How to animate clay

We've created a clay face to make a stop-motion animated film with. We're going to bring this face to life right now.

We have our face all set up here, ready to go. He's made of clay. His eye brows and his mustache are also made of clay. The only thing not-clay here are his wooden-bead eyes which we can turn with a toothpick.

We'll start off by just taking a few frames of our face with nothing happening.

Now we'll begin the movement. When you're starting out, it's nice to be subtle with your moves. Make something happen, very basic expression. You can raise up the eyebrows a little bit. Take a picture. Eyebrows are a big part of the facial expression, of course.

As I mentioned, with a toothpick we can turn those eyes in their sockets just a little bit, tiny move. Take your picture. Make tiny little movement of the eyes looking one way. Adjust those brows maybe. Adjust the mustache if you like. Take a picture.

If he's going to just look in that one direction for a moment, you might take a couple pictures looking in that direction before we change it up again and have him start to look in the other direction. Our face would be looking suspiciously around. That's the idea.

Now that we have him looking in just this one direction, I'm adjusting his lip just a bit, too. Just a little push up of the lip, adjust the eyebrow, and we'll take again just a few frames in that position before we go back to the middle perhaps.

How to animate clay

Probably the most traditional and best known medium for stop motion animation is Clay animation or claymation.

The good thing about clay animation is that you are only limited by your imagination. Clay is a very versatile medium. It can be moulded and shaped in to anything your imagination can come up with. It is sometimes broken into two different categories. Firstly, armature based models and secondly free form or shapeless or free form models. Armature based models involve some kind of skeletal structure covered with clay. These armatures are usually made of steel or wire. Whereas freeform stop motion animation does not use any internal skeletal structure.

History of Claymation

How to animate clay

Lee Hardcastle – Claymation Nightmare

Claymation is over one hundred years old. It started back in early 1900 when camera men noticed that if they stopped and started their cameras between single frame shots that the playback create animation out of inanimate objects. It was initially called trick photography or trick filming. It gave birth to a whole generation of creative work that we today describe as stop motion.

The term “claymation” only more recently came in to common use when Will Vinton trademarked the term in 1978. Will died on the 4th of October 2018 ( may he rest in peace ).

The first use of claymation ( in wide circulation at the time at least ) is The Sculptor’s Nightmare, from 1908. Cel animation took over however in favor for most of the following 60 years. It emerged again with characters like Morphy and Gumby.

What Clay is best or is recommended? Oil based Clay or Water Based Clay?

Well any clay will work but some are easier to work with for a number of reasons. However we recommend oil based clay. There are a number of brands available for claymation such as Van Aiken. The other kind is water based clay. Water based clay is clay mixed with water. It is usually inexpensive but must be kept covered or it will dry out. Water based clay is easy to work when it has just the right amount of water, which is easy to manipulate.

Its disadvantages are equal to its advantages; it is often hard to control especially if a project goes into many days, it sags and separates easy, and it can’t be used with plastics, epoxies or polymers.

Oil based clay is clay mixed with oil or combinations of oils. Unlike water based clay it will not dry out when trying to do claymation, but it will oxidize over time and become difficult to work. Some oil based clays like plastina contain sulphur and can’t be used with silicone moulding compounds. Plastina can be sealed with a coating of sealer or shellac but any coating of this type will take away some of the character of the clay. Warming or preheating oil based clay will soften it and make it easy to work.

Some notes on Sculpey and premo.

How to animate clay

Sculpey, Super Sculpey (Polymer based), Premo can be baked hard so they are good good for parts that will not need to flex such as torso and mouth / expression pieces that are use as replacement parts.When they are baked they it are no longer effected by heat of light. However Super Sculpey stays more workable until heated than the other two. Note also that Premo is shiny when moulded by hand.

According to Premo’s site and we concur.. “Premo! Sculpey quickly reaches a workable state with minimal conditioning and remains soft and pliable while

offering extra resistance without crumbling. Hint: Conditioning of all polymer clays may be facilitated with the use of a pasta machine. Simply cut the block in half and feed each half through the largest setting. Repeat 10 times more and your clay should be conditioned.

It is available in 32 colors, including a lustrous Gold and Silver, and a series of pearlescent colors. Its artists’ color palette is modeled after oil paint colors and designed to make color mixing a snap. Mix Premo! Sculpey with other polymer clay colors, powders or pigments for interesting colors and textural effects.”

Why not try to make a claymation character after watching this How to make a Claymation Character video.

H ave you ever wondered how Wallace & Gromit and the works of Laika are created? It’s all thanks to a little animation technique known as claymation. Figurines made out of clay come to life, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for animators. But what is claymation and how do you know if making your next film out of what’s basically Play-Doh is right for you? It’s time to mold your mind with information about the wonderful world of clay animation.


The beginning of claymation movies

Compared to other types of animation, claymation movies are actually quite recent. The first feature-length film to be made out of cel animation, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, came out in 1937. It would take over 60 years for the first claymation movie, Chicken Run, to come out in 2000. However, the art form has a long, storied history that goes back much further than the new millennium.


What is claymation?

Claymation is a form of stop-motion animation where each animated piece, including characters and some backgrounds, is constructed out of a malleable substance, which is typically plasticine clay. Each frame is recorded on film and then played back in quick succession to give the appearance of movement.

The plasticine is generally wrapped around a wire skeleton, known as an armature. It’s arranged on a set where it’s moved one small portion at a time. To create the appearance of continuity, objects may remain lit and correctly placed at all times.

Popular Claymation Movies:

  • Chicken Run
  • Coraline
  • Monkeybone
  • ParaNorman
  • The Boxtrolls
  • Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit

So why don’t you see as many claymation movies as traditional cel animated ones? Well, as you can see from this video from Insider, it’s a lot of work. And we mean… a lot of work.

How Claymation Movies Are Made • Insider

Not only does every character, animal, and building have to be created, often resulting in hundreds of models, but then those figures have to be meticulously moved ever so slightly while each individual frame is captured. It’s a ton of work, but as Laika and Aardman Animations have shown, the result has led to some of the best animated movies ever.

WHAT is Claymation in Film History?

History of claymation movies

The first feature-length, theatrically-released clay animation film may have been Chicken Run, but the art form actually dates back to 1897. This was when an oil-based modeling clay, known as plasticine, would be created. Plasticine would go on to become the standard claymation clay used for most films. This was also around the time cel animation was beginning to develop, but for decades, claymation remained on the fringes of the animation movement.

The first claymation animation film that’s survived is called The Sculptor’s Nightmare from 1908. The short film follows members of a political club arguing about who will replace Theodore Roosevelt as president and whose bust they will need to put up next. The short film combines elements of live action with claymation.

The Sculptor’s Nightmare • Library of Congress

A short film that fully utilizes claymation is more along the lines of 1926’s Long Live the Bull from Joseph Sunn. It tells the story of a young man willing to fight a bull to impress and win over his beloved.

Long Live the Bull • What Could Go Wrong?

In 1955, the world would be introduced to Gumby, a clay-animated, humanoid figure who would spawn a couple films and even a video game. In 1972, Aardman Animations was founded, which created clay-based segments for television shows.

The company was even responsible for creating the music video for Peter Gabriel’s iconic “Sledgehammer.”

Sledgehammer • Peter Gabriel

Aardman Animations paved the way for what claymation would become, eventually creating the Wallace & Gromit series of short films before making history with Chicken Run.

The animation studio Laika, known for such films as Coraline and ParaNorman, would advance the traditional clay animation technique.

Instead of creating the characters by hand, the studio utilized 3D printing to develop thousands of potential facial expressions for the characters. They would then swap out one facial appearance for the next, creating a smooth, fluid motion as if the characters were talking.

How Technology is Changing Claymation Movies

The process of making claymation movies is pretty similar to stop motion animation. The main difference mostly comes down to what your characters and sets are made out of.

Related Posts


Steps for making clay animation films

Before you get started, it’s important to understand how time-consuming clay animation can be. And depending on what kind of artist you are, you may need to get a team together to help you design your figurines. That process alone can eat up days of preparation, as evidenced in this video breaking down how to make claymation movies.

How to Make Claymation Movies • Miniature Hobbyist

But with enough sweat and tears, the result can be a one-of-a-kind film that looks unlike anything else at the festival you submit it to. Here are the basic steps in getting your next clay animation film off the ground.

Step One: Gather your materials

First, you should acquire everything you need to build your sets and models. The popular choice is the modeling clay Plasticine, which you can typically find at any arts and crafts store. You want to avoid substances like Play-Doh because it dries out too quickly.

