-those models have their own terms.Since i'm writing a paper about all types of stop motion,it's little tricky that there are no much standardization about these type of things.

I'm going to remove my Model section,but if you could tell me..how would it be called when you animate kitchenware(forks,knives,spoons,plates..) or anything similar in your animation?

Or better yet,if you animate a swing in a kids park,just to swing up and down alone,what type of stop motion animation would that be?

If I were you, I'd make a section of your paper about the confusion of terminology that seems to be standard in stopmotion. Just a paragraph or so. 

Moving kitchenware and similar stuff would be called object animation, and is frequently accompanied by pixilation. I think you know about that one, right? A little history of the term in case you weren't aware - it's not at all related to pixelation (note the different spelling). The word comes from pixie, and refers to the way people move, as if magically, like little pixies or fairies. 

As in the evolution of any creative theory, terms such as "stop frame" "model animation" and pixillation are somewhat fluid, and open to various interpretations. I think the way to crack it is to look at the terms and conditions under which the object or artefact is chosen, modified or designed. Let us, for the sake of forming a theory, agree that "stopmotion" refers to destructive animation techniques (you destroy one frame in order to create the next) Let us also concede that the resulting animation activity takes place in real three dimensional space, along an X,Y and Z axis and that objects used are subject to gravity.
If we accept the above terms, we can begin to categorise this range of activity in the context of the nature of the artefact being manipulated.
1) Pixillation - the manipulation, under camera, of objects found in nature or of man made but not intentionally figurative or character based artifacts designed and produced for a separate and functional purpose. Objects and artifacts can be modified only to fix or rig the item. Animated scenarios involving "real" spoons, acorns, people, scissors, fruit etc all sit under the umbrella term " pixillation".
2) Model animation - animating with lightly modified pre existing figurative or character based objects or artefacts. these artefacts can be jointed or articulated figures, but not necessarily built specifically for the purposes of animated performance. Animated sequences incorporating Lego, dolls, stickfas figures, toy cars, armatured soft toys or animal skins could all be said to fall into this category.
3) puppet animation - any sequence incorporating objects or artefacts designed and fabricated for the sole purpose of animated performance. These can be composite structures, or made of a single material exploited for an innate potential for modification. (clay or plasticine)

Still full of holes, but at least I tried.....

That's a good idea,I will include a small paragraph about terminology confusion in stop motion. :)

Yeah I saw object animation as a term,but i thought it was just a general term..now i know that Object animation is a special term like clay,brick,puppet or pixilation (I know it's not pixelation :D ) and Model animation is..well..nothing really since we already explained it.

So if you animate a swing in a kids park,just to swing up and down alone,is it also considered an Object animation?

Thanks for reply

p.s.@shmiminashie: Very interesting,it actually makes sense and it simplifies all those categories and stop motion types..but i guess it's not that simple,although it sounds very simple and true..especially for a newbie as me :D

Oops, you're right Shmim - Pixillation has 2 L's in it!! My bad! 

As I understand though it's the animation of living people as if they're giant puppets, but what you described is what I know as Object Animation...  

Do you mean for Pixillation to also include animation of living people? 

Also your description of model animation is completely different from what's on Wikipedia, where it's described as realistic animation to be inserted into live action footage as seamlessly as possible (ie O'Brien/ Harryhausen type stuff). My brain is starting to hurt! How to sort this all out? 

Oh the absurdity of it all!! 

Wikipedia is killing me these days with one info,and then i come here and get something completely different..If  had 10 years animating experience it wouldn't be a problem,but at this level it becomes pretty confusing..I guess i will combine some of your advices and mix it with Wiki's facts.

Is there any book that explains and categorizes all these types in  a quality manner?

This is a very difficult task...trying to quantify a creative form...(as opposed to a technical process)..is like hearding cats...There will also be cultural varations. As an American, who was raised in Ireland and is now living in the UK I take pixillation to be the term that covers the manipulation of an unmodified object or series of objects under camera, where that object has not been designed or fabricated for that purpose...(and people fall into that category!) .Its probably best to establish two terms, "object" at one end, and "puppet" at the other, then place examples on a sliding scale or continium....(Paul Wells uses this strategy to great effect in his "Understanding Animation" book when he attempts to provide a model for categorising abstract versus orthodox animation.) Place the most typical and clear cut example of the genre at opposing ends of the specturm, with hybrid forms in between, and make a case study for a range of output (Harryhausen, Svankmayer, etc) There will be no clear definitions, but you will at least create an intellectual tool for classification...And I would call the swing a clear case of pixillation...that does not make me correct...but if I establish a good enough academic tool I can prove anything!

  1. So basically there's no standard/unique classification,one can make their own depending on their point of view.Although Shmim i think you made some good arguments here about this issue..


I think you're over-thinking it.  In King Kong, the giant ape was a model (or puppet) about 18 inches tall.

Stop motion can also mean animating clay, paper, buttons, sand, whatever.  But those aren't necessarily constructed models with armatures (skeletal structure).

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