Bringing Claymation to Life

Claymation, the art of animating clay models into movies or other visual entertainment, is not just for children’s shows anymore. From the earliest Claymation phenomena, Gumby, to today’s modern movies like Chicken Run, Wallace and Gromit or the preschool staple, Bob the Builder, Claymation has come a long way and has integrated itself into our children's daily lives. Claymation has also begun to appear in media for adults. Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas took Claymation to a newer, more mature level and has since help open the Claymation industry to a broader audience than the typical “under 10” crowd.

To make a Claymation movie, you will need clay (oil clay is traditionally used for Claymation, but polymer clay may be substituted), a digital still camera or video camera, a secluded place to use for your set that is free from distractions and disturbances and, of course, patience. Its always best to have a creative story and script prepared before filming, as well as several characters to help carry the movie along. Claymation takes time and dedication. Most Claymation movies are short, due to the time it takes to actually film them (approximately 10 frames per second, with each frame requiring the clay to change its shape). You will also need software with which to produce your movie. Programs like Adobe Premier or Windows Movie Maker. If you are a Visual Communications or Animation expert, you should already have experience using both of those, or similar, programs and understand the basics of lighting, set design and creating an engaging storyline that flows well. Once your Claymation project is complete, you can share it on video websites such as YouTube or even Facebook or on a forum like Mamsham.

Claymation is a fun and creative way to create commercials, shorts or even full-length feature films or television shows for a broad range of audiences. The biggest investment you may have is your time and vision and in time, you could have the next big Claymation production.

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