Posted by: Jusuchin (Military Otaku) | 02/01/2010

Blog Post #2

The Amazing Abilities of Stop Motion. A look into one such example.

-more after jump-

Stop Motion Animation has been around for a long time, many of us would remember it more fondly as clay-mation, in which clay figures are moved incrementally between frames to produce animation, moving objects through a video loop or whatnot. But it came to my attention just how flexible and creative this medium is. Stop-motion animation can not only give a simple (if time-consuming) and relatively inexpensive way to produce animation, but it can also allow the animator to produce or do effects not found in the original work, as seen in the example given.

The animation I chose, well, built this blog post about was the song Bad Apple!! Bad Apple!! is a song that gained popularity by being originally in a series of very popular ‘bullet hell’ top-down scroll shooting games known as Touhou. Lyrics and a more upbeat soundtrack was added, and soon, a PV, or promotional video made its way to the Japanese video-sharing website Nico Nico Douga and soon onto YouTube. Below is the original, w/ English Subtitles. If possible, allow the video to load fully to avoid buffer-hell.

Now, the animation itself is very good, relying on smooth transitions from what seemed to be background objects into the next silhouette of a character in the Touhou games, the timing of each segment matching the song, and what the characters sometimes do, visual clues and poses seemingly matching the content of the lyrics. It seemed not everyone was happy about it, or at the very least, had too much time on their hands. A stop motion version was uploaded via the same way, and this time featured the entire video in stop-motion. Same as above, if possible, let it load to avoid buffer hell.

This is the same song and animation, except done in stop motion. In here, outside lighting helps or hinders the animation, but notice in transitions to black background on white the lighting darkens, and white background to white the lighting increases. There is also the fact that, since it is stop-motion, there is an added bonus of adding an X-Y axis to the animation. As seen in the beginning when the apple is thrown into the air, strings elevate the frames up until it is caught by the witch. The same goes for the knife, laying frame per frame per frame on top of each other adds more motion into the segment than what was originally seen in the static PV. The use of different locations in the animator’s room, but primarily the grid-board, helps in providing a frame of reference for one’s eyes and helps add more to the actual action.

In all, I believed I ranted long enough. Both examples of animation was well done, the original in its transitions and the use of shadow-art, while the second one to me was an inventive way to translate the original into having more depth and motion, a feat I thought impossible, due to the original already being an amazing piece of animation.

I have commented in Sandra Kellerhals and Jessica Martin‘s blog.



  1. Wow… I’m absolutely in awe of that second piece. I feel kind of silly, but before reading your post I didn’t really know what stop-motion animation entailed exactly. It’s safe to say that’s pretty clear now. In addition to all the things you pointed out about the piece, one thing I found really kind-of genius about the use of the camera was the panning in and out of the frame to give the same illusion of movement as is the original animation. It’s crazy but I think the stop-motion piece was actually stronger insofar as you felt (as the viewer) like you were really moving through the piece. Thanks for posting that really informative video!

  2. […] see my comments on the blogs of Justin Pangilinan and Alissa […]

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