Spacedog and Alligatorman Take on iStopMotion

27-year-old Sydney, Australia native Rachel is a one-woman show – the Claymation series “The Adventures of Spacedog” is the result of her creativity, hard work and passion. The show is hosted on YouTube and focuses on Spacedog, his travel companion, Alligatorman, and their antics in space. Spacedog is a cheeky dog with a love for jetpacks, pancakes and fire, while Alligatorman would much prefer to be knee-deep in textbooks researching the universe. The unlikely pals have captured the hearts of a large audience, and it all started with an idea and a bit of clay.

Rachel works in digital media, and on her free time, she loves playing with six-second Vine videos. One Saturday morning, in a creative frenzy, she went to the dollar store and bought some clay, some cellophane and some little kids’ space window decorations to see what she could come up with. The $2 clay package only had a few colors – black, white, red, blue, green and yellow.

“My characters came out of the few colors I had in my packet of dollar-store clay, and they took on a life of their own,” she says. “I had considered a few other mediums, but I really enjoy the physicality of crafting something (when the rest of my life is on computers!). I had loved playing with clay animation as a kid, and I had always been captivated by Aardman films (the creators of Wallace and Gromit). I was fascinated to learn how to turn these still lumps of clay into something breathing.”

Rachel started to make a model of her cat, Mordin, but it ended up looking … well, like a dog. After several failed attempts to make a cat, she decided to stick with the dog for her Vine’s main character. From there, the ideas kept coming. The dog would live in space, and he would have an alligator friend designed from the remaining colors in the clay package, red and green. The original Vine videos of the dynamic duo are still up for viewing: here, here and here on Rachel’s Vine account.

After a few months of creating Vines starring Spacedog and Alligatorman, fans asked Rachel to make longer YouTube videos. So, she began learning about clay animation, starting with the basics – how to make characters move and the other aspects of film editing. When she first began trying to build armatures for her models, she couldn’t find any information online explaining the process of building them. She had seen a drawing on someone’s website from the 90s, which suggested using wire and epoxy putty. Taking the advice to heart, Rachel went to the hardware store and bought some steel wire. She spent hours working with the wire only to cut up her fingers and make her characters move “like cowboys” (her words not ours)! Eventually, Rachel found a forum that told her about armature wire, a much better solution for her work (and much less painful!). She kept up her sunny attitude and laughed off her mistake, saying it’s all part of the learning process.

Filming the YouTube videos was a different process than filming her Vine videos. Rachel had done some research into webcams and software, but ultimately she decided she needed something that she could set up without a risk of bumping into the camera. When she discovered iStopMotion, she was over the moon. She was excited to find she could set up her iPhone on a tripod and use her Mac as a remote.

“I find the onion skinning an essential tool, especially as I’m still learning!” Rachel says. “I am still learning what distances of movement are realistic to complete an action such as a walk or a nod, but being able to playback and measure using the onion skinning tool has been so valuable for me. The other thing I love is that I can tuck my iPhone in and around my set to get angles I never would have been able to get with a traditional camera. In one of my first videos, I lay my phone flat on the set, gently propped up with a bit of Blu-tack and managed to get a great angle of Alligatorman from the perspective of Spacedog on the floor. This is something I never would have been able to do with a digital camera with cords and cables.”

Rachel’s first episode was finally completed over the Christmas holidays of 2013. After she received the inevitable fantastic feedback, she came up with a concrete plan for more episodes. Now, her process begins with the creation of a script. Her boyfriend or one of her friends volunteer their dramatic abilities to help her record voices, and after, she transcribes these voices into an exposure sheet to work out where the mouth movements will sit, what emotions the characters need to emphasize, and any other actions that need to take place. Then the set is built, new characters are created, and a storyboard is mapped out depending on how the set ends up looking (often exactly the opposite of Rachel’s plans!). After working out where her angles and close-ups will be, she begins filming. Frame by frame, she spends a few hours creating a sentence or a gesture to bring the characters to life. After a few weeks of dabbling away, she throws it all into Final Cut Pro, adds any missing sound effects and music, and finally shows it to the world. Check out Rachel’s detailed blog post for more details!

The entire first series of “The Adventures of Spacedog” has been mapped out, titled “The Case of the Missing Diamond.” Rachel says it will be around 13 episodes of gripping action and space adventures. She has a few other adventures in mind for a follow-up series, including other planets to visit, new mysteries to bungle and the origin of how Spacedog and Alligatorman met. However, she’s aware that this series will take a year or two to finish, so she’s not going to bite off more than she can chew just yet!

Be sure to take a look at Spacedog and Alligatorman’s latest adventures on Rachel’s official website, We’re looking forward to seeing what kinds of shenanigans they’ll get into next!

A Song of iStopMotion and Fire – Spoilers Ahead!

How do you explain a popular, densely packed (and alright, pretty gory) TV show to your little brother, who probably shouldn’t be watching it anyway? That’s the question the crew over at The Plaid Works had to solve with Game of Thrones, the critically acclaimed HBO series based on the book series, A Song of Ice and Fire, by George R.R. Martin. Their solution? A kid-friendly stop motion animation remake, courtesy of iStopMotion.

They shot the scenes with an iPhone 5s connected to a Mac Pro running iStopMotion. From there, the clips were imported into Final Cut Pro X for polishing.

“The software just worked, allowing us to focus on being creative,” the team says. “Even better was the ability to shoot two or three shots at time with a single key stroke. We look forward to exploring the compositing capabilities in our next project! Thanks Boinx!”

If you can’t wait for the next season to start, or if you just want a recap, give the video a watch. WARNING: if you’re not up-to-date on the show or books, you may want to steer clear, as there are some spoilers in the video! Try making your own television recap with iStopMotion. It’s a great way to give new life to your favorite shows!

The Race of a Lifetime

Today, it’s all about how hard you push yourself through those inevitable obstacles to reach your dreams. It doesn’t matter how long it takes, as long as you get there. “Circulation Hustle” takes a look at how one animator chose to push himself and reignite his passion for the arts over the span of a year.

Brian Ross began getting in touch with his animator side again over the course of eleven races. He filmed the self-documentary himself using only an iPhone, iStopMotion and iMovie. The visual documentation of his journey works in two ways. It reminds Brian of his hard work, and it inspires others on their own race, wherever the finish line may be.

Check out Brian’s video above! Are you inspired to get up and start your own journey?

Bored? Try iStopMotion and a Board Game!

What better way to get together with friends and have a good old competitive time than by playing board games? André Nordstrand certainly thinks so, anyway! The board game connoisseur owns over 300 games, and for him, they’re the greatest source of fun. He had always been a fan of board games such as Settlers of Catan and Munchkin, but it wasn’t until 2009 when he got his first “real” game called Vikings that he really took it on as a hobby.

“For me, board games have replaced computer games almost 100%,” André says. “I never play online games anymore as a result because board games bring people together for a physical presence and great interaction. I try to advocate the hobby to more people, especially Norwegians, who still seem stuck on ‘Chutes and Ladders’ and ‘Monopoly.’”

André took his hobby to the next level by joining Pulpit Gamers, a group of game-lovers who feed their hobby by destroying each other in every board game imaginable. Eventually, André started creating video reviews and animations of the games he liked to share with the public. To shake things up a bit, he started using iStopMotion to help with the visuals.

“’The Adventurers – Temple of Chac’ is heavily inspired by Indiana Jones, and when playing, you always have a feeling of urgency with walls closing in, a boulder chasing you, lava with dangerous tiles and a rickety bridge,” André says. “A small animation to present this just felt like a natural thing to do. The game is a lot of fun with great uncertainty on what’s going to happen next.”

For the animation, he used his iPhone 5S as a camera, and he mounted it on a small GorillaPod and connected it to his iPad using the remote camera feature. He said that using iStopMotion was practical to use with instant visual feedback.

With iStopMotion, André also created another “The Adventurers” video of a shorter nature using a different setting of the game. In his “Eclipse” video, he used iStopMotion at the 4:40 mark to animate how the game plays out in the background.

“I’m sure I’ll use iStopMotion in the future,” he says. “It’s a simple interface with a neat remote camera feature. It also provides a bit of control to the user, which I really like. I’m trying to teach my son, age 4, to use it as well using an iPad Mini and his LEGO pieces. It’s a slow progress, but it’s far more than I expected already. So it’ll be interesting to see what he comes up with, and if he can give me ideas of my own!”

Want André’s recommendation on a board game? Visit his website for more friendly (okay, highly competitive) fun!

Back To School 2014

It makes me very proud that our products are used quite often in the classroom. Teachers and students love how powerful the software is while still being child's play to use. More often than not, the students figure out how it works, then teach it to their teachers and fellow classmates!

To make it even easier to unleash creativity in the classroom, now through Sept. 9th 2014, many Boinx Software titles are 10% off. EXTRA CREDIT: customers receive a complimentary license for Mouseposé (a $9.99 value) to make their in-class presentations shine even more. For volume discounts for educational institutions, please contact the education sales team.

Making Stop Motion Movies

Educators around the world are excited about iStopMotion. And so are their students! It's no wonder, because learning with iStopMotion is a lot of fun. It teaches soft skills such as teamwork, structural thinking and planning, plus it provides immediate satisfaction, keeping students engaged. Stop motion animation can be used in many different contexts and in all classes, to reinforce language, math, even science lessons.

Recently honored with an Editor’s Choice Award from Children’s Technology Review, iStopMotion for iPad makes it really easy to make stop motion movies. Need more proof? Watch the Animation Chefs review iStopMotion for iPad.

Your Own TV Studio

BoinxTV is your broadcast truck without the truck – at a fraction of the cost. Combine live camera video, clips, photos, 3D graphics, lower thirds, audio and more to create a stunning recording or live video. With BoinxTV, your students can easily create a newscast for your school and record events like lectures, sports, concerts, and more.

I've decided to make this available at an extra special price, so if you've been wanting to create your own television studio, you are that much closer to making your dreams come true!

Show & Tell

Make your presentation an unforgettable experience for your audience. Focused on visual storytelling, FotoMagico runs circles around other standard presentation packages when it comes to ease of use, powerful messaging and impact on the audience using pictures, movies, text, music, narration and sound effects.

About Your Complimentary Mouseposé License

Mouseposé is a virtual spotlight that helps you to spice up your PowerPoint or Keynote presentation. When turned on, Mouseposé dims the screen and puts a spotlight on the area around the mouse pointer, easily guiding the audience‘s attention to an area of interest.

If you purchased through FastSpring, your complimentary license for Mouseposé will be sent to you automatically within five (5) business days after your purchase. If you purchased at the Mac App Store or if you purchased iStopMotion for iPad, claim your complimentary license for Mouseposé (Mac) by sending your purchase receipt to [email protected]