Stop Motion Studio for Windows

Stop Motion Studio for Windows

Let’s Make a Movie.

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What is a stop motion movie?

If you’re familiar with movies like Wallace and Gromit or those groovy Lego shorts on YouTube, then you’re probably already familiar with stop motion. Stop motion (also known as stop action) is an animation technique to make any object you choose to appear to move on its own. The object is moved or manipulated slightly in small increments and captured in individually photographed frames. This creates the illusion of movement when a series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. Ready to start with your first stop motion animation?

Where do I begin?

First get objects and figures to star in your movie. Good choices include clay or Play Doh®, Lego® or similar building block figures, small dolls with a lot of flexibility, or paper cutouts – really almost anything. Set up the figures (characters) in a particular position on your stage or set. Tap the to create your first project.

  1. From the Projects browser, tap the add project symbol.
  2. Tap the capture button to capture an image.

Select a Camera

Selecting a capture source is the first step when creating a new movie. The capture source defines where the images for your movie come from. This could be a camera connected to your computer, like a webcam connected by USB, a remote camera device connected by a Wi-Fi or a built-in camera. Select the capture source in the capture source panel.

  1. Click the camera symbol .
  2. Select a camera from the drop-down list.
  3. Click anywhere outside to close the capture source panel.

Setup the Camera

Place your camera in front of the set that you are going to photograph. Check to make sure the entire frame is in view. It is very important to make sure the camera is firmly supported so it doesn’t shake as you shoot each frame. Otherwise, the end result will appear jumpy and lack continuity. Keep in mind that the more frames you capture, the smoother the results will appear in your final video.

Animate

Begin shooting the stop motion sequence. Move each figure bit-by-bit in very small increments each time. It may be the entire body if the figure is walking, or it may just be an arm, head or leg. If you are moving only one body part and you find that the figure is tilting or threatening to fall over, make use of poster tack or stickum under the feet or other area touching a part of the set. Repeat the movement sequence until your action step is completed.

Onion Skinning

To help position an object in your scene you can use a technique called onion skin or ghosting to see the current frame as well as the last frames before the current frame. Just like the different layers of an onion. Together with the camera’s live view, you can see how far you have moved your character between the last frame.

  1. Use the onion skin slider to change the onion skin opacity.
  2. Drag the slider left to make the previous images more visible or right to see the previous images together with the camera’s live view.
  3. To change the number of onion skin layers, tap the onion layers symbol .

Animation Guides

Click the animation guides symbol to display a to help you position opbjects in your scene.

The Interval Timer

The built-in timer will help you snap pictures automatically at a given interval.

  1. When in the movie editor; click the timer button to set up the time interval.
  2. Use the slider to change the interval.
  3. Click Done to close the timer controls.
  4. Click the capture button to start capturing using the timer. Click the capture button again to pause the timer.
  5. To disable the timer, click the timer button and move the slider all the way to the left.

Creating a Time-lapse Video

Using the interval timer you can create a time-lapse video. A time-lapse video condenses a long period of time into just a few seconds or minutes. Setup the camera near a window and let the interval timer take an image every second for a few hours. The resulting video is amazing. First setup up the interval timer. The interval defines the time between two shots. Setting the interval to 5 seconds, means the app will capture an image every five seconds. If you want to capture an image every minute, set the timer to 60.

Make sure you select an interval that gives the app enough time to capture, download and process the image. For example, some cameras need up to 10 seconds to focus and capture an image. To start and stop the time-lapse recording click the timer symbol and choose Off.

Edit your movie

The Movie Editor

This is the central hub where the magic happens. The movie editor allows you to capture, preview and edit your movie. It consists of two main parts. The live preview, where you can see the current frame and the the frame-by-frame editor. The frame-by-frame editor shows you all the images you took in chronological order.

Never get lost even if you take hundreds of pictures. Use the timeline to navigate to various sequences or frames in your movie. The timeline also shows a little dot indicating the beginning of an audio clip. Move the mouse into the preview view to see the timeline.

