Coffee & Cars

English: A special effects camera with aerial ...
English: A special effects camera with aerial image projection. Photo 1998 by Jan-Eric Nyström, User:Janke.  Released to Public Domain. The Thoughtfaucet stop motion camera rig doesn’t really look like this. But the concept is similar.


The other day my friend Matt Bushlow asked what he should do on his staycation. I suggested he come over to the Thoughtfaucet studio and learn how to do stop motion animation.

He did. This is the result:

One of the things that’s fun about stop motion animation is that the software required to do it is quick to learn. Since the process itself is so simple, there’s very little in between the animator’s mind and getting the thing made.

Well, there’s experience. But that’s true of any meaningful pursuit.

There are a wide variety of different stop motion media one can use: puppets, armatures, clay, people, found objects… pretty much anything. One of the things I encourage people to do is find an animated medium that suits their current level of development.

This is no different than some of the business work I do–matching content creation with an organization’s ability.

In this case, we talked about clay and maybe drawing. But Matt noted his drawing capability wasn’t very developed. So I suggested my favorite rough-and-ready animation medium: coffee grounds.

Animating with coffee grounds is great because it is, by nature, an imprecise medium. The expectation of fine detail is low, so the beginning animator is free to focus on what matters: the movement and spirit of the piece.

When I talked with Matt about making this animation he said when he first started he wasn’t sure what was going to happen. He didn’t have a narrative in mind. But then he saw a couple things resting on the animation table. Those things sparked his imagination and he was off and running with his chase scene.

I found some nice race car audio to layer in and it was done.

A couple hours of enjoyable work and conversation. A new experience for my friend. A little animation for you.

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  1. We do stop motion animations at our house all the time, and have been doing them for years. The kids now make their own movies and it is hours of fun for them. They usually involve legos and our kitchen counter. They did one last week that’s great, but it’s stuck on one of the old iPhones right now. They’re also in love with the iMovie trailers and love creating “epic” trailers. Here’s one of the recent efforts. I participated in this one. 🙂

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