Aardman Academy's Stopmotion 2 was a follow-on course from their previous stop-motion 1. Stopmotion 1 was an introduction to full-body stop-motion animation while. Stopmotion 2 was an opportunity to build on those basic full-body animation skills and refine them professionally. It was also an opportunity to develop facial animation performance, including conversational acting, lip sync, sculpting through mouth shapes, the advanced full-body acting with props and creating characterful bi-ped performances alongside a vocal audio track. Each week we had a live-streamed lecture with the course leader. Aardman assigned a task, and we learned how to approach our task with pre-recorded masterclasses from the Aardman animation team. The live sessions were also an opportunity to get to know the other people on the course, ask questions, share ideas and discuss animation and puppet fabrication techniques. Each participant was also assigned a mentor. I was very fortunate to get Darren Thomas as my mentor, who has been an animator with Aardman for over 20 years. These one on one sessions with Darren were invaluable. It was an opportunity to discuss ideas and get advice and tips from someone with extensive experience and knowledge.
Each person worked on a final project for the last four weeks of the course. I choose to develop a forest god character from a story idea we have been growing at Studio 9. The project was an opportunity to refine the course's learnings and create something individual. We had a screening of all the work at the end of the period. Overall it was an excellent opportunity for me, and the learning was invaluable! It has significantly helped move our studio closer to our goal of being a full stop-motion animation studio!