Adjust the speed of your movie

You can adjust the speed of your movie in the project settings. The speed is defined as frames per second or FPS. Keep in mind that the more photos you shoot, the smoother the video will be. A regular movie on TV contains about 25 frames for each second in the film. Start by using 6 frames for each second in your movie. If you feel your movie looks unsteady use 12 or more frames per second. If you would like to have an animation that lasts one second you need to split it into 12 images if you working with 12 FPS. If you use 6 FPS you only need 6 images for one second of your movie. More images per second will get you a smoother animation, but it may be a whole lot more work for you.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings symbol .
  2. Click to change the frame rate.
  3. Drag the slider to the left to slow down the movie or to the right to speed it up.
  4. Click Done to close the project settings.

Tip: If the scene doesn’t contain movement you can make use of the pause feature to hold a frame for a given time.

Image Quality

Change the project quality with resolution up to 4K UHDTV to select between less storage usage or higher image quality. A higher resolution like 4K will increase the image quality dramatically but will also increase the project size by a lot. Please bear in mind, changing the project quality will not affect images already taken.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings symbol .
  2. Click 4K to change the project quality.
    • Select SD to save space on the device by lowering the quality and resolution of the images captured.
    • Select HD for regular HD quality.
    • Select HQ for high-quality HD. The project size will increase.
    • Select 4K for Ultra High Definition with four times the resolution of Full HD. This is the best quality but will increase the project size significant.
  3. Click Done to close the project settings.

Short Play and Loop Playback

To help you animate, you can control how the movie is played back in the movie editor. Remember both options are for the preview playback only and do not affect the rendered movie.

  1. While in the movie editor, open the View menu.
  2. Select any of the following:
    • Enable or disable Loop Plackback. The movie will not start from the beginning after the playback has finished.
    • Enable or disable Play Last frames only. The playback will only play the last frames you captured to allow for more precise control over your animation.

The Frame-by-Frame Editor

The unique frame-by-frame editor shows you all the images you took in chronological order, much like the single frames of a movie. Each frame is represented by a thumbnail image. You can scroll around to see all the images you’ve captured. Right-click on a thumbnail will open the frame edit menu to edit, copy and paste or delete the frame and more.

Frame Counter, Playhead and Capture Frame

The playhead is the orange marker in the frame-by-frame editor that indicates the current position in your movie. Drag your playhead back and forth to move the playhead position in your movie. If you add an image or an audio clip it will be inserted at the playhead position.

The scrub bar is the white line when hovering over the frame by frame view. With the scrub bar you can scrub over your animation quickly.

The frame counter displays the frame number of the playhead position as well as the total number of frames in your movie. If you move the playhead the frame number will reflect the new position. Click the frame counter to can change the display format.

The capture frame is a special frame within your timeline. It has a camera icon on it. The capture frame is a placeholder for the next image you capture. If you move the playhead to the capture frame position you can see a live view from your camera. The frame counter will tell you the frame you are about to capture.

Tip: You can move the capture frame to any position within your movie. For example, you would like to add more frames in the middle of your movie. Just open the frame edit menu and select Insert Camera to insert the capture frame at the new position. All images you capture from now on will be added there.

Delete, Copy, Paste and more.

If you shot a frame you don’t like or one that jiggled, you can easily delete it. Or you want to copy and paste frames, reverse frames or retime a sequence. All of those options can be reached from the frame edit menu.

  1. While in the movie editor, right click on a frames thumbnail in the frame-by-frame editor to open the frame edit menu.
  2. Do any of the following:
    • Set the capture frames position.
    • Pause or freeze the frame.
    • Edit the audio clip attached to the frame.
    • Reverse, cut, copy, paste or delete selected frames.

Tip: Reverse, cut, copy and delete can be used on multiple images at once. Hold down the Shift key ⇧ to while selecting frames.

