Topic: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Hey all,

By way of introduction, I'm Nate Eckerson, author of Stopmotion Explosion. I was a longtime lurker on the site, and after the community was created, I started coming here for news, but haven't posted until now.

Lately I've been programming a new stop motion application for Windows from scratch. It's targeted at beginning / intermediate animators, and the interface is loosely based on good 'ole Anasazi Stop Motion Animator (SMA).

In the hopes of collecting some feedback and bug stomping, I'm offering the 1.0 version of Stopmotion Explosion Animator as a free download.

Stopmotion Explosion Animator is built around the idea that animators want to save the frames of their animation along with a video file when the animation is finished. You have the option to either keep, or discard your frames when exporting a video.

Download Link (Updated 08/07/104 Version 1.2): …



  • NEW: Import existing frames

  • HD webcam support

  • Basic timeline

  • Adjustable onion-skinning

  • Flip between live video / last frame

  • Resizable video window

  • Delete frames

  • Save frames as .BMP / .PNG / .JPG

  • Export .AVI / .MP4 video files

  • Multiple codec options

  • Adjustable export bitrate

FYI, there is no support for DSLRs at this time, only USB & FireWire video inputs.

If you click "About" in the application, you'll see a link to my help desk. You can contact me via the support form there, or post questions here.

I'd love to hear your feedback, particularly if you think the application needs more features, or have ideas about the interface. And please report bugs! I want to stomp on them ASAP. mini/wink


Last edited by Stopmotion Explosion (August 7, 2014 (06:06pm))

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Thanks for sharing! I'll download it later when I'm on my home computer. Is it Mac compatible?
"Nothing goes down 'less I'm involved. No nuggets. No onion rings. No nothin'. A cheeseburger gets sold in the park, I want in! You got fat while we starved on the it's my turn!" -Harley Morenstein

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Hi Jampot,

The application is currently Windows only at this time. It should support Windows XP SP3 up to Windows 8. Hopefully you can still try it!


Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

I work with a DSLR, (and don't even own a webcam) so I can't be much help, but it's cool you're making this. I know a lot of people have been wanting a low cost, stable, and effective stop motion program for a while, so I wish you all the luck in getting the program to it's finished stage. mini/smile

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Thanks backyardlegos! Like you, I also have been aware of a need for stable, low-cost animation software.

I've had time to work on solving the problem, and I hope this app will fill the niche.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

There is actually a thread for us who are working on Biscuit 2.0.
(Biscuit - Bricks in Motion Image Sequencing and Capture Unit Initiative.
Biscuit - Basic Image Sequencing and Capture Unit Initiative.)

It sounds like you're far more experienced than all of us, but you now have a bunch of minions to help you make it better mini/smile
The new KB Videos coming soon.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

You're the same guy who made the old stop-motion kit with Twelve Stones, right? That was what really got me into brickfilming, I still have pretty much all the components from that.

I'll try this out as soon as I can, thanks for sharing!

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Stopmotion Explosion wrote:

Hi Jampot,

The application is currently Windows only at this time. It should support Windows XP SP3 up to Windows 8. Hopefully you can still try it!


I'm a Mac-only household mini/sad  No offence, but what's really needed is a new piece of free Mac stop-mo software. The internet's got plenty of free PC stop-motion software, and yet aside from FrameByFrame (which doesn't appear to be downloadable anymore, and was buggy to be begin with) there's no software for Mac.
"Nothing goes down 'less I'm involved. No nuggets. No onion rings. No nothin'. A cheeseburger gets sold in the park, I want in! You got fat while we starved on the it's my turn!" -Harley Morenstein

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Hey Kieren! I remember reading the original Biscuit thread a long time ago. I think you were planning to use either Java or C++ to write the application. Frankly, I'm not a super 133t hacker, and those languages intimidate me. mini/lol

However, I do like the direction you're moving in with Biscut 2.0 -- that of making a stand-alone stopmotion web application. I've actually already gone down this path a fair distance, except my app is built with Ruby On Rails, Javascript (for playing the frames and camera interaction in the browser) and FFMpeg on the server for processing frames and outputting video files. I've put this project on hold to accelerate development of Stopmotion Explosion Animator.

If you're curious, Stopmotion Explosion Animator is written in Delphi, as was the original SMA application. (I can't distribute my code as open-source, since it uses a commercially-available video library).

Mighty Wanderer, yes, that was me and my brother. I would like to think that the kit has come a long way since then. mini/tongue It's very cool that you saw the original version and are still here to try something new and improved!

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Jampot, duly noted. I've been in touch with the developer of the video library that Stopmotion Explosion Animator uses, and he's told me that the goal is to eventually re-write his software so that it's cross-platform for both Windows and OS X. My app could be cross-compiled for OS X if it wasn't for the video library lacking support for the platform (from a developer's perspective, there are big differences in how OS X and Windows handle and display video sources. It will be a big deal if he's successful).

