Goal: To introduce students to the concept of Pixilation.

  • task


Contributed by Andy Gaukel


To introduce students to the concept of Pixilation.


  • Introduce the concept: Pixilation
    • A stop motion technique where live actors are used as a frame-by-frame subject in an animated film, by repeatedly posing while one or more frame is taken and changing pose slightly before the next frame or frames. The actor becomes a kind of living stop motion puppet.
    • In this activity, students will use objects instead of live actors to make objects seem to appear and disappear and also change entirely into a whole new object. For example, make a red square, piece of paper change into a blue square, piece of paper.
  • Demonstrate the Concept:
    • Begin by placing your camera securely in a stand so it has an overhead view of your workspace.
    • Place a blank sheet of neutral colored paper on your workspace.
    • Place tape on the corners to secure it.
    • Cut a simple square shape from a red piece of construction paper.
    • Cut another simple square shape from a blue piece of construction paper.
    • Ask the students -How can you make the red square magically change into the blue square?
    • Place the red square in the center of your workspace/paper.
    • Have a student volunteer take 10 photos of the red square keeping it in the exact same place.
    • Carefully lift up the red square and replace it with the blue square. Try the best you can to place the blue square in the exact same spot as the red square.
    • Have a new student volunteer – take 10 photos of the blue square.
    • Play your 20 frames at once and see how you magically make the red square into a blue square.
  • Try it out:
    • Have students try to make their own transformation in small groups
  • Share it
    • Have each group share their transformation

Extension Options:

  • You can enhance this activity by asking the students to add fun ideas to their sequences.
    • For example, after they take their first 10 photos of the red square, ask them to slowly bring their hand into the frame taking photos of their hand as it enters. This would take at least 5 additional photos. Once their hand is in the frame, have the student take 3 more photos of them snapping their fingers. After they snap and get photos, have them keep their hand in the same place in the frame while replacing the red square with the blue square. Take 3 photos with their hand still in the frame. Then have them take 5 additional photos of them taking their hand out of the frame and keeping the blue square in the same place. It will appear as if their snap caused the red square to magically change into a blue square.
  • You can have fun with the surface of your workspace by not covering it with paper and allowing the texture of the table or desk to come through in your film.

Transition into Activity

Before you begin this activity, show the class an example film you have pre-made.

Transition out of Activity

As always, before moving on to the next activity, each group can share what they created to the whole class.

Classroom Arrangement

Have students animate at their desks in small groups, alone or in pairs. If available, tables in a library or cafeteria are ideal workspaces for creating animations. Students will have plenty of room to set up cameras and workspaces.


  • Blue and Red construction paper 1 page each
  • Scissors
  • Stop-Motion Animation Application or Program Device with camera
  • Stand
  • Smart or Promethean Board

Supports/Adaptive Materials/Tools

  • If your stop-motion program has the onion skin feature, use this to line up your blue square with the ghost imprint of your red square.
  • Have clear roles for each small group – camera operator, prop-master, director.
  • Have a classroom professional join a small group.
  • Provide pre-cut materials as needed.

Role of the Teachers and Paraprofessionals

  • Check in with students as they create their work by giving positive feedback.
  • If students are having a difficult time trying to take photos of their hands, offer to be the photographer.
  • Adjust by having students work in pairs, or solo.
  • Classroom professionals can make the small groups.
  • Classroom professionals can each join a small group.

Remote Adaptation

The TA could share their screen with the animation app or program open. Students can help direct the TA could ask questions such as, “How would I make the red square magically change into the blue square?” and then try out each suggestion.

Art forms


15 mins