Meet FRAME, our stop motion app!
People who know things have proven what we’ve always known in our hearts: making art positively impacts communities. Through creation, we gain individual confidence, engage socially with others and take an interest in the world around us. Here at In-House, we’re fueled by that magic. We believe in it. And we want to spread the joy. So what is FRAME, and what does it have to do with this maker manifesto? FRAME is a tool we made in no small part to make art-making more accessible. Because getting what’s in your head out to the world is a beautiful thing.
As In-House’s first-ever internal app, FRAME is the little stop motion tool that could. Generally, stop motion is difficult to get right — it requires equipment, lots of patience, fancy software and so on. But with FRAME, anyone can create somewhat technical animations. Just take a photo on the app, and an ‘onion-skin’ overlay appears, making it easy to frame every following shot. From there, choose the images you want to animate, crop, and edit. Then, export.
The idea that germinated into FRAME came from a completely different need. At In-House we often took images of our printed materials. Making sure they were identically framed throughout meant lots of editing. And then we thought of all the amazing makers around us–jewelers, printmakers, people making products. We figured that making simplifying the process would reduce the burden and give people some of their time back.
Once we decided FRAME was a project we wanted to explore, we began with some user research. While we suspected there was a need, we wanted to learn whether people would use it, and what the real needs might be. So we went out and asked around, looked at market trends and did some free ideating to identify the app’s functions and possible areas of growth.
We discovered three main uses for FRAME:
• Duplication of photos in different settings, adaptation / remix of photo assets
• Stop-motion animation on the spot, from images taken on the fly
• Production of stop motion animations from existing images
Once we nailed down use cases, we released the tool to a group of beta testers in several countries. We wanted to learn about how they used the app and collect their insights through polls and short interviews. We used the input to refine interactions and distill what was essential to the tool so we could release a first version through the app store.
During this process, we developed FRAME’s brand identity (to demonstrate the app’s creative, accessible ethos) and pressure-tested the app. One of our biggest tasks was to optimize the tool and its algorithms to compress animations with 100+ images—without crashing the app or overly stressing the limits of iOS. Hours of research, paired with black magic (just kidding) did the trick.
FRAME 1.0 allows anyone to direct their own custom animations. Users can shoot live images and string them together images, edit playback speeds and manipulate storyboard styles and photo sizes. From there, the frames directly export from the app into a GIF or MP4 video. The result? A high-quality animation any content perfectionist can be proud of in a matter of seconds.
You can download FRAME for free here.