SCI-FI is the theme for STOPMO JAM 4! We're breaking out the X Files: Aliens! Spaceships! Robots!

So what is a STOPMO JAM?

It is a series of short animated ideas that all relate to the theme. We've done Spring, Run and Halloween thus far. This time, it's Sci Fi!

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.

*animating your hand interacting with a puppet is ok

IMPORTANT: Your Jam must start and end with the camera lens obscured. See this similar idea here in this VIDEO from LAIKA (but it doesn't have to be characters fighting). You just need to cover the camera lens at the start and at the end of your shot. This will help when I edit all the Jams together.  

Once you are completely finished with your Jam, upload it to online storage such as Google Drive, Dropbox or WeTransfer and send the link to my INBOX.

If you have any questions, post them below.




Important Technical Requirements!

For your Jam to look its best, please adhere to these guidelines.

Shot Length: up to 20 seconds maximum

Frame Rate: 24 fps (not 23.96 or 30 or 29.97....24 please!) 

Aspect Ratio: 16:9 @ 1920 x 1080

Finished Animation: export to Quicktime (H264 is good)

Add your own Sound FX and/or music. Make sure you have the rights to it. Better yet, record your own! 

DEADLINE is now August 21, 2022. This may seem like a long ways away but for stop motion people, it's just around the corner. Remember, you have to build and animate everything yourself. You could easily spend months just building a puppet. Start thinking of your idea first, once you have nailed it down, get to work. If you have any questions, send me a message thru or better yet, reply to this thread. Content must be ok for kids to watch.* I reserve the right not to include your animation if it doesn't fit into these guidelines. Ok go make something!

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    • For my first two Jam videos I used Corel Video Studio it was only $60 USD back when I got it for video editing several years ago. It has a live camera view that was compatible with my Canon. The live view was always dark. For my third animation I bought Dragon Frame.
  • I was experimenting and decided I may attempt doing something like they did in Paranorman and I think Coraline where they actually make interchangable facial expressions. It seems tedious but it's not as bad as I thought it might be. I don't have the ability to pring in color, but I can paint them. Also, Catia is good for mechanical stuff but not so good for making figures. last I checked, 3Dxmax and Mia or more geared for that. Maybe Rhino too. I'll make do though. Those ones are expensive and it would be too much of a learning curve to use them.
    • I've been waiting for blender to add something called the pose library which they did in the recent release which makes this very easy take a 3d model of your character rig the face and simply animate it with the ease of keyframes then simply save each frame as a pos add it to a pose library export as a stl 3d print then mark the back of the head with the name of the pose or with the frame number and reference it so you can switch out each head according to your animation I can share some stls from my proof of concept if you want
    • I agree with James. Blender is a great character program for the price.. FREE. It is the little program that does a bit of everything. I use it for all my 3D modeling and 3D printing. I also use it for my pre-viz animations. It has video editing and compositing but I have switched to Divinci for that. The Blender organization puts out an animation each time for the big release. This year it is called "Sprite Fright" and it looks amazing. The story is NOT for kids however. Supposedly Blender really added a bunch of facial animation additional tools but I have not explored them.
    • To my somewhat limited knowledge, over the last year and a half, the free program Blender has gone LEAPS ahead in its ability to sculpt organically. It has box modeling, rigging, weight painting, animation timeline (to generate expressions) etc built in. The community is also awesome when it comes to sharing and learning. I find that if I have a goal, then try to get a workflow achieved, then most software becomes a bit more intuitive once you know where the right gizmo is to make it happen. I've never explored most of the more professional programs other than ZBrush, but I managed to grab that back in 2008, so I tend stay with it since it does what I need for my actual work and I was never a hard-surface guy in that realm. The large HP printers solidify a print from particle dust, then they dunk em in a bath of cyano to keep a neat texture. Ray Harryhausen hand-carved & painted his faces to replace, there are some great images of Humpty Dumpty and Rapunzel faces he did that you can find online if I recall correctly (meant for those unaware - just for the nostalgia its worth it -grins-). It is inevitable that I will try it one day. Maybe some cool twist on the Japanese Noh masks in an expressive dance... low demand, just to try.
  • I'm kind of new to this, but I have dabbled in stop motion before. It looks like others have brought this up, but my question is, is it okay to use 3D printing. I'm a CAD disigner and my wife got me a 3D printer for christmas. The requirements say everything has to be hand made. All the 3D prints I use woould be my own design so I hoped that would qualify. This will be my fist serious attemt at stop motion and was looking forward to joining the next jam.
    • I found out on my last stop mo jam film that resin 3D printing and platinum cure silicone does not work very well together. The resin causes the silicone to not cure. I have had recent success using PLA filament molds and platinum cure silicone. I have used PLA printed items in my last three jams. All designed by me in Blender or at least heavily modified creative commons files.
    • 3D print is ok if it is your design.
  • a question. Once the video is finished and sent, can it still be published on my usual channels or do I have to wait for the general video to be completed?

    And the author of the music, how can I insert it in the credits of the general film? (if you can do it)
    • Hi Pietro, yes you can publish your animation whenever you like. As for the credits, including music, that will be placed at the end of the presentation.
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STOPMO JAM 4 Behind the Scenes!

Post your behind the scenes photos here. I took a couple of snaps from the Robot Dance Title sequence. I made the puppet out of Sculpey and Armature wire in about a week. Animation took 5 days and Rig removal took about the same. It was very last minute as I was extended on Pinocchio by 6 weeks which cut into my time a bit, but I got 'er done! Please feel free to post your pics and share your experience.

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41 Replies · Reply by Steve Copeland Dec 22, 2022

15 Weeks Left to finish your Stopmo Jam

It's been a little quiet, so I thought I'd check in to see how everyone's progress is going? Need more time or is July 10 still doeable? I am in the final weeks of Animation on Wendell and Wild, so I haven't had time to work on mine, although I usually do the Titles. Anyway, let me know how it's going or if you have any questions.

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24 Replies · Reply by Emily Myers Jun 9, 2022