5 Must-Read (and use) Books for Stop-Motion Animators
Even though Stop-Motion is largely about DIY and being creative, there are skills and theory you should learn that will help you get better much faster.
Here is a list of five amazing books which cover all stages of animation, from making armatures and puppets to editing.
1. Stop-motion Animation: Frame by Frame Film-making with Puppets and Models by Barry JC Purves
This quintessential book has become the textbook of stop-motion. It covers the basics of each segment of film making; lighting, sound, editing, storytelling, model creation, sets etc. with simple to follow instructions and examples. It also explains the difference in approaching the media, as opposed to doing 2D or 3D, and how the characters and their movement is different in puppet animation or any other stop-motion form than in other filming techniques.
2. Stop-Motion Armature Machining: A Construction Manual by Tom Brierton
If you’ve ever tried stop-motion, you know how hard it is to make puppets. Armatures are what is really important when making models, they makes them come to life and move naturally. This book teaches you numerous techniques of making puppet armatures, from simple wire armatures, to professionally made ones which are used by studios like Laika or Aardman. A must read stop-motion book for anyone who wishes to make their own puppets.
3. Stop-Motion Puppet Sculpting: A Manual of Foam Injection, Build-Up, and Finishing Techniques by Tom Brierton
Same as Armature Machining, Puppet Sculpting by Tom Brierton is a book packed with essential skills for puppet making which can’t be found online. What makes the information different is that he doesn’t list the techniques he uses. He lists all available techniques for sculpting professional puppets for stop motion. Definitely a must-read guide for puppet animators.
4. Stop Motion: Craft Skills for Model Animation by Susannah Shaw
A great guide through the process of making a stop-motion film. It approaches each step from the practical standpoint, without much redundant theory. Its key benefit is that it teaches you how to look at the technique as a craft which combines several key skills into a multidisciplinary art form and it shows you exactly how to master each individual skill.
5. Stop Motion Movie Making for Poor People by David D’Champ
The most useful stop-motion book for beginners. Its benefits are clear from the name; how to make a stop-motion film from start to finish, from making the puppets, sets, shooting and editing with little or no money. Even if you have money to start with, it will provide endless ideas on utilizing widely available materials in your movie making (especially useful is the part with using socket and metal ball armatures DIY, which is an armature making technique used in large studios), as well as show you techniques which can help achieve movements or effects, and help you with the practical stages of filming.