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Stop Motion Animation
Techniques behind the Treasure Hunters

Stop Motion animation works on the same principle as standard cartoon animation. Both involve creating series of still images to tell your story. And like cartoon animation, you can use just about anything to create stop motion: a doll, coin, even a real human being - anything your creative mind can think of! It's a world filled with endless possibilities.

So let's get started with how to create stop motion in Corel VideoStudio Pro X5 Ultimate and PaintShop Photo Pro X4 Ultimate.




Technique 1: Import Photos

The first step is to shoot your images according to your script. Or you can shoot on the fly if that's how you roll. :)

Next, run VideoStudio Pro X5 Ultimate and open the folder with your images.

One of the things I like about VideoStudio Pro is how flexible it is. There are several ways to bring your images into a project.


Drag straight to the timeline! It's as easy as that.


Drag to the Library. You can bring images into the library to add to the timeline individually or in groups.


Use Insert Photo for Time-lapse Strobe. Right click on the timeline and choose the command.


Choose Stop Motion in the Record/Capture Option dialog box. Click on the red record button above the timeline to open the dialog. This lets you assemble all your images into an image sequence clip that you add to your project just like a video.


Create Image Sequence clips (UIS) using the import video feature and choosing Ulead Image Sequence as the file format.

For this example, we'll use the first method. Hold down the Shift key to select all of the images and drag them to the timeline.

Technique 2 - Adjust the Frame Rate

The speed at which the images in your stop motion change (the frame rate) has a huge impact on the flow and tempo of your story. Being able to adjust the duration of each image is very important.

Select the images you what to change on the timeline. Batch-select an entire group by clicking on the first image, holding down the shift key and clicking on the last image.

Now put your cursor over group and click the right mouse button. Select "Change Photo Duration" from the menu to set the frame rate for each photo, I recommend setting the frame rate as fast as 30 pictures per second, or a value of 0:0:0:1.

This level of control over the frame rate is very precise and leaves me utterly amazed!

After you set the frame rate, press the play button below the preview window to see how your stop motion looks. Then slowly adjust it to make it just exactly right!

Technique 3 - Applying Filter Effects

Corel VideoStudio Pro X4 gives you many interesting and dramatic effects. They can be used throughout the storyline to give your movie new depth.

Here are some of the effects I especially like:


Often times you'll want to apply filters to entire clips V or parts of clips V rather than individual frames, so you may wish to first render a section to video V or save it as a project and bring in onto the timeline. Creating image sequence clips (UIS, UISX) is another easy way to combine images into a clip for applying filters.


Invert -  Gives the movie a strong collision effect. It can reverse the entire color scheme, resulting in greater dramatic visual impact.

Monochrome - Creates an old school or fantasy-like style to add more depth and content to the storyline.

Zoom Motion - This powerful effect is perfect for showing the impact of explosions, punches and all sorts of shockwaves. The filter direction works both from the inside out and the outside in. Try it both ways to see what looks best for you. Combine a slower frame rate with Zoom Motion for even greater impact!

Video Pan and Zoom - Personally, this is one of my favorite filters. Being able to zoom in and out and pan across the action (during an individual clip!) gives me huge power to add tension to sequences. How cool is that? Shazam!

Technique 4 - Transitions

Using transitions to move between scenes is very important and a great way to show changes in time or location.

VideoStudio Pro includes a huge range of different transition styles from subtle to bombastic to meet any need. Using transitions is simple! Just drag and drop between sequences and adjust the duration. Preview the selected transitions right away to get just what you want. How sweet!

Technique 5 - Painting Creator

I can also highly recommend VideoStudio Pro's exclusive video painting tool, the Painting Creator. Using the brushes, I can draw and paint any patterns, shapes or fills that I want and add them to my movie V an indispensible post production technique.

Painting Creator records the sequence and lets you play it back step-by-step as an overlay on your video. This is useful and powerful V a unique hand-recording feature only available in this software.  

How to use: Click Painting Creator in the "Tool Options" menu. The Painting Creator workspace opens as shown below. Mix your own brush size and color. When you've got the right options, record your paint strokes by clicking Start Recording . Click Stop Recording when you're done and click OK at the lower right corner  to transfer the output video to the VideoStudio Pro workspace.

