Setting Up Your Home Animation Studio

So you’ve just finished an animation workshop with KXB Studio. Understandably, you’ve fallen in love with animation and want to animate all day long. Here’s some important info for you to get started with your own home animation studio.

Software

Dragonframe ($295): I use Dragonframe exclusively. Dragonframe is easy to use for simple and complex projects. You can make high quality animations, play back your footage as you animate, and use the Onion Skin tool. It’s the same software that Laika Studios uses to make films like Coraline or Paranorman. They offer great educational discounts too. If you’re serious about animation then this is the software for you.

Boinx iStopmotion ($49.99): This software is very similar to Dragonframe. It has the essential Onion Skin feature that makes stopmotion easy and fun. This software is only compatible with apple products but can be used on an iMac, iPhone, iPad or iTouch. It has great features that Dragonframe does not like Chroma Keying and an option to convert your projects into a flipbook!

Eclipse Stopmotion Pro ($75-$185)

This is the PC equivalent to Boinx. An easy to use software that let’s you record sound effects directly into the program as you playback your animation. You can get the Standard Definition version for $75 or the Regular version for $185. They even have a monthly subscription option for just $18 a month.

Quicktime Player 7 Pro ($29.99)

If you have a camera you can easily make an animation using the Image Sequence Feature of Quicktime Player 7 Pro. Just set up your camera on the tripod and use a remote to capture your frames as you animate. Then you can upload all the images to a computer and use Quicktime to create an Image Sequence. This method is more challenging because you can’t playback your footage as you go. Animating “blind” gives you a great understanding of movement and the Principles of Animation.

Cameras

Web Cameras: You can often use the built-in webcam on your computer with most animation software. An external camera gives you more control of the scene and freedom to compose interesting shots. I recommend a webcam that has a manual focus feature like the Microsoft LifeCam series and Logitech Quickcam.

DSLRs: If you want that crisp cinematic look then use a DSLR camera with your software. I like Canons because they work well with most animation software and are less expensive than a Nikon. KXB Studio uses Canon T3i or T3.

IMPORTANT: Make sure your camera is compatible with the software before making any purchases!!!

Animation Stands

A tripod will work for any stopmotion project. If you’re interested in capturing your drawings on camera then you can try angling your tripod down. OR you can build an animation stand. Check out the Resources page for a construction diagram.

Happy Animating!

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