Absolut Panushka, Jan-Apr 1997.
Under The Camera
Cutout Replacement, Jointed-Figure, Sand and Paint on Glass
Many animators work "straight ahead" or under the camera when animating their films. This refers to the technique where artists set up their artwork directly under the camera and create each new frame "on the fly." After a frame is shot of the current artwork, it is then changed to create the next consecutive frame. Often, at the end of this type of film, the last frame is the only existing piece of artwork.
With the paint-on-glass technique, animators paint the elements that compose their first frame on a piece of glass, using a wetting agent mixed with the paint so that it won't dry. They shoot that frame, then move the wet paint in the composition slightly and shoot another frame.
With a cutout replacement film, the characters are placed in their setting, and different cutout characters or parts of characters are replaced after each frame is shot to make them move the way the animator wishes.
Jointed-figure animation and sand animation are created in a similar manner. The figures or grains of sand are moved after each frame is shot to create movement.
The magic and frustration with under-the-camera techniques is that each frame of the film exists only at the moment it is shot. If a mistake is made, the whole sequence has to be re-created.
Moritz, William. "History of Experimental Animation." Website. Absolut Panushka, curated by Christine Panushka. (Jan-Apr 1997).