Step Two: Storyboard your plot

Claymation relies on numerous precise movements. You can save yourself a lot of time and hassle when you actually get to filming when you know exactly what needs to happen in each frame. StudioBinder’s storyboard creator allows you to import scripts to automatically see how many scenes you need to map out.

Step Three: Avoid influence from outside factors

There are numerous outside influences that can impact your clay animation project. Dust can settle on your sets when you’re away. Someone could walk into the room and accidentally bump into your set, throwing everything off. Set up your project in a space you can control. But, as any filmmaker will tell you, you can’t control everything.

Step Four: Get the timing right

Any type of stop motion animation will require a ton of one-frame shots. Even relatively short films can still consist of thousands of frames. This is why many filmmakers utilize a technique called twos or doubles. This occurs when two frames are shot each time you turn on the camera.

Of course, there are other steps like any other film, such as writing the script and recording audio. But with dedication, you might end up with something like this Oscar-nominated short titled, Negative Space.

How to animate clay

Making Simple Clay Models for stop motion claymation is easy with a few tips. Make your models uncomplicated, simple and bold. Use primary colours. You don’t need a lot of details and so forth.

You only need two or three facial features to animate. Any more than that it becomes complex and expressions will be hard to emote to the viewer. Think of Gromit for example. He does not speak and most of his emotions are expressed using his eyes, eyebrows and ears.

How to animate clay


All clays are not equal when it comes to creating simple clay characters. There is some advise here on the best clay to use for claymation .

You only need a few body features to animate. For example arms, legs and head. Although many stop motion characters may merge the head and body into one for example and have no legs or arms at all.

Ensure the features are easily seen by the viewer. Make them big and bold. See the fantastic Aardman “Purple and Brown” characters. Notice how basic they are ..with bold arms / legs yet full of life.

Watch those legs or supports as the model you make has to able to stand up on its own.

Although it is a difficult discipline do create a storyboard of some kind. It does not have to be complicated or well drawn. Scribble it on a piece of paper if needed.

The storyboard can act as a bullet point record of the events that take place in your stop motion animation.

Estimate the length of time (in seconds ) for the various events in your animation.

You can sketch on your storyboard images for the various events. Stick figures are do not have to be a good artist.

The best thing about stop motion puppetry is that there is not only one way to do it.

Whether you decide to animate an existing object, a marionette, a clay figure, or a full-on realistic puppet they can all work out at the end.

However, there are two things you should take into account while building your puppets and that, if taken into account, would make your animating process much easier.


Your puppet’s body and structure should balance these 2 qualities out. You don’t want your puppet to be too flimsy but neither rock solid.

You will need them to be steady enough to hold a posture but also flexible enough to be able to give the illusion of movement.

Sounds too difficult? Don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be. I’m about to guide you through the whole process.

Let’s get started!

Character design

Planning is a must in stop motion and believe me, I’ve learned the hard way.

When I started working with stop motion, I spent so many hours working on puppets that ended up not being functional for my story.

I’ll tell you why: your puppet has to be designed based on what the movements and actions they will be doing.

So try to figure these main things before you start building them:

-Will my stop motion puppet speak? (If so you’ll need mouth replacement or a flexible mouth made out of plasticine)

-What does my character do?

-Will be frame it from the waist up or would it walk instead?

All of these are very important and they will guide you on choosing the right materials for your character construction.

Focus on what would help you during your stop motion production process.

For me flexible materials and mouth/eye replacements are a must but it all depends on who your character is and how he will be portrayed.

Don’t spend a lot of time on building a set of legs if they’re not gonna be shown or used.

Instead, sketch your puppet and write down its height, width and main functions. Once you know these things the process will be so much easier.

Still not sure about which materials you should use?

Let’s go through the basics.


If you’ve decided to make your character out of soft clay then you don’t really need an armature.

A puppet armature is like a human’s skeleton, it will help you keep your character steady and hold its limbs together.

Keep in mind that even though your character’s armature needs to be sturdy enough to prevent your puppet from falling apart it still needs to be flexible and allow you to move it around.

As mentioned previously, 12 and up to 24 frames will constitute a second of your stop motion animation. Each one of those frames represents a change in your puppet’s posture so being able to move your character freely and danger free is a must.

How to animate clay

One way to jump into animation quickly without great expenditure is to use stop motion technique to animate clay or objects. Clay animation is especially compelling as it lends cialis online itself perfectly to the amorphous transformations offered by drawn animation. Puppets by comparison are usually fixed in space and don’t allow for squashing and stretching unless replacement animation is used.

The first thing is to get a capture system, such as Stop Motion Pro software available from, that will allow you to animate using any number of available cameras such as a webcam, a video camera, or a digital still camera. Once that is in place you have to choose the right kind of clay that lends itself to animation.

Many students begin experimenting with classic water-based ceramic clay. This material is an age-old classic substance that has served the art world well for hundreds of years. While this clay can be animated you will find that you will only have a short window of time to work with it as it rapidly starts drying out in the air and lights. As the drying process proceeds, cracks will appear and the clay will need to be moistened to keep it malleable. The clay is messy and muddy. As the clay dries it becomes dusty too. Ceramic clay does not lend itself to color as it only comes in gray or brown and is generally a poor choice for animation.

As the art of sculpture progressed through the centuries adding mineral oil to the clay instead of water solved the problem of clay drying out. This clay is called Roma Plastilina and the formula is over 100 years old. It is based on the Gudicci Italian modeling clay of the 1800s. It comes in a number of hardness grades from very soft to a hard wax consistency that can be carved. It only comes in gray-green and white and the oil tends to weep out of the clay during animation. It is marvelous clay for making prototypes. If the clay does not contain sulfur the artist can make use of the many rubber mold-making materials as well. Sulfur must be excluded from the formula as that chemically reacts with rubber mold making chemicals retarding their ability to set.

The best clay to use for clay animation is Plastilina clay manufactured by the Van Aken Company. It comes in a wide range of colors and is a formulation of wax and clay. The clay does not weep oil, as it is wax-based. If one uses a double boiler different colors of clay can be melted and blended together to obtain a wide pallet to work with. This is the clay that was used by Will Vinton when his studio executed his trademarked “Claymation” process for his films. This clay is readily available from toy, hobby, and art stores.

Another clay that lends itself to the animation is Polymer clay such as Sculpey. Instead of ceramic mud the clay is made of plastic and is pliable for many months. It comes in many colors that can be blended together and animate well. This clay has the added feature of being able to be hardened in a home oven when baked to a temperature of 275 degrees Fahrenheit. Polymer clay is more expensive than wax clay and can become a consideration.

The use of both Plastilina and baked Polymer clay can be an ideal choice for animation as parts of the character you don’t want to distort such as teeth or eyeballs can be made of hardened Polymer clay and added.

Our animation and visual effects students work on a variety of projects throughout their studies at NYFA. From opening title sequences to claymation to stop motion, our students get hands-on experience with a variety of VFX projects. Visit our Animation School page to check out what our students are working on in our variety of program offerings and find a program that interests you.

Clay animation is a unique way to express your characters and to truly connect with your subjects as you build them. Not only will you learn how to animate your clay figures, but you will learn how to build these clay friends.

Once you have armed yourself with your main attractions, you will learn how to animate your clay creations in your own short video. Let’s make your clay creations come alive.

Some of the materials you will need are bendy wire, polymer clay or plasticine, a camera, a video editing program, and a computer. Once you have all of your materials ready, you can start your clay animation.

How to animate clay

Begin with your polymer clay and bendy wire. You want to make sure that you can work with your clay without it being subjected to hardening while exposed to the open air. Cut a piece of wire three feet long and fold it in half.

How to animate clay

Twist both strands of the wire together beginning at the folding point. Mold your wire into the general shape of your character. Think overall shape rather than definitive shape. This is the mannequin for your clay character. You will mold the clay around this wire called an armature.

How to animate clay

The base of your clay character is gray clay, which envelops the wire frame and is your base.

How to animate clay

After the base is set, you will add colored clay on top creating detail and definition to your character such as clothing, facial features, etc.

How to animate clay

Once your character/s are complete, set up your still digital camera at the appropriate angle at which you would like to capture your animation. This is key. Use a tripod in order for the animation to flow congruently. Every shot must be captured at the same angle.

How to animate clay

Use a flat surface to rest your clay figure. Then find a starting position. This position should be marked for many reasons. The first is that clay animation must be moved slowly, frame by frame to look right. Second, if you need to adjust the clay figure, you can pick it up and then place it back down in the right location without having to start all over again. Use a pencil or a piece of chalk for markings.

