Clay Animations are stop frame animations
with moveable characters. You move the
characters a little bit and then take a digital
picture. After repeating this process several
times, the pictures are then shown very
quickly using a picture viewer on the
computer. The result will seem like the
character is moving. Remember 1 second
of video takes 8 pictures!!!
The Movie Chicken Run by Nick Parks is an example of
a professional Clay Animation.
Claymation is a copyrighted name for Will Vinton’s Clay
Five steps to make a clay animation:
Storyboard (develop idea)
Make the Movie
Original tutorial compliments of Andrew Jones GMCS
Creating Your Own Clay Animation:
1. Develop an Idea (Storyboard)
Storyboard is the “story” of what will go on in the animation. A
storyboard allows students to plan for props, music and hopefully has a
beginning, middle and end. Remember 8 to 10 pictures make 1 second
of video. Students draw what will happen in the animation.
Title: Introduce Something
2. Create the characters
* Make the armature out of pipe cleaners or wire so they can easily be
moved without coming apart.
* Wrap them with play dough or placticine.
* You can leave the pipe cleaner hanging out the feet to they will start up
more easily or prop them up with toothpicks
3. Create the Background
It’s good to have something behind the characters to adds reality (or
unreality) to the story. Students can draw or paint a background onto
paper…They can cut pictures out of magazine and glue them to the
background. For example, if they want a city in the background they can
find it in a magazine. Make sure background is big enough to fill the
viewfinder of the camera used to take the shots.
4. Shoot the Shots
1. Set the camera to the lowest resolution so your clay animation flows
2. Use a tripod and never change the camera position.
Put some light markings on your paper so you know exactly where your
character needs to be. You call these points "reference points".
Make small movements and take a picture after every movement.
You can try taking 2 pictures of each movement for better quality video.
Remember 8 to 10 shots = 1 second.
Remember, the more pictures you take the better you animated movie will
Attach the camera to a tripod.
Import the Pictures from the Camera
1. Connect the camera to the computer
with a USB cable or a card reader.
2. A message box will open asking you
what you want to do – choose copy
3. Click Browse to find your network drive
Another way – Copying pictures
1. Click on the My Computer, and copy the picture files from the Removable drive.
They will probably be in the DCIM folder and then another folder.
2. Click once on the first picture file, then press shift and hold it down while
you click on the last file.
3. Use the right mouse button to click once on any of the file icons. Click copy from
the list that appears with the left mouse button. (That copied them to the
computer’s memory – but they are not saved yet!)
4. Exit until you can see the drive with your user name on it. It is in My Computer if
you get lost. Create a new folder in your drive (right click > new folder). Name it
“clayanimations 1 pictures”
5. Right click and choose Paste with the left mouse button so the pictures paste into
your new folder.
Click the icon next to folders and
choose the way that you want to see
the files. (i.e. Change from List View to
4. Making the Movie
Movie Maker is a standard component of
Windows XP which allows users to create
movie projects using digital still, audio and
Some simple steps before you begin:
1. Create a folder on your network drive (My Computer > I drive >
(right click – new folder). Name the folder Claymation 1.
2. You must remember that with technology, nothing is certain
or guaranteed. Save you work as often as possible (every 5
minutes) to avoid loosing your work. (File > Save or click on the little
For teachers in workshop today video will save in My Videos Folder on
Start the program by clicking on START and going to Programs, Windows
Click on the Collections Folder to display the Collections Pane
Close the Movie Task Pane by clicking on the X if it is open.
Take a look:
Collection Pane Collection Area Story Board TimeLine Preview Area
Collection Area: This is where you will import your images when you are
ready to begin your project.
Storyboard/Timeline: This area is where you will drag and drop your
images. It is here that you will determine what order your images will be
shown. You will also be able to modify, cut, or change the lengths of clips
Preview Area: This is where you will be able to see the preview of your
project. At any point during production, you can select the play
button to view the work you have already completed.
Importing Images into collections
Before you can import images into a collection you must have digital
images already stored in a folder.
You must create a new collection to store your images while working in
1. Create a new collection by right clicking the word COLLECTIONS in
the collections pane, select New Collection.
2. Give your new collection a name and press
3. You are now ready to
import images to your
4. Click on FILE and IMPORT
(Make sure your collection name is remains highlighted)
5. Change LOOK IN to the drive
where you saved your
6. Select file all your pictures and press import.
HINT: To select all the
pictures, click the first file
and then hold down the
shift, scroll to the last file
and click on it. Release
the shift key and press
import. It may take a little
bit of time for the files to
import into your
You will now be able to see all the images you imported into your
collection. Scroll up and down to see them all.
Go to File, Save Project and
make sure you save it to the
proper folder on your network
Before you place images on the timeline, you (The one you created earlier).
must first understand that in order for your
characters to appear as though they are moving, you must change the
picture duration and the transition time to the lowest settings (the time
between your images). Remember: The shorter the time, the smoother
the animation will seem. Longer times will make your characters appear to
be moving in slow motion. You will have to experiment with these settings.
Please remember that whatever settings are selected (time and duration)
will affect any pictures you place on the time line, not the ones already
BEFORE you add your images to the timeline, make these changes:
1. Click on TOOLS in the menu bar and then to OPTIONS.
2. Click on the ADVANCED tab and decrease the
amount of time for each of the Picture Duration
and Transition Duration using the down arrow.
