Claymation Movie Mania

claymation charactersSo if you have been following along with my blog, then you’ll remember that in my very first post, I blogged about an undergraduate class that I took at Winthrop entitled “Integrating Technology to Support Teaching & Learning”.  As I’ve already mentioned, I thoroughly enjoyed this class and it’s part of what sparked my desire to become a Tech Coach in the first place.  Anyway, one of my favorite projects from this class was our Claymation movie project, so I decided to let my TECH CLUB use the Stop Motion Animation technique to create Claymation movies.  Stop Motion is an animation technique where the animator physically moves objects/characters in small increments and takes still photos of the objects/characters in each position and then strings all the photos together to make it appear like the objects are moving on their own—kind of like an old-fashioned flipbook.  Claymation is when animators use the Stop Motion Animation technique with clay characters/objects.  However, even though I knew I wanted to have the students create Claymation movies, I wasn’t quite sure where to start, but bit by bit, the project slowly came together, and it has been one of the best projects we’ve completed in TECH CLUB so far.  It took us approximately 4 ½ 1-hour sessions to complete our movies, and here’s how we did it: Session #1clay characters

  1. First, I showed the students several real-life examples of Stop Motion Animation Claymation from YouTube, such as the old California Raisin commercial, the intro to the “Gumby” show, the Chicken Run movie trailer, and the BoxTrolls movie trailer.
  2. Then, I divided the students up into small groups of 2 or 3 and had them brainstorm ideas for their movies. I reminded each group to keep their ideas fairly simple because the Stop Motion Animation/Claymation process can be very tedious and time-consuming.
  3. Once each group had decided on an idea, I gave them a blank storyboard and had them use it to “map out” their movies.
  4. Then I instructed each group to plan how they were going to create their movie characters out of clay and how they were going to create their movie backdrops.

Session #2claymation movie set

  1. At the beginning of Session #2, I gave the students time to complete their storyboards.
  2. Then, each group used a plain cardboard box, construction paper, and markers to create the “sets” for their movies.
  3. After the movie “sets” were complete, the students used non-drying clay to create their characters. I thought it was important to use non-drying clay since the students were going to be working on their movies for several weeks.
  4. After each group’s characters and “sets” were finished, I had them practice moving their characters across the “sets”.

Session #3taking claymation pictures

  1. Our movies seemed to be shaping up and coming along quite nicely. At the beginning of Session #3, I quickly showed the students how to use the tripods and digital cameras, and gave them the following movie making tips:  ALWAYS keep your camera in the same position (same angle, same zoom). 2. Take lots and lots of pictures—you can NEVER take too many!
  2. Then, each group got busy snapping pictures!

claymation movie set

Session #4

  1. At the beginning of Session #4, each group uploaded their pictures to the Microsoft Movie Maker software.
  2. Once the pictures were uploaded, each group started working on their movies. They arranged their pictures in the correct order, changed the duration of each picture to approximately 0.38 seconds, and added an opening title slide, end credits, narration, and music.
  3. Once each group finished their movies, we published and saved them!  Check them out below!

Each group’s movie came out great!  Even though I didn’t have a crystal clear vision of what the finished product would look like when we started, this project was a complete SUCCESS, and I couldn’t be happier with the end results.  I plan on letting the students present their movies at our TECH CLUB Showcase, which is coming up in a few weeks. Next time, I want to try using the Stop Motion Animation technique with Legos—maybe that can be a project for next year’s TECH CLUB!  I’ll be sure to keep you updated! Happy Tech-ing! –Kyla

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