How to animate clay

After the first shot, move the character a little bit into the next position and take another photo.

How to animate clay

These shot-by-shot photos are called frames. For a film, there are 24 frames per second. You must be precise when shooting clay animation, otherwise it looks like your figure is jumping in the final picture. Continue the process of moving the figure a little bit and taking a photo until you have finished your frames for animation.

How to animate clay

Load all of the pictures you have taken onto your computer and use your favorite photo editing program to link the photos together and speed up the photos into a movie format.

How to animate clay

Then watch your animation come alive. This is a lengthy process so take your time. After all practice makes perfect.

Bring Your Ideas To Life With These Simple Steps For Animating With Clay by Helen Kantilaftis

Home Media Arts Animation, Special & Visual Effects How To Create & Animate a Clay Puppet With Stop Motion Pro

How to animate clay

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How To Create & Animate a Clay Puppet With Stop Motion Pro

This excellent program is an enjoyable primer for novice animators the world over. Clay animator Mark Sawicki examines the fundamental design concepts of the animation armature and builds an inexpensive puppet skeleton based on his character design. The proportions of the figure are sketched out to illustrate the planning and design phase. After the skeleton is created the different types and uses of polymer clay are discussed. Basic color theory is outlined as primary colors of clay are blended together for the figure. The puppet is then sculpted over the armature starting with the flexible appendages and eyes (which are baked). Mark then moves on to sculpt the expressive face and finally the body which are kept pliable for animation. A consumer digital camera is described and its software set up is demonstrated in preparation for clay animation using the computer and digital camera as a recording device. The program culminates in a demonstration of how the animator uses mathematics to “time out” the action and shows how the figure is manipulated for each frame of a cycle.

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How to animate clay

How to animate clay

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How to animate clay

By kmreyna Follow

How to animate clay

Here is a step by step guide to create your own claymation. I’ll start out with a video I made my sophomore year as a photography project. It has around 2,000 frames in it and took around one month to finish.

I’m entering this instructable into the Play with Clay Contest because for my senior project I’ll be making another one that’s longer, more elaborate and will need lots more clay! Please vote for me and I’ll post my final video up in the spring when it’s finished!

Check out my creation below

As promised, I finished my second claymation below. Watch in HD!

Step 1: Write a Script!

The first step to making a claymation is to write a script. While your clay figures are unlikely to be very talkative, that doesn’t mean you’re not telling a story. Plan out what you want to happen in your short story, and find some appropriate music. It doesn’t have to be long or complex, in fact if it’s your first attempt it’s best to start simple to get some practice so you won’t be overwhelemed.

A note on the music:
Music can have a huge impact on the mood of your animation. If you want to create a sad or eerie mood, try using music with a lingering piano or a lone violin. Upbeat and cheery music would be appropriate if you wanted to create a blissful mood. Be aware of the mood your claymation is displaying so you can match music with it. You can’t be showing a sad scene with benny hill playing, it just doesn’t work.

Step 2: Gather Materials

Materials needed to get started
You will need:
– Clay (any brand will be fine, I personally like Sculpey clay)
– Lights/lamps
– Shaping tools (optional)
– Camera with tripod
– A table that will not be disturbed for many hours

It is important also to block any sunlight from entering the room. Sunlight can affect the claymation film in a negative way, it is much better to use artificial lighting to keep the picture lighting constant.

Step 3: Create Your Figures

Create a figure anyway you want. Note that is easier to create a figure with less detail. However, the more detail, the cooler and more engaging your figure will look.

Step 4: Create a Background (optional)

Background items add a cool affect to claymation films. I would suggest making the background items stationary, this way if you accidently bump it, it won’t move around.

Step 5: Begin Shooting

With your figures and bakground made, set the tripod up in a stable place where you’re unlikely to bump into it. A remote trigger or 2 second delay on the shutter is nice to avoid any shaking when taking the shot.

If your camera has the options, set it to manual control so the iso and apeture are locked. If they vary from shot to shot (i.e. camera chooses the “best” settings) the final movie will look like the lights are flickering on and off. It’s not the end of the world, but can be annoying.

Another important thing to understand is what frame per second (fps) you want to use. A frame is the same thing as a single picture, so if you want to go ten fps, that means ten pictures for every second. Movies are typically shot at 24 fps, but I used a rate of 12 fps in mine. and I think it’s a good compromise bettween workload and smoothness.

If you want timing to be perfect (say with a song), just make sure you are keeping up with how many frames per second you are using.

Step 6: Smooth Over Any Mistakes

As you work the figure you are using may begin to show cracks or thumbprints. An easy fix is just to use your thumb and smooth out the imperfections. It helps also to wet your thumb with water or saliva before smoothing the mistakes over.

Be patent! I know when I was working on my Claymation, a lot of things weren’t working for me the way I wanted to. You’ll find yourself messing up a lot, but that is OKAY! Be patient and don’t get frustrated, everything works better and smoother when you’re calm.

Step 7: Post Production

Once you have all your photos and you want to adjust the lighting or add a cool affect, use a batch process through photoshop. Photoshop has some cool affects that can really enhance the images of your claymation.

After adjusting your pictures, its time to string them together. I used a program called frame by frame, a simple, free program that is extremely easy to use. There are also other programs out there like Dragonframe or Stop Motion Pro that cost a little more money, but the quality is higher.

If using frame by frame, I suggest making the clips about 200-500 pictures long. You can then take those clips and order them in a movie maker such as imovie. There, you can add music and sound affects to make your claymation even more awesome.

Finally, once your Claymation is an official production, show your family and brag to your friends! You just created an awesome Claymation!

Thanks for looking and if you liked this don’t forget to vote for me in the Play with Clay Contest so I can make another!

Introduction: Make a Stop Motion Animation – for Beginners

Have you ever wondered how those Pixar movies are made? Or how Aardman does it, with Shaun the Sheep, and Wallace and Gromit? Well, you’ve come to the right place!

Stop-motion was the first form of animation, and it’s still used very widely today! The possibilities are endless! Stop-motion is a series of pictures put together, where the scene moves a little bit each picture, to create the image that they are moving. You can make animations using clay, real people, food, and even your old toys. In this Instructable, I am going to be showing you how to make one out of paper, drawings and pictures. But, the method I will show you can be applied to any form of stop-motion. This is just the beginning! I have made one already, which is above. I made this with the help of my friend, Luke Grant, Robin Fuller, Helen Schroeder, and David Hurtado, as part of a county project.

Step 1: Video Tutorial

I have also made a video tutorial, which is above, and on YouTube:

Step 2: What You Will Need

As I said, the possibilities are endless, but to make a simple version, you will need:

  • Camera (digital camera, or even a phone)
  • Tripod (or something to hold your camera in the same position)
  • Computer
  • Animating program, such as MonkeyJam, SAM Animation, Dragon Animation or even iMovie, or Windows Movie Maker
  • Materials needed to create your scenes and characters (this can be paper, clay, paints, etc.)
  • Writing Paper
  • And, of course, your IMAGINATION!

Step 3: Write a Story

Think of an idea for your animation. Make sure it is feasible with the resources you have, and let your mind loose! It doesn’t have to be complicated, or it could be a movie. Just have a brainstorm, and see what you come up with.

My story will be a man walking his dog in the park, and then throwing a ball for the dog to fetch. But, the ball goes all the way around the world, and hits the man in the back of the head.

That’s the beauty about animation: anything can happen.

Step 4: Create a Storyboard

The next step is to make a storyboard. A storyboard has the main ideas of the story, visually, so it’s easier to make the animation. You can download one here. Add the main ideas in each box, and write a short description underneath. This will help you make the animation.

Step 5: Create Your Scenes and Figures

Now it is time to create your scenes and figures. They can be made from anything, or they can be real life. Mine are made from paper, but clay is very popular, and easy to use and work with. Put the scenes together, and work out where your figure is going to be.

TIP: if you are making the figures out of paper, then make each joint separately, the head, body, upper and lower arms, and legs, so you can move them in the animation, to give a real life effect.

Step 6: Start Animating

Time to get started! Put your figure in the first position in your scene. Set up a tripod with camera/phone on it, to make sure it doesn’t move while you’re making the animation (you don’t have to use a tripod, just put the camera somewhere where it won’t move. You could Blu Tack the camera onto a table, etc.).

Now, you’re ready!

