“Motion” App on Samsung Galaxy GT18200N Review

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So, in keeping with our series of Stop Motion apps on Smart Phones and Tablets, today we look at an App called Motion on a Samsung Galaxy GT18200N from 2014 running Android 4.2.2 with a 5mp camera.

Honestly, I am frustrated, and this blog is actually going to touch on several stop motion apps on the Galaxy, which is part of my frustration. The phone is my wife’s old one, and to be honest has seen better days, but I am not really an Android kinda guy and for a rare change had to take some tech advice from the lady herself. Once I had managed to navigate my way to the Google Play Store and find some stop motion apps, i was already missing my iPhone but pushed on and found some stuff to download…

I started with Animative’s PicPac Stop Motion & Timelapse App… It had pretty good reviews and a 4.3 star rating so I downloaded it, set up to animate and opened the app… It looked pretty good, but I soon found out that the focus kept going all over the place and that there was no manual camera control, just a time-lapse timer that let you set different time settings between each shot… I soon got tired of that and headed back to the Google Play Store… I tried another one called Stop Motion Video from kkaps but couldn’t get on with that either, so back the store I went…

I was hoping it would be third time lucky, but no chance… I finally settled on a FREE app, Motion by Feras Alnatsheh. This is a very simple stop frame app that sadly lacks a lot of basics, let alone some of the nicer bells and whistles we’ve found on some of the other apps we have been using. Its a simple pic by pic app that sadly lacks a frame counter or anyway of editing frames, not even the ability to delete bad frames after the animation process. It has a time lapse feature on it, which, luckily for me, could be turned off, allowing for manual camera operation. The touchcreen on the Galaxy was very sensitive, so I found that if I locked the camera down well enough I got very little camera wobble when I actually took the shots. Problem was, the alleged manual focus that I thought the app had wasn’t working… It would focus nicely on the minifigure, get a nice sharp image and then in a split second revert back to a soft focus somewhere well behind the minifigure. It didn’t seem to matter where I placed the figure in the depth of field, I could not get a sharp focus now matter how close or far away he was. So, in the interests of science, and the fact it was getting late, I animated anyway. The nice thing was the speed control went from 1 to 50fps, so I set it to 12fps and managed to export the animation to the video roll pretty easily. The video only exported out as 640×360 SD and was horribly out of focus, but you can check it below…

But I wasn’t happy with the results, and was certain that there must be something descent out there for Android users to use… So, back to the Play Store and there I found my go to animation app, the FREE version of Stop Motion Studio from Cateater LLC. I have been using this on the iPad for a couple of years now and pretty much know the software inside out, so I wondered how it would behave on the Android and if it would solve the focus problems I had had with several of the apps I had been looking at. I am not going to do a review of Stop Motion Studio now, but needless to say I would always recommend it, it is solid, has some great features and seems to be available on most smartphone and tablet operating systems.

It was nice to be working in a familiar environment again, and sure enough, the manual focus control worked well, got a nice sharp picture and let me animate with ease. I done another quick test animation and all pleased with myself, went to export it out to the camera roll… And got error, after error, after error… Now, I am no expert, it may have been the app, it may have been the phone, or even the available hard drive space on the phone, but no matter how hard I tried it would not, or could not render the video… I tried 720HD, 640x360SD and more, to the video roll, to dropbox, via bluetooth to my iMac and nothing… It just wouldn’t export. I tried it as a .gif and it worked, a small victory and then I had a brain wave… I tried exporting the animation as a project file and it let me… Would I be able to open this project in Stop Motion Studio on my iPhone or iPad? The simple answer was yes, I plugged the Galaxy into the iMac, dragged the file off, uploaded it to dropbox and opened it from there on my iPhone in Stop Motion Studio… Result! My trusty iPhone then let me export the video out as a 720p HD file, which you can view below as well…

Using Stop Motion Studio on the Android based Samsung Galaxy did work, and yielded some not bad results… The image quality could be better and the colours are weak, but that could be fixed to some degree in post. The exporting issues were frustrating, in fact my whole Android animation process was frustrating. I struggled with the simplicity of the apps and the camera focus was a big issue, but that is why I am doing the hard work, so you guys don’t have too…

Sorry for such a long blog, but this is the result of 3 hours of animation issues!

Motion by Feras Alnatsheh on Samsung Galaxy

Stop Motion Studio on Samsung Galaxy

Lego Star Wars, The Clone Awakens…

Like many many people, our household is full of Star Wars fans, with myself being a fan since I was a kid all those many years ago… When they announced that they were making The Force Awakens, we watched all the trailers eagerly and kept up with all of the fan theories that were speculated on way before the films actual release… One of our favourite fan theories was that Kylo Ren was collecting Darth Vader’s possessions in an attempt to clone him. We wondered exactly how that would work, so we decided to do an animation in Lego to show just how that might go, with some comedic effect!

The whole film, as usual is filmed in Stop Motion Studio on an iPad2, using an iPhone 4S as a remote camera. This was also one of our first attempts at using green screen techniques, which I am quite pleased with, although I know that with a bit more patience and practice we can get that looking better… Lego plastic is a very reflective material, so overspill from the green screen onto the characters and set’s was very difficult to overcome, and this is something we need to think about in future green screen work.

All of the green screening and editing was done on an iMac in Final Cut Express, and sound FX, music and dialogue were added in Garageband. The music was a collection of loops and jingles that come in the Apple Jam Packs which I strung together, and actually work quite well I think… At least it stops Disney and John Williams from trying to sue me for using the official Star Wars theme…

Some of the cool lighting was with LED’s purchased from Firestartoys.com and they are the same lights we used on the stage set in The Devil Made Me by Paul Miro. The light set actually comes from a company in Holland called www.brickled.nl and they provide some great stuff from light bricks through to street lamps, all of which are Lego compatible.

One of my favourite scene in this animation was Kylo Ren exiting the shuttle… It is a brief scene, but to get a good distance shot and figures that matched the smaller size spaceship we built, I decided to use micro figures from the Lego Star Wars Battle Of Hoth board game… Kylo Ren was actually Darth Vader, but with his back to you its hard to notice and the Stormtroopers were just Snowtroopers from the game… Over all I think the scene worked really well, even if those little figures don’t really animate well…

We hope you enjoy our latest offering and would love to hear some of your comments either here or on YouTube…

Keep animating,

Ian Husbands