Stopmotion Explosion

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- Nate Eckerson

I spent a lot of time researching books on the topic of Stop Motion Animation before I purchased this book because I wanted a stop motion book that specifically covered Lego stop motion animation.

Well, if brick films are the type of films you want to create then look no further! Not only did this book cover Lego minifigs but also Stikfa characters, which are basically small, super-poseable figures with interchangeable parts.

This book does an excellent job of covering all the topics related to pre and post movie production such as; creating story ideas, scriptwriting, story boarding, set design, filming, editing, video presentation and uploading.

It doesn’t overload you with too much theory or detail but give just enough to get you in the right direction and help you perfect your skills. It also covered in nice detail different types of cameras, lighting configurations, and composition “camera angles, focus, frame size, etc”. Nate then covers in great detail Animation and Flight. In my films, I was always thinking about green screen and editing but Nate did an excellent job of detailing how you can use multiple Layers of images and edit out or erase part of the image that you want removed so it won’t be seen in the final shot! For me, this was almost the price of the book.

He adds numerous photos, albeit black and white, in the chapter called “The Art of War”, which covers different Lego movement sequences frame-by-frame for fighting, running, walking, and flying. Plus in this same chapter he details step-by-step procedures for adding video and sound effects to your movie such as; explosions, flashes, gun fire and laser blasts.

As if that wasn’t enough he explains how to use a number of stop motion video and sound editing programs, such as Monkey Jam, SMA, Audacity, and Microsoft Movie Maker, which a majority of are all free to download and use instantly. Finally he covers File types and formats, sharing your video, and the program VirtualDub, which is a powerful video processing and capture tool, also free to download.

Stopmotion Explosion has everything you need to get your first stop motion movie up and running quickly and smoothly. It covers all the necessary topics and details, plus the most important information to help you creating movies instead of wasting time searching the web for bad video tutorials and lame video examples.

This book, in my opinion, represents a perfect progression for the complete newbie to become the practical novice and leaves the door open for a possible Advanced Stopmotion Explosion book. This new book should cover more detailed information regarding advanced video and sound editing techniques, more advanced Lego movement and motion techniques, as well as steps to help create a longer, more involved, movie production. As it stands, don’t bother looking anywhere else for a book that covers Brick film stop motion animation, this is the one you need.

- Joseph Propati

Overall I found this to be a great book. I recently started getting into making my own stopmotion animations about 8 months ago, and honestly I wish I had bought this book first. It covers everything you need to know, and gives very easy to understand explanations.

The book is centered around making a "low-budget" movie, so if your trying to create the next nightmare before christmas, there are better books out there. However if your just breaking into the art this book offers plenty of ideas and solutions for making a great low cost trial animation from inexpensive items.

- Rick

My son has been over-the-top excited to get this, so I was a little worried it couldn't be as "awesome" as he expected it to be. Turns out I had nothing to worry about. Everything was easy to set up, and we've already made a few SHORT movies. One thing I wish it had was a way to slow down frames-per-second (15 right now) so it would be easier on some of our beginning work (This is possible, and covered in the book). Even with that, it has been non-stop fun. He plans on making some movies of some of his fictitional characters using legos and other supplies.