Using your storyboard to help you, take a picture of your figure in the first position. Then, move the figure a little bit, and take the next picture. Move it again, and take another picture. Make sure you don’t move the camera AT ANY TIME, and only make SUBTLE MOVEMENTS to your scene and figures each time. Carry on moving the figure, taking a picture every time you do. TIP: if you want a certain point in your animation longer, just take lots of pictures of the same moment! If the scene moves a bit, DON’T WORRY, this will give the animation a bit of character and quirkiness!

You can change the scenes, add more characters, and once you get the hang of it, you’ll be having fun, and be great at it! The only thing you need is PATIENCE. Stop-motion can require hundreds, if not thousands of pictures. The one at the start needed 700 photos! So, have fun, practice and be patient.

Step 7: Putting It All Together

Once you have all your photos, upload them onto your computer. Make sure you have an animating program, many of which are free (unless you want to be professional), and great for beginners. Here are some examples:

  • MonkeyJam
  • SAM Animation
  • Dragon Animation (professional)
  • iMovie
  • Windows Movie Maker

There are loads of programs out there, so just put one onto your computer! I am using iMovie. Most programs come with tutorials on how to use them, so go ahead and put the photos onto the program, run the photos together, and play it!

You have made a Stop-Motion Animation!

Many programs allow you to add sound, voice overs, credits, a title sequence, and lots more, so just play around until you’re happy.

Step 8: Congratulations!

You have made your own animation! Show your friends and family!

This is just the beginning. Now, you can try different styles, more complex stories, and the list goes on. In animation, anything is possible! In mine, a man throws a ball around the globe!

Remember, just have fun, and be patient.

Here is my finished product, with 154 photos.


Step 9: Thank You!

Thank you for reading my first Instructable, and I hope you made an animation. If you did, hit the ‘I Made It!’ button, at the top of the page, favourite this Instructable, spread the word about it, and comment below what you thought of it! Share this too! Thanks!

Please comment, as this is part of my Bronze Arts Award, and feedback is greatly appreciated!

Acknowledgement: I thank the geotechnical engineers on Twitter, through whom I got the idea for this project. I am grateful for so much feedback and thank you all for your messages regarding the project. I further thank David Mašín for his support here on the platform and Hans-Peter Schröcker (University of Innsbruck) for suggesting to use for the interactive graphics. I gratefully acknowledge financial support of the University of Innsbruck: ProLehre project, AURORA Challenge Domains. Project duration: 12/2020–11/2021, amount: € 13.808

how to .

… include the animations in LaTeX presentations:

Here you can download an example of how to include an animation in your beamer class presentation:
For every animation, you can download the related PDF file including all slides below each animation.

The PDF animations can be viewed with Acrobat Reader (except on mobile devices).

For Linux users:
Acroread 9 is availabe as Linux installation.
Okular 21.08.1 enables to watch the animations. However, the control buttons are not available using Okular.
Thanks to Wolfgang Fellin for trying out different PDF viewers for Linux.

… animate soil models: (coming soon)

Animations to visualize the stress invariants in principal stress space:
p’: mean effective stress
q: deviatoric stress
θ: the Lode angle to define the deviatoric direction of a stress state

The interactive graphic below has been created with GeoGebra

You can use the slider for parameter variation of M and choose to display Drucker-Prager. In addition, it is possible to move the principal stress state (red bullet) in the right figure and to rotate the 3D figure. The deviatoric plane corresponds to p = 100 kN/m².

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The interactive WebGL graphics below have been created using


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p-q plane (scaled) for axisymm. tr. comp. is added

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cohesion is added

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vizualise plane stress, σ₃=0

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Rendulic plane is added


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p-q plane (scaled) for axisymm. tr. comp. is added

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cohesion is added

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vizualise plane stress, σ₃=0

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Rendulic plane is added


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p-q plane (scaled) for axisymm. tr. comp. is added

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cohesion is added

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vizualise plane stress, σ₃=0

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Rendulic plane is added


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p-q plane (scaled) for axisymm. states is added

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vizualise plane stress, σ₃=0

von Mises

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p-q plane (scaled) for axisymm. states is added

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vizualise plane stress, σ₃=0


  • Griffiths, D.V. (1990): Failure Criteria Interpretation Based on Mohr Coulomb Friction.
    Journal of Geotechnical Engineering, Vol. 116, Issue 6.
    doi: 10.1061/(ASCE)0733-9410(1990)116:6(986)
  • Griffiths, D.V. and Huang, J. (2009): Observations on the extended Matsuoka–Nakai failure criterion.
    Int. J. Numer. Anal. Meth. Geomech., 33: 1889-1905.
    doi: 10.1002/nag.810
Interactive WebGL graphics, created with

clay hypoplasticity

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The interactive graphic below has been created with GeoGebra

You can use the yellow sliders for parameter variation. You can also vary the values for the mobilized friction angle φₘ (green) and Hvorslev’s equivalent pressure p’ₑ (black) and display the corresponding asymptotic states. In addition, it is possible to rotate the 3D figure. The ASBS is displayed for 1 < p’ₑ < 100 kN/m².

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Modified Cam Clay model

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The interactive graphic below has been created with GeoGebra

You can use the green sliders for parameter variation. You can also vary the value for the preconsolidation pressure p’₀ (black) and display the corresponding yield surface. In addition, it is possible to rotate the 3D figure. The SBS is displayed for 1 < p’₀ < 100 kN/m².

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This page related to SANISAND has been created in cooperation between Gertraud Medicus (University of Innsbruck, Austria) and Mahdi Taiebat (University of British Columbia, Canada).

The interactive graphics below have been created with GeoGebra

Yield surface: the model uses a Drucker-Prager yield surface with anisotropy. The isotropic size is controlled by model constant m and the anisotropy is controlled by internal variable α . You can adjust the related parameters and visualize the yield surface in the 3D stress Principal Axes space and in the π -plane for the stress-ratio, where co-axiality (i.e., same Principal Axes) of stress and back-stress tensors are implied.

Critical, dilatancy, and bounding surfaces: The model uses a fixed Lode angle dependent critical state surface, and state parameter dependent dilatancy and bounding surfaces. All three surfaces are isotropic. The size of the critical state surface is controlled by model constants M and c, the state parameter ψ adjusts the sizes of the dilatancy and bounding surfaces through model parameters n d and n b , respectively. You can adjust the related parameters and visualize the model surfaces in the 3D principal stress space.

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MATLAB scripts for Drucker-Prager yield surface with anisotropy and all SANISAND surfaces:

The SANISAND-MSf (Yang, Taiebat & Dafalias, 2022) model includes two novel constitutive ingredients to address primarily the undrained cyclic response:

  • A memory surface (M), resulting in an evolving distance quantity b M , for more precisely controlling stiffness affecting the plastic deviatoric and volumetric strains and ensuing excess pore pressure development in the pre-liquefaction stage.
  • The concept of a semifluidised state (Sf) and the related formulation of an internal degradation variable for plastic modulus and dilatancy, named the ‘strain liquefaction factor’ and symbolled as l, aiming at modelling large shear strain development in the post-liquefaction stage.

The animation of the model simulation for Fig. 13 of the reference paper are illustrated below.

I also introduced in “puppet for clay animation”, the primary feature of clay animation is metamorphose.
Here I would like to introduce some of the shooting methods of metamorphose and some points to note about clay animation shooting.


First of all, I animate the puppet that I made in “puppet for clay animation”.

This is the basic shooting, taking pictures with changing the shape of the puppet frame by frame.

reverse shooting
Next, I animate that this puppet transforms into the alphabet ‘G’.

Even though the puppet changes its shape one by one from the first frame, you can animate such an animation, but it is difficult to change the alphabet “G” in a beautiful shape one by one. and it takes time.
Actually the above animation is made from 2 cuts. First, shoot an animation in which the puppet is crushed, then make the alphabet “G” with clay, then animate “G” is crushed. Then, you can playback the animation in which “G” is crushed in reverse, and connect it after the first animation that the puppet shot. Then, the puppet is crushed and the crushed clay transforms to the alphabet “G”. This is called reverse shooting .

watch this animation.

The puppet moves and shrinks, actually this animation uses 5 puppets.
How to animate clay
I repeat replacing the puppet and shooting one frame, so it looks like the shape has changed. It is very difficult to shoot it changing the shape. When repeating the movement of the same pattern over and over like this, you can make beautiful animation as soon as you make and replace the puppet as much as you need for movement. This method is called replacement.
It requires a lot of puppets, it takes time and effort to make puppets, but shooting can be done quickly as it just replaces the puppet. With this method you can do beautiful animation even in complicated forms of puppets. Also, even deformation of a puppet containing an armature can be transformed by replacing it with a puppet without a armature in the middle.

