On this course you will experience the joys and challenges of stop-motion animation. Led by RCA graduate and filmmaker Christopher Eales, we will look at storyboarding and scriptwriting as well as model- and set-building and the rich possibilities of a mixed-media approach to independent animation. We will also be exploring software, camera equipment and lighting, which together with lots of hands-on practice, will equip you with the knowledge and skills to set up your own low-budget animation practice at home or in your own studio.


Once the course is full, we will
set a date for a weekend that will suit everyone.



An introduction to stop-motion animation

Animation is one of the most accessible forms of filmmaking available to us as individuals. An animated film often does not require huge budgets, expensive equipment or large teams of people to see it through to completion. It is used by narrative and experimental filmmakers alike.

It is a medium for anyone interested in exploring writing, drawing, sound, film-language, and, as such it attracts writers, visual artists, sculptors, illustrators, filmmakers and anyone else wanting to express an idea with time and movement.

Animation has a vast, perhaps inexhaustible variety of approaches, which still manages to engage an audience’s imagination.

On this course we will be looking at 3D stop-motion animation, which, thanks to developments in technology is now far more accessible than it perhaps was 10 years ago.

Who is this course for?

This course is suitable for anyone who wants to understand the basics of stop motion animation and how it can be approached with simple equipment.

It is also suitable for visual artists, sculptors or writers who want to try out ideas and materials within a new medium.

Students or anyone thinking of studying in a related field can also use this course to gain a first insight into stop motion and its possibilities.

The course has been designed, so that participants can continue to set up a functioning practice by themselves, at home or in their studio. A prior knowledge of animation and filmmaking is not a requirement to take part.




Preparing a sequence

We will begin the day with a practical example of stop motion followed by a brief talk by the tutor that introduces different ways in which the form has been used in the past, including pixilation, cut-out animation, clay-mation and live action with stop motion.

11.45 – coffee break


We will look at planning a sequence and how to get a feel for the film as a whole. We will address questions around storyboarding. Is always necessary? What planning is necessary if there is no storyboard? How can the idea lead the method?

We will start looking at the ideas participants have brought in and look at different ways in which they can be approached.

13.30 – lunch


Begin practical work

We will start bringing together ideas, storyboarding, if necessary and start building and collecting materials. We will also begin to adapt set structures if necessary

Make test pieces and prototypes.



Model and set building (practice-led day)

The following two days will be mainly practice led, but will have an introduction by the tutor to cover what to look out for when building a set and the practicalities of model/puppet making.

Today will be a day of model and set building. By the afternoon you will have made a good start on the set and we will also look at camera set-up and lighting as well as beginning to take test shots.

By the end of the day you should be comfortable with your set up and be looking forward to bringing it to life.



Shooting a sequence (practice led day)

Participants will spend the day shooting their sequence and adding sound if appropriate. The tutor will be at hand all day to help.


Screening session. We will watch each other’s sequences looking at what creative problems were solved, what different methods where used and how can the techniques be developed further.


Preparation and materials

You will need to bring your own laptop and digital stills camera, web-cam or a smart phone (video can be used but is not as good). And a USB stick or other external device (to store your films on).

Prior knowledge of animation is not required, but an existing idea that you want to explore is a valuable starting point. This can be a photo, a short story, a collected piece of sound or something else entirely.

We will have basic tools and materials such as cardboard, glue, wire and poster paint, for everyone to use. We will email a list of what will be provided and also suggest materials that you might need to bring yourself.

If you have a specific idea you may need to research in advance the materials that you will need to bring.

All images courtesy of Christopher Eales


3D Stop-motion animation

3 day weekend workshop

The maximum class size will be 8.