Thumbnail Symbols

The symbols on each thumbnail show more information for each frame in your movie. A number appears if you pause a frame. The symbol shows you that the frame has an attached audio clip.

Hold or Pause a Frame

Want a frame to be displayed for a few seconds? You can do so one of two ways: you can either capture the image several times in succession; or just choose the pause option. Pausing, also known as holding or freeze frame, is the same as copying and pasting the frame multiple times.

  1. While in the movie editor, open the frame edit menu.
  2. Select Pause from the frame edit menu.
  3. Select how long you want to pause the frame. If the frame has an audio clip attached to it you can also opt to pause the frame for the duration of the audio clip.
  4. Click Done. The number on the frames thumbnail shows the length of the pause.

Tip: If you mess up, you can adjust the image duration at any time. Just redo the steps.

Retime a sequence

Using the hold or pause feature you can retime a sequence of frames. This makes it easy to experiment with different timings. To retime a frame sequence:

  1. While in the movie editor, tap the frame in the frame-by-frame editor to open the frame edit menu.
  2. Hold the shift key to select a frame sequence.
  3. Tap a frame in the sequence to open the frame edit menu again.
  4. Select Pause from the frame edit menu.
  5. Select how long you want to pause each frame in the sequence.
  6. Tap Done.

Scrub video

Scrubbing is another way to quickly preview your movie. When you scrub, you manually move backward and forward through the movie so that you can view the animation in detail. Audio is disabled during scrubbing.

  1. Hover with over the frame-by-frame editor will activate the scrub bar. A white line.
  2. Move the mouse back and forth along the frame by frame view to scrub through your animation.
  3. Move the mouse cusor out the frame by frame view to go back to the playhead.

Add and adjust audio

Add audio

Now it’s time for the finishing touches. You can add background music, audio clips, or your own recorded audio to your movie. Stop Motion Studio comes with dozens of sound effects for you ready to use.

  1. With your project open, scroll the timeline so that the playhead appears over the place where you want the audio to begin.
  2. Click the Add Media button ans select Audio.
  3. If prompted, allow access to your music library.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • Click Recordings to select a voice over that was previously recorded.
    • Click Theme Music to select a music clip from the included music library
    • Click Sound Effects to select an audio clip from the included audio effects.
    • Click Import… to add music or audio clips from your computer.
  5. To listen to the music and audio clips before adding it, click the play symbol.
  6. To insert an audio clip to your movie project, click Done.
  7. Once imported you can see a symbol on top of the frames thumbnail within the frame-by-frame editor.

If you add another clip to the frame it will replace the current audio clip. Need to add two clips to a frame? Don’t worry just use the frame next to it. You won’t hear the difference.

Record audio

You can record audio, such as voiceovers, directly into your Stop Motion Studio project. After you record audio, it becomes also available in the audio Recordings tab.

  1. With your project open, scroll the timeline so that the playhead appears over the place where you want the recording to begin.
  2. Click the Record Audio button , and when you’re ready, click Record. After a 3-second countdown, begin recording.
  3. When you’re done, click Stop.
  4. Do one of the following:
    • To delete the recording and dismiss the recording controls: Click Cancel.
    • To start the countdown again and record a new audio clip: Click Record again.
    • To listen to the recording: Click Play.
    • To keep the recording and add it to your project: Click Done.

Adjust audio

After you’ve added your audio clips, you can fine-tune volume levels or trim the audio clip. Perhaps you want to shorten the audio to fit the timing of your scene.

Adjust the duration of an audio clip

  1. With your project open, right click the frame containing the audio clip in the frame-by-frame view to open the frame edit menu.
  2. Click Audio to open the audio editor.
  3. Drag the trim handles at either end of the clip to the points where you want the audio to begin and end. While moving the trim handle the preview shows the frame the audio clip will end.
  4. Click Play to check the timing.
  5. Click Done to close the audio editor.

Adjust the volume

  1. With the audio editor open, drag the volume slider left or right.
  2. Click Play to check the volume.
  3. Click Done to close the audio editor.