I plan to be in touch with him going forward, and someday my app may support both.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

I use a hd web cam on windows 7 so ill give this a test run and provide a candid response.  Do you have a feel for a price point?  If you say youll sell this for $10 then id be forgiving on rough features.  If you say youll sell for $200 (less than dragonframe) then ill be a bit more critical in my feedback.

Aka Fox
Youtube: My channel   Twitter: @animationantics
Best brick films: My selection

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

togfox, my goal is to make the software available to anyone who has a copy of the Stopmotion Explosion book (presently $23.58 on Amazon). It's not something I currently intend to sell on its own.

However, please be candid as you like! There are some advanced features (adding sound to animations, DSLR support, chroma-keying) that aren't high on my priority list. I'd like to focus on a solid framegrabbing experience, with plenty of options for working with your frames after the animation is done.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Had an app crash on launch - clicked okay to clear that window and then the app launched anyway.  Something crashed - not sure what.  nvwgf2um.dll failed but the app launched anyway.

Gives me software camera controls - nice.  I wasn't expecting that.

Output size drop down says 800x600 is default, yet it actually defaulted to 640x480.  Not sure if that was a setting on my camera or it was tellling me that 800 is the best setting for my camera.

Would be nice to have the windows dock or snap to each other on request (for the OCD amongst us).

I think sound feedback when you grab is essential.  Its not a nice to have - you really need to know when a grab worked.  Just a beep or a click is sufficient.

The Live/Onion skin is not intuitive.  I had to mess with that a few times to work out what was happening.  Maybe its just because of what I'm use to with my existing s'ware.  Moving the slider all the way to the left is the same as live mode so, that really makes the onion skin button redundant.  I'd remove it and use that extra space for the slider.

Pressing the enter key to grab worked - which is great - another essential.  As does left/right keys on the sliders.

That LIVE button still has me stumped.  I fail to see its purpose.  Maybe that's just me.

Onion skin slider perhaps should be reversed so live mode is on the far right, not the far left.  Timeline wise, I move left to right so I expect the more recent shot on the right.

The DONE key should be renamed to EXPORT or MAKE MOVIE.

The export saved into the parent folder - not sure if that was intended.  The dialogue I got before the export suggested the child folder.  Found it quick enough but it wasn't where I was expecting.

Export quality was poor, then I realised the default bit rate was at 50%(?).  Not sure if that is a factor (maybe).

When to start a new project (can't reopen existing project it seems), it asks me for a folder name, just as it did the first time, but it has remembered the export file name with the AVI extension.  This would be confusing for some users - they would need to know to remove the AVI extension when trying to create a new folder.

Can't reopen existing projects. 

Can't close a project without exporting.

Link to your website worked fine.

That's about it.  The above is not criticism - please don't take it as "this product is crap".  It's not crap.  It's quite good for a "free" product that comes shipped with a book, and frankly, I think is a fantastic way to improve your sales and increase the hobby - and I even considered buying the modibot but shipping to Australia would be pointless for a $10 product.

I think this is a fantastic addition to a book and even as a stand alone item.  I would focus more on the "project management" side - opening a project, closing, re-opening, closing without having to export.  Exporting into the folder it said it would etc.  This is stuff that can make people walk away from a product - especially the inability to return to yesterdays project - that's a deal breaker.

The screen grabbing you were focusing on - all good.  Some observations above.  Great integration with my web cam.  Fast output to my HD and in some respects, it has one feature I wish my commercial s'ware had, and that is storing each frame as a straight up jpg file.

I'm happy to check other iterations if you eventually action any of the above.  Best of luck.  mini/smile

Aka Fox
Youtube: My channel   Twitter: @animationantics
Best brick films: My selection

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Thanks togfox! This is some awesome feedback. I really appreciate you taking the time to write all that down.

Regarding the crash, I should research the DLL file and see what's up. DLL issues can be a pain. Was there a particular error code connected to the crash?

I'm particularly interested in fixing parts of the application that seem counterintuitive, so your suggestions regarding the onion-skinning slider, sound effects, and so are are very useful (curious, are you a Dragonframe user?).

The "Live" button is intended to be an easy way to flip between the last frame and the "live" webcam view, so you can preview the current frame of the animation before it's captured. Maybe I should rename / make this clearer…?

Regarding the project management / previous work aspects of the application -- the underlying "engine" of the application has the ability to import a sequence of existing images. I would need to write some code to "scan" a directory and import numbered sequences, but I think after that the rest would be simple to implement.

I suspect that not prioritizing the "project" aspect of the application reflects my own animating style. Back when I was making more brickfilms than writing code, I preferred to save many short animation "snippets" rather than long sequences, and never really had a reason to leave a sequence unfinished.

But if the ability to return to previous work is important to users, then I think this functionality should go into the application.

