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Pardon if this has been asked before, I'm a legally blind user and couldn't read far enough before getting some serious eyestrain-

I want to animate by manually transforming a mesh per frame, similar to how stop motion animators shape individual clay models per frame. Shapekeys have an annoying restriction though that mean each shapekey has to be exactly the same with the only difference being the vertex positions. Is there another way to have different meshes per frame to do stopmotion animation?

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  • $\begingroup$ Strangely that's been asked and answered here around 6 hours ago! blender.stackexchange.com/questions/250137/… $\endgroup$
    – John Eason
    2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ Wow, that's a huge miss for me- definitely a couple lil' bits of useful info in there $\endgroup$ 2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ Update after some snooping around from the info in the linked question: That keymesh addon has a fork that seems to have corrected a few issues that people reported that weren't fixed in the main branch: github.com/AldrinMathew/keymesh-addon $\endgroup$ 2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ Should be noted that every branch, even the main repo, seems abandoned- the latest commit I've seen from any of them is June of last year, the one I linked having it's latest activity in March, and almost all of the rest's activity ended in February. $\endgroup$ 2 days ago
  • $\begingroup$ Further note; the original addon and all of the forks are still labeled as "alpha" and "experimental", use at your own risk and make frequent backups of important models. o/ $\endgroup$ 2 days ago
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Method 1:

One possible way goes as follows:

(Disclaimer: This method has limitations but will give a basic stop-motion effect.)

  1. Make a (simple) animation.
  2. Go to the Graph Editor and select all the Key Frames of all the Object Transformations by pressing A
  3. Press T to Set Keyframe Interpolation for all the key frames at once, and choose Constant.
  4. Play the animation.

enter image description here

If you apply this method to the bones of an armature it could look something like this:

enter image description here

ATTENTION: Note however that this only works if the distance between keyframes is equal for the whole animation, otherwise the time intervals between movement won't be consistent. (in these animations a keyframe was added on every 10th frame)

Method 2:

Alternatively one could skip frames while rendering (making the animation shorter), and then increase the length of the animation using video editing in the Video Sequencer to make up for the lost frames.

  1. Make an animation (Optional: render the animation: Ctrl + F12 )
  2. Go to the Properties window and Click the Output Properties tab.
  3. Under Frame Range change the value of the Step field. For instance set it to 10 to render every 10th frame.
  4. Render the animation.
  5. Open a Video Sequencer window and open the animation with the skipped frames in the Video Sequencer. (Optional: also open the normally rendered animation)
  6. You'll notice that the skipped frames animation is short, or at least shorter than the normally rendered animation. Select the video strip of the skipped frames animation, press Shift + A and choose Effects Strip -> Speed Control.
  7. Select the right edge of the video strip and press G to make it longer. for instance equally long as the normally rendered animation.

Method 3:

(Disclaimer: untested by me at the moment of writing)

Lastly one could create animations that actually stop for a short while. Objects would move then halt, move then halt, et cetera. It would yield an animation that would be comparable to what the artist would see when working on a real-life stop motion scene, likely giving much of the same freedom (like possibly swapping out objects) and probably some similar restrictions. But then how to take snapshots during the periods the scene is frozen?

There is an add-on that allows for only rendering specifically defined frames (similar to skipping using the Frame Range change Step value, but more precise) This could be used to only render the desired frozen frames. More info on how to render specific frames of an animation here.

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  • $\begingroup$ Should definitely help with streamlining things, thanks for the info n' tips! $\endgroup$ yesterday

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