There are various shooting methods in clay animation besides those introduced here. Let’s come up with various ideas and make interesting animation.

point of shooting clay animation

I introduce some points to note about shooting clay animation.

Make a ground so that it do not become dirty easily
Clay is so soft that it clings to anywhere. Especially the ground of the set become dirty easily, think about some countermeasures so that you can wipe it quickly even if it gets dirty. For example, if the ground is paper, it will soon become dirty as it becomes spots soon with clay oil. If you apply oil-based varnish to the ground and coat it, clay can be wiped off even if clay is on.
How to animate clay

Keep a working space
animating clay animation is like animating with shaping. If you shape the clay on the set, the set gets dirty. reserve a space where you can work where you can reach. It is also important to keep wipe clean cloth at hand. It is used to prevent the dirt of the puppets, personal computers and camera. it is necessary to keep the hands clean at all times.
How to animate clay

do not warm the room more than necessary
Clay is vulnerable to heat. When it becomes soft it will not be able to shape well and clings to the hand. When shooting, lower the temperature of the room as much as possible.

Hello, friends. We are back and ready to mold your minds through educating you on another niche animation technique that has somehow found itself still making a huge impact, even amidst the modern technologies we have within the industry today.

Clay animation, the nephew of stop motion, has played a critically important role in the history of animation.

Clay animation is almost like an old childhood friend that you don’t have to stay in contact with every day but still appreciate very much. When you meet, nothing has changed. You still love, appreciate, and find a home-like comfort in them, despite having more in common with your shiny new friends who do cool activities.

I guess what we’re trying to say is – always make time for that old friend. Don’t dismiss that old friend for your new friends just because they have CGI capabilities. They can co-exist. We’re getting lost in our own analogy here. Let’s get back to the yellow brick road.

What Is Clay Animation

Once again, the definition pretty much does what it says on the tin. Figurines constructed from clay are brought to life, opening up a whole new realm of possibilities for animators.

Clay animation, or ‘claymation,’ is a form of stop-motion animation where each animated segment, mainly characters and objects, and some backgrounds, is created from plasticine clay.

To be a clay animator, be prepared to have your patience tested. Each individual frame is moved one small portion at a time, recorded on film, and then displayed in quick succession to produce an illusion of movement. Objects may stay illuminated and positioned correctly at all times in order to create the illusion of continuity.

Wire skeletons, referred to as armatures, are generally wrapped around the plasticine to keep them stable.

Even to this day, claymation techniques remain strikingly similar to the earliest experiments in the art form. Characters start as blobs of clay before being molded onto armatures and covered in latex. The claymation artists then proceed to move the models into the positions required to make the film.

The History of Clay Animation

You may be surprised when we tell you that compared to other types of animation, claymation movies are quite recent.

With Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs being the first feature-length film made out of cel animation being produced in 1937, 2D animation has had a 60-year headstart.

The first claymation movie, Chicken Run, wasn’t actually produced until 2000.

How to animate clay

This activity will deepen your student’s understanding of both spatial reasoning and computational thinking. The process of creating a stop motion animation will challenge children to break down a larger task into small steps. It also teaches how to plan, create, and implement a sequence of events in a manner that is very similar to coding a computer program.

Stop-motion animation requires students to create a clay figure and take a series of digital photographs. For each photograph, students will make a very small change in the placement of the clay. When the photos are put together and shown in a rapid sequence, it will look like the figure is moving (animated). To create the animation, the photos can be dropped into a PowerPoint presentation and played as a slide show at a rapid pace. There are also many animation apps and programs designed specifically for stop-motion animation.

What You Need

  • Modeling clay
  • Camera, phone, tablet or other device for taking digital photos
  • Computer/device with PowerPoint or animation app

What You Do

  1. Ask your student what they already know about stop motion animation. Discuss examples they have seen and their prior knowledge about how stop motion animations are made.
  2. If possible, show an example of stop motion animation using clay, such as “How Claymation Movies Are Made.”
  3. Explain that to make their own stop-motion animation, they will make a clay figure and then take a series of digital photos. For each photograph, students will make a very small change in the placement of the clay. When the photos are put together and shown in a rapid sequence, it will look like the figure is moving (animated).
  4. Invite your student to create a clay figure using modeling clay. Encourage them to keep the figure’s structure fairly simple in order to easily make changes and movements.

Ann Gadzikowski is an author and educator with a passion for challenging children to think creatively and critically. Her recent book Robotics for Young Children won the 2018 Midwest Book Award for best educational book. Ann developed her expertise in robotics, computer science, and engineering through her work as early childhood coordinator for Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. She has over 25 years of experience as a teacher and director of early childhood programs, and currently serves as the Executive Director of Preschool of the Arts, a Reggio-Emilia inspired school in Madison, Wisconsin.

Since the first development of motion-capture cameras in the late 1880s, audiences have offered their willing suspension of disbelief for the sake of enjoying the illusion. There may be no truer case than with stop-motion animation, where inanimate objects seem to move freely across a scene and come to life before our eyes. To create the illusion, still images are played back at a specific speed or frame rate, and when the frame rate is high enough, the viewer’s brain stitches them together to create the experience of fluid motion.

Why It Works

The idea behind stop-motion animation is the same as with live-action cinematography. Images are captured in a sequence and then played back in quick succession to create the illusion of movement over time. The difference between the two techniques is in how the images themselves are captured.

In a live-action movie, a cinema camera is used to capture motion in real-time with a continuous shutter constantly exposing frames. Stop motion, on the other hand, makes use of a still-image camera to capture a single image at a time. The character movement is then made before the next photograph in the series is taken. The movement itself is never actually captured — just the result of it. Then, when the image sequence is viewed at a high enough frame rate, the experience of movement is achieved.

How to Create Your Own Stop-Motion Animation

While making stop-motion films can certainly be a tedious and time-consuming task, the process is so straightforward that you can also create your own simple animation with a smartphone in less than five minutes. It really can be as simple as you want to make it. Whichever path you choose, here are the steps you should keep in mind.

Step 1: Choose a unique character

The great part about stop-motion is that just about anything can become a character. Drawings, clay or silicone sculptures, toys, plates, food, and even people — they can all become captivating when brought to life by the illusion of movement.

Step 2: Set your camera and light your scene

When you’re starting off, it’s a good idea to set your camera in a fixed position, like on a tripod, to minimize the movement. Make sure your scene and subject are in focus, and try to avoid bumping the camera or moving it between shots. While it’s not necessary, it’s a great idea to use a remote trigger to fire your camera’s shutter, so you don’t risk disrupting the camera position. The goal is to have the camera angle remain consistent in each shot, while the character’s position changes from one frame to the next.

A note about lighting: Proper intentional lighting plays an important role in creating a specific mood. Be sure everything is lit and exposed correctly. It’s best to use a controllable source of light, as any unintentional lighting changes can cause unwanted shadow movement across the image.

Step 3: Capture an image, reposition your characters, and repeat

In order to achieve a smooth motion from one point to another, your character(s) should be repositioned by a consistent distance from frame to frame. The further a character is moved between increments, the faster it will appear to move when played back. Likewise, if it travels a shorter distance between increments, it will appear to slow down. In animation, the process of speeding up or slowing down is called ramping or cushioning.

Ramping is one way to make your character movement mimic how things move in real life. They usually don’t start at their full speed or come to an immediate stop. When you approach a stop sign while driving, you slowly brake and ramp down your speed. The same should be true with character movements. If they start and stop abruptly, it won’t feel as real as if they ramp up or slow down.

Step 4: Play back the image sequence

Import your images into any app that will play them as an image sequence, and voilà — you’ve got a stop-motion animation. Just about any app designed to create or edit videos should work: Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Photoshop, or even iMovie will do the trick.

If you want to take your stop-motion project to the next level, however, there are a few things to keep in mind to achieve the most desirable results.

Create a Clear Path of Travel

Try and make your character move in a linear motion. That isn’t to say it needs to move in a straight line. Your characters can freely spin, zig-zag, jump, fall, disappear, reappear, and explode, but you want them to have fluid transitions from one frame to the next. If they don’t remain inline along their path, the motion will seem bumpy or jarring when played back.

