Stop Motion Animation Education and Training Program Information

Stop motion animation is the art of creating objects and filming their movements frame by frame. Many individuals get their training in stop motion animation through bachelor's and master's degree programs in animation. Read on to learn about required courses, career options and continuing education opportunities for graduates.

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Essential Information

Individuals interested in working with stop motion can get training through degree programs that offer courses or concentrations in this technique. In a 4-year bachelor's program, students get a functional knowledge of animation principles and often can take courses involving stop motion skills. Master's degree programs may be more specialized and allow students to focus specifically on stop motion work. They can learn through classes, workshops and internships.


Bachelor's Degree in Animation

Bachelor's degree programs in animation give an overview of various types of animation techniques. Students learn the basics and the history of animation in order to find the right fit for their talents temperaments. Undergraduate animation programs offer courses in stop motion and some programs offer stop motion animation concentrations. In addition to typical admission requirements, some animation programs require portfolio review.

Program Coursework

Stop motion animation has evolved from using cut outs to modifying vectors and scans of images in software programs. Molding plasticine and clay on armatures is the basis for much 3-D stop motion animation using puppets, though early stop motion used shadow puppets and backlighting. Students learn an overview of techniques relevant to stop motion, such as:

  • Character rigging
  • Wire armature construction
  • Concept development
  • Lighting
  • Postproduction

Popular Careers

Stop motion animation companies create feature films, TV advertisements, TV shows and special effects for films. Popular careers include:

  • Animator
  • Character designer
  • Compositor
  • Previsualization artist
  • Special effects animator

Master's Degree in Animation

Graduate animation programs provide students time to develop an artistic point of view. Students interested in stop motion learn the techniques of animation, including puppet building and claymation. In addition to the typical admission requirements, master's degree candidates must submit a portfolio for review.

Program Coursework

Students learning stop motion animation construct wooden prototypes and use latex to build moveable parts, such as hands. Bodies of stop motion puppets are built on top of articulated metal armatures, with body contours made out of wood or clay. Some animation degree programs provide students with the opportunity to earn course credit for internships or workshops. Stop motion animation courses teach students:

  • Film editing
  • Puppet rigging
  • Aesthetics
  • Previzualization
  • Computer generated modeling

Employment Outlook

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of multimedia artists and animators are projected to grow 8% from 2010-2020 (www.bls.gov). As of May 2012, the BLS reported that multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual wage of $61,370.

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