How to Animate Objects Growing & Shrinking

Learn how to animate objects growing and shrinking from Joe Vena of the Children's Museum of the Arts in this stop motion tutorial from Howcast.

So when you’re creating a stop motion animation, it’s good to go in with a plan. Sometimes executing something very simple like making an item grow or shrink can be a lot of fun. In this case, we are going to use clay to make some shapes shrink and then possibly grow again in our animation. We’re working with a camera on a tripod that’s shooting right here at this table, and we have these clay shapes set up right here. They are in our shot. They will be in our animation.

And rather than go in and change them each time we take a picture, we’ve created a whole bunch of incrementally shrunken shapes, and we’ll switch them out as we take the pictures. So we’ll start with these shapes right here, and we’ll take a few pictures of them before we begin to switch them out. So we’ll take the yellow cube and get a new one in there. Match it up. Red and red. And we’re using our overlay to match these shapes right back up, and we’ll take our picture. I’ll make sure that I’m clear of the shot. And we go back in. A new round of shapes. And it’s good to really match each shape to the previous picture that you took. This can sometimes take a moment, but it’s definitely worth it. You don’t want your shapes shaking back and forth too much. You want them shrinking.

Always make sure you clear your shot before you take your picture. It’s always good to save your animation as you go. So we’ve been gradually making shapes smaller and smaller by replacing them. So I’m going to play it through and watch the shrinking happen. And now I think we’ve shrunken down enough. We can cut, copy, and reverse our frames so it goes from being shrunken to growing back. And this is a fantastic animation exercise. You don’t just have to make shapes. You can create tiny elephants that go into large elephants, and you could grow and shrink elephants. It’s up to you. Get creative with it, but give it a try. The very small to the very large and switching out to transform things.