Stop motion armature specialist Animation Toolkit has partnered with Aardman Animation to design and create a kit to allow stop motion creators and enthusiasts to build their own custom armatures.

The armature of a stop-motion animation figure is the metal articulated “skeleton” inside the foam rubber that allows it to be posed, so that, frame by frame, the animation can be photographed. This is why it’s called “stop-motion”. The actual motion of the animation rig happens not while the rig is being photographed, but in between the frames, and managed by hand by the stop-motion animator directly. It’s a real art form all on its own, distinct from traditional animation techniques.

Students of animation will immediately recognize the magnitude of this news. Armatures are, without question, the greatest barrier to entry into the art of stop-motion animation. While it is possible to build your own armatures using off the shelf components, such armatures tend to be pretty pricey (if well made). Barring that, making your own armatures is frequently an exercise in frustration, taking loads of time to make, and giving you limitations of both expressiveness and durability.

There are other companies that offer armatures and parts for them, but this new Animation Toolkit provides everything you need to get started, without having to guess at what you might need as a beginning stop-motion animator.

The Aardman Animation Kit includes eight easy to assemble products, from a customisable Character Kit to a compact A2 Studio Stage – perfect for the bedroom animator.

Animation Toolkit was founded by award-winning animation producer Westley Wood. The company is now recognised as one of the biggest global manufacturers of stop-motion armatures (anatomically correct metal engineered skeleton) and its range of kits have been used in hundreds of productions around the world, including the recent release Chuck Steel – Night of the Trampires.

“It’s an honour to work with one of the finest stop-motion animation producers in the UK,” says Westley Wood, Managing Director of Animation Toolkit. “The Wallace & Gromit films were inspirational to our development as a company and fuelled our desire to help others make stop-motion films.

“By its very nature, stop-motion puppet (armature) fabrication isn’t an easy task and doesn’t fall into the average person’s repertoire of DIY projects. We hope that these kits make the art more accessible to a vast range of storytellers, and help continue to grow and sustain creativity within this art form, for many years to come”.

“The Aardman armature kits are perfect for student or amateur filmmakers to bring their characters life,” says Merlin Crossingham, Creative Director of Wallace & Gromit. “I look forward to seeing the creativity and animation that the kits will support”.

You can pre-order the Aardman Animation Kit on the Animation Toolkit website.

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