STUDENT SPOTLIGHT – “My Stop Motion Camp”

“My Stop Motion Camp” – by Ezra!

Last summer, I went to a one-week stop motion animation camp at the Digital Arts Experience in White Plains. When I took my first ride there I felt a mix of excitement, curiosity, and nervousness. And when I sat down in a bright blue chair and saw what the place looked like, I felt even more nervous. The building was humongous, and everything about the inside was bright.  There were bright lights and bright neon chairs.  It looked very high-tech and grown up. I was the youngest kid there.

The Digital Arts Experience first day of Summer Camp.

The Digital Arts Experience first day of Summer Camp.

When the class began we were introduced to our teacher, Nick. Nick taught us how to make a basic stop motion animation with a penny. We used Logitech cameras and computer software called FrameByFrame to snap photos that were used to make the animations.  I worked with a partner named Will. First we animated ourselves for fun.  Then we did the basic penny animation. Afterward, we made what I call a “minimation,” an animation that lasts less than a minute, of two sugar packet “cars” crashing and a flash drive “police car” rescuing them.  By the end of the day, I didn’t feel nervous; in fact, I felt confident for the next day.  I had learned a lot in seven hours.

Stop Motion Animation with Legos in Westchester

The next day, I started to work on my Lego animation. At first, I was wondering what it should be about, but then I remembered the book I had written over the summer, The Equardonator.  It was about a kid who built a robot suit to wear and then stopped cyborg gorillas. I decided to make an animation about The Equardonator 2, about a pesky kid who tried to steal the skateboard trophy, and the Equardonator had to stop her. First, I made a basic sketch on paper.  Nick told me that since I was overflowing with ideas for what was going to happen, I should put them down on paper first. After that I made my custom minifigures to go with my animation. I worked on this for the next two days, and it was a success!  I even had one of my minifigures have a dream within the animation!

On my last day, I made a few minimations. I made Lego Eat Pizza, Lego Bank Robbery, Ultimate Lego Battle, Lego FOX Sports, and Lego Red Assassinate. Later that day, we presented the animations to our parents. I felt very proud of myself.  As I worked during the week, I became more and more confident of my skills, and less intimidated and nervous.  This was my favorite week of camp over the summer, even though it was at the very end.

Since camp ended, my parents have bought me my own Logitech camera to make more animations and minimations. I have started a Youtube channel, and I have posted my animations on my channel, which is called The Lego Detective.  If you want to see my animations and minimations again, you can!

Interested in joining The Digital Arts Experience’s Summer Tech Camps for 2014? Check out our website and video below for more information!


Interested in Unique Westchester After-School Programs? Stop Motion with Legos Program a Success at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains

by Cristina Calabrese: Director of Operations


Throughout the summer, we at The Digital Arts Experience in White Plains of Westchester County ran programs for kids and teens in various different areas including: 2D/3D Animation, Graphic Design, Moviemaking, Photography, and Web Design with HTML/CSS. For our final week, with the tip from a very wise mother of one of our students, we decided to pilot a “Stop Motion with Legos” class for kids ages 9-12.

Never having done a formal Stop Motion class at The Digital Arts Experience before, I decided to consult our animation expert, Nicholas Sceusa. Nick excels in any task that we ask of him, so I had no doubt he would transform this class into something fun, interactive and most of all, informative and a great learning experience for the kids.

We helped Nick set up his classroom by pairing each of our 21.5″ iMac computers with external HD webcams, provided Legos, and downloaded the open source, free program Frame by Frame. The class ran as a 1-week Boot Camp session: Monday through Friday from 9AM – 4PM.

As for class structure, Nick began the class by introducing himself and allowed the kids to talk a little bit about themselves and what they’d like to accomplish in the class. He then went over basic concepts with frame rate & FPS and had them do simple experiments using coins. Important standards of practice such as proper file management, storyboarding and project planning, making sure you are working on a clean surface, and how to set up your camera were among other topics taught to the kids early to ensure that they were working efficiently.

Once they transitioned into Legos, the kids came up with amazing project ideas. Some even brought in their own Legos from home and really created amazing stop motion animations. After finishing their projects in Frame by Frame, they exported their projects and used Adobe AfterEffects to add in sound effects and special light effects such as explosions, laser beams and animated titles.

Check out some of the student’s final projects here:

Want to get your kid in on the stop motion excitement?

We’ll be running it after-school, on weekends and during winter & spring school breaks!


Tuesdays starting Sept. 17th from 4PM – 6PM – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Saturdays starting Sept. 21st from 10AM – 12PM – CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Monday, Feb. 17th – Friday, Feb. 21st


Monday, Apr. 14th – Friday, Apr. 18th

or give us a call (914) 644-8100
or e-mail us!