Animation is a big trick – the picture appears to be moving, but it is in fact a procession of still pictures whizzing past so fast that your eyes see it as movement.

Click on the movie in the box on the right to play it.

Animation FramesUsually there are 25 still pictures – or frames – making up one second of animation. So, here is that clip broken down into individual frames; just under 100 making up nearly 4 seconds.

If you run your cursor along the frames below, you'll get the idea...

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So, that's a lot of pictures in a five-minute film – meaning a lot of work. Why go to all the trouble? Well, the beauty of animation is that you can make anything happen. You're only limited by your imagination...

Because there is such a lot of work, we always have to be on the look out for short cuts. Terry Gilliam once advised that if you have to animate someone running, make them run through long grass – then you don't have to animate their legs!

Faces are incredibly expressive and can do a great deal to suggest what is happening in a story without going to great lengths. And because we are all so familiar with emotions, just the tiniest glimpse of an angry face, a sad face, a surprised face can tell us a lot. And, in stop-frame animation, it's actually incredibly easy to do.

Here is a series of very short clips – which actually represent a journey through time. Have a look at the different sets of eyes, eyebrows and mouths. They belong to Slipjaw the Shaman who was created by Siobhan Davies at Aberdare Girls School.

What emotions do they convey?

(By the way, the Twrch Trwyth always looks cross – that's just his nature. But sometimes he does a bit of a Roger Moore eyebrow acting...)

Here are three different scenario's. You can click on each set of small features to change Slipjaw's expression – which in turn completely changes the story.

What has just happened?

What is going to happen?

What sound effects would we use?

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1. All at sea in the Caergwrle Bowl. This amazing boat like bowl would fit in your hands. It has been dated to about 1300-1100BC – the end of the Middle Bronze Age.

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2. Dam-busting at Llyn Fawr. Discovered during the construction of the reservoir in 1912, this spectacular bronze cauldron dates to around 750BC. Not sure if Slipjaw is enjoying the ride...

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3. Moon watching at Llyn Cerrig Bach. 600 years later in the Iron Age, the two lunatics are at Llyn Cerrig Bach on Anglesey. (See Mona)

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