Laser cut shapes for stop frame animation

laser cut shapes for stop frame animation

Dan Brown is working as  Digital Storyteller for Scottish Book Trust hosted by Fife Cultural Trust for seven months.

Currently, he’s working  on a project to celebrate the ‘new town’ of Glenrothes being 70 years old next year. He’s working with locals to help them tell their stories and capture them digitally whilst increasing their digital literacy and raising confidence. He needed some laser cut shapes to use in stop frame animation workshops with children to create an identity for the project and asked if I could help.

How to choose materials

Dan didn’t know what was possible, so I asked him round to the workshop. He got quite excited when I showed him samples of offcuts of complicated shapes and the materials I could work with from card to fabric, plywood, Perspex and mdf.

He was keen to keep costs down, so I suggested chosing materials that would be light but reasonably robust as children would be attending the workshops. Lighter materials would be faster to cut,  keeping production time down.

Dan took some material samples away to think about what he wanted. He could prepare artwork and think about the quantities he’d need.

Making the props

A couple of weeks later, Dan sent me artwork for hippos!

Hippos have become a symbol of  Glenrothes. In 1972, local artist Stanley Bonnar created the first group of hippos with the help of post-graduate students. Now, hippo sculptures are dotted about the town. Six have been arranged drinking from a paddling pool in Riverside Park.

Dan wanted card cutouts of hippos, some with ‘Glenrothes 70 Years On’ cut out of their bodies. They were to be cut from leftover mount board and would create solid shadows which would be intriguing with the cut outs.

He also wanted 2mm clear perspex cut into rectangles and engraved with ‘Glenrothes 70 Years On’. Raster and vector engraving highlighted the letters or backgrounds for different effects. Dan had liked the samples of engraved perspex and how they threw interesting shadows.

Dan wanted to be present when I made his order so he could watch the process and film parts of the process.


The short animationabove was created in an hour buy two children at Digi Day in Kirkcaldy Galleries.

Dan’s project will culminate in January when the resulting films will be available online and screened at a celebration event in Rothes Halls.

You can find more information about the project here.


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