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Stop-motion Toy Animation

Billy Stoker Apr 13, 2022 Scroll to read in 6 minutes

The first type of animation most animators begin with is stop-motion toy animation. Whether they animate action figures on their bedroom floor or cars on the kitchen table, it's a great method of starting out with the medium. We've all seen various types of toys being brought to life, whether it's plushies, action figures, or in the most familiar of all cases, LEGO. We’ve written about animating LEGO on a blog here. These animations are incredibly popular (particularly amongst online communities) as they resonate with an incredibly wide and diverse range of audiences. There are many ways to market toys, whether it's a live-action advert or just stills. But when weighing up and considering the most effective and efficient way in which to promote and market toys, stop animation should definitely be right up there in your considerations. This blog will discuss the benefits of harnessing the power of stop-motion in your communications and help to understand why it is so damn effective.

Ready made Puppets!

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Most toys are designed to be played with in a certain way that requires them to hold a pose or made to perform a certain type of action. This is so that they can hold accessories, mimic actions such as running or crouching, and generally be as interactive as possible. As it just so happens, this makes them perfect for stop-motion animation! Having an object that can stay in one place for a sufficient amount of time and hold a position is incredibly useful for animators as it reduces the need for additional rigging. It even negates the need for creating a custom metal skeleton, known in the trade as an armature. Most puppets are not designed to stand of their own accord, so rigs are used for assistance when animating them. Rigs are heavy metal weights equipped with either metal limbs or wiring that attach to the puppet. In doing so, they support the weight and allow the animator to work efficiently. However, this creates a more complicated and intricate set and drastically increases the time spent in post-production, painting out all the anomalies that you don't want to see. So that's another of the great things about toys; they don't need anywhere near as much support. This can dramatically reduce the production time as additional external resources are not required, and more importantly, can also greatly reduce cost.

Budgeting

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A further common misconception about stop-motion is that it's more expensive than live-action. The reality is that this isn't always the case, especially for toy animation. The project's time frame/length usually determines the pricing of stop-motion in terms of man-hours and in terms of how many seconds the duration of the animation will be. One enormous benefit of toy animation is that the toys themselves are the main focus and character. They negate the need for custom-built puppets that can (indeed, almost certainly will) increase production time and costs. Another gain from a production perspective is that the toys are very flexible in terms of the location or situation in which you place them. Because toys are commonly played with around the house, they fit perfectly into a full-scale set of a generic living room, for example. There is no need to design incredibly intricate and complex sets that can take weeks of planning and production. Stop-frame is one of the most efficient ways to advertise toys as it plays into the fun character and nature of the toy whilst keeping costs low and quality high - not to mention providing a moment of fantasy brought to life through the animated toy.

Need a Toy animation?

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Here at A+C, due to our versatile team, we can develop and produce your idea from start to finish, brief to final content. We offer storyboarding, animatics, voice acting, post-production, etc. All whilst keeping our clients up to date throughout the process via live links and reviewing capabilities, wherever in the world they may be. This helps ensure a seamless and efficient production process. Instead of having to keep track of and manage on multiple, disparate partners, we get everything done from our production studio in Margate. We employ our full-time crew of incredibly talented artists and animators, as well as having three animation-ready stages with the potential to shoot 6 scenes at any given time. Our lighting, camera and rigging equipment are ours, and we even have an infinity curve.

We've even created a Guide to Stop-motion to help our clients get a full picture and understanding of the stop-motion process and how they can get the most out of their budget without any unnecessary scope creep or unwanted, additional charges as we move through production.

It’s not our first Rodeo…

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Here at A+C we're highly experienced with toy animation, in fact we’re comfortable calling ourselves experts on the subject. Our company turns 15 this year, and during that time we have worked with some of the biggest toy companies globally. We’ve helped bring their toys to life through the magic of stop-motion. Some of the companies we are proud to have had the pleasure of working with include brands such as Meccano, Playmobil, and of course, LEGO. We have a particularly special relationship with LEGO. Since 2015 we have been producing animation, including commercials, short series, and even a LEGO animation commissioned by the government during the early stage of the pandemic. We’re lucky enough to count well over one million bricks in our collection at the studio, so we are always ready to build pretty much anything that the imagination can conjure up.

It's all about being fun, and having fun too!

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When you really boil it down, toys are all about having fun. And, in a way, animation sets out with the same goals - to create something impactful and memorable that delights the viewer.. Stop-motion specifically is an incredibly creative way to break through the ever-increasing noise of crowded advertising messaging and infinite scrolling. The productions make and leave lasting impressions on your audiences and customers, which is so important as attention levels from consumers wane

One only has to look at the success of toy inspired animations such as 'The Lego Movie' and 'Toy Story' to witness the potential power. Indeed, some animated television shows were created for the sole reason of selling toys. The classic 'Transformers' traditional animation from the mid-1980s comes to mind as a well known and hugely successful fully integrated marketing initiative . Equally, toys that are magically brought to life as a theme in TV shows such as ‘Bagpuss’, or movies, like ‘Small Soldiers’ have for decades now showcased the impact of this filming technique So when you put stop-frame and toys together, it is a match made in heaven.

If you've an idea or a script that you feel might be right for stop-motion, give us a call! There’s nothing we love more than chewing over creative challenges and solving them with animation!.

We’ve also made a bunch of other useful animation and stop-motion resources available such as how much stop motion costs and how a stop animation studio produces an animated commercial. Check them out below.

If you’d like to learn more about our production process or how to create stop-frame animation see our blogs on Getting Started in Stop-motion and Why Is Stop-Motion So Popular?