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how to create stop motion filmWho doesn’t like stop-motion movies? Seriously. Ever since I can remember I’ve wanted to make one of those really cool stop-motion films with little guys made out of play dough. Luckily, these days it’s not so hard anymore thanks to tools like JellyCam.

JellyCam is a small, simple and free application that runs on Adobe Air and helps you create that stop-motion video you’ve always wanted to make. You can either use your webcam to take pictures on the spot and turn them into a video, or use images you already have on your hard drive. I’m usually intimidated by things that require me to be even a bit artsy, but JellyCam is surprisingly simple and fun to use.

Getting Started

Before you install JellyCam you’d have to install Adobe Air. But don’t worry, the JellyCam installation will offer to install it for you so it doesn’t require any annoyance on your part.

how to create stop motion film

Installation is rather quick (even if you don’t have Adobe Air to begin with), and it’s all really nice and Adobe Airish (I’m not a huge Adobe fan usually, but Adobe Air is just so slick sometimes).

create stop motion

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After the installation is done you can run the program and immediately start making movies.

Creating A Movie

As I mentioned earlier, JellyCam is simple. This also means that there are no fancy effects, options and fireworks. It takes pictures and turns them into a movie. That’s it.

When you run it, you’ll see the “Webcam” frame on the left side, and you can start taking pictures. There are several options here – you can click the “Take Picture” (or hit the spacebar) every time you want to take a picture, or you can set it to automatically take pictures every given number of seconds. After you set the number of seconds, get ready and hit “start“.

create stop motion

If you choose to set the timer, after you click start you’ll get a countdown above the picture so you can see how much time you have left until the next picture. This is a really easy way to make a movie if you want to stand far away from the computer or if (like me) you have a built-in webcam in your laptop and you can barely see the screen when its pointing to the table.

create stop motion

You may have noticed the “Onion Skinning” option at the bottom left. This is also very handy – when you choose this option, the last picture that was taken will stay on the screen so you can arrange the next picture accordingly. As you can see in the screenshot below, the live webcam image is a bit transparent and you can see through it to the last picture in the set.

make stop motion film

If you already have pictures you want to use for your movie, you can switch to the “Picture Importer” mode by clicking the polaroid icon on the left. You can then either drag and drop pictures into the frame or browse for pictures. You can drag and drop multiple pictures at once.

make stop motion film

Editing, Watching & Exporting

You can watch the movie while you’re making it in the frame on the right side of the screen. It updates according to the pictures you add and you can play it after each addition. You can also control the speed (i.e. number of pictures per second), so you can get a really quick transition that really resembles a movie, or a slower one for more of a slideshow feel.

make stop motion film

On the bottom part you can edit the order of the pictures or duplicate pictures. The changes you make will be updated immediately in the movie frame above.

2011-08-05 17h06_36

When you’re done, you can save your project as a .jcam file which you can watch from within JellyCam, or export it into a .flv file. I wish there were other formats available, like an animated .gif, but you can always convert it if you really want to.

2011-08-05 17h50_01

If you choose the “Watch” option from the top right, you can watch all your saved movies with one click. If you’re happy, you can create your movies from this screen as well.

how to create stop motion film

And here is an example of what you can create – my masterpiece:

Conclusion

If you’ve ever had a dream to make a stop-motion film, hurry up and try JellyCam. It might not be the fanciest and most sophisticated tool out there, but when you can create something so quickly and easily, chances are you’ll actually do it. Then you’ll have a masterpiece like mine to show the world.

We’d love to see some examples of things you made or hear about similar tools in the comments!

  1. windwalker76
    July 2, 2016 at 4:16 pm

    how can i add sound???

  2. Lnnnseee
    September 30, 2011 at 8:23 am

    Hello, how can i edit the image on a video and change the face of the image to another image

    • Yaara
      September 30, 2011 at 8:49 am

      If you're trying to edit the image, you'd need an image editor, you can't do it with JellyCam. What JellyCam can do for you is turn a series of pictures into a movie.

      I'm not sure I understand the second part of your question, I can try to help if you clarify. But in general, you can't use JellyCam for any sort of image editing. You can do it with a separate tool.

  3. Tom
    August 24, 2011 at 9:16 pm

    Thanks for pointing out this wonderful tool.
    I made some stop motion movies in highschool some 20 years ago and always looked around for a tool or software to do something like that with modern techniques. Now I get the ability to create stuff again with no big investment using my DSLR and the tools mentioned in this post.

    • Yaara
      August 25, 2011 at 7:29 am

      My pleasure! Hope you have fun with it. :)

  4. Yaara
    August 19, 2011 at 7:31 am

    Glad you liked it! It's a really cool toy. :)

  5. Dan Corkery
    August 18, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for a very interesting article..and Deb is right in what she says above..this really is a hugh timesaver.

    One thing though, correct me if I am wrong, but there is no link anywhere above to the software in question.  I know..it's a small point, but folks are used to just clicking a link these days and not having to leave and go hunt for it themselves elsewhere.  Just a point I think worth mentioning for the future.

    Anyway, my thanks again for bringing this little gem to our attention.

    • Yaara
      August 19, 2011 at 7:22 am

      Thank you Dan for pointing out the missing link! There was definitely supposed to be one. I'll see to it that it's fixed.

      Thank you again and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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