Making a Claymation

Remember “Pingu” and “Shaun the Sheep”? Growing up, I loved these! Why I’m talking about them is because both these shows are claymations. Claymations are stopmotions made with clay. They have this 3 dimensional aspect to them that can’t be achieved through normal animation.

I decided to make a claymation last week. I’ve been in a huge creative slump recently. Didn’t have the motivation, or felt what I was making or writing was utter trash. But, this project was a lot of fun to do, so I would recommend everyone to give it a try.

This post is not going to be a tutorial, just a summary of my experience.

I started by making a batch of salt dough. Ideally, I should’ve used a non-dry modelling clay, but I didn’t have any on hand.

I mixed refined flour and salt in a 1:3 ratio. Added a spoonful of vegetable oil, and kneaded in water till the clay had a firm consistency.

This salt dough was a horror to work with. It kept drooping, didn’t hold its shape, made my hands all dry, and kept cracking repeatedly. It took next to no detail, so I had to replace my earlier plans of a dinosaur, with a blobby frog.

After the clay was done, I divided into 3 parts. The first two parts made up 3/4ths of my clay, and were dyed blue and green. The small part was kept for details.

After this I set up my app and lights. I propped up 2 books perpendicular to each other, and put a sheet of jute over them for the backdrop. I switched on all the lights in my room and a bendable lamp I had laying around. I still got quite a few shadows, so I might use a ring light next time.

The first part of a clip shows a ball bouncing into the frame. This was the most time consuming step. I made structures out of blue clay that looked like this and clicked about 50 frames for the bouncing.

I flattened this blue ball in stages and made a green lily pad. After this, I made a green ball roll into the frame and transitioned it into a frog. I made 2 sets of eyes for the frog: 1 closed pair and 1 open one. I swapped these pairs out periodically to show blinking.

I had to make the frog do something, so I made it eat up a ball that came into the frame. I would’ve liked something more complex, but this is all that I could manage.

All in all, it was a fun experience.

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