From 2D to StopMo : Character Animation Workshop


- Improve your professional animation skills


Presented by Festival Stop Motion Montreal and CUPFA - Concordia University


Workshop Mentor/Animator: Jean-François Lévesque (NFB)

Learn how to apply the best tricks of the 2D animation trade, straight from the pro! Discover how to animate characters with the most fluid stop motion movements, and how to best demonstrate and communicate clear and precise intentions on screen.


This workshop will light the way for 2D animators interested in transitioning to the stop motion technique, and the methods presented will offer stop motion and 3D animators solutions in making convincing animations at a faster pace.  An opportunity to broaden your understanding of the medium and make stop motion character animation easier, more enjoyable and less intimidating.


This workshop will be offered in English.


The mentor is bilingual and will be able to answer individual questions in French.


Anibild® armatures will be loaned and materials provided on site. You may bring your own poseable character if you prefer.


Location: Maison des Arts de la Marionnettes (Outremont)

30 avenue St-Just

Montréal, QC, H2V 1X8 Canada

Métro Outremont


Session 1:

Monday-Tuesday, Sept. 13-14, from 9am - 4:30pm


Session 2: 

Thursday-Friday, Sept. 16-17, from 9am - 4:30pm



Level: Intermediate / Professional

Cost: $250.00+tx* for both full days







*An official all-access VIP Pass for the Festival's virtual activities comes included (value of $54)


Note: This workshop will be offered in English / The mentor is bilingual and will be able to answer individual questions in French.


Places are limited - first come, first served.

Register today to secure your seat!

Sanitary regulations to be respected:


- Wearing a disposable mask inside the MIAM (masks will be provided and must be changed after the lunch break)

- Providing a signature in the MIAM's visitor booklet and sharing your contact information, in the event we must reach you after the activity is over.

- Physical distancing: 1 person per table

- Mandatory mask-wearing outside of the lab and when social distancing cannot be applied

-  Enforcement of the Quebec vaccine passport policy for participants/festival-goers; the presentation of proof of vaccination is mandatory.

Printed QR codes and QR codes via the VaxiCode application will be accepted and scanned to verify validity.

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- Workshop objectives and tools:


Participants will learn how to use professional tools and apply concrete methods from the world of 2D animation to refine their character’s intentions at the pre-production stage before beginning puppet animation. Concepts presented will then be applied in practice to produce fluid and clear performances on screen, in a quick and efficient manner.


Knowing how to draw is not a prerequisite for this workshop. However, it is important to mention that the participant will be invited to produce small schematic drawings on paper for the purposes of the exercises.


During the two days of training, participants will learn valuable theory through on-screen presentations and discussions that will precede practical exercises. Each participant will be provided with an individual workstation (including a puppet and image capture software) where they can try out the methods presented and receive feedback from the mentor in a socially-distanced yet intimate and inviting atmosphere.


A brief introduction to Dragonframe software will be provided, if necessary, before diving into the practical exercises.


At the end of the training, participants will be better equipped to undertake future frame-by-frame animation projects, contracts and on-screen performances with confidence.

Brief lesson overview


Practical training on animating puppets that have armature structures with hands and heads, and to use a webcam and Dragonframe capture software

Theoretical presentations (Google Slides) with demonstrative videos and illustrations


Frame-by-frame analysis of animated scenes and individualized feedback

Training on the use of exposure sheets (also referred to as dope sheets/ X-sheets)


Introduction to books used as a basis for the theory:


1- Character Animation Crash Course by Eric Goldberg

2- Animation Survival Kit by Richard Williams

3- The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston










In order to fully benefit from this workshop, it is recommended to have a basic knowledge of the principles of character animation, whether in 2D, 3D, stop motion, pixilation, or other techniques, or to have at least already experimented with a particular animation technique in depth.


JeanFrancois Levesque ONF_Logo_hor_noir Download syllabus



Jean-François Lévesque was born in Saint-Gabriel-de-Rimouski, Quebec, in 1978. He studied traditional animation at Capilano College in Vancouver and was subsequently hired by Atomic Cartoons. In 2000, he moved to Montreal, where he worked in advertising (Productions Pascal Blais), directed his first independent film (La cigarette, 2003), and created animation for the television series Toupie et Binou (Spectra Animation). In October 2004, he won the NFB’s French Animation Studio’s 17th Cinéaste recherché(e) Competition. That creative residency allowed him to complete Le nœud cravate (The Necktie, 2008), which would go on to win 15 awards, including the Jutra Prize for best animated film and the Fabrizio Bellocchio de I Castelli Animati Prize (Genzano, Italy). With The Necktie, Lévesque achieved his goal of mastering a wide range of animation techniques, including traditional animation, stop-motion, and 3D. As an independent filmmaker he was involved in one project after another, notably in collaboration with Valérie Dupras on two music videos, Entre deux taxis for the band Les Cowboys Fringants and Ficelles for singer-songwriter Ingrid St-Pierre. In I, Barnabé, his second project with the National Film Board of Canada, he continues the exploration of hybrid animation techniques he began with The Necktie.

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