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Re: Making animation “like-stop-motion” through Vegas + Inkscape

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Dave HaynieRe: Making animation “like-stop-motion” through Vegas + Inkscape
by on Jan 1, 2012 at 10:20:26 pm

There are several things you can do with animation, and Vegas can be pretty powerful, but it's not always the whole piece. Basically, Vegas can work in layers, allowing you control over which elements appear over/under the others. If you use graphics or video with alpha layer, you can build overlays that allow some things to show up underneath.... this is typically RAW video (which you might create in a smaller Vegas project), PNG or GIF stills, or small GIF animations.

There are any number of programs that can create small GIF animations. In your original linked video, that would be a good way, for example, to create the walking guy. You can find animated clipart, make your own using a drawing program, etc.

Here's one I did with most of the animation being done just with animated GIFs and pan/zoom controls in Vegas:

(the "second copy" of me required masking).

The things Vegas does for you, like generating frames for moving objects, is called "tweening" in animation. I think technically, stop motion animation is when you bring in real-world elements: I set up my camera, put a subject in front, take a shot, change the subject a little, take another shot, repeat until frothy. If you're moving drawings around, that's pretty much just animation -- not that the technical term matters all that much.

For drawing alone, you might find a program like Inkscape better than the GIMP/Photoshop for animating an object, simply because a structured drawing is easier to tweak. You might also check out Pencil (, which is pretty nice for working in bitmaps or vectors, and as well, is specifically designed as a animation tool.

I've done some "whiteboard" animation, where I'm actually drawing things on a whiteboard, in some cases very stop-motion style (eg, shoot, draw, shoot, draw). I other cases, I can get a similar effect by taking the complete drawing into Photoshop (or any other editor), and then selectively erasing bits of the drawing, saving each off as a PNG (or whatever you like to work with). Then, you bring in each in as a frame or two, in reverse order, and it looks like the object is building/growing. Panning with motion blur can make things move, etc. Here are a couple, which use alpha channel between layers, but not much in the way of masking (the second one has some live video turned into animation that was masked a bit, and some BCC7 plug-ins for lighting effects, but the rest is pretty basic stuff that still looks pretty decent):


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