Make Multiple Movements

At first, it may be best to reposition a single element between intervals, until you feel comfortable making the illusion work. Once you get that down, try repositioning more than one limb at a time. You can also move more than one character. For instance, you can have He-Man cross the street with She-Ra in the foreground, while the Ninja Turtles beat up Foot Soldiers in the background. (That’s what I’d have happen.)

Add some camera movement

Try adding some camera movement to create more depth. Just like you’d use a pan or tracking shot with a cinema camera, the same technique can be applied to stop motion. In this case, rather than only moving the the characters between shots, you also move the camera position or angle. As with character movement, gradually moving longer distances between increments will make the camera appear to ramp up speed, and moving shorter distances will make it appear to ramp down.

Onion Skinning

The term “onion skinning” comes from traditional animation, where animators would draw an image on thin tracing paper (onion skin), allowing them to see through to the previous drawing below. This gives the artist the ability to ensure a smooth transition from one drawing to the next.

Modern stop-motion animation software includes a similar feature, where the previously taken image is superimposed over the live camera view at a reduced opacity. This “onion skin” allows the animator to see a character’s previous position while actively repositioning it. If you’re serious about diving into stop motion, a quality onion-skinning feature like Dragonframe or iStop Motion is something you’ll certainly want to have.

Once you understand the basics of the stop-motion process, you can get as creative or detailed as you want about character movements, scenery changes, or adjustments to camera and lighting. For more tips of the trade and an inside look at an awesome stop-motion web series, check out our Stop-Motion Masterclass post featuring Dawn Brown’s House of Monsters.

Looking for even more inspiration? Check out our collection of royalty-free stop-motion animation clips on Pond5!

It looks like the clay is never actually in the air, but “droplet” shaped anchored to the floor, then the next frame is anchored to the character!

Yes. With this video player you can slow the playback all the way down and see each frame. They skip the tweens of it in the air and your brain fills in the rest.

Yeah, he’s using the “stretch” rule of animation to make it more vivid. It allows for space where we don’t know all the info, the info is in our brains.

If you pause the video, and scroll through frame by frame, you can see no piece is ever in the air.

ever in the air, oh really I do

The clay is never mid-air. That’s your brain piecing together the illusion.

That’s how you know this guy did a good job lol

As others have said, if you look frame by frame it isn’t in the air. That being said, if you wanted to make something go in the air in stop motion one method would be to have a thick, bendable wire stuck to the back of the figure that you can then move little by little and take out the wire in after effects or photoshop later. This method was used by a former student I had and worked very well.

These might not be in the air, but if you’re looking to know to do the effect, the answer is armatures and photoshop. You can wither use something like wire or more expensive articulated pieces to hold up the subject, then edit out the armature frame by frame. It sounds like a lot of work but it gets the best results! Edit: spelling.

Everyone has covered what’s going on, but to find out more, look up the 12 principles of animation. This animator obviously knows them well.

While technically, like other people have said, it never is suspended in the air, I do have a trick back from my Lego stop motion days.

When I needed a character to fly or flip through the air, I would usually make a support out of Legos to hold him up and take the picture as well as a clean plate. Then use photoshop to erase the support and export that final image of what looks like a suspended Lego minifigure.

It’s time consuming and considering I didn’t have a tripod it looked really bad for me, but the trick can be done much better and you can get a great result out of it.

This is a guide covering everything you need to know about plasticine.

Table of Contents

What is Plasticine?

Plasticine is a soft clay-like substance often to make models.

Plasticine is putty made of petroleum jelly, salts of calcium, and aliphatic acid. Although it was originally a brand name for the British version of the product, it is now commonly used in English as a product category in some genres.

Plasticine is clay(model). It is a brand name, as the name Kleenex. We use it to identify any similar product as both were the first on the market.

How to animate clay

It was William Harbutt, the English art teacher who founded it a hundred years ago.

Plasticine is known as clay(modeling) made of synthetic materials instead of natural clay, which is made of soil, minerals, and oxides.

Is Plasticine the Same as Clay?

There are a different number of similarities and differences between clay and plasticine.

Plasticine and clay are identical in that they are both used to model the fixed images, and both contain the finest mineral particles held together by the binder.

The difference is that different oily substances make plasticine while the clay is bound by water.

Plasticine remains warm, and it does not affect air while clay becomes dry.

Plasticine gets burned on heating after melting, while the clay is insoluble in water and becomes rigid.

What is Plasticine Used For?

1. Engraving, Mask Making, Animation

Plastic clay is a vital art material used for engraving, mask making, mold making, special effects, and clay animation.

This clay is not dry so that the clay can be modified or re-used. Roma Plastolina is a popular choice for professional sculptors around the world.

Roma Plastilina clay comes in several degrees of hardness in almost any application.

Items such as plasticine are attractive to animators because the material can be easily used: they are flexible enough to create a character, flexible enough to allow the surface to move in many directions, and dense enough to maintain its shape easily when bonded with wire armature, and do not melt under hot studio lighting.

2. Design and Crafts

Plasticine clay is commonly used in the design and crafts industry. For example, industrial plasticine clay is a model used mainly for automotive design studios.

The most widely produced product is Chavant. Industrial plasticine clay usually contains sulfur, however.

However, sulfur prevents the formation of various silicone molds.

3. Play and Structure

Plasticine is also used for children’s play and as a model for formal or permanent structures.

How to animate clay

Due to its non-stop location, it is a popular selection of stand-up comedy outlets, including several Nick Park Oscar-winning films.

4. Sports

Plasticine is used in the long jump and triple jump competitions to help officials determine if rivals are officially jumping. Clay-like plasticine is also used in commercial party games such as Barbarossa.

To further explore plasticine and see its uses in action, we recommend checking out this video:

Here’s some information about how I animated a chicken in clay for an egg producer’s association’s TV commercials. It was an interesting project, where I collaborated with the art director of the advertising agency, who did the actual character design, based on my suggestions for an “armature”, i.e. a skeleton for the model.

As I mention on the “Ball Joints” page, this chicken character has an armature of thick aluminum foil in the wings, soft iron wire in the comb on top of the head and in the wattle under the beak. This makes it easy to animate, and the different parts hold their form well after any adjustment. This is important, since all the parts of a figure should stay just where you move them, and not spring back.

Here you can see the entire setup I used for the shooting of the clay animation: The lighting consists of three 800 Watt halogen “redheads” plus a few assorted spots and smaller lamps, assorted reflectors and shadow boards. There is a shadow cast on the background by a cut mask in front of one of the redheads.

The camera is a 35 mm Arriflex that I built a stop-motion motor for. Just to the right of the Arri you can see a video camera. It is connected to the Macintosh you see to the right. With the aid of the ANIMAC Pencil Test Program I was able to record the animation simultaneously into the computer and onto 35 mm film. This enabled me to check the work in progress, in perfect sync with the soundtrack! Once, when the wing of the chicken broke off (which normally would be a disaster), I could reposition it with the help of the ANIMAC, and absolutely nothing of the “disaster” shows in the final film.

The eyes of the chicken are painted wooden beads. The small holes in the pupils enabled me to turn the eyes with a small pin. When the chicken blinked, I animated the eyelids by remodelling the clay frame by frame. To do the lipsync, I had recorded the soundtrack into the ANIMAC program, and made a hand-drawn rough animation of the talking beak. This enabled me to check the sync and the beak positions before I even started to animate the clay figure.

Using this hand-drawn animation as a guide, I made several different, removable clay beaks. They were attached to long nails which could be pushed into the chick’s head. In this way I didn’t have to model the beak anew for every frame. In the picture above, you see some of the beaks on a printout of the hand-animated frames. And since I had printed out the exposure sheet, I knew exactly in which frame each beak should appear! You can see the exposure sheet and the dialogue list below the computer in the picture of the setup. The ANIMAC system simplified and speeded up the job enormously. But still, many days and evenings passed until I had completed the three 20-second commercials.

Here I am, working on the animation, frame by frame. I did this work alone, only had help with the setup of the background and the lights.

You can see the final animation of one of the three commericals on the “Animation Samples” page.

In today’s world, the animation is popular among kids and can also see traces of animation in some educational videos as well. Nowadays by animation, the animator creates such type of visualization which are not played in reality, also we can create those scenes which are beyond thinking.

But before going deeper into this topic, it is important to discuss some techniques which were used by the people when animation word was created and till now some techniques also built by which anyone can animate and creates its own animation. People can also practice there thinking limitations on this platform because if they do so they know their inner skills as well.