Click Painting Creator in the "Tool Options" menu

Mix your own brush size and color and record your paint strokes by clicking Start Recording

Click Stop Recording when you're done and click OK at the lower right corner to transfer the output video to the VideoStudio Pro workspace

Technique 6 - Output the File

Once you've assembled all the pieces and added music, titles, transitions and special effects, you're ready to share your movie with the world. VideoStudio lets you create your movie in formats for any purpose, from the web to Smartphones and plenty in between. Output file type can be saved as WMV, MPEG or other file formats including AVI, FLV, AVCHD, HD MPEG-2 and MPEG-4.

And when you want to share online, you'll be glad to find direct create-and-go features for uploading to Vimeo, YouTube, Facebook and Flickr!





Special effects are a great way to turn run-of-the-mill stop motion films into something really special. Adding muzzle flash to gunshots, removing objects from scenes and extracting characters to use as overlays are all great ways to use PaintShop Photo Pro in your projects. Have a look at our tutorial to see some of these techniques in action!

Technique 1 - Adding Muzzle Flash

In this stop motion animation, we'll use the Paint Brush tool to add muzzle flash to the guns the characters shoot. First open Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X4 Ultimateand in the upper left toolbar click File: File Open and import the picture to which you want to add the effect.

Click on the Paint Brush in the Tools toolbar. In the Tool Options panel, under Blend Mode, choose Lighten. Then, in the Materials Panel, choose the color to paint. For the creating muzzle flash, light yellow works best. Back in the Tool Options panel, choose the size, hardness and transparency for your brush.

Test your settings on your image to arrive at the ideal color, brightness, and brush size. Once the brush settings are adjusted, draw the flash effect around the muzzle. Aim for a result similar to the example.

  TIP: Make the flash brighter closer to the gun. Reduce the amount of the effect further away from the gun. Adjust the brush and color settings between strokes to create a realistic flash.  

Technique 2 - Making objects float

There are many ways to make objects float in the air. For this technique, I'll show you one of the easiest!

In this example we want the character to look like he's in the air, suspended in the middle of a jump. To do this, you need two photos. The first one should be your background - without the jumper but including all the other elements. Bring that photo into PaintShop Photo Pro.

Background photo

Photo to edit

Now open the photo to edit, the one with your character in the air. As you can see, the character is actually standing on a pillar to get him up to the right height. Copy this photo by changing to the Pan tool, right clicking on the photo and selecting Copy. Now change to the background photo and right click and choose Paste As New Layer.

After pasting the image onto the background photo, select the Eraser Tool from the Tools toolbar. As you erase, the background from layer below will show where you remove the top layer.

Erase the pillar under the character's feet, and presto, your guy is in floating in the air!

  Tip: Change the shape and size of the Eraser Tool in the Tool Options panel to match the size of the area you want to erase.  

Technique 3 - Background Removal

The next technique is a quick and easy background removal. In fact, it's very simple, especially using PaintShop Photo Pro's Background Eraser Tool.

First, import the photo to edit. Select the Background Eraser Tool in the Tools toolbar. Trace around the object you want to retain, keeping the tip of the brush in the background area. PaintShop Photo Pro automatically finds erases right up to the edge of your object. In this example, I want to extract the character as independent object. Using the Background Eraser tool, I can quickly separate out the character.

After a first pass, go back with the standard Eraser brush to make fine adjustments. Once the character is extracted, save it in PNG format to use an overlay for a variety of applications.

Technique 4 - Color and Shading Effects

In addition to the techniques shown above, Corel PaintShop Photo Pro X4 Ultimatestill has many other interesting effects that can be used to make photos more fun. Here we will use the same photo with different tools to produce different effects.

Shifting Hue
Changing the Hue of different parts of a photo is an effective way to show the shock of an impact. The Hue Brush is located in the Tool toolbar among the adjustment brushes. Make it big and have fun!

Smudge is another great adjustment brush to add to your collection. Use it to generate a dynamic feeling like the lines used in comics when a character turns or moves.

Smudge is also perfect for creating motion blur effects - which make movement look smoother and more realistic when a series of shots are streamed to a film. I highly recommend everybody use this technique!

Pumping up the saturation of your image makes scenes more passionate and dynamic. Use the Saturation adjustment brush to selectively apply the effect on parts of your image V either reducing or increasing saturation.

The Darken brush reduces the luminosity in photos to add texture and creates a cooler tone that is sometimes just what you want.

See more of Johns work at


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