Stop Motion as a Legitimate Special Effect

Stop motion animation is generally regarded as having been abandoned as a serious special effect in the early 90's around the time CG was being ushered in by Jurassic Park. Filmmakers like Henry Selick, Tim Burton, and the lovely folks at Aardman and Laika have allowed stop motion to survive as a medium, however every film from Chicken Run to Kubo uses stop motion in a highly stylized, cartoonish manner. 
For the past many months I've been writing a horror-fantasy film in which an army of undead nazis comes into our world and wreaks havoc. The tone of the film will, I hope, successfully walk the line between horror comedy films like Return of the Living Dead and Evil Dead II and more somber coming of age stories like It and Stranger Things. I plan on filming in a "neo-expressionist" style similar to Edward Scissorhands, while incorporating vibrant symbolist imagery like that in Bram Stoker's Dracula. 
Most of the undead nazis will be cable control puppets and guys in zombie makeup. There are a few scenes however where I would like to use stop motion animation rather than CG/VFX. The stop motion will be used alongside live action characters and cut with full size sets. 
My question is whether or not stop motion can be used these days to successfully bring to life a realistic character.  


  • It can, but it's very difficult.  Stop motion is often doubles frames so you need less images to form a second of moving video.  This can cause a somewhat choppy look that does not match well with live action footage captured at a different frame rate.

    You can capture every frame with stop motion, it just means a lot more work on each animation sequence.  Then you have the challenges of matching scale and lighting to blend everything together.  

    That said, the stylistic effect of stop motion can be a lot of fun, so it might be best to just run with that since you are doing something that can afford to have comedic/nostalgia based stuff in it.

    Would love to learn/see more about your project as it unfolds.

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