Kevin’s Stop-Motion Guide

Kevin’s Stop-Motion Guide


✨ Where to Start

Congratulations! You’ve discovered the magic of stop-motion animation. Now, where to start?

Like any new hobby, it’s best to try it for free first. You’re in luck, because you can start animating right now with nothing more than your (or an adult’s) phone. I put together this free, 10-minute lesson where I detail the basics of getting started in stop-motion and a simple first assignment to start you on your journey:

✨ Stop-Motion with Kevin

Learn stop-motion at home with simple arts-and-crafts exercises!

I’ve started a new series designed to make learning stop-motion as simple as possible. All you’ll need is a phone/tablet and inexpensive materials. Each episode I walk through a simple exercise designed to teach a principle of animation.

Playlist HERE.

✨ My Stop-Motion Course

If you’re serious about learning stop-motion, I highly suggest signing up for my Motion Design School stop-motion course (HERE). It’s designed to teach you everything you need to know to progress from an absolute beginner to an intermediate skill level.

The lessons progress from basic timing exercises to finally ‘hiring’ you to create a stop-motion social media ad for a fictitious coffee company. When completed, you should have the skills necessary to turn your passion into the start of a career.


✨ Apps & Software


Stop-Motion Studio is an intuitive, feature-packed app that’s incredibly simple to use - especially if it’s your first time trying stop-motion. Beyond simply capturing frames you can manage many projects, add effects, green screen, etc. It’s available for smart phones, desktop computers, and tablets.


Life Lapse is another easy-to-use, smart phone based stop-motion app. It’s a favorite among professional content creators who want to bring social media product photography to life through motion. A highlight of Life Lapse is it contains 100’s of in-app tutorials and even an online blog for learning all about stop-motion.


Dragonframe is THE industry standard software for professional stop-motion productions. It’s what I use for all of my animation. If you’re feeling limited or held back by stop-motion smart phone apps, then you’re probably ready to start using Dragonframe.

✨ Stop-Motion Shopping

I’ve put together an Amazon Affiliate shop of my top product recommendations - including a stop-motion starter kit, book recommendations, and the gear I use in my own studio.

I thought this would be helpful if you’re just getting started in stop-motion, want to take your skills to the next level, or even if you’re stumped buying a gift for a young animation enthusiast.


Full disclosure: as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

✨ Poseable Figures

It’s fun to bring random household objects to life, but the next step is telling stories using characters. Here are some poseable figures that I personally recommend using - listed in order from beginner ($) to professional ($$$$).

Stikbot’s are an inexpensive, ready-to-use armature toy designed specifically for stop-motion. They have a wide range of motion and are a great introduction to puppet animation. (They also have fun characters and animals!)

If you’re looking to get a bit more serious about puppet animation but want to keep your budget in the tens of dollars, then I highly suggest building your own puppet out of armature wire.

I recommend watching THIS tutorial for a simpler puppet and THIS tutorial for a slightly more advanced puppet.

Stickybones are fully articulated, 3D-printed stop-motion puppets - complete with fingers and magnetic feet. These were specifically created to fill the void between homemade wire armature and expensive ball-and-socket armature. Highly recommended for practicing character animation.

Aardman Armature Creature Kits are great entry level ball-and-socket armatures. I’ve used them quite a bit in my own stop-motion work - although I’d recommend them for animating at lower frame rates like 12fps (and not 24fps). The great thing about this kit is that you can build an endless amount of humanoid, animal, or creature armatures.

Kinetic Armatures are the real deal. They’re lovingly machined out of steel/brass and honestly, you just have to feel them move to understand the high level of quality. The ball-and-socket joints are so precise that every move of the armature is buttery smooth. I could go on and on…

✨ Rigs & Winders

If you’ve ever seen a stop-motion character ‘jump’ into the air, then it was being held up by what is called a rig (poseable arm) or a winder (single axis, geared movement). Here are some rigs and winders that I personally recommend using - listed in order from beginner ($) to professional ($$$$).

I’m including this Action Figure Stand (Amazon Affiliate link) for absolute (younger) beginners. It can be easily rotated and tightened into any position, while holding the weight of a standard action figure with an easy-to-use waist clamp. This is the type of beginner rig that you can use to have a character ‘jump’ in the air, however still be completely visible (although the clear plastic helps) - great to learn with if you’re learning and aren’t concerned about erasing rigs in post-production quite yet.

This ‘Helping Hands’ Rig (Amazon Affiliate link) is an inexpensive option for beginners at only $10. I would buy at least two of these and then ditch the magnifying glass. From there, you can combine several of the ball-and-socket parts into a useable rig, complete with alligator clip to grab onto whatever you may happen to be animating.

A great starter rig - this Anibild rig (available through Animation Toolkit) is designed to work with the Aardman armature mentioned above by screwing into a hip or chest block. However, I’ve rigged it to a number of objects by way of hot glue.

Kinetic Armatures offer a wide variety of professional rigs (I use them for my stop-motion). You get what you pay for in the world of machined ball-and-socket joints, and these are exceptionally well made.

Kinetic Armatures also offers a wide variety of XY winders - used to get micro, linear movements. Great for precisely controlling objects in space, as using only a chain of ball-and-socket joints can be a bit tricky to move slightly in specific up-down, left-right directions.

✨ Stop-Motion Links, Tutorials, & Resources