Simple Steps for Animating with Clay
Clay animation is the best way to express your characters and to connect with your subjects as you build them. Not only you learn how to animate the clay figures, but you also learn how to make the clay friends.
Once you have armed yourself with the main attractions, you will learn how to animate your clay creations in your own video.
Let’s make your clay creations
Some of the stuff you will need are bendy wire, polymer clay or plasticize, a camera, a video editing program, and a computer. Once you have all of the materials ready, you can start your clay animation.
Start with your polymer clay and bendy wire. You want to make sure that you can work with the clay without it being subjected to hardening while the exposed to open air. Cut the small piece of wire three feet long and fold it in half.
Twist both the strands of the wire together beginning at the folding point. Mold the wire into the general shape of your character. Think overall shape rather than final shape. This is the mannequin for your clay character. You will mould the clay around this wire called an armature.
The base of your clay character is grey clay, which surrounds the wire frame and is your base.
After the base is set, you add coloured clay on top is creating detail and definition to your character such as facial features, clothing, etc.
Once your characters are complete, set up your digital camera at the appropriate angle at which you would like to capture your animation. This is key. Use a tripod for the animation to flow congruently. Every shot must be captured at the same angle.
Use the flat surface to rest your clay figure. Then find a starting position. That position should be marked for many reasons. The first is that clay animation must be moved very slowly, frame by frame to look right. Next, if you need to adjust the clay figure, you can pick it up and then place it back down in the correct location without having to start all over again. Use a piece or a pencil of chalk for markings.
After the first shot, move the character the little bit into the next position and take another photo.
These shot-by-shot photos are called frames. For a movie, there are 24-25 frames per second. You must be careful when shooting clay animation, otherwise, it looks like your figure is jumping in the final picture. Continue the process of moving the character a little bit and taking a photo until you have finished the frames for animation.
Load all of the images you have taken onto a computer and use your favorite photo editing program to link the images together and speed up the images into the movie format.
Now watch your animation movie come alive.