Remove audio

  1. With your project open, right click the frame containing the audio clip in the frame-by-frame view to open the frame edit menu.
  2. Select Audio to open the audio editor.
  3. Click Delete to remove the audio clip from the frame.

Customize your movie

Set a Foreground

Choose a foreground image. The image will be in the foreground of your entire movie. Use it to simulate an underwater scene or a scene that takes place in outer space.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings button .
  2. Click to change the foreground.
  3. Select a new foreground.
  4. Click Done to close the project settings.

Add Fade-In and Fade-Out

Give your movie a professional polish by adding a fade transition. Use either a fade in from black at the beginning or fade out to black at the end or both.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings button .
  2. Click to change the transition.
  3. Select Fade in from black, Fade out to black or Fade in and out.
  4. Click Done to close the project settings.

Add Movie Effects

Stylize your movie to add an extra touch of creativity by applying a movie filter effect. When using movie filter effects, the preview playback may skip some frames on some older devices in order to keep the audio in sync.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings button .
  2. Click to change the movie filter.
  3. Select a new effect.
  4. Click Done to close the project settings.

Set aspect ratio mask

With Stop Motion Studio you can create movies in a different aspect ratio like square, cinema, 19:9 or traditional 4:3. Choosing the right aspect ratio is an important creative choice that can affect the feel of your movie. Stop Motion Studio will apply a semi-transparent mask to visualize the aspect ratio. When exporting the movie the transparent part of the preview screen will be removed.

  1. While in the movie editor, click the Project Settings button .
  2. Click to change the aspect ratio.
  3. Select a new aspect ratio.
  4. Click Done to close the project settings.

Tip:Independent of the selected aspect ratio, Stop Motion Studio will still capture all images in the native aspect ratio. This way you can change the aspect ratio at any time. Even after images are taken. Stop Motion Studio will use the mask settings to determine the aspect ratio of the rendered movie.

Add a Frame from Themes

You can add a new frame from the theme library. This can be a simple as a solid color background or a different background image.

  1. With your project open, scroll the timeline so that the playhead appears over the place where you want to add the new frame.
  2. Click the Add Media button , then select Title and Credits.
  3. Select a style or background for the new frame.
  4. Click it to add it as a new frame to your movie.

Watch and share your movies

Share your movie with friends

Now that you’ve finished your masterpiece, it’s time to share it with the world. You can upload your video to YouTube, Facebook, Dropbox, iCloud or another service. You can also export your project in a variety of different formats.

  • Movie: Export your project as a rendered movie file. This is best to share with friends or upload it online to Facebook, YouTube or any other social service.
  • Animated GIF: Export as an animated GIF.
  • All Images: Export all images. This option is best if you plan to import all images into another app. It will produce a numbered and ordered list of images.
  • Project: Export the project as a backup or to export it to another device.

Export movie in square or cinema aspect ratio

Stop Motion Studio will use the mask settings to determine the aspect ratio of the rendered movie. To export your movie in a square, cinema or any other aspect ratio.

  1. Click the project settings symbol in the Movie Editor.
  2. Click to see the mask settings.
  3. Select a mask.
  4. After that, the movie will be exported as you see it in the Movie Editor.

See here for more information on mask settings.

Save video to your computer

If you want to save your finished movie to your computer.

  1. From the Projects browser: Select the project you want to share.
  2. Click the share symbol and select export movie.
  3. When the preparation is complete, choose a folder to save the video file.

Export All Images

In case you would like to export all images you took as ordered and numbered list of images i.e. FRAME-00001.jpg, FRAME-00002.jpg and so on, do the following.

  1. From the Projects browser: Select the project you want to share.
  2. Click the share symbol .
  3. When the preparation is complete, choose a folder to save the zip file containing all images.

Import images

From your your computer

You can import images from your computer.

  1. From the Movie Editor, click the add media symbol .
  2. Select Add Images.
  3. If presented, allow access to your photos.
  4. Select the images to import.
  5. Click Open to import it into your movie.

