Using Stop Motion Animation to Sketch in Architecture: A practical approach

Zarin, Ru; Lindbergh, Kent; Fallman, Daniel
September 2012
Design & Technology Education;2012, Vol. 17 Issue 3, p78
Academic Journal
Widely acknowledged as an archetypal design activity, sketching is typically carried out using little more than pen and paper. Today's designed artifacts however, are often given qualities that are hard to capture with traditional means of sketching. While pen and paper sketching catches the character of a building, it may not equally well capture how that building changes with the seasons, how people pass through it, how the light moves in between its rooms from sunrise to dawn, and how its façade subtly decays over centuries. Yet, it is often exactly these dynamic and interactive aspects that are emphasised in contemporary design work. So is there a way for designers to be able to sketch also these dynamic processes? Over several years and in different design disciplines, we have been exploring the potential of stop motion animation (SMA) to serve this purpose. SMA is a basic form of animation typically applied to make physical objects appear to be alive. The animator moves objects in small increments between individually photographed frames. When the photographs are combined and played back in continuous sequence, the illusion of movement is created. Although SMA has a long history in filmmaking, the animation technique has received scarce attention in most design fields including product design, architecture, and interaction design. This paper brings SMA into the area of sketching in architecture by reporting on the planning, conduct, result, and evaluation of a workshop course carried out with a group of 50 students at Umeå School of Architecture, Umeå University, Sweden.


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