Now some of the important techniques which evolved from past till now discuss below:

Traditional Animation or Classical 2D Animation: In this animation, every picture for a scene is created by hand if anyone loves to paint then traditional animation is very interesting for those people. In this animation, an individual draw painting in a sheet or paper and also the pictures that create a scene will be created by the hand and frame them together to create a proper scene.

Digital 2D Animation: This animation technique is widely used in the market to form a better animation with digital technologies. It does not include to draw the painting by hand but we can draw them by computer also and arrange those pictures in a fixed manner and play them to create a proper scene.

Digital 3D Animation: If anyone is interested in making an unreal character in the real-world than this animation technique is awesome to work with. 3D animation is very popular in the animation industry from this technique anyone can create any type of unreal short film to an unreal film in a real way. Those models which are created by this technique is highly realistic.

Puppetry Animation: Animation is created using puppets instead of objects. Indian traditional ‘KATPUTLI’ is basically a better example of this animation in 90s puppets are used in many small towns to organize a short pictures and scenes to entertain the audiences. Those puppets are hung with thread and those threads were controlled by any person who played these characters and creates a film or scene. Also in the circus, we can find these animation technique.

Clay Animation or claymation: If anyone is interested in clay art than this technique of creating animation is better for those. In this animation, a clay structure is formed and these clay arts are used to create an animation. There are also many types of clay art such as oil clay art, dry clay art, etc.

Cut-Out Animation: Cut-out animation is one of the oldest animations of all time and this was the initial form of animation which was evolved in the industry of animation. The first cut-out animation was created by LotteReiniger in 1926 and it was named “The Adventures of Prince Achmed”.

Sand Animation: This animation is used by those who loved to play with sand this was very laughable but it is true because this technique is used among those who do not irritate with sand. This technique is a little bit tough for beginners but as we familiar with this technique than we love to create those pictures by own. As we see in realities show like ‘Indias Got Talent’ various sand animation artists will come and perform there.

Paint on glass Animation: This animation is somewhat typical to create because the painting will be created on glass and as we know anything or liquid can not settle on glass but after this technique, the painting created will be so soothing and fresh because of its surface(i.e., glass). Slow drying paints are used on glass and in place of glass some times turpentine is also used by the animators.

Eraser Animation: As the name suggests, the sketches which are created by this technique is full black and white because the pictures are created through pencils and these sketches can be erased as well. Many popular charcoal eraser films have been created using this technique and one famous animator is William Kentridge.

Pinscreen Animation: Alexandre Alexeieff and Claire Parker invented the pinscreen animation technique in the 1930s. The pictures will create through many pins that are pinned on a plan with vertical alignment. Pinscreen animation makes use of a screen filled with movable pins, which can be moved in or out by pressing an object onto the screen.

Flipflop Animation: When computers are not introduced to people there would some parts where animation is applicable. Painters and artists carry a small diary that is filled with some similar sketches and when the diary flipped up it creates some movement which is known as flip flop animation. Flipbook animation is one of the oldest but fascinating kinds of animation.

July 10, 2000 — Nick Park and Peter Lord’s latest creation is like a goose that laid a golden egg. Except the goose is actually a hen and it’s made of clay. Well, the egg is clay. But it’s becoming clear: These feats of clay are worth millions.

Chicken Run has become the first feature-length work of clay animation to fill movie theaters, grossing $17.5 million its first weekend and over $45 million in the two weeks since.

That’s a lot of Play-doh.

But the success begs the questions: Why hasn’t clay animation been tried more often? And why did two previous attempts at full-length clay features stall at the box office?

For one thing, clay does not fit the model of the Hollywood dream factory. In “traditional” animation, like Aladdin or Bugs Bunny cartoons, the images are painted on clear celluloid sheets, known as “cel” animation, one frame at a time. This type of animation can be broken down infinitely into tiny tasks: Thousands of workers crank out cels simultaneously, with the movie assembled by a director at the end.

Stop-motion animation is closer to a handmade art form.“That’s why clay was marginalized,” says Michael Frierson, author of the 1994 book Clay Animation: American Highlights, 1908 to the Present. “Cel animation and the Hollywood cartoon didn’t become the dominant form because it’s better. Hollywood prefers it because it keeps costs down.

“It’s like an assembly line,” says Frierson of “traditional” cartoons. “But in clay, it’s not that at all. It’s one or two animators working in front of a camera.”

In the case of Chicken Run, the two animators are Lord, a founder of the very British Aardman Studios, and Park, who made good with his short Wallace and Gromit films for the BBC after being invited to join Aardman in 1985. Featuring Wallace, a cheese-loving inventor, and Gromit, the trusty dog that bears the brunt of his buffoonery, the film noir-ish Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995) were Oscar winners that built an audience — which is now showing up for Chicken Run.

But the difference between short films and a full-length feature is apparently as enormous an undertaking as the cheese-inspired journey to the moon that Wallace and Gromit made in their debut, A Grand Day Out (1992).

“It’s been a real lesson,” Park says. “I think shooting something that’s longer than a half-hour TV short is just a completely different ball game from making a feature-length movie. How to keep an audience in their seats and wanting to know what happens next, for 80 minutes, is a challenge we never had before.”

A Century-Old Art

Clay animation has a rich history that reaches back to 1897, when a pliable, oil-based modeling clay called “plasticine” was invented. While not all of Chicken Run is done in 100 percent clay, Aardman stays close to traditions that have evolved over more than a century. The characters begin as clay and then are molded into armatures with latex coverings.

The earliest surviving use of the technique is The Sculptor’s Nightmare, a spoof on the 1908 presidential election. In the final reel of the film, a slab of clay on a pedestal comes to life, metamorphosing into a bust of Teddy Roosevelt. Mack Sennet and D.W. Griffith, two important pioneers of early cinema, appear in the live-action portion of the film.

In 1917, the first female animator of any kind, New York’s Helena Smith Dayton, used real doll clothes and human hair to add realism to her clay depictions of fairy tales and classic literature, including Romeo and Juliet.

The B-Movie Guru

Jump forward a few decades to find another special-effects master interested in fairy tales. Ray Harryhausen made clay dinosaurs as a kid, then got his first job as a model animator on George Pal’s Puppetoons.

Later, assisting Willis O’Brien (the genius who in 1933 turned an 18-inch-tall cat fur-covered model into King Kong), Harryhausen worked on Mighty Joe Young in 1949.

In films like 1958’s The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad and 1963’s Jason and the Argonauts (which includes the famous animated skeleton sequence that took 4 1/2 months to create), Harryhausen perfected his craft. In 1992, he received a special Oscar for inspiring an entire generation of animators and special-effects artists.

Harryhausen’s first employer, the Hungarian Pal, created the Puppetoon series for Paramount. “The NAACP thought they were racist,” says Frierson, “and they are. He mistakenly thought he was doing folk tales.” Pal used 100 carved wooden replacement heads to animate the characters. So not only did racial tension ensue, but also a controversy over just what is clay animation: If the heads are carved wood, is it still clay animation?

He’s Green, He’s Gumby

Meanwhile, with movies being replaced by television throughout the 1950s, Warner Bros. cut back on its cel cartoon output by a third, stopping completely by 1969. A less sophisticated made-for-TV style, by Hanna-Barbera, had taken over. The time was right for clay’s first superstar: Gumby.

“The whole motivation for making Gumby was to give children something of real value,” says the green guy’s creator, Art Clokey. “Gumby was expressing my love for children by telling stories from the heart.”

NBC gave Clokey a contract to produce a series from 1956-1963. Gumby and his orange horse Pokey became icons.

Not many people realize that Clokey was also the creator of another curious series of that era: the moralistic Davey and Goliath. “The Lutherans saw Gumby on WPIX in New York and called me,” Clokey says. “It was shown more than Gumby, actually. The church gave the films to the stations for free. It was an act of service to society.”

Gumby’s Long Shadow

Clokey, now 76 years old, is still zealously engaged in clay animation. Gumby has his own personality cult and was immortalized in an Eddie Murphy skit on Saturday Night Live.

Davey and Goliath references have recently popped up everywhere from The Simpsons and Mad TV to the work of Todd Haines, director of the glam rock chronical The Velvet Goldmine. (Haines also made the now-banned Karen Carpenter Story, a very dark comedy told with hand-held Barbie dolls.)

Finally, the prolific team of Arthur Rankin Jr. and Jules Bass produced Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snow Man and several other holiday classics. Premiering on NBC in December 1964, the Rudolph special promoted the appliances of sponsor General Electric with a soundtrack LP featuring narrator Burl Ives. Rudolph and Frosty were big hits with kids, and the Rankin and Bass specials remain holiday perennials.

