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Making animations is a fun and relatively inexpensive way to experiment with movie making.  All you need is a webcam, a PC with animation software (such as Stop Motion Animator), and something to animate.  LEGOs are very fun to animate, as they have multiple joints, and will stay in place when connected to plates.

Stop Motion Animator is an animation software that allows you to make ".avi" files.  It uses a webcam as its input source.  Stop Motion Animator can be downloaded at www.clayanimator.com.

VirtualDubMod is a software that allows you to create some effects for your animation.  It can also be used to convert pictures to a movie and movies to pictures.   VirtualDubMod can be downloaded at www.sourceforge.net.

NR-Productions.com has a great animation kit that has everything you need to get started making your own animations.  Included is a book on how to make animations, a webcam, sounds, and computer software for capturing pictures.  Even if you have a webcam already, I suggest you buy the kit, as the book has very important tips about how to set up lighting, creating storyboards, and where to set up your animation studio.

Below is an example of stop motion animation.

Watch this video for more information on NR-Productions.com