Tip: You can also change the order later on using the Frame Edit menu. Just click a frame within the frame-by-frame editor to open the menu. To reverse all imported images, simply select all images and click .

Connect a Camera

Using the Remote Camera App

If you have a mobile device like an iPhone, iPad or Android device, you can use it as a remote camera connected via a WI-FI connection.

  1. Download the Remote Camera app from the AppStore on a separate device you want to use as a remote camera.
  2. Start the Remote Camera app on the other device. You can use multiple remote camera devices. Each remote device will appear with their name in the camera list.
  3. Click in the capture settings to open the camera list.
  4. Select the remote camera devices name.

Manually connect to the Remote Camera

If the remote camera device does not appear automatically, you can enter the remote camera address manually.

  1. Click in the camera settings to open the camera list.
  2. Select Remote Camera.
  3. Click Configure and enter the address as shown in the remote camera app.
  4. Click Connect.

Using a USB camera

Stop Motion Studio supports most USB connected web cameras.

  1. Open the capture settings .
  2. Select the camera from the capture source drop-down list. Please bear in mind it takes up to a minute for Stop Motion Studio to recognize the camera.
  3. Should see a live image feed from the camera when selecting the capture frame.

Manage Projects

Project Browser

The Projects browser displays all of your projects in one place, and it’s where you open your projects to edit, play, share, or delete them.

Open a project for editing

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to open.
  2. Double click it to open it.

Play a project

You can play a project at any time to watch it from the beginning or to check your work in progress.

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to play.
  2. Click the project to select it.
  3. Click the play symbol .
  4. The project begins playing from the beginning. If the playback controls aren’t showing, click the screen to make them appear. Click Done (in the upper-left corner) to return to the project screen.

Rename a project

When you create a new project, Stop Motion Studio assigns it a default name, which you can change at any time.

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to rename.
  2. Select the project.
  3. Click the rename button.
  4. Type a new name, then click Done.

The project file name file will be changed as well to make it easier to find the project on your device.

Share a project

You can share a project or export it to another device or create a backup.

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to share.
  2. Click the project to select it.
  3. Click the share symbol .
  4. Select Project.
  5. Select the location where you want to save the project to.

Delete a project

Please bear in mind, when you delete a project, you may not be able to restore it.

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to delete.
  2. Click the project to select it.
  3. Click the Trash button , then click Delete.

Duplicate a project

You can duplicate a project to test changes without altering the original project. Duplicate a project will duplicate all content.

  1. Scroll until you see the project you want to duplicate.
  2. Select the project to select it.
  3. Click Duplicate to create a copy of your project.

Import a project

To import a project into your project library, click the import button and select the project file. A message will be shown while the project is imported. When the import is complete, the project can be edited in the same way as any other project.

Manage Projects using File Explorer

You can manage projects using Finder. All project files are stored in the Videos->Stop Motion Studio Library folder.

Stop Motion TV

Visit the Stop Motion TV

Visit tv.stopmotionstudio.com a place where you can watch the latest and coolest movies Stop Motion Studio users have created. You can search for a specific movie or just browse the newest uploads.

Using the Stop Motion TV

Within Stop Motion TV you can switch between four categories. Or you can use the search field to search for a specific keyword.

  • Favorites: Shows our stuff favorite movies.
  • Popular: Shows movies popular right now.
  • Newest: Shows the latest movies uploaded.
  • Top: Shows highy rated movies uploaded.
  • Search: Search for movies uploaded.

Upload to Stop Motion TV

When you upload the movie to YouTube from Stop Motion Studio, it will appear in Stop Motion TV for others to see. Please allow some time until the project can be found.

Advanced features

Keypad and Keybord Shortcuts

You can quickly accomplish many tasks in Stop Motion Studio using keyboard shortcuts. Stop Motion Studio supports a wide range of external keypads. You can connect the keypad using a USB or bluetooth connection. Having an external keypad allows you to move closer to the scene and still be able to control Stop Motion Studio. Use the Keypad window as a guide to familar yourself with the keypad shortcuts.