Set each of these at the lowest setting and click
Move your image files to the timeline. Select all the images (remember
how? Click on the first one, hold shift and click on the last one). Now,
click, hold, drag and drop it onto the video section of the timeline.
If you do not see your images on the timeline,
press the + sign to enlarge the timeline and
Once you are successful in placing your images
on the timeline, drag the slider bar to 0.00 and
click on the play button to preview them in
the preview pane at the right of your screen.
Isn’t that amazing!!
Inserting titles and Credits
To add a title or credits to your animation you will have to
first go to the TOOLS dropdown menu and select TITLES
Here you need to decide where you
would like to place your text. For
this activity you will select “add title
at the beginning of the movie”.
In the space below, type in the text you would like the audience to see
when they watch your movie such as: Animation Number One, (today’s
To view what the title screen will look like, you can press the play button in
the preview area and watch what happens.
If you are happy with the way your title looks, you click on “Done, add title
to movie” and the title will be put in the timeline automatically.
Although you might be happy with how the title looks, you will also explore
how to change the title animation, text font and the colours associated
with your title.
Changing the Title Animation: When you click “Change the title
animation”, the following screen will show you what options you have in
changing the animation.
You can scroll up and down to explore the various styles. By pressing the
play button in the preview area, you will see a demonstration of what your
animated title will look like. Try a few and see what happens.
Before moving on make sure you have selected FADE, IN AND OUT.
Text Font/Colour and Background: From here you can change the style of
the writing as well as the colour of the text and the background.
In the same area as above, select “Change the text font and colour” to
bring you to the
following Click here to change the
Click here to style of the font.
colour of the
Click here to
colour of the
Note: All changes you make will appear in the preview window to the right
of the screen after you click ok.
Once your editing is complete, you can click in the play button in the
preview pane to view what your title will look like. If you are satisfied,
click on Done, add title to movie.
Importing Music into Movie Maker
It is important to understand that the most popular file type associated
with music is MP3, wav or wma format. For this activity, you will be
working with MP3 formats but will not be limited to only this type of file.
These files are in the Movie Maker Folder.
In order to use music or sounds, you must import the files into your
collection. To do this you must review the process of importing images
into your collection as mentioned in Lesson 2. Remember: Your music files
must already be saved in your folder before you can import them to your
This symbol represents a sound or music which
has been added to your collection.
You will place this on your timeline as you would any images which are
part of your movie project. You will also notice that the music file will not
line up on the same line as your images did on the timeline.
Once the audio file is on the timeline you may shorten the sound by
clicking on the edge of the file and dragging it to the left.
You may also grab the music file and move it to any location on the
timeline. A hand will become visible when you are able to move the file.
Give it a try to get comfortable.
You may also modify the audio file by right clicking it and
selecting an appropriate function:
Fade In or Fade Out
Change the volume
When there is more than one music file on your timeline, you can combine
and fade one file into the other by clicking the file and dragging it into the
next. This allows one song to play into the next without any chopping.
(This can sometimes take some practice, don’t give up!)
As you see from above, the blue rectangle will slide itself into the previous
song. The more the rectangle slides, the more it will cut into that song.
You will have to experiment with this feature and adjust the file to your
liking. Don’t forget, the play button in the preview pane will also preview
the music files in your timeline.
Make sure the slider in the timeline is at
the beginning of your movie before
Saving your project as a movie
Once you have assembled, previewed and
are content with your movie, you will follow
these steps to save your project as a movie
that will be able to be viewed on a
Go to File > Save Movie File (choose a place to save the movie and give it
a name). Click the browse button and make sure you are saving the movie
in your network folder.
In the movie setting screen, make sure Best
for playback on my computer is selected and
You will see a screen showing the progress of
your movie being saved.
Congratulations! You have completed a Clay
Animation using Movie Maker.
Sample Clay Animation Project
Think of a short story involving two or three
silent characters. It should be short and simple.
Write it down. (Ex. Bill and Jane took their
boat out for a day of fishing. They caught a lot
of fish. So many fish that their boat began to
sink or I was riding my bike when I lost my
balance and fell over).
You must complete a storyboard drawing/rough draft on paper before
attempting any work with the digital camera and clay.
i.e. Draw the characters and what they are going to do.
Good Luck. Make sure you plan your work before beginning.
Now, using what you have learned, create a new folder called
“Clayanimation Final project” and make a clayanimation!
- Construct a stage & Characters
- Include Opening Title and closing credits
- Include music or sound (this site has free MP3 music files:
- You should have over 200 pictures
You will need:
(maybe some wire)
Construct a Stage Set
Cut up an old box to provide a bottom and background. Cut the top off the
box so its not too dark inside. Paint them so they are colored appropriately
for your scene.
You can bring some toys from home to add to your stage set. Plastic
castles, trees, etc. can help set the stage for your play.
Ask the teacher where to go to get cardboard, and paint
It is your job to clean everything up each day!
Create the rest of your clay animation using the information that
you have learned.
Clay animation Checksheet!
Is everything finished and ready for evaluation?
Story Board /10
Character Design /10
Set Design /10
Final Product /30