Stop-Motion Animation

Tie-down and Armature Basics

Before starting, I would like to mention that the armatures on this page are designed for non-animation purposes; however, the turntable is applicable for creating any sculpture.  I will try to come out with an animation video ASAP.

Step One – Make a Tie-Down Turntable

Supplies needed:
- [1] 12" wooden round panel
- [3] PVC test caps
- [9] 3/4" wood screws
- 1/4" drill bit
- 1 1/2" (1/4" 20 thread) machine screws and nuts for tie-downs

Step Two – Making a Tie-Down Armature

Making a sturdy armature doesn't have to be difficult or take much time.  Knowing how to create an armature opens up an infinite number of possibilities a sculptor cannot obtain without support.

This is intended for solid models, not animation puppets.  

Supplies needed:
- 12 gauge galvanized steel wire
- (optional) 16 gauge galvanized steel wire for arms
- gaffer tape (medical tape will work as well)
- thermoplastic, like Instamorph or friendly plastic
- 1 1/2" (1/4" 20 thread) machine screws and nuts for tie-downs
- tie-down table – or if you don't have one, you can make a tie-down turntable in my other video

Stop-Motion Flicker Removal

CFL's are terrific for animation due to their high light output and significantly lower heat output when compared to standard light bulbs, but you need to be careful about how you use them.

Make sure to buy the same brand and color temperature.  This will allow you to light your set with an even color balance on the set.  So don't mix CFL, tungsten, and halogen lights unless you intend to have different colored lights.

Once that 5 minutes is up, take a second to feel the temperature around your characters and set.  Although CFL's are a lot cooler than tungsten lightbulbs, they still generate a fair amount of heat.  Make sure the lights won't start to melt the clay or run the risk of catching your set on fire.

Learn from Fellow Animators

There are plenty of animators who are willing to share an incredible amount of information.  I do not intend to regurgitate any of their tutorials "in order to get more views".  Feel free to contact me to suggest other videos of inspiration. 🐥

This selection is currently growing, so plenty more yet to come!

Nick Hilligoss

Seriously, one of the most open animators about how to create stop-motion animations.  

Don Carlson – Prammaven

Don and I have been in contact since 2008, and he's been a motivating force for me to try a lot of new things.  I hope to share more of his online tutorials in the future, but here's the first one, on rotoscoping, for now: Lip Syncing on

And while these aren't tutorials, behind the scenes looks at how professionals work can be just as inspirational.