In 2009 the first year animators showed a real interest for stop motion animation. The interest in animation styles varies from year to year.
The big question was; "How do you plan a stop motion animation?"
I noticed that in the process of discovering the joys of tangibility and sense of touch in creating animation that most of the animators had an idea in their head and animated straight ahead with it. And it worked. To a degree. They just wanted to get their hands dirty and "start animating".
It was a bittersweet scenario for an animation teacher who has the job of teaching 3D animation. It was sweet to see them dive in and imagine, discover and explore. It was bitter to see the concept of planning we were applying to our 3D work be cast aside for something that seemed more immediately satisfying.
It is all part of the evolution of an animator. The misunderstanding that animation happens in front of the lens is a magical dream created by watching beautiful finished work without ever seeing the evolution of it through planning. Eventually animators discover an important truth that good animation doesn't happen inside one's head. Often it remains trapped there. An animator has to find their way to get it out of their head and into the world. And good animation doesn't magically happen in front of the camera. Magic is a term for not fully understanding something. Sorry to be a wet blanket on anyone's Disney dreams. As an animator grows in understanding they realise good animation is crafted in the planning.
Planning an animation roughly on paper is such an important part of the craft for animators studying a course based on animation principles and the foundations of traditional animation skills.
To help illustrate this idea I have found some clips. The Big Story is a short film. It is directed by Oscar nominated, BAFTA winning, MAD magazine artist (pay attention to the cartoon artist use of caricature), film maker David Stoten.