  • Play (0): Preview playback.
  • Previous Frame (1): Go to the previous frame.
  • Next Frame (2): Go to the next frame.
  • Live(3): Jump to live camera view.
  • Toggle(5): Toogle between the current frame and the live camera view.
  • Shoot (Enter): Capture a frame.
  • Delete (Backspace): Delete the current frame.

Stop Motion Studio Mobile

If you want to edit your movie on the go, Stop Motion Studio is also available for mobile devices. Download Stop Motion Studio for iPhone, iPad and iPod.

Export a project from Stop Motion Studio Mobile to your PC

You can export your project from the mobile version to the desktop version at any time.

  1. Connect your device to your computer, then open iTunes on your computer.
  2. Click the device’s button at the top of the iTunes window.
  3. Select Apps in the sidebar on the left.
  4. Select Stop Motion Studio in the Apps list below File Sharing (you may need to scroll in the main window to see it).
  5. In the Stop Motion Studio Documents area, select the file you just shared, then click the “Save to” button and save the file to your computer in a place where you can find it easily.

The Making of Nitro Warriors

Nitro Warriors – A Stop Motion Animated Film Made Using Stop Motion Studio!

A super-charged Ford Mustang is under hot pursuit by the law and throws them off its tail one by one. But it may have met its match when it comes up against a mysterious black police Chevy Corvette. The action is fast and furious…and captured one frame at a time. Nitro Warriors is available on YouTube. This entertaining and cool stop motion action film, with a run time of just under three minutes, took 6 months to shoot using toy cars and Stop Motion Studio on a Phone. It is produced by Brenden Kent and directed by Paul Greer, who was kind enough to provide us with some inside information on the production. Here’s how the film was produced, as they described it.

Stage 1: Tests

First we tested various animation techniques using Stop Motion Studio. We used a couple of toy cars to see how we could achieve the fluid but fast animation for the high-intensity action needed in the film. We found that we could achieve this by pushing the frame rates as high as possible – 32fps on Stop Motion Studio – then speeding it up faster (though not needed in all shots during filming) in Final Cut on a desktop Mac.

Stage 2: Preparation

To begin with, we collected all the objects/toys needed for the various scenes. This included lights (household desk lamps), toys and camera rigs. We bought an iPhone Joby Gorilla stand that allows you to attach and stabilize the iPhone to most surfaces and fixtures. We also used a little dolly with wheels that we could attach the camera to for shots where we wanted it to move the iPhone, as well. We used a large table for most of the animation and the floor for wide shots. Finally we made the props for the scenes – all the roads, scenic elements etc.

Stage 3: Filming

The most important skill we needed for this production was patience! It sometimes took 2-3 takes before a shot worked and filming required between 100 and 300 captures per shot. Consistent light was needed so we tried to avoid natural light as much as possible. Elements (toys) were moved anywhere from a quarter to half an inch, depending on the speed needed. The button on the headphones was used to take shots to avoid touching the camera, which could disrupt the shot. The focus was always fixed on Stop Motion Studio for every single shot. The movie took around 6 months to film, completing between 3 and 5 shots per week. During filming each shot was then opened in iMovie for iPhone and edited further to refine shots.

Stage 4: Post Production

At the end of filming, the footage was placed into Final Cut and sound design began. The soundtrack took 3 weeks to create. The last stage was adding titles and final tweaking of the edit. Check out Vanguard Pictures on Facebook to learn more about their production expertise and new projects.

Troubleshooting

First Aid

A lot of issues can be solved easily by simply restarting the app or your PC. If you are having problems, try this first.

Knowledge base

Don’t forget to visit our knowledge base. You will find answers to many common questions: https://helpdesk.cateater.com/help/en-us

Email us

If you have any questions about using Stop Motion Studio, please email us at support@cateater.com.