I've been developing a unit on claymation/animation and have been learning
through my numerous mistakes. As a first time venture, I would suggest that
you have students animate 2-d (flat) clay figures. This eliminates the
problem of making things stand up. It's much easier to make the small
adjustments to figures when they are flat on a background. It also allows
for the easy creation of hand drawn interesting backgrounds.
You would need to either rig a camera stand or have a tripod that allows the
camera to be pointed straight down. Be prepared for the photography stage
to be a VERY SLOW process!! If you have only one camera, have the rest of
the class working on something else as they wait for their turn with the
camera. I have thought of working around this problem by purchasing 4-6
small cheap digital cameras (under $50 each) so that each group could have
their own "photo" area to work in. The other advantage is that most of the
new cheap cameras download to a PC using a USB port, which is far faster
than a compact flash card. But again, you would have to rig camera stands
or tripods to position the cameras.
I too bought the same claymation kit as you did, but haven't found the
software to be that useful. We animate our stuff using the animation shop
program that comes with Paint Shop Pro v7. The program costs around $80,
but you can download a 30 day demo for your students' use. The website is:
We used plain 'ole non-hardening modeling clay, plus some rather expensive
claymation clay for the more interesting colors. The best investment in
clay was to buy lots of packages of the "multicultural clay" which is a
selection of flesh tone colors that can be mixed for infinite variety (sort
of like us :-) ) I'm pretty sure that Nasco and Sax carry this clay.
As a preliminary to the actual claymation, we looked at student examples
which I had found on the web. I had students try to count the frames in
each example, so that they would get an understanding of how many it took to
make a very short feature. It's a lot like making animated gifs, but a much
Good luck with your project. After doing claymation a couple of times, I
took a sideways step into teaching kids how to do animation by animating
famous paintings. Some of the student results were hysterically funny!
This was a much more successful and satisfying unit for both students and
myself. (Far less mess, set-up,heartbreak and time)
Emerson Junior High School
From: Berg, Renee [mailto:Renee.Berg@k12.sd.us]
Sent: Monday, November 26, 2001 12:17 PM
To: ArtsEdNet Talk
Subject: clay animation
Fellow art educators,
I am sitting here at home, while we get dumped on. There must be a foot of
snow out there and more still coming down. Beautiful. School is canceled and
I'm taking advantage of it to write a grant and plan my clay animation unit.
I've never done it before and am looking for any advise. I ordered the
tech4learning kit on clay animation and am putting kids in 6 groups of
three. I'm showing them Wallace and gromit and Chicken run. Then we will
discuss, character development, plot and setting. I need help in deciding a
theme. I've thought of letting them choose a theme or develop a character on
their own, personify an inanimate object and write a poem with it, redesign
the school character,( which is a corn cob, yes you read it write. His name
is cornelius.), re create a fairytale character and rewrite the plot. Any
other ideas? We still need to keep it simple, we have 4 weeks, of class to
do it in. Any techniqual hints are welcome. We will using digital cameras
and saving on gateways, then using Spin Photo Object software to animate (
it came with the kit).
6th,7th Art and 8th grade Art Tech
Mitchell Public Schools
P.S. Sorry, I'm an idiot sometimes. I tried to sent an attachment last
week, for a design worksheet I created to go with the mundi design website.
I will post it on my website instead, later this week.