Claymation is the art of using stop motion animation to animate clay characters and background. Shows and movies that have used claymation include “Wallace and Gromit” and “Gumby.” Making your own claymation movies requires understanding the idea behind claymation as well as coming up with good characters, situations and plots.
Making a claymation movie requires mastering the art of molding clay and using a camera to make stop motion animation. Start by making simple clay characters, such as a small circular blob of clay. Point the camera at the clay from the angle you want to use. You can use a film or digital camera, which must be capable of taking single frame pictures. Take a picture of the clay figure, and then mold it very slightly in the the movement you want it to make. For example, if you want it to wave, bend its arm very slightly. Take another single frame of the show, and repeat the process to move your claymation figures. Take multiple frame shots to slow down its movement. Edit your film, and put in the sound using any editing method you understand how to use.
Watch several movies to get ideas for characters. Avoid using ideas that are similar to the ones you find in the shows you watch. Create characters that vary from them to help you come up with your own original ideas. Claymation characters can be anything you are capable of molding. Create several characters to practice your molding skills. Make a variety of characters, including human characters, animal characters, alien characters or even monstrous beasts. Use two legs, four legs, multiple mouths, strange eye placement, odd arm proportions and other molding ideas to make your characters look as individual as possible.
Your setting is only limited by your ability to design a background. Use any type of background material you can afford to use. Your background should match the type of story you are creating. For example, “Gumby” used a lot of normal size real world objects next to their smaller clay models, which made the objects look gigantic, creating a fantastic world that was also still recognizable. “Wallace and Gromit” was set in a modern day England, which made their adventures more realistic and grounded. Use painted backdrops to create fantastic moonscapes for your characters to explore. Images from magazines can also be used to create backdrops.
The story you write depends on the characters and setting you have created. Take some time to free write character profiles for each character. Use these to find their voices, personalities, goals, and dreams as well as their weaknesses and relationships with the other characters. Develop your characters completely before writing your story. Sketch an outline of your story’s basic plot ideas, which should include the beginning, middle and end of the story. Fill in the parts in between after you are finished creating your outline. Write your dialogue, and read it out loud to see how it sounds.
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