Time really flies. N.E.mation! is running their 6th nation-wide animation competition this year. Competition has already started. The theme this year is ‘NS: From Fathers to Sons’.
N.E.mation is a yearly affair. Students who are keen in animation shall represent their secondary schools to participate in this nation-wide animation competition. Organised by Nexus and Animagine, teams will pitch their stories to the panels. Top 10 teams are selected to produce their animation in 3 weeks in Nangyang Polytechnic. After which, these clips are judged by the panel of judges and open to public for voting. The Champion team wins a fully sponsored trip to DreamWorks USA!
I have a chance to experience how paper cutout stop motion can be done. Tools needed: webcam, tripod, computer, blue tacks, paper, stationery and a playful mind.
AniMaker Software to capture stop motion
Before we begin, we learn the theory behind how animation works: persistence of vision. An afterimage continues to stay in the retina for one twenty-fifth of a second. If the next image is flashed quick enough, the brain and eyes will connect both images and perceived them as a continuous motion.
We begin our paper cutouts after receiving storyboards and template sheets. Working in relation to A3 size paper, we produce a 640 x 480px animation. Different movable pieces are made separately then reassembled back during animation, planning ahead and following these storyboards are extremely important.
To begin, you’ll first have to secure the background and the paper elements with blue tack. These elements are moved manually by hands into new positions, capture them with webcam, move again, capture again to stimulate motion.
The process is very tiring! We take turns to animate and play around with the paper cutouts. Our animation ended up with some human cast shadows. And to see how much and what you’ve moved, you’ll need to turn on the onion skin function in the software. This works pretty much like tradition pencil drawing animation where you need to flip between pages to see how your character should move in next frame.
Onion skin to reveal what is underlying each adjustment
We have 200 over frames for a mere 13 seconds of animation. But we have lots of fun! See our completed stop motion below.