Gordon Craig’s passion for stop-motion animation makes him feel like a magician – here he shares tips on getting started and creating your own . . .

“Simply put, stop-motion animation is a type of magic. You can hold an object and see that it’s inanimate - but after taking a series of photographs of it, you can bestow upon it the illusion of life.

In the past, the process of making a stop-motion animation took a lot of time and effort. These days it’s a much more accessible medium. All you really need is a mobile phone, something to keep the phone still, an object and - most importantly - an idea.


Most modern phones will run one of the free animation apps available to download. The most popular one is Stop Motion Studio, which helps you take a series of photographs and stitch them together into an animation.

A key thing to remember is that your phone needs to be kept still during the filming, which is why you should put some thought into how to achieve this. You can buy tripods and mounts for phones online but, in the absence of these, securing your phone to something sturdy with an elastic band might just do the trick for you.

What to animate?

The object that you animate can be whatever you like. You don’t need a fully articulated puppet to get started, you can animate a toy car, a pile of sugar, a piece of paper or even a rock. Keep it simple to start with and work out what is possible with the items you have.

As for your idea, try to keep this simple as well. Two or three seconds of footage is plenty when you’re just starting out. Make the rock roll across a table; have the pile of sugar make a smiley face; show the car driving into shot and then turn a corner. Believe me when I say that, once you’ve successfully made a 2-second clip, you will watch it over and over again with a smile on your face.

Once you have a few simple animations under your belt, try testing your boundaries. Add a bit of cotton wool behind the car tyres to show it accelerating fast; make the pile of sugar spell out your name; give the rock a pair of eyes and endow it with some personality.

Useful resources

If you become enthralled by the magic of stop-motion animation and want to explore what else is possible, there are a few YouTube channels I would recommend. These go into more detail on things like building puppets and making them walk and talk, as well as more technical matters such as getting your lighting and timing right:

Edu Puertas: https://youtube.com/edupuertasfruns
Just a tiny amount: https://youtube.com/justatinyamount
Guldies: https://www.youtube.com/user/Guldies

For people with the time and the patience, stop-motion animation is a fascinating and rewarding art form. I wish you all the best, making your own magic!”