Anyone else have thoughts on this?

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

I think the key thing to remember is if you export and close, and the export isn't right (I had the default bit rate and looked aweful) there appears no way to go back, fix it, and re-export it.  I have 60 perfect frames on my HD (4 seconds) that are now useless to me because I messed up the export.  mini/sad  Just saying.  mini/smile

I'm a stop motion pro user - one of only a handful here on this forum.  There is a beep feedback for each grab. 

Ha - would you believe the dll error happened twice but not the third time.  Oh well.  As you say - dll hell.

Aka Fox
Youtube: My channel   Twitter: @animationantics
Best brick films: My selection

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

I would like to put my 2 cents in, this needs a Mac port! I know it was already brought up by Jampot but there is no freeware framecapture software for the Mac.

From the looks of the image you've posted here, it seems to be a very solid program. I like how simple it looks, when programs throw too many options at your face it gets very confusing fast.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

How is this needed with helium frog? Helium frog has similar (and many times better) features. I also think helium frog looks better ascetically.
Now if you had a program with the features of helium frog with the exposure sheet of monkey jam that would be a bit better.

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Afternoon coding session here. I worked to implement some of the feedback I've received. Updated application can be downloaded in the title post.

togfox, I've reversed the onion-skinning slider, and I'll be thinking about the overall design with the slider + button. This may be overkill.

That DLL error is connected to DirectX, and may be something that pops up with specific graphic cards. I might be totally wrong about this, but my initial research turns up a lot of frustrated gamers having issues with that same DLL and DirectX. 

Secondly, the export-process has been changed. Now, instead of the frames being removed from the application immediately after export, you must click "File" > "New..." to remove the existing frames.

Grab sound-effect to come. mini/wink I may postpone any image-sequence importing features until I get more feedback on this initial version.

END films, in response, I'd say I'm shooting for something that's simpler than Helium Frog. If total n00bs can sit down with my animation program and figure out the interface quickly, then I'll consider it a success.

However, are there particular features you think a framegrabber app should have that are missing in my app? I don't think I could code an X-Sheet interface quickly, but a more-advanced timeline is something I would consider for future versions. mini/wink

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Downloaded 1.1.  Same dll error (really not expecting to fix this - just reporting FYI)

Spoiler (click to read)

Problem signature:
  Problem Event Name:    APPCRASH
  Application Name:    SME.exe
  Application Version:
  Application Timestamp:    53dd573c
  Fault Module Name:    nvwgf2um.dll
  Fault Module Version:
  Fault Module Timestamp:    537a8e25
  Exception Code:    c000001d
  Exception Offset:    000874f0
  OS Version:    6.1.7601.
  Locale ID:    3081
  Additional Information 1:    b9ba
  Additional Information 2:    b9ba57d0456a642440590be33d265297
  Additional Information 3:    5c0c
  Additional Information 4:    5c0cf1b6700a2d1ad32bd1f3e42b83a1

Just like before - the app launches even though this error comes up.

When starting a new project, the AVI extension comes up by default.  Doesn't seem to matter but.

I'm getting okay'er (is that word?) with the onion skin button and Live button.  o skin is more intuitive with the reverse slider.  Can you colour the font/background on the button when active/deactivated?  This is less important for o skin as you can see the slider.  More important for live mode.  I know the button has an on/off state that you can see - but I think live could be a nice green when live and a nice red when not live (getting picky now).  With practice, I can live with the the live (pun intended) button as it is.

Hmm - notification of export location removed.  Found it in parent folder.  Acceptable. 

"Make movie" text is much better.  And it doesn't close the project.  mini/bigsmile

Umm.  The frame slider is busted.  I can't "scroll" through my frames any more - well - the number changes but the image does not.  I want to delete an earlier frame but now I can't identify it using the slider.  Bug.  I didn't notice that last time.  Only happens after exporting???

Can't open an old project - as already stated.  If this is pitched at entry level, I could live with this, provided I were forewarned (in the manual), but anyone moving past foundation will find this reason enough to stop using your software.

When starting a new project, the "Save current project" should probably be removed.  I clicked "NO" and it deleted all my frames.  Is that the intention?  If so, it worked beautifully and I lost all my work (all 30 seconds worth) - as warned.  I'm just not sure why you would want a feature that deletes an entire project.  It offers more danger than it does convenience IMO but that's your call. 

This is getting better and I'd certainly endorse this product for first-timers and newbies - over helium frog.

And here is 16 frames of me testing my new camera crane with your s'ware - in daylight - so ignore the bad quality lighting. … netest.avi

Last edited by togfox (August 2, 2014 (08:53pm))

Aka Fox
Youtube: My channel   Twitter: @animationantics
Best brick films: My selection

Re: New Stopmotion Software (free!)

Why does chrome say that this file could harm my computer?