How to animate clay

Clay animation combines the high tech equipment kids love to use with their ageless, timeless love for the tactile qualities of clay. It encourages teamwork and gives students the opportunity to learn through the hands-on process of creating. This engaging clay animation lesson incorporates art, academic curriculum, developmental skills, and multi-media technology and is appropriate for all grade levels. Students become involved in all aspects of this exciting lesson, and they will never again see a clay animation movie or video without understanding and appreciating the complexities of the process.

Clay Animation Video Tutorial

Use this quick video tutorial to help you get started making short and easy stop animation videos using a smart phone or camera!

Background Preparation

How to animate clay

The art teacher should introduce an overview of animation and clay animation, helping students to understand how complex the process is. Show examples of professional clay animation videos and commercials. Explain that a professional clay animation video is approximately 30 frames per second. A one- minute clay animation video seen on television requires 1800 individual stop-action frames. Using simple equipment — a camcorder, TV/VCR, and audio tape player — it takes 40 frames for 10 seconds of video, 240 frames for a one-minute video, and 14,400 frames for an hour video. A one-minute student created video will require that the characters and scenes be moved and shot by the students 240 times in sequence.

Talk to students about the teamwork and cooperation. Explain that each student must be and will be involved all aspects of the project and that each must do his or her share. Remind students that clay animation is a process that can only be accomplished if it is done step-by-step.

Demonstrate the process for the students. Show them how a story line, characters and background sets are created and how video taping is done.

Emphasize design, texture, relationship of materials, craftsmanship, and detail.

Theme, Story, Title, Storyboard

How to animate clay

After a theme has been determined, students should choose a title and discuss the theme. If research is involved, ask classroom or subject teachers to help provide resources and assistance.

Using their imaginations, students should create a story line about the theme. Remind them to keep the story simple and to limit the number of scenes.

Determine the number of scenes. Create a storyboard from the story line and calculate the single frame movements necessary.

Teams for Scenes

How to animate clay

Divide the class into the same number of groups as there will be scenes. Each group will work on all aspects within the scene, creating characters and background sets and video taping.

Scenes can be three-dimensional (vertical) like a stage or horizontal (flat, like a relief) where the characters and objects lay flat on the background. If the class is doing a number of scenes, have some be vertical and some horizontal.

The vertical background can be created from curved masonite. A curved, rather than right angle, seam gives an illusion of depth.

How to animate clay

Explain that creating the background and sets is like creating a relief and that creating the characters and objects is like creating sculptures.

Backgrounds (sky, clouds, trees, sun, stars, etc.) are constructed by pressing small chunks of modeling clay on to the masonite board.

Use solid core copper wire as armature for the clay people and objects. The wire provides stability and ease of movement.


How to animate clay

To make figures, show students how to mix and blend colors for flesh tones and other colors. For control and handling, form head and face over eraser of pencil.

Rehearsal and Filming

How to animate clay

Once backgrounds, objects, and characters are finished, students should decide where the people and objects should go in the scenes.

The story is recorded onto video tape by moving the characters short distances and taking single frame pictures of the scene. This process is repeated over and over until each scene is completed.

Sound and Dialogue

How to animate clay

Students should write a script that includes dialogue, narration, and background music. When the script is recorded, it is then dubbed onto the completed video tape.

Follow-Up Ideas

Some successful ideas for clay animation videos include “How an Apple Grows,” the study of the life cycle by second grade students “Travels through Electricity,” the study of how coal is processed and generated into electricity by fifth grade students “Fun at the Amusement Park,” a creative writing language arts lesson by fifth grade students “Journey to Outer Space,” the study of planets by fourth grade students “Building a Rainbow,” a lesson in positive values and self esteem by elementary students “Afrocentricity on the Move,” a story about graduating from high school, overcoming obstacles, and succeeding in life by high school art students.

Show complete videos to student body and to parents and visitors at open houses and other school events.

How to animate clay

Learn and perfect your claymation techniques with Dragonframe

How to animate clay

How to animate clay

How to animate clay

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  • Level: Beginner
  • 22 lessons (5h 47m)
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Recommended software for this course

The animation frame by frame, popularly known as stop motion, is an art that requires planning, patience and a lot of creativity. Something Mab and Becho know very well, two Argentine directors and animators who, together with a team of creatives, give life to small and large productions under the name of Can Can Club. Specialized in stop motion animation, their unique style has opened the doors of the advertising world and multimedia content.

In this course you will learn the basic principles of clay animation to help you take your first steps in Dragonframe or to perfect your Claymation techniques.

How to animate clay

What will you learn in this online course?

Course table of contents

To start you will know the work of Becho and Mab, who will tell you about their influences and will take a tour of some of their works, from the oldest to the most recent, such as Can Can Club.

Before starting to animate, you will learn to create an adequate workspace, both in the physical set and in the digital world, installing the necessary software to make your animations. Mab and Becho will give you some tips to make the most of your use.

At this point, it will be time for action. You will learn, through animation exercises, to manage the weight (rebound, will and transformation) of your objects.

First you will work in a 2D environment and, once mastered, you will go to 3D.

How to animate clay

What is this course’s project?

You will create a curtain or brief animation in plasticine, exploiting its plasticity and flexibility to the maximum.

Projects by course students

How to animate clay

By wernersalles

How to animate clay

By nathanleon1395

How to animate clay

By batitta94

Who is this online course for?

To animators, designers, creators of characters and anyone interested in learning about the world of stop motion animation with plasticine.

Requirements and materials

It is advisable, although not essential, to know the basic concepts of animation and it will help you a lot to have some kind of previous animation experience.

To make your animations you will use, of course, play dough. In addition, you will need a computer with Dragonframe and a camera compatible with the software.

How to animate clay

Would you like to learn a little bit about clay sculpting just for fun or have you dreams to carve out a professional career as an animator? Training as an animator can open up a world of exciting creative opportunities in a whole variety of media – TV, Film, Gaming – and taking an animation sculpting course could be the first step in your journey.

We’d like to tell you a little bit about how clay sculpting is used in animation and to help you decide if an animation sculpting course is the right choice for you.

Why Clay Sculpting?

Sculpture has been a part of human life for thousands of and is considered to be one of the oldest art forms in existence. The styles and materials used over time have changed but the art form itself remains popular.

Sculpting is a branch of the visual arts where three dimensional forms are created and clay sculpting is the most commonly used material today. Clay is very versatile and easy to work with so it’s great for both the beginner and expert. Once you are familiar with the basic principles, it’s easy to start with a simple block of clay and to go on to create your masterpiece!

In terms of animation, stop motion animation requires characters to be traditionally sculptured, moulded and pictured through each movement required for every scene and it’s a painstaking task. An eye for detail is essential.

Materials and Tools

There are several different types of clay used for sculpting. Often it will depend on what you want to achieve as some clays are easier to handle and work with, others offer a certain finish etc. In animation, a clay sculpture is typically going to be used to produce a mould for casting and for this purpose you’ll want to work with oil and wax based materials like Plastilina. Oil based clay can be a little unrefined and tricky for very detailed work but is soft and great for practicing with.

What tools will you be using? Well to start with you’re going to get your hands dirty! At the beginning with you’re only going to use your thumb and fingers to form the clay. As you get more experienced and used to the material, different tools can be used. The tools come in all shapes and sizes. Wire end, hardwood, callipers, knives are all tools used to shape, scrap and form the clay into the image you want.

The Role of the Sculptor in Animation

So you’re considering animation, design and sculpting courses and want to know a little bit more about how your skills are used in the real world? In film or TV, sculptors will often take drawings from the director or character designers and then mould three dimensional shapes in clay. These designs are tweaked and tested until everyone is happy with the look and feel of the character. Usually the finished design is used to make a plaster cast to facilitate the production of duplicates.

It can be a very exciting role as the sculptures are involved at all stages of the process and have to create the director’s vision. Sculptor Greg Dykstra has produced hundreds of famous characters for some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters, including Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur” and he says “Little by little, the character starts to form. You’re making thousands of decisions every time you add a piece of clay.”

Bust Sculpting by Pulse College Tutor, Bruno Carv

Animation and Sculpting Courses

If you’d like to try your hand at sculpting, we have a short course covering the traditional techniques used. This course is an ideal stepping stone into a full animation course and the skills learned will be extremely valuable in that context.

If you are interested in animation courses but not quite ready to commit to a long term course, another option for fans of comic book art style is our Sequential Art and Design course which runs for 6 weeks.