View Full Version : OT: Mac-based stop motion animation apps?

10-07-2016, 12:17 AM

I've got a techno phobic painter friend who wants to do some stop motion. She's already done some on her phone so she knows what she's getting into, a bit.

There's several high end/high bux professional stuff (eg Dragonframe), but does anyone have recommendations for a MAC app that is 1) cheap as dirt or free, and 2) simple? She's really quite allergic to tech.

She does have a DLSR though: some system that allowed instant preview by connecting the camera to the computer and automagically appending the latest frame would be great.


10-07-2016, 09:48 AM
iStopMotion :

Dan Ritchie
10-11-2016, 02:42 PM
There were promoting TVpaint as a stop motion program for a while. I'm pretty sure there's a mac version of it.

10-11-2016, 04:11 PM
Sadly, iStopMotion seems to be limited in the DLSRs (if any) it can support. :P

For me, the key feature is to be able to pull an image on command from the camera, pref. a DLSR, and immediately show the result of the addition to the user.

10-11-2016, 11:01 PM
Why not downloading the demo and se if it works even with an not offically supported dslr ?

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There were promoting TVpaint as a stop motion program for a while. I'm pretty sure there's a mac version of it.

TV Paint is quite expensive, at least 500€

10-12-2016, 01:51 AM
Why not downloading the demo and se if it works even with an not offically supported dslr ?
It's for a mac-based friend, I'm W10. IOW, I can't.

Her DLSR happens to fall in an unsupported gap in the Canon line, wouldn't you know it....

10-12-2016, 03:58 AM
I understand that you're not on Mac, but your friend can test it by herself, and see if her dslr is working even without being officially supported. I have experienced this many times even with this software.
BTW, what is her DSLR ?

10-12-2016, 07:36 AM
Canon Rebel T2i.

Excellent point about working yet not official. :thumbsup:

Helping someone so .....helpless in the face of tech is a bit of a trial. Also, I suspect once she's up and running she'll kick my ***, artistically speaking.

10-12-2016, 10:07 AM
I have the Canon Rebel T2i and it works great with Dragonframe. For $295, it's the best and as she gets more skill, it will have all the features; so, she won't be inhibited with software that doesn't have some feature she wants or have to buy something else in the future. Plus, for the $295, you get the USB keypad for free. This allows her to animate away from the computer.

However, for Mac, I did find this one - http://www.smoovie.com/for-mac/features/ - it's 39.99; but, I don't think you can use a DSLR with it.

10-12-2016, 10:12 AM
We're talking "starving artist" levels of expenditure here. I agree, if she had $300 bucks and KNEW she was going to be doing a lot of s.m., Dragonframe would be the ticket. But she's poor, and just dabbling to see how it goes.

10-12-2016, 10:21 AM
After searching, I don't see alot of stop motion software that connects a DSLR for the Mac platform. I see mostly for iPad and iPhone apps.

10-12-2016, 11:01 AM
My daughter Sienna creates her stop motion shorts using an iPad. I think she uses the 'Pro' version of this program (I'll check tonight to be sure):


I've played around with the app a little myself. It seems very capable and is a lot of fun. It even has a green screen feature.

To make the setup usable and flexible, I got her the following gear:

Sabrent Flexible Tripod for standard Tripod mount (GoPro mount adapter included) (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B017XSJZL6/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o06_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) - $8

Hapurs Bluetooth Wireless Remote Control Camera Shutter Release Self Timer (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00N8J7UO4/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) - $7

Mpow MLens V1 Professional Clip-on Lens Kit 180 Degree Fisheye + 0.36x Wide Angle Lens (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0177RN5VO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) - $11

Ipow iPad Tripod Mount Adapter Universal Tablet Clamp Holder Fits Ipad, Ipad Air, Ipad Mini, Microsoft Surface, Nexus and Most Tablets (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00Y4FF1OM/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o08_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1) -$9

Along with the $10 app, the cost for this setup was $45. This doesn't include the iPad of course but I got a second hand iPad Retina for about $300, so total cost was around $345.

I'm planning to post a review of the setup on our website soon but here's what I think in a nutshell:

Flexi Tripod: not the best quality but okay for the price. I think two of the knuckles are a a little loose but Sienna says it works well enough for her.

Bluetooth Shutter Release. Small and does what it's supposed to. Seems to work with any app that uses the shutter button. The odd thing with ours is that it used iOS mode at first but after a OS update, we had to switch it to Android mode to use it with the iPad. Still works though so no biggie.

Lens kit. These are three 'clip on' lenses and they work better than I expected for the price. Some distortion around the edges with Wide but can be cropped out out in editing. Fisheye is fun. I notice this kit is no longer available from the vendor I purchased from but it's still available elsewhere.

iPad/tablet Mount kit. Fully adjustable so it works with almost any tablet computer, including Surface. (I haven't tried it with my Cintiq Companion 2 but I think that might be too big for it.) Well designed and constructed for the price and mounts on a standard tripod screw.

Considering this entire kit cost about $45, I really can't complain about any of it. It does the job and my daughter is very happy with it. It seems to work well enough that, after I finish my current projects, I want to make a short using this setup myself.

10-12-2016, 11:04 AM
If she wants to just see how it goes, wait for the next holiday and spend some long hours with the trial of dragonframe.

Animation has always been related to technique, she has to learn both the fundamentals of animation, and the tools.

Instinct is nice, and straight ahead animation seems like something you can use by instinct, but believe me, it is not. You need to learn how to control things, and even if you do not animate with pose to pose you do need to understand it.
Appending the latest frame is not enough for stop motion, you do need at least onionskin.

My recommendation is instead of wasting time getting a cheap setup and trying some method which is not the real thing anyway use that time to read everything about the subject and figure out how to pay for some basic things.

The software is the lesser of the expenses, the first thing she has to be aware of is how fast things broke while animating, wires broke and plasticines get dirty and crack. Stop motion is not a cheap art form. At all.

Get dragonframe and quality materials for a durable armature.


10-12-2016, 11:11 AM
You can as well use digicel flipbook, which is the most pedagogical tool I know. But beware the cheapest version gives a very small resolution.

Get the trial and test it

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10-12-2016, 11:24 AM
Canon Rebel T2i.

Excellent point about working yet not official. :thumbsup:

Helping someone so .....helpless in the face of tech is a bit of a trial. Also, I suspect once she's up and running she'll kick my ***, artistically speaking.

Well it appears this canon is supported by istopmotion :


Canon DSLRs
General Information
Starting with iStopMotion 3.5, we will support live view with selected Canon DSLR cameras. If you are looking to purchase a camera for use with iStopMotion, these are a great choice.
Note: Even though we hand tested these cameras, please make sure you test your camera with a demo version of iStopMotion since your experience may vary with different firmware versions or special settings in the camera.
Canon EOS 40D
Canon EOS 450D
Canon EOS 550D
Canon EOS 5D Mark II
Canon EOS 5D Mark III
Canon EOS 60D
Canon EOS 60Da
Canon EOS 700D
Canon EOS 7D
Canon Kiss X2
Canon Kiss X4
Canon Kiss X7i
Canon Rebel T2i
Canon Rebel T5i
Canon Rebel XSi

10-12-2016, 02:38 PM
Before all Canon DSLR's came with a CD, on that CD is something called "EOS Utility" if I remember correct, that allows you to connect the DSLR to a computer using USB connector, you can use the computer as a remote control and you can download images, and if I remember correct there is at least on some cameras the possibility to show the live view image on the computer.

10-12-2016, 05:40 PM
Maybe I shouldn't rely on her to figure these questions out, since the T2i is plainly right there in the list. (I was taking her word on the uncompatibility.)

It's amazing working with amateurs-- the mistakes they can make are so BAFFLING. It's why there's always jobs for technicians, I guess.

10-13-2016, 12:53 AM
OpenTOonz might be a solution - the latest version(s)/builds include a camera capture option - as long as you can find a USB camera driver, it ought to work. It works fine with my high-resolution web cameras with 1600*1200 frame resolution.

Even an onion skin option is available while camera capturing! And OpenTOonz has excellent frame-by-frame animation controls - doesn't come better than this, actually. And the built-in nodal compositor would be a huge help potentially as well. And free! :-)

Get the latest Mac version here:

The only issue would be convincing OT to use the t2i as a usb web cam.

10-13-2016, 02:10 AM
That's a solution indeed, but the learning curve may be a problem ?

10-13-2016, 05:17 PM
That's a solution indeed, but the learning curve may be a problem ?

OpenTOonz is relatively easy to learn - and a number of very good tutorial videos are available online.

10-14-2016, 05:15 AM
Ah, good to know, thanks. When it first went out, I gave up quite quickly on it because of the lack of docs (and of spare time, incidentally), but I haven't tried again since. I got to get into it. Someday, or when I retire.