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Animation basics: Homemade special effects - TED-Ed

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Animation is used everywhere to communicate big ideas--in movies, television, and media. Do you ever stop and wonder about the magic of it all? And have you ever wanted to create your own special effects? TED-Ed animators show just how easy (and fun) homemade special effects can be.

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TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Narrator Jordan Reeves
  • Director Lisa LaBracio, Aaron Hughes
  • Animator Celeste Lai

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Additional Resources for you to Explore
For the first recorded disappearing act, and our inspiration for 'teleportation', watch "The Conjuror" by George Melies (1899).
The word pixilation, which refers to the use of humans in Stop Motion Animation, is attributed to Grant Munro, one of the collaborators on the 1952 film, "Neighbours", directed by Norman McLaren.
Most recently, the pixilated film Luminaris (2011) by Juan Pablo Zaramella was nominated for an Oscar© in 2012.
And be sure to check out PES’ Human Skateboard pixilation and Jan Svankmeyer’s film “Food”!
View more pixilation collaborations by Aaron Hughes & TED-Ed's Lisa LaBracio at Aaron's Vimeo Page.
To make your very own Stop Motion Animations & Pixilations at home, all you will need is a camera, or any device that captures images, and an app or software that will sequence the images.
We love how easy it is to animate now with various apps for your phone & tablets. Here are some you can try, ranging from free up to $10:
iStopMotion for iPad
Vine (if you start and stop the capture)
Stop Motion Studio
Smoovie
and more!
You can also shoot simple Stop Motions with your webcam using the free JellyCam Stop-Motion Maker.
But you can always just take a bunch of pictures with your digital camera (remember to flip back and forth between pictures to check for continuity!) and sequence them in iMovie, Final Cut, Premiere, or any video editor.
To attach our iPads to our tripods, we used an iPad mount made by The Joy Factory, which manufactures mounts for a multitude of tablets. But there are many ways in which you can rig your device to take pictures -- simply prop it up, use clamps (carefully), or create a stand using cardboard with a window for the camera -- as seen in the tutorial video on the iStopMotion for iPad page.
Have fun!

This lesson was directed by Aaron Hughes. You can see more of his work here.
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animation lessons feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Narrator Jordan Reeves
  • Director Lisa LaBracio, Aaron Hughes
  • Animator Celeste Lai

Share

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