Animate

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...

Frame 001 Frame 002 Frame 003 Frame 004 Frame 005 Frame 006 Frame 007 Frame 008 Frame 009 Frame 010 Frame 011 Frame 012 Frame 013 Frame 014 Frame 015 Frame 016 Frame 017 Frame 018 Frame 019 Frame 020 Frame 021 Frame 022 Frame 023 Frame 024 Frame 025 Frame 026 Frame 027 Frame 028 Frame 029 Frame 030 Frame 031 Frame 032 Frame 033 Frame 034 Frame 035 Frame 036 Frame 037 Frame 038 Frame 039 Frame 040 Frame 041 Frame 042 Frame 043 Frame 044 Frame 045 Frame 046 Frame 047 Frame 048 Frame 049 Frame 050 Frame 051 Frame 052 Frame 053 Frame 054 Frame 055 Frame 056 Frame 057 Frame 058 Frame 059 Frame 060 Frame 061 Frame 062 Frame 063 Frame 064 Frame 065 Frame 066 Frame 067 Frame 068 Frame 069 Frame 070 Frame 071 Frame 072 Frame 073 Frame 074 Frame 075 Frame 076 Frame 077 Frame 078 Frame 079 Frame 080 Frame 081 Frame 082 Frame 083 Frame 084 Frame 085 Frame 086 Frame 087 Frame 088 Frame 089 Frame 090 Frame 091 Frame 092 Frame 093 Frame 094 Frame 095 Frame 096 Frame 097 Frame 098

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?

01-neutral-eyes-128px 02-shock-eyes-128px 03-cross-eyes-128px


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.

faces-off_left faces-off_middle faces-off_right


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...

faces-off_left faces-off_middle faces-off_right



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)

faces-off_left